Blog Archive

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Trick or Treat bags 4 months on...

Back in mid January I followed up a previous investment advice post with some new ideas for investing into Trick or Treat bags. Back then, 4 months ago ToT bag prices were sitting at around 9.5 silver on the trading post, and even though the price had already increased by about 35% since Halloween, I gave some advice to invest because I expected them to rise a lot more in the coming months. Fast forward to present day and I was not wrong, and if you followed my advice you'll have realized that you're on to a big winner by now. Yes Trick or Treat bags have gone absolutely crazy, sitting at a huge 18.5 silver on the trading post right now. That means you have just about doubled your money after fees if you bought in at 9.5 silver, and even more if you invested when they were sitting at 7 silver a few months prior to that. The question now is what action to take and I will tell you my plans for my Trick or Treat bag stash moving forward.

First of all, as with any investment the following advice will be based on risk assessment. There are 3 typical methods and they vary from no risk to little risk and high risk. The first option is the no risk, but this option also usually yields the lowest potential rewards but it is safety first and it means you lock up your profit. This basically means selling your entire investment now. That might sound a bit hasty, and for the majority of investors this will not be a desirable option, but if you are in need of liquid cash this may be the method for you. Doing this will secure you a great profit with no further risk, but you will lose out on potentially higher profits. The low risk option is the one I would advise to go for for the large majority of investors. This means cutting your investment in half, selling one half and securing the profit and holding the other half to sell at a later date. Using this method you will secure the already very good profit on a good chunk of your investment, and you will feel less guilty about any future increases or decreases in the value of your investment. The third option is the high risk, high reward method which is basically go big or go home. This option is not for the weak at heart, and means holding onto your entire investment to sell in the future at a potentially higher price. This means you risk your current profit because the price of your investment can also decrease.

Thinking logically about the value of Trick or Treat bags, realistically the high risk strategy isn't as risky as you might think. This is because ToT bags are festival items, and the large majority of festivals are yearly events, this one being Halloween, meaning a potential decrease in value(usually from an increase in supply) is unlikely in comparison to, for example, a common crafting material. Fresh supply of ToT bags ARE obtainable, but only using the method explained here, which simply put is not profitable enough to be viable. With this in mind, we can use this information to make a better judgement on deciding which action to take with the investment. So which option am I going for? Go big or go home! It is not called high risk for no reason, and yes there is a possibility that you could lose your profit margins, but simply put the potential rewards far outweight the risk factor and besides, as an avid investor I enjoy a bit of risk! I could see Trick or Treat bags hitting 25-30+ silver within the next 3 months.

Keep in mind that you should take the option that suits you best, and that you should only take my advice fully knowing the risks involved. If you need liquid cash, sell your investment now. If you want to secure some profit but still see potential, you should bank half the profit and hold onto the rest. Keep a keen eye on this blog for an upcoming post about new investments you can get in to!

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Super Investment Box

Hello everyone. After the disappointing news from Mo these past weeks in regards to no more legendary weapons, the 1st April patch brought back the long overdue Super Adventure Box mini-game. What started as an April fools joke became arguably the most popular temporary content ever released. Now that SAB has been confirmed as a yearly festival, this piece of information is very important for investors, as this means that festival items from SAB will be obtainable every year around the same time. However, that does not mean the investment is not worthly so lets take a look at some potential SAB items we can put our gold into.

Unfortunately when it comes to marketable items, SAB runs a bit thin on the ground in terms of what you can actually sell on the trading post - aside from a few oddball items, the only real focus is skins. SAB weapon skins had some extremely crazy prices pre-SAB patch as you can see by viewing their history. It was not uncommon to see some skins listed for several thousands of gold because a lot of people questioned if SAB was going to ever return at all. However, that is now in the past and we now know that not only is SAB back, but it is back as a yearly event, and that means that supply of items like skins is no longer as limited as it was previously. Also keep in mind that even non-investors will recognise this, and the prices of skins are unlikely to rise as fast as they did previously.

