[GW2] Fast Banking and Faster Markets

Two of the best features of Guild Wars 2 seems to be also one of the least discussed following the beta weekend event. They are the bank and the trading post. MMO veterans will be right at home, but there are small little ArenaNet-style twists added to each. I had a blast fiddling around with both of them, and when the game launches players are going to be much appreciative of the small things that add up really quickly for the two features.

The Bank

The bank starts out like one would expect. In the cities there is a bank structure where a handful of Banker NPCs stand around waiting for players to make deposits or withdrawals. The main features are most similar to the original Guild Wars style as the bank is an account vault accessible by all characters on the same account.  There is also a tab for common crafting items so that precious unrestricted bank space is left free of crafting materials. Good start so far…

Then ArenaNet added a few more areas in the account vault for cooking materials and the first set of miniatures. Yes, cooking is such an intense crafting profession that it needs its own area. The miniatures section is a really nice way to make sure that miniature collectors have complete collections. By the way, there are about 60 miniatures in the first “alpha” set; the name hints that it might still be subject to change. So miniatures and some amount of crafting ingredients can be stored for free.

The best part is that patented asuran technology allows players a one-way transfer for some of their goods from anywhere in the world. Becoming overloaded in a dungeon? Salvage the junk, right-click on the junk, and send it straight to the common crafting items. The same goes for cooking ingredients and miniatures. I don’t know whether my first character will be a chef (leaning towards armor / jewelry), but it is nice knowing that I can create an incredible stockpile for future apprentices in an easy manner. This makes it too easy for packrats, and I think a lot of people are going to be sitting on stockpiles instead of selling it at the…

Trading Post

Yay, ArenaNet has an auction house… but, no. It’s not. There are no auctions. An auction implies that people can bid up items. There is no bidding at the trading post. ArenaNet has created something more like a commodities market (see broker services in many other MMOs). Remember in the good ol’ days in Guild Wars where a player needing that last ruby for an armor set could hit up a friendly trader for the gem? The trader bought and sold rubies (and other basic items) for gold based on a limited inventory dependent on how many players sold rubies to the trader. The trader was a horribly, greedy-gus because his middle-man fee was really steep. Usually a buyer could save a lot of gold by finding a better middle-ground price on the open market. They of course gave up convenience (i.e., time) to get a better price.

In the trading post, ArenaNet took out this Machiavellian middle-man and made it a completely player-run market that traverses across all servers. Instead of some market-controlled price running on some supply/demand formula, players choose the price at which they will buy and sell goods. The catch is that, of course, someone has to be selling at that price. Here’s how it works:

Birgid wants to sell copper ore, which was the most heavily demanded item over the beta weekend. Copper ore was selling over a magnitude above it’s merchant price (the price the computer will pay players for mulching it back in to the system). She has two options.

First, there are players that have buy orders telling sellers how much they are willing to pay for the copper ore. If Birgid just wants the gold now, she can automatically sell to the highest offered buy order. However, the buy order price will continually lower as players fill the highest offered buy orders. Birgid might feel that the available buy orders are way too low for her tastes. (It wasn’t working during the beta weekend, but it seems there will be a market chart showing some statistics of the good’s “market price”.)

Her second option is to place the copper ore up for sale at the price she feels is worth it. Then she has to wait along for a buyer to come and see that her copper ore is the lowest offered sale order to pick it up. Buyers, as it were, have mirrored options to Birgid. They can either buy what’s available right now, or they can place a buy order for the price they feel comfortable buying the item for. Time vs. price runs both ways.

Wily readers might have noticed that I did not mention a physical location yet. There is a trading post NPC located in the cities and a few other critical locations. However, every action I mentioned can be completed anywhere with the exception that gold and items can only be picked up at the trading post NPC. Players with a lot of gold or excess items can play the markets all day without needing to pick up their profits. Just found an epic sword as an engineer? Right click the item, sell it at the trading post. Now you have one more inventory slot.

I will note that it appears every tradable item can be found, regardless of available stock, in the trading post. Suppose at level 50 a player wants to treat himself to a new set of armor. Instead of only checking available items that have been put up for sale, the player can search all the items and place buy orders on items he is interested in even if there is no sell order stock. It’s a handy way to see what options even exist. There’s also Curse’s Guild Wars 2 database site for those that want to do it out of game.

Gold in the Hills

I’ve already suggested that players gather everything that crosses their path for experience points. Another reason is simply profit. Players that had no interest in crafting or copper ore during beta were passing up nearly a whole silver  for each copper node they ignored. Silly salvageable items could triple in value when salvaged instead of being merchant mulched. It is definitely worth a player’s time to watch what is passing through their inventories before selling everything to the NPC merchant. All it takes is a simple right click, sell it at the trading post to see what buy orders might instantly net a larger adventuring profit.

