Since ArenaNet has ordained EVE Online to be a spiritual guide to gems in Guild Wars 2, I figured it would be worth taking a look at some of the EVE Online blog bits, which were linked to me by smarter people than I. EVE Online is all about economy. PLEX, which are 1-month subscription coupons, are traded on a market for ISK (gold). Players with a few extra bucks to spend might forego a 3D movie and buy a PLEX to turn it into ISK for their next big spaceship project. Simple economics says that the more demand for PLEX the more ISK someone can make in selling one to the market.
Moonshine-still economics says that this will also get players “farming” more ISK to get more PLEX, and eventually PLEX will be an unworthy amount of time-played value worth of ISK. That’s the way economics works on 180-proof corn mash anyway.
Except, it’s the opposite. The market moves money from a point of stagnation to one of use. This is called “velocity of money.” CCP discusses the effect of PLEX on this velocity:
The correlation between the velocity of money and the CPI seems to change by the end of 2008. From January 2007 to October 2008, the correlation between the two series is 0.86, which is quite strong for a non-academic case like this one. From November 2008 to February 2012 the correlation is -0.01, which is just about as uncorrelated as possible. So, what happened in November 2008? PLEX was introduced. PLEX seems to increase the velocity of money in the New Eden economy as it “liberates“ ISK from people with more money than they know what to do with and gets it to ISK needy people that create and sell PLEX.
In Guild Wars 2 a lot of fans have voiced worry over gems inflating gold, and the actual gem price inflating. On gold since the velocity of money would be increased, the price of [Tangible In-Game Item] will stay about the same since people that want to spend money on the [TIGI] will have the spending power to do so. Inflation of gold to buy gems will likely occur, but it will do so slowly once the market matures. Check out for example the 700 day price chart for PLEX.
The big unknown however in correlating EVE Online with Guild Wars 2 is going to be the destruction of gold. There are some decent gold sinks, but unlike EVE Online I think it is rare when a Guild Wars 2 play session is going to put a player at a net loss. I am sure the player market is going to monitor gems to great lengths either way. I hope ArenaNet does too.