This instalment of SAB has also launched a new line of skins, called Kaiser Snake. These skins are the same as the other ones, simply with an orange paint job. There are two ways of obtaining these skins: first is via a repeatable achievement which rewards you with an account bound skin of your choice. Using this method however it is only possible to obtain two skins in total, as the requirement to complete takes 8 sets of dailies, and the event is only around for 19 days in total. The Kaiser Snake skins are also an extremely rare drop from tribulation mode chests, where these versions are able to be sold on the trading post. They are currently sitting around 450 gold each, so they are no cheap purchase by any means. Meanwhile the standard blue skins, which are also rare drops, are sitting around 80 gold each.

So which should you invest in? The Kaiser Snake skins are going to be very expensive investments indeed, as after 7 days of a total of 19, the prices are still very high at around 450 gold. However, I do believe these skins will make money over the coming year, because of two main reasons. Firstly, as mentioned above it is only possible to reliably obtain two of these skins. Many people will want to collect the whole set to unlock the Kaiser Snake backpiece, whilst others will want 3 or even 4 skins to complete a desired look. The second reason is simply the scarcity of these skins - some have only 3-4 listed right now, and remember these are skins, so when they are used that is supply removed from the market. Be careful when considering investment on the original blue skins, as these can be reliably farmed using baubles(for account bound skins), and they are not very expensive either. I think realistically the potential increase in the price of the blue skins over just a year may not be worth the gold investment, so proceed with caution and research the popularity and scarcity of certain skins.

Monday, 28 March 2016

The Rune Game

Today I want to talk about Runes. In Guild Wars 2, runes are basically a way to customize a build with a suitable set of stats and/or additional abilities. There are different types of runes for all kinds of builds, ranging from damage to defense, swiftness-boosting to fall-damage-reducing. Runes are incredibly important and as such, some runes become very valuable because of their demand. If there is something I have learned over my time playing Guild Wars 2 it is that runes can have incredible potential as an investment, and that you should not overlook them when considering where to place your excess gold.

For the most part, aside from the 'rare' runes such as Karka Slaying and Generosity, which are valuable due to their scarcity, the main runes we are looking for are the standard superior runes that every day players use in-slot. For my general rule, I look toward runes that 'have potential' but are currently vendor value. Watch out here, because superior runes vary in vendor value - for example Rune of the Undead has a very low vendor value at just 65 copper. Meanwhile Rune of Dwayna has the more standard vendor value of 2 silver 16 copper. For me, when I have excess gold ready to invest, I first look for superior runes that have a current trading post price within 5-10 copper of the vendor value. By investing in these runes, I can gurantee that I cannot lose a large chunk of gold, because in the worst possible scenario I will vendor the runes later if I need the gold for a minimal loss. However, the potential here is the reason for investment. There have been countless times in the history of Guild Wars 2 where patches have brought changes to runes, which have skyrocketed the price sometimes several thousand percent more than what it was previously, because where a useless rune was once worthless, it is now sought after, and runes are almost never over supplied.

When looking for potential, you need to try to assess what the general playerbase wants from a runeset. The best way to determine the popularity of certain runes is by looking over the prices on the trading post, where the higher price equals the higher demand(except for examples like the scarce runes above). In general, the more popular runes are mostly power stats, because power fits far more builds than any other stat. This is not always the case, but it is a good start. Depending on how much gold you have to invest, you can buy varying quantities. For me, I usually place a buy-order for a stack of runes, and refresh it when applicable if I get overbid, and wait slowly for the order to fill. 250 standard vendor value runes usually costs around 5-6 gold. But the potential return on runes is absolutely massive. You may be waiting a very long time, so this is an investment you should buy and forget(but don't forget to cash in if you hit it big). This is the type of investment you shouldn't realistically expect a return on, and rather have a bit of fun whenever patch time comes around to see if you can get lucky. A stack of highly demanded runes can make you an absolute fortune, and remember, everything said here also applies to sigils although bare in mind a popular sigil will rarely rise in price as fast as a rune, because the demand from players will be for 1-2 instead of 6.

Keep in mind, this investment makes use of the classic rule of thumb, if something is sitting at vendor value, you should probably put some gold into it. Whenever a no or minimal risk investment pops up, you should probably take it!

