With the recent introduction of Construction, the whole RuneScape economy was turned upside down. The last time an update had as big an influence on the game’s economy as now was when RuneScape 2 came out – literally all items changed their prices then. Right now most items seem to go back to their old prices again, though. Anyway, before I’m going to analyze and explain the impact of Construction on the economy, I’ll be doing a short update on my estimates of the total GP in RuneScape and give updated rare item price graphs.
As can be read in my new estimation of the total GP in RuneScape, I now estimate that there is about 1780bil GP in the game. Comparing this with my previous calculation of 9 months ago, which came to about 455bil back then, we can conclude that, on average, nearly 5bil GP entered the economy each day. Since this number is an average, it is reasonable to say that right now 6-7bil GP is created each day.
Since my previous article about rares, a lot has happened to the prices of rares. Smaller wearable rares, as I predicted in my previous article, did very well the past 4 months. Furthermore, most low-cost rares and the cracker are already approaching the prices I predicted them to reach this year! With the introduction of Construction, all rares dropped back roughly 20% in price though. By now, most prices have shot back up again, where party hats saw the largest gains, which is not too weird considering they didn’t do very well compared to the other rares the past few months. As we can see in the following graphs, there was a clear spike downwards and upwards, both caused by Construction.
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Graph of Party Hat Prices
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Graph of Small Rare Prices
It is quite clear that Jagex intentionally created Construction as a large money drain, and that it was also designed to give rich players something useful to do with their large stashes of money. For many people, these two observations combined were the base for some heavy debating about the possible consequences of the skill for the short and long-term future of rares. Not surprisingly, people were quite divided on the matter. Some people have doom-like scenarios for the prices of rares in mind; others say rares will be going back up soon again. Sure, everyone agrees it’s a ‘huge’ money drain though, but the problem is that still doesn’t tell us much. Barrows was said to be a large money drain as well, but far from being large enough to do something against the extreme inflation issue of RuneScape, and thus it didn’t have much effect on the price development of rares at all.
Therefore, it’s time to do some more calculations to see if that can give us better insight in the consequences of Construction on the economy. Let’s start by estimating the total amount of GP drained by Construction so far. Firstly, we add all the experience gained by people who show up on the Construction high scores and divide it by the number of days past since Construction came out: 9bil exp / 9 days passed since Construction came out = 1bil exp gained / day. Estimating how much GP is drained per exp point on average is quite tough as some of the money drains aren’t that direct, like the rooms of your house. I’ve talked to a few people and did a bunch of calculations and came to the conclusion that an average GP cost per exp point gained of 8GP sounds reasonable (for reference: using servants and oak logs drains 5.8GP / exp, using servants and teak drains 6.7GP / exp and using servants and mahogany drains 11.4GP / exp). Multiplying that by the average total exp / day gained, this gives us 8bil GP destroyed / day. If we compare this number with the calculated amount of GP created / day, which was 6-7bil, we can conclude that there is currently slightly more money going out of the economy than coming into it.
As some people doubt the importance of inflation for rares, here will follow an indexed graph (11-march-2005 = 100, the date of my first GP estimation) of the total prices of rares (in which each rare has the same weight in the index), my estimated amount of total GP in the game and its exponential trend line.
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Graph of Indices
I think it is pretty clear that the rare prices roughly seem to follow the same long-term trend as the total GP in RuneScape. In fact, even I was a bit surprised when I saw this graph for the first time. I knew inflation was the most important factor for the price development of rares, but this graph suggests that the price development almost solely depends on the total GP in the game.
Future price development of rares will therefore depend on the popularity of Construction for a big part. It is unlikely that the current situation, where more money is going out of the game than coming into it, will stay for long. At the time of writing this article, Construction is only 9 days old, so when the newness of skill wears off a bit, the skill will surely become a bit less popular then now. To find out how big of drain Construction will precisely be, we’ll need to observe the money drained / day again in a few months. Nevertheless, Construction will, undeniably, stay a very important money drain.
If we are going to assume Construction is going to stay at least half as popular as it currently is (which would mean it would stay a 4bil GP / day money drain), roughly 2/3rds of what previous was inflation would now be countered by Construction. Obviously that also means rares will raise a lot slower as well, possibly at only at half or even only a third of the rate it was previously rising with.
Jagex finally did something against the ever ongoing inflation issue, and right now it seems that they did quite well! Had they made Construction drain less GP, the drain may have been too small. Had they made Construction drain more GP, the drain may have been too large, causing deflation. Is it coincidence, or did Jagex finally do some math regarding their game’s economy?
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