Well it’s been a while since I ranted about the unreasonable rate of inflation and general economic disruption. I'm sure you're all curious as to see what has changed, how those changes have had an impact on the overall economy, and what might need to be done still.
The ridiculous rises in prices started to happen when boss monster drops were no longer dropped in PVP, but were replaced by items that are directly exchangeable for exorbitant amounts of cash. This created a large influx of GP into the economy, while at the same time decreasing the supply of certain other items.
Unfortunately, the influx of GP has caused many other items, beyond the drops removed from PVP, to also rise in price. Not only that, but EP-farming (formerly known as tricking) now gave you cash directly, without being dependant on being able to sell the item first.
Some examples are dead obvious. Coal used to be 175gp since forever, no matter how much was mined or plundered from Miscellania. Today, even with Concentrated Coal, the price floats more around 200. Non-consumables are affected too, the Whip being the affordable example, and the Armadyl Godsword being the ridiculous one. Pretty much all items on the Grand Exchange graphs have had their sky blue 30-day average line pick up a good 30%-70% since mid-June.
It's quite obvious that EP-farming is largely responsible, and Jagex has to some extend recognized it as a problem. But some of their recent updates have been extremely counter productive. Granted, you now need your partner risk a whopping 76k instead of 26k, and teleporting out of combat lowers your EP, but this is nothing more then rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
But updates such as your Familiars being more aggressive made fighting Graardor harder. The updates on Waterbirth Island made it harder to get to the Dagannoth Kings. There is also the smaller room at Zilyana, and the removal of safespots at Tormented Demons. All these updates made 'legitimate' ways of making money harder and harder, which made EP-farming look ever tastier.
Jagex has recently been asked about inflation several times;
This might seem a stupid question for a game, but how will you deal with the massive inflation in the game?
Mod Fetzki answers:
I would be more careful in labelling what is going on with the RuneScape economy - it’s not simply inflation. Only certain items in the game get more expensive, including some rare items, but, overall, we see steady prices in most raw materials and some of the high prices are already coming down. Just look at the curve that the dragon chainbody’s price has drawn over the last six months.
Ok, even IF the Dragon Chainbody was an accurate representation of the economy as a whole, he is still wrong. When you look at the graph you can clearly see that since PVP drops were replaced by those Artifacts, the Dragon Chainbody has inflated 50%. And considering we're talking about nothing more then a fashion item these days...
1. For a long time, Jagex was careful about controlling the flow of coins into the economy. You balanced alching with gold sinks like construction and summoning. Why was this not considered before adding PVP cash drops?
To the contrary: We considered this VERY carefully. The item drops were affecting the price of popular items like the whip, d claws, d chain, DFH and dark bow to drop significantly, and we wanted to protect the price of them.
So we went for a system that made the prices rise that had fallen when the old wilderness was changed - basically the items that PKers need like the whip or sharks. So we basically chose to reward the PKers with cash but at the same time make them pay more for the items they need. In this way we protected the skillers and their drops.
2. I must disagree with what you said about inflation. Since the PVP update, high level weapons and armour have risen about 25%. Other items like dragon bones, sharks, etc. have risen as well. Things like logs are more stable because they produce items for alching.
I do see that some prices are rising, yes - see above for one explanation - but I think in the long run we don't see an inflation in the sense that people need to work more in order to get their hands on a great sword.
Don't need to work more? I challenge this Mod to earn enough money for an Armadyl Godsword by just skilling. That means no combat, EP-farming, merchanting, or alching. But he's right; all you need to do is farm your EP, something that nobody dares to call hard work.
But ok, PVP drops were made to 'restore' prices of items that used to drop in PVP to their original levels. If that is really the case, they went a bit overboard with it, as prices of those items are now beyond what they originally were. This still does not explain why items such as Gold Ore, which have absolutely no link to PVP whatsoever, have risen 25% since the substitution of the PVP drops (they only recently came down due to Concentrated Gold Ore becoming available). The Common Trade Index of RuneScape's Wiki pages support this argument for a whole host of items.
The Personalized Shop update did not help inflation either. Suddenly people found themselves without their fountain of youth when it came to many supplies, be it simply Runes, Raw Bird Meat, or Plain Pizza's (this last one hurt F2P especially). I understand they did this to prevent, for example, a Whip being sold to a General Store by a GPseller, and bought by a player who bought said GP. But they could have put the stocks back to what they were before the infinite supply update, or even half of that.
But, back to EP-farming, which seems to be the largest cause of all the problems. It states in the Knowledge Base in the article on PVP rewards:
"Many of these items are randomly generated by the game based on how much your opponent was carrying, how much you are carrying, the difference between your Combat level and your opponent's, how long you have survived outside safe zones on the PvP world, and how many other players you have killed recently."
To me this defies all logic. Certain factors should have absolutely nothing to do with the drop you get. The difference between Combat Levels? How many people you recently killed? It sounds suspiciously like the lootshare system.
I have a few simple and logical proposals for the Jagex crew to consider which, if implemented, should solve 99% of all the rants about the economy, freeing up a lot of forum space for proper conversations.