Monday, 21 March 2016

The Future of Guild Wars 2 Speculator

OK so I wanted to make a quick post today after a relatively long absense since the last post. I wanted to be as honest as possible with my readers so first I will explain a few things. It is no secret that I am not currently actively playing Guild Wars 2 and I cannot say that I will be commiting much to it in the near future. I played a lot on the build to and after Heart of Thorns, and for now I am kind of burned out. However, this is not neccesarily a permenant fixture and I am still keeping current with all the news in terms of game updates and lots of market prices, and I keep up to date with reddit. So I would like to explain what I plan to do concerning the future of this blog.

I really enjoy writing posts for this blog, as one of my biggest passions about playing Guild Wars 2 was always the economy side of the game. This combined with the fact that my viewer count has increased largely since I first started, makes me want to continue writing high quality posts. When I first began writing this blog, I was sometimes writing 3-4 paragraph posts daily for several weeks, which takes a lot of time and effort. And whilst I do enjoy writing these posts, I cannot keep up with the speed at which I first began. There is mainly two reason for this; first is that as mentioned above, my current focus is not on Guild Wars 2. The other, maybe more important reason is really the lack of material to actually write about. Whilst there is an endless amount of markets to potentially speculate about, the ones I really want to write about are the ones I have my own experience with. This means, if I only talk about my own speculations and investments, I cannot possibly have enough content to fill a post a day. On that trail of thought, let's talk about the future of my blog.

Moving forward I would like to commit to publishing one high quality post per week. I am not going to stick to a particular structure in my posts, but rather continue with a kind of freestyle approach. This will mean I can produce a decent post each week so that my content for my readers on this blog can stay current. It also means I can gather important topics throughout the week to write about at the week's end. I will try to stick to publishing my posts on the weekend so to maintain a similar timeframe between posts. I'd like to also take this opportunity to thank my readers - without a decent viewership I would have probably stopped writing this blog a while back, so thank you for reading my blog!

Saturday, 16 January 2016

I Told You So!

I hate to say it but... I told you so! I'm back for another post guys and even though it's been a while, I am right on track according to my mid-long term investment advice. Do you remember what I mentioned a little over 3 months ago? Here is a reminder incase you forgot!

Just prior to the Heart of Thorns launch back in late October, I gave some advice about what to invest in based on an economy blog post from John Smith at the time. Leather was the target, and in particular, Thick and Hardened Leather Sections. If you took my advice on board and held out for the mid term - congradulations, you're now knee-deep in pure profit. Since mid October, Thick Leather Sections have more than tripled in price, from around 30 copper to a whopping 99 copper right now. This was largely boosted by the addition of certain temporary items during the Halloween festival, but has remained a slow gainer, largely due to the changes made to the availability of leather through salvaging. The biggest winner though is without doubt Hardened Leather Sections. This crafting material sat at 14 copper on the trading post for a ridiculous 18 months between February 2014 and September of last year. If you invested back then, I salute you! If you followed my advice and invested just prior to HoT launch and held on, you now have a massive winner! Hardened Leather Sections have increased nine-fold over the past 3 months, from 50 copper to a massive 4.5 silver. This has been another great example of a slow gainer, from supply and demand side changes.

To sell or not to sell


The next problem is whether to sell or not. So far there has been no indication of any economy related changes in the upcoming January 26 patch, although that does not mean it is not going to happen. It is indeed risky to hold onto your entire stock through a patch, so here is a good piece of advice if you are hoarding a bunch of leather right now. The absolute safest approach is of course to sell and bank your profit - although it may not be the smartest. The middle ground here is to sell off some of your investments, take the profit and hold the rest for a risky but rewarding potential payoff. The potential future of the leather market is an interesting one. With some cloth like Linen sitting at a ridiculous 14 silver, is it that hard to imagine leather reaching a similar price? Looking through the data, it is easy to see the severe lack of supply of Hardened Leather Sections - is it possible the price can skyrocket sooner than you think? I think it is. The supply is already making the price incredibly volatile, seeing an increase of a silver in just 2 days. If the January 26 patch does not bring any changes, I see of no reason why the price will stop increasing, and if changes are not implemented it might even just end up like Linen!