During the beta weekend I spent a small amount of time playing the market for jute scraps, which are the base level item for at least the tailoring profession. At first, I took tailoring on my mesmer so that I would have easy access to bags, and if I wanted I could tailor some armor. I carefully saved all my jute scraps and salvaged what I could to make more. I sent a bunch of bags to guildies, but I was left with a few extra.

Right click, sell at the trading post. There was a buy order on 8-slot jute bags for 54 copper, and the average market price of jute scraps hung around 10 copper each. It took 20 jute scraps to make an 8-slot bag. Yeah, right I thought… instead I put up a sale price of the bag at just over a silver (100 copper), which beat the lowest sale price by a wide margin. It sold instantly, and only then did my math skills kick in to make me realize that I just had sold the 8-slot bag at a virtual loss. The raw material cost alone was about 2 silver! (I say virtual loss because I gained the jute scraps through adventuring, so they were “free”.)

That was incredibly dumb, Ravious. Time to make my money back. I had 4 silver to my name. First I started monitoring jute scrap prices. It appeared that the buy orders were flat-lining about 5-6 copper each. Jute scrap sells to the merchant for 2 or 3 copper each, for what it’s worth. I found that if I placed a buy order on jute scrap at 7 copper, my orders were being filled in less than a minute… in beta. I could not believe that so many people were actually buying and filling jute scrap when we would all be wiped come Sunday night anyway!

Okay, so I could buy 20 jute scrap for about 1.4 silver. I bought as much as I could. Turned them in to 8-slot bags, and then I watched a much slower 8-slot bag market. There was still that dumb buy order at 54 copper, and it seemed the lowest seller was about 2.5 silver. I placed my bags for 2.2 silver, which would net me 80 copper per bag. In less than a minute they were all sold! In less than five minutes my level 10 character had just made over 2 silver.

I did it again. 7 copper jute scraps turned in to 2.2 silver bags. Mere minutes of turnaround. Seriously I think the biggest time sink was my run from the trading post (as I needed the profit to buy more scrap) to the crafting station. I did this a couple times, and turned my 4 silver in to 20 silver before heading off to do Shaman’s Rookery (norn jumping puzzle) with a friend.

I expect a much tighter profit margin during live when there will be greater market efficiency, but it is apparent that the trading post will easily create a game unto itself. I honestly could have spent the rest of beta just standing around finding inefficiencies and flipping items for people that devalued their time. I envy the developers at ArenaNet who can see all the backend data. I bet it is a gold mine of information. I would kill [a moa] for some statistics on this from beta.

Bottom Line

The gist of this is that ArenaNet has put serious thought and love in to these two simple features. They’ve made both very convenient with regard MMO conventions, and they’ve added just enough extra to keep it comfortably amazing. Don’t overlook these features during play.


35 thoughts on “[GW2] Fast Banking and Faster Markets”

  1. I say virtual loss because I gained the jute scraps through adventuring, so they were “free”.

    Silly themeparkers.

    1. Don’t label me!

      Seriously, I cut my teeth in the sandbox. I just get lazy now. Like a good American. ;)

  2. wow, i didnt notice many of the features youre talking about. i didnt really care about drops until i first went out of money to repair my armor with the first level 7 character. at that point i started picking up drops and selling them. about 5 levels later i tried some crafting, but since we will be whiped i didnt bother to spend more time on crafting. after all we are talking about my first playing experience and there was so much to see. i completed all of queensdale the second day and started exploring the charr area with my human mesmer. the last day i saw about half of kessex area and wayfarer foothills with a new ranger, i thought those areas were far superior to queensdale and the charr starting area in world design, dynamic events and heart quests.

  3. All the useful things I’m learning after the beta is over…

    Didn’t bother much with the Trading Post, because I thought it’s beta and people wouldn’t be using it much, so didn’t realise how easy it is to use. Annoying, because I found money tight, hadn’t enough for repairs on a few occasions. Tried out cooking, the supplies for which are quite costly and then couldn’t afford the 10 silver for my trait book.

    I think not knowing about the crafting storage just highlights the need to check every tab (it’s not just buy, sell, repair on every vendor), which I’d just about come to realise by the end of the beta.

    1. I can echo the “check out every tab” sentiment. I tried crafting and spent two hours trying to find Sticks of Butter. Finally a guildie pointed out that the Master Chef had TWO sell tabs – one for copper and one for karma. The butter was on the karma tab. *sigh*

  4. Autoloot, on. Spam F and zerg around kessex peak with a herd of other players laying waste to everything, grab everything.

