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SpatterJack's Avatar

04.26.2012 , 02:06 AM | #10
What we are seeing here is a classic example of the economic distortions that occur in the vast majority of MMO's. EVE-Online is about the only exception I know of.

When high-level players can earn vastly more credits than lower-level players, and there are a good number of high-level players in the game, then items sold by players tend to be priced according to what a high-level players can afford. This situation is exacerbated in a game where alts are common, because the low-level alts are essentially playing with the "high-level wallet" of their main character.

Raw materials for crafting are usually the worst example of this economic distortion. A high-level main rolls a new alt and wants to level-up the crew skills on that alt. Let's say it takes 1 hour to gather a pile of 99 Desh and 99 Silica. If an L50 character can earn 40K per hour (from selling trash loot to a vendor and/or doing dailies), then that player would be stupid not to pay 10K for a 99-stack of Desh or Silica.

This is the concept of "opportunity cost". Which is a better way to spend your 1-hour of ingame time ? Gathering "free" materials, or buying them from someone else on the GTN for half the credits you could have earned in that 1 hour through earning credits some other way ?

Gathering resources is a slow manual process in SWTOR. I have seen very few players that are obviously on a purely gathering expedition. In fact, I can't recall seeing any on the 5 worlds I've visited so far. Most people seem to scavenge when questing brings them near an appropriate node. So they are gathering low volumes, which are most likely for personal use. Again, why spend 1 hour doing a harvesting circuit when questing will probably gain you 2 character levels in that time ?