In that trail of thought then, should you sell or not? It is down to what you can afford to lose and what you are willing to risk. If you need the gold, make the sale and be happy with the profit. If you are willing to risk it all for an even bigger pay off, hold on tight... this one might come in big!

The next investment


On to the next investment, and it's all about festivals and festival items. 3 months ago Halloween was just beginning, with it, Trick or Treat bags - a common drop from most mobs and related quests. In 2014 ToT bags were fairly worthless aside from the extremely rare poly-luminecent gem drops - this is evidenced by the stale price of around 4.5 silver the whole year after the event. However, 2015 ToT bags are a different story entirely. The loot table was expanded to include a few new Halloween themed skins and some new minis. However, the biggest change comes with the interaction of two other changes - the introduction of a new recipe, and the alteration of Vial of Maize Balm, the item previously used to farm ToT bags year-round. Firstly and most importantly, the change, or I should say the absolute nerfing of Vial of Maize Balm! This item used to grant you 3 charges of an AoE skill that would transform ambient creatures into Candy Corn mobs. Each AoE would affect up to 3 creatures, thus each Vial could produce 9 mobs and each mob would drop a ToT bag... needless to say if you could get past the mindless farm, it was very lucrative. Vial of Maize Balm got nerfed to the ground in the Halloween 2015 patch, being changed to grant only 1 charge, and only affecting 1 creature, thus each Vial can only produce a single ToT bag now instead of the previous 9. This means, in short, that Trick or Treat bags are no longer farmed(perhaps until their price goes up dramatically). The other change was the introduction of a new high-tier item Nightfury. Nightfury is a cosmetic shoulder piece which engulfs the wearer in a swarm of bats. As such it is highly sought after, and it's recipe requires a rare item only dropped from ToT bags: Endless Batwing Brew. The Batwing Brew alone is very valuable, sitting at around 420 gold right now. This means it is a potential gamble to open ToT bags in an attempt to profit from a lucky Brew drop. This in turn leads to more demand for ToT bags, and since there is no more Maize Balm farm, less supply. On top of that we have the general demand of people wanting to get this item to build Nightfury for themselves.

This is why Trick or Treat bags are my advice for a go-to investment for the mid-long term. I'd advise buying in now, and sitting on them for 3-6 months. In just under 3 months since Halloween ended the price of ToT bags has already increased by around 2.5 silver, from just over 7 silver to around 9.5 silver right now. In another 3 months I would expect a 2-4 silver increase and in 6 months I could see the price sitting at anywhere between 15-20 silver. Nightfury will remain a highly sought after item, and the supply of ToT bags in not getting any richer. That means the supply of Endless Brew is in effect, very limited. Don't expect any fast gains on this investment, be patient and you will be rewarded.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

HoT countdown: Last minute investments

Hey guys and welcome back to my blog - sorry for the break in posts, I have been very busy recently. Heart of Thorns has crept up on us, or so it feels like! In just TWO DAYS we will be logging in to find a new patch giving us access to the jungle. It is crazy to think how long it has actually been since the original announcement - it was all the way back in January this year that the Living Story season 2 came to a close with that epic cliff-hanger of an ending leaving us suspecting more was to come. And we were not wrong; a lot more was coming and it was to be called Heart of Thorns, Guild Wars 2's first expansion. ArenaNet have done a fantastic job of spreading the news of the expansion over a lengthy period of time, giving us just enough to maintain hype whilst not exhausting the supply of fresh content to talk about. Collectively, Heart of Thorns is actually much bigger than it initially seems on paper. We are told we will be getting 4 new maps as an example, but those 4 maps are more like 10-12 maps realistically if you consider the 3 levels of each map and how big those maps actually are. If you think you may have missed something about HoT, you can check out WP's video which wraps up everything(important) about the expansion. However, I'm here to talk about something a bit different; the economy.