    Every time a lull hits, open the trading post and sell everything you’re not using, undercutting the market by a fair margin.

    I ended on sunday with 1G 30S, having purchased as much as I could for my toon, giving some away, and spending my 2000 gems on items, not trading them for gold. I considered spending my profit to list a pair of ugly pants as the most expensive item in the trading post and screenshotting it, but opted to trade for gems and buy dye packs instead. I looked *good* during the finale.

    I was actually really surprised at how active the market was, and every time I was back in town I had 20-40 silvers waiting for me. I think they may have been running simulation scripts on the servers to make the market feel lively, since people buying items with less than 2 hours remaining in the beta was still happening.

    1. With less than two hours to go before a wipe, your cash is worthless except for what you can buy with it, too. No reason not to buy something interesting.

      I doubt there was a simulation script at all.

      1. I play betas as if I was playing Live. I’ve always felt I can give better feedback if I am behaving as close as possible to how I would behave if I was playing a permanent character. So I would have been one of the people buying and selling right at the end – if I had been online then, which I wasn’t!

  5. I would expect a lot of this to come into parity when the game releases. We shouldn’t see such huge profits for a few minutes work, because everyone will be crafting and minding their cash better.

    I didn’t touch crafting all weekend because I wasn’t interested in that aspect of the game for my first play of gw2. I’m sure this was the case for much of the player-base. That send, I do intend to craft upon release. I would be very surprised if we didn’t see the price of that jute scrap drop to just a little more than the “mulch” price. And the price of bags will drop accordingly.

    It’s still a really neat system though. I bet we see it become commonplace in future mmos.

  6. Are you sure they will wipe all character data between each beta weekend? They didn’t in Rift’s sequence of betas and it seems a bit odd if we are going to get introduced to progressively higher-level content to test. I took it for granted that while all data would be wiped after the final beta, until then we’d be playing the same characters.

    I liked the GW2 implementation of player-to-player trading a lot. I spent a goodly amount of time on the AH, selling items and raws I didn’t need to cut down the number of trips I had to make to the swamplands to kill Drakes for leather. Boy, does leatherworking use a lot of leather!

    At first I was quite annoyed that you could access the AH from anywhere, which seemed cheap and facile, but I changed my mind when I found that you had to go to the city and visit a broker to collect any money you’d made or items you’d bought. I thought that was a very acceptable marriage of convenience and granularity. I fear it could get changed but i really hope not. Cities in MMOs need focal points to draw players back or they become dead space and banks and brokers are fantastically effective draws.

    As for the banking I didn’t like it very much. I have issues with any MMO treating all my characters as if they know each other and share resources so I don’t like account banks. I was expecting it from GW1 though and honestly the account-wide banking is the least of my irritations with some of the shared account nonsense elsewhere in GW2. I’ve already pretty much decided I will need to buy at least one more box to make a second account just so I can have characters that are independent of each other in every sense.

    On balance, though, much more to like than dislike about the banking and AH systems.

    1. there is no decision on the character whipe. kerstein posted on the feedback forums that he would bring the request to keep characters between events to the devs, but if they feel they need to whipe for any reason they will. in any case, they will probably put a upkicking system into the events, just like pressbeta had. that way we would be able to test dungeons without the need to keep charakters and the system to do so is in place anyway.

  7. I knew about the auction house, and I did use the bank, a little, but on the whole I had enough money from simply selling Freaking Everything to venders to not have money problems. I could have even bought the trait book thing, but decided not to as I figured I might BARELY MAYBE make it to 15th level anyways… I hope they have some kind of “auto-level” next beta, like they did for the press betas. I want elite skills gosh darn it!

  8. I’d be surprised if you could make a profit crafting come live release. I’m pretty sure that, like every MMO where you advance your crafting abilities by grinding out crafts, there will be a healthy supply of players willing to take a loss on their products in order to earn those XP.

    1. The idea is that you shouldn’t have to “grind out” your crafting; that is, if you craft as you progress through the game, you should be able to always be crafting items of your own character level. I didn’t look at the crafting during the beta, but it seems like a simple enough number game to implement in a way that grind takes no part.

  9. Given that you can already bank crafting materials remotely with a few clicks, I would strongly support on option to make that automatic. For heaven’s sake, don’t have that on by default, but if I know I am going to be banking every crafting item I pick up, save me the inconvenience.

    Then we just need the code to be smart enough to let me take items from the bank without turning that option off. Or let me use materials directly from the bank, since it is a 10-second run from the crafting station anyway.

