If you were gone the past two months, bonus experience weekend (BXW) happened from September 9th to the 12th. If you've been playing RuneScape for more than a year, you would know that this has been a semi-annual occurrence, in an effort for JaGEx to reward players for being members and available for about 6 hours on a particular weekend. That weekend I was pretty much away from my computer the entire time, so I did not participate in gaining multiplied experience.
JaGEx gave plenty of warning to players in advance that BXW would occur. Not only has it happened 3 times before, but JaGEx also made a news post (which was expected) detailing the event would occur a week in advance.
In the past, we've seen the prices of raw materials soar in the two days after the announcement only to hold steady or crash just before or right after the weekend begins. This year was different in the fact that for the most part, raw materials dropped the entire week leading up to BXW, and in many cases have plummeted since. How could this happen?
First of all, I'd like to quickly examine the first three BXWs. The first one came entirely out of the blue and began March 12, 2010. The second one also was a bit of a shocker, occurring on September 3, 2010. I'd venture as far to say that some people were not expecting the third (after all, maybe this was a 2010 fad), but after that a pattern was established.
How did the unexpected nature of Bonus XP Weekend contribute to the price hikes we've witnessed in the past? That's just it, they were unexpected. Players didn't have materials for what they wanted to train, and were willing to spend vast amounts of gp (sometimes double the normal price of the item) in order to prepare for their first three hours of training.
This weekend was different in the fact that players expected it. They knew it was coming; they had five months to prepare; everyone prepared. Not only did players hoard materials they may have wanted but they also hoarded materials others may have wanted as well. There was a surplus of materials in the economy.
Once BXW was announced, players were given the green light to try and sell their materials. So players tried to sell their extra materials in hopes that someone else wanted to buy them. Unfortunately everyone else came prepared; more people were selling than were buying. Taking a look at the 180 day graphs of several items seems to support this hypothesis. Since September 2nd, mahogany planks have crashed, clean ranarr has crashed, and dragon bones have crashed. It seems that every buy-able skill except crafting was affected. Since BXW, the same familiar pattern has emerged. Most raw goods have plummeted, although a few have started to recover.
How can we use this as a lesson going forward? Well, it seems the best time to purchase raw materials for Bonus XP weekend is [drum-roll please]... a week after Bonus XP weekend. The best time to sell raw materials to profit from Bonus XP weekend is a week before Bonus XP weekend is announced (I'd bet on middle of February next year). Also, players have come to expect Bonus XP weekends on a semi-annual basis. This means if JaGEx ever broke the pattern, we could expect to see more free falling of raw materials in the economy, even more so than witnessed this time.
JaGEx has established a pattern. From now on, as players we should expect semiannual Bonus Experience Weekends, and plan our game-play accordingly.