We are on the verge of a drastic shift to the economy of Guild Wars 2 and no market is safe. In this official blog post by ArenaNet's resident game economist John Smith, it is stated that "instability is coming... again". What does this mean? Well it is difficult to tell exactly which markets will take the biggest impact. However, looking over markets, especially crafting materials, we can see some obvious contenders that need more demand-side stimulation, or possibly just less sources of supply. So lets talk about which markets are the most likely to be affected:

Leather, Silk & Metal

It is no secret that leather is the most undervalued and oversupplied crafting resource in the game. Comparing leather to metal or cloth yields ridiculously huge differences value as a result of demand-side shock. What exactly am I talking about? The patch that introduced ascended armour also introduced a new, massively strong strain on cloth, particularly Silk and Linen, which in turn allowed their values to soar to insane new levels that hadn't been seen before. This of course is old news, and what back then we thought were very high prices, have now become the norm. In fact, Silk prices still continue to creep up slowly, and perhaps Heart of Thorns will apply something to combat that. John Smith said in a redditor's thread, that the main focus of the changes to the economy was the problem with scarcity. Without going into to much detail he was able to explain how that process could work, which may see returns from salvaging gear lowered or increased, to make a lasting affect on the supply of a particular crafting material. In focus, I believe the main targets of this change will be Cloth and Leather. While leather is undoubtedly oversupplied at the moment, it is difficult to say whether the issue really lies with supply. It is well known that leather is not used as a component for many end products except for it's standard uses like medium armor and perhaps the odd rune or sigil. Meanwhile metal, and particularly cloth, have extremely high demand from multiple additional sources. Cloth is used in all 3 ascended armour tiers, and does not have an open-world node, so farming it is difficult and not guaranteed. While metal is in a similar boat where demand is still very high but the node resources in the open world allow the supply to keep up somewhat.

Changing the Formula

So how exactly will the problem of leather and silk be fixed? I believe this will come about as a result of many small changes adding up to a larger impression. First off, I think it would make sense to lower the salvage rate of leather from medium armour gear and increase the salvage rate of cloth from light armour gear. This will directly impact the supply of both crafting materials and in the mid to long term, you will see the supply making an impact on the values of said crafting materials. Then there is the issue of demand. Whilst I believe the demand for cloth is ever-present with it being a main component of ascended armour crafting, I highly doubt ArenaNet will add many more cloth sinks into the game. I also believe that cloth is perhaps at a fairly stable place at the moment, and they may only wish to slightly increase the supply to just shift the price. However, the main consideration for demand changes would be leather. Leather has a serious lack of demand - it is in the same position(or worse) than cloth was pre-ascended armour patch. How will they fix this problem? Right now it is very difficult to say because unlike ascended armour, many of the new things being added with HoT do not offer the same 'limitless' demand. What I mean by this is, as long as ascended is the top tier gear, it will always be in demand. Meanwhile, things like new legendary weapons and even legendary armour? Not so much. These are usually one-time purchases(or crafts). They are not consistently demanded. However with that said, this is mainly dependent of course on the sheer levels of crafting materials required for those things. And they could simply try to place a leather sink in gen 2 legendary weapons by applying huge quantities of leather in their crafting build-ups - although I am not convinced.

The long term

Let's consider the long term for a moment, and consider a few last minute investments in case you did not invest yet. In my honest opinion, leather is the absolute risk-free potential investment. Why do I come to that conclusion? Leather simply has to be the main target of the economy shake up this time around. Let's take a look at Thick and Hardened leather a bit more closely. On October 12-13th, roughly 6 million units of Thick Leather Sections were purchased from the trading post leaving around 10 million still listed. This happened on the same date as John Smith's economy blog post. The 6 million disappearing leather sections are obviously being hoarded by eager speculators ahead of friday's big launch day. Meanwhile Hardened Leather Sections saw a similar shift, with around 1.1 million units missing on the 12th, with 3.9 million still listed. Again, it is no secret among the savvy playerbase that leather is very likely to have some big changes when Heart of Thorns go live. Yes we know that several million pieces of leather are sitting idle on many player account just waiting for launch day. However, even with all of this knowledge, I still believe that leather is the absolute must-do investment right now, with eyes on the mid-long term prospects. In the short term, leather markets will suffer from speculators remorse, where many amateur speculators will drop their supply early, being impatient in waiting for a return - when this happens, and it probably will, leather will drop (possibly very)low again. But assuming good supply and demand side measures are introduced, in the long term I could see leather like Thick and Hardened Sections reaching the 2 silver mark, possibly even more. In the event that leather is the new silk on patch day, you could be very rich indeed.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Third Year Anniversary: A Look Back at the Economy

Hello guys! On August 28th Guild Wars 2 celebrated its third birthday; today I am going to take a look back over the last three years of the Guild Wars 2 world economy.

