Someone asked me a while back to investigate the ways in which the non-member and member economies relate to one another. Especially with the arrival of the Grand Exchange it has certainly smoothed over the conduits of trade between the two. Before the Grand Exchange update, if you had the luck of obtaining a Treasure Trail item that could also be traded to F2P worlds, you could sell it there for a much larger sum then on a members world, and many people used this to make their money. For example, a Saradomin Platebody could be bought rather easily for a million gp on world 2, and sold on world 1 for 1.1 million, again without difficulty.
The opposite was also true. Yew logs are far too popular, but another item that is still generated on F2P, not to be used, but to be merchanted to P2P is Gold Ore. I could easily hire Gold ore suppliers for 300 a piece, while it cost me at least 400 gp on a members world.
These days, where the price on both sides of the border is equal, I find it hard to believe that any F2P-er actually uses their gold ore in large numbers. If I was F2P I'd definitely use Cow Hides to level my Crafting, and dump my Gold Ore, other then the odd piece of jewellery, in the Grand Exchange for a handsome profit. This makes it one of F2P's few primarily export-only goods.
Now, to try and understand how these economies relate to one another, it is best to start imagining how one would function without the other. Would the Willow Composite Bow still be 58k compared to the 877 gold a Yew Composite Bow costs? No, there is no F2P-er who'd be able buy it. And what about the prices of raw materials? Logs, Ores, even Limpwurt Roots and Zamorak Wines would massively rise in price for P2P because everyone is off hunting epic monsters rather then slave away cutting thousands of Yew Trees yourself.
The same goes of course for the opposite. If Law Runes had to come solely from monster drops, then Teleporting will be considered a massive luxury. Roach Soldiers will continuously be packed with people fighting for the best weapon in the game: Rune Scimitar. The same goes for Ankous for Death Runes. And the Karamja and Wilderness fishing spots for Lobsters and Swordfish would be as busy as Varrock on a Sunday afternoon.
Slowly the relation between F2P and P2P economics shows itself as a food chain of sorts. F2P generates much of the required raw materials, while P2P sells off their processed items (cooked food, smithed weapons and armour, fletched arrows), And do not forget that F2P also keeps the price of certain Treasure Trail items afloat, simply because they want them for the looks of it.
So do I consider one is better then the other? No, like all food chains, I think we need one another to keep it all in check. And while certain updates may cause upheaval in prices of some items, the economy is not going to destroy itself. Not while in the last 30 days, 441 million Nature Runes alone have been traded.
Did You Know...
...that the people in Tao Bwo Wannai will have a Trading Stick in their left hand if they are ready again to give you some? Also try asking for these Sticks while wearing a completely matching outfit of their clothing, and they might just redeem all your favor at once. If only we had some use for this currency. (Thanks to the Tal Shiar Alliance!)
Do you have any thoughts or comments about what you've just read? Want to discuss this article with your fellow RuneScapers? We invite you to discuss the article in this forum topic.
Letters to the Editor are now being accepted. If you have some thoughts to share with the Editor about this or any other Tip.It Times article, please refer to this forum topic for more information on writing a letter to the Editor. Selected letters will be published in the Times' usual space on the main website during those weeks that no Tip.It Times article is being published.