    1. how about an extra backpack of infinite crafting material storage? only 9.99$ :D

      1. I might buy it, particularly if it covered all crafting materials, not just the “common” ones.

    2. I actually suggested both of those ideas (autodeposit materials+craft from bank) on the beta forums after the event. The ideas seemed fairly supported, so I hope they do it. EQ2 allowed you to craft from the guild bank while you were in a guild hall, which was a lifesaver while you were churning out potions or enhancements or whatever for guildies before a raid.

  10. I figured out banking “collectible” crafting materials on the last day of beta and just stared at my inventory for a while. So much SPACE all of a sudden.

    All right, that’s a lie. I “sent to collectible” by accident and then panicked. “Where did that stack GO? I was going to make a rifle with that! Okay, collectible… check all the tabs… where would I be if I were collectible. The bank? YES. TO THE BANK.”

    And -then- I realized what a useful feature it was, like so many other features that weren’t tutorialed at me at all. Guild Wars 2 has such a slick, nice, feature-rich player experience once you actually manage to understand what you’re doing.

  11. On the first day of beta (my true love gave to me…), I really wanted to check out crafting, and was actually annoyed by the need to run around killing for cloth scraps. I kept looking for Jute plants or something, until the deal with Salvage kits finally clicked. Pro-tip: salvage kits is the way to go for leather and cloth, not direct drops. When I found out about the ability to send to bank, I had yet another of those “The Devs think of everything” moments that GW2 are so good at.

    I love the addition of buyorders to the trading post, and am looking forward to seeing what that does for the economy (I expect it will make for a more interesting market). Once I figured out the combo of send to bank + salvage kit + trading post access anywhere, I never ran out of bag space again (crafting 8 slots for my self first thing helped of course).

  12. Very much like EVE’s system, with a couple of themepark tweaks:
    – a single global market (no “regions”)
    – free, instant delivery (location is a significant issue with EVE markets)

    1. The significance of location for EVE, of course, is a feature rather than an annoyance. Regional control, piracy between ports, etc.: these are all built into the game’s system, whereas moving between GW2 cities for commerce is more likely to be an annoyance than a valued addition.

  13. One thing I noticed is when you put an item in the trading post for sale, it is removed from your inventory while it is “listed”. But I was wondering if you could later de-list the item (assuming it didn’t sell) and then have it back again in your inventory. And if that is true, could you then game the system by using the trading post as your virtual inventory by always listing items with absurd prices so they would never sell.

    Just thinking out loud. It would definitely need fixing if true.

    1. Yes, as far as I know you can use the TP as virtual storage, but there is a fee when you put something up for sale. So it will cost gold to do this.

    2. Yeah, but as Ravious says there is a fee…and that fee goes up with the amount you list the item for. So if you list items at high prices so they don’t sell, you’re paying high prices as well. In that case, probably better off trading your gold for gems and buying extra bag or bank slots.

  14. On our server, not sure if it happened elsewhere because I’ve not seen many people talk about it, I had a lot of issues posting anything to the Market and some things ended up disappearing (the disappearing part seemed to be a known issue). Which was very unfortunate.

    But when I really managed to buy and sell stuff via the Trade post, and realized I could do so on the fly. MY OH MY! I love it. I’ve always loved crafting in games (I was called the money maker in WoW.. and had a character called Cashguard who created loads and loads of thousands of golds out of like 20-40g, from one each of the guildies who wanted to try.. side story sorry.).

    I think the market is going to be great, and it will definitely be interesting to sell it. As a crafter you can always have low buy orders for stuff you want to buy, and hope to get lucky.

    1. Happened on our server as well, kept getting errors when you tried to put something up on the trading post. (as someone who like to use the auction house / broker in every MMO I’m in, it was rather annoying, lol)

      When the item disappeared though, it was actually sold, but really, really sluggishly. You could usually pick up the money you made about 20-30 minutes after the item disappeared if you sold to the highest buy-order.

      I’m actually surprised that it worked fine in other places, I thought this was a global issue, lol.

      … did you happen to be on an EU server? maybe it’s an European issue? ^^;

  15. Thanks for this info. I bought a bunch of items not knowing I had to pick them up from the merchant. I was getting pretty annoyed by what I thought was a bug. Come to think of it, that was the only bug I encountered.

    P.S. Gamstop has GW2’s release date listed as 6/26/12 *fingers crossed. http://www.gamestop.com/pc/games/guild-wars-2/75863?infinity=gaw~ENG%2BPC%2BGAM%2BSPART%2BPC~G1141%2BPC%2BPR%2BNCS%2BMMO%2BEXACT%2BSPCFC%2BGuild%20Wars%202~7340701562~guild%20wars%202~e&cid=ppc_g-7340701562-guild%20wars%202-e&gclid=CPjKkLz57q8CFaEJRQod6TZ60w#productDetails

  16. what a great writeup! Now I want to play the market next BWE =D

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