The constant

Since the launch of the game, precursor weapons have remained on top of the trading post. Whether they were 50 gold at launch or 1000 gold now, the demand for legendary weapons is a constant that hasn't changed in over three years, but are we on the verge of change? We know that Heart of Thorns will bring precursor crafting to the game; an epic journey through the game chasing the dream, or in this case, a precursor to a precursor! We also know that each precursor weapon can be obtained through this method once per account, and that these precursors are not bound and thus you can sell them on the trading post. What we do not know however is how exactly this will impact the precursor market and the economy overall; will this change depreciate the value of vanilla legendary weapons? Will it make those legendary weapons less desirable or less prestigious?

At the very least, I believe the introduction of craftable precursor weapons will lower their value on the trading post, at least in the short term. This comes about from two major factors: first a drastic increase in supply and second, possibly more importantly, a large drop off in demand. As an example, a player may have the legendary greatsword Twilight - when HoT arrives that player may decide to work towards crafting Dusk for the sole purpose of selling and making gold. This will cause a natural increase in supply across the board. Other players may have no interest in crafting Twilight, and instead decide to craft the precursor Dusk for the same reason - so they can sell it on and make gold. Again this creates a steady supply increase, and notice I say steady - this is because we know precursor crafting will be a long and hard, or at least a time consuming process so players will not all get their precursors at once. So what about demand? Well demand is going to fall off as well. For example, before HoT a player wanted to craft Sunrise but they were only missing the precursor and instead of buying it from the trading post they decided to wait for precursor crafting(this is the majority of players). This player is not buying the precursor from the trading post and thus the demand is non-existent. Another thing worthy of mention is the addition of new legendary weapons and also just new sets of skins in general - other options divide demand and this alone will decrease the demand for vanilla legendary weapons.

In the short term I could see vanilla precursor weapons dropping 40-50% in value. In the long term I believe these legendary weapons will get a second look from some players wanting to go back to get something they may have wanted before. I think this will cause those precursor weapon values to steady up and perhaps even creep up a little, but even in the long term I think they will have a permanent decrease in price post-HoT compared with pre-HoT.

The gem story

Look at those gems fly! I can still remember right back after launch when you could grab a couple hundred gems for less than a gold. Now look at it! 28 gold for 100 gems? That is crazy! Even though there is a gem store sale on right now which is definitely increasing the demand for gems, the reason for the huge hike in their value over the years is much simpler than that: inflation. Gems are probably the most stable measure of inflation in the Guild Wars 2 world economy. Inflation is forever diminishing the value of our gold. But what is inflation in Guild Wars 2? Over time, the amount of coin within the economy is always increasing. This is from many sources but the main two are event rewards and item drops. Whenever you complete an event, you get a few silver and some copper change to boot. Those coins didn't exist in the economy until you completed that event and every player who completed that event also got a coin reward. The same goes for item drops: all those items that clog up your inventory and end up getting sold to the vendor? Yes, more coins being introduced to the economy. All of those coins add up, and the amount of gold in the economy is forever increasing. The supply of coin is increasing, so naturally the value of coins decreases. This is evidenced in a few things, namely: precursor weapons, unidentified dyes and gems. For example, a precursor weapon could of been 900 gold last year, but today it is 1200 gold and this is almost purely down to inflation. More players have more gold to spend and so demand is increased, which in turn increases prices.

Both unidentified dyes and gems are perfect measures of inflation in our game economy. This is because they are what many players will spend their excess gold(disposable income) on. Dyes have an endless demand and a timeless appeal, guess what, the same goes for gems! As a tip then, if you are ever planning a break from GW2 or if you feel like you won't play the game for a long time, it is a great idea to invest your gold in gems. Gems cannot be flipped realistically because of the massive(~30%) cut in exchange. But over a long period of time, gems are the safest inflation proof investment. They probably won't net you a killer profit, but they will ensure your wallet stays relevant.

Stay tuned for most posts this week, have fun in-game!