Make the drops on PVP worlds logical again!
The earlier quote from the Knowledge Base can be simply adapted to this;
"Many of these items are randomly generated by the game based on how much your opponent was carrying, and how long you have survived outside safe zones on the PvP world."
I'll explain. If your victim was only risking 76k, your maximum drop, with maximum EP, should not be more then twice, rather then up to 65 times that. This means your drop from a 76k-er at 100% EP is anywhere between 0 and 152k in artefacts (this prevents RWT still). However, on top of the artefacts there will be the Special Drops.
Much like the Draconic Visage can drop together with Dragon Platelegs from an Iron Dragon, Special Drops like Brawlers, Corrupt Dragon and Ancient (Vesta's and the like) equipment will drop, and drop more frequently, together with your regular PVP reward. These items crumble to dust in the end, so have no overall impact on the economy (unless alched), but can still be sold for hundreds of thousands of GP to other players. One may even consider adding untradables to the Special Drops, like these new high level Potions.
Items that degrade completely such as these Special Drops are actually the solution to all inflation problems that come from PVP. They make PVP worthwhile for the better PK-ers, and at the same time add nothing to inflation. Just like the old PK system used to work.
The true PVP-ers would not lose out, but the EP farmers will find their 2 hours of sitting around and having a friend sacrifice for them rather fruitless. But if this does not work, as a Hail Mary measure, one could consider adding activity bars to PVP worlds, preventing anyone that just stands around and does nothing from gathering EP.
Reverse the Pure Essence update!
My god was it ever naive of Jagex to think that separating F2P and P2P Runecrafting needs would stop people who made their living off of selling GP.
But nowadays, when the measures have been more extensive and more reasonable to end RWT, all this update now does is keep Runecrafting from being profitable and cutting F2P people off from a good source of money. Reversing it would drain money from a horribly rich P2P to a destitute F2P, make Runecrafting cheaper to do, and maybe even make Runes slightly cheaper. Relatively speaking, spreading money from ~1 million out over ~12 million also helps to fight inflation. The only people who would lose out on this are those that now mine Pure Essence for money. Switch to the Concentrated Ores in the Living caverns, and presto.
More continuous money sinks!
Construction was an awesome money sink, but it only lasted as long as people were training it en masse. Now that a lot of homes have been finished, it's not much of a drain anymore. It got worse when Armoured Zombies started dropping all kinds of Planks.
Another good continuous money sink is the Kingdom of Miscellania minigame. Most of the Maple Logs go up in smoke anyways, and neither Tree nor Fruit Tree seeds produce anything that upsets the economy drastically. Even the fish just gets cooked and eaten.
Summoning is an awesome and continuous sink of money, as it demands that you get new pouches over and over. But this went all down the drain as you could get back 70% of your shards on all pouches you turned in at the Ogre. Lower this to 50% maybe?
Adding the new Rocktail fish to the Trawler minigame, or better yet, adding a reward to Shades of Mor'ton, which is preferably tradable and degradable like the Special PVP Drops, would result in millions more Swamp Paste being purchased from the local stores.
Announce what you are going to do!
When the Personalised Shops update happened, the price of an Uncut Onyx was upped from 260k TokKul with Karamja Gloves 1 (which are now useless) to 2.7m TokKul. With this, Jagex screwed over everyone who has been aiming for the Onyx, and had some TokKul stored.
Not only that, but the reason they did it was to make the Onyx rarer. Now that may have worked, if it weren't for the fact that they also smacked everyone in the face who wanted to get there in a normal fashion, by winning Fight Pits and Caves, and by killing ThZaar.
No, the calculations have been made, and the only viable reason to get 2.7m TokKul now is to sell roughly the same amount of Fire Runes to the ThZaar Rune Shop as you would before. So the update did nothing other then cut the value of the TokKul in your bank by 90%, and made any 'real' way of collecting TokKul impractical to say the least.
Had they announced this a month or even a fortnight in advance, there would have been a rush, but no one would have complained after this rush had subsided.
Can't decide what to announce and what not to? Set up some sort of Socio-Economic board of volunteer players and simply ask them "what if ..?" questions.
I have talked these proposals over with many people, and combined they should undo most of the damage done, without making people destitute.
There is still the issue of Merchanting Clans, but since these only skim off the top what people are willing to pay extra for certain items. Less inflation means more stable prices, which in turn means that price manipulations are much easier to identify. With stable prices everyone will know when an item is clearly overpriced, hence it will only be bought by people willing to pay too much for it.
I doubt I need to make the case to counter inflation to the average reader here, but it suffices to say, that even 1 year RS veterans consider Bandos and Armadyl gear out of reach for them without resorting to EP farming. Imagine how newcomers to the game feel. They see that with their hardest work while still trying to enjoy most of the game, their most coveted items slip further and further away from them. Ever increasing prices do not always inspire people to work harder, in fact the opposite is true - people would sooner quit the game then work their ass off.
All I can do now is pray that this message gets through...