Over the last month, or so we have all noticed the effect of the new combat system on the price of objects on the Grand Exchange. It’s due to a variety of different factors, all of which are worth a decent discussion. It’s my hope that this blog will stimulate some healthy debate on the forums, and will lead to a series of changes to improve the new system.
Prices on the GE are falling in response to the volume of items being sold on the GE; right now people are panic-selling items, because they are afraid the price of the items will go down considerably. This is self-fulfilling; as so many people are liquidating their priciest assets just in case their rare items become less valuable, the price of these items is going down. If this carries on, then it means the price will continue to drop, and will do so quickly. The demand for these items has generally stayed the same - people still want high-level , rare gear - but the number of sellers has increased disproportionately.
It’s often the case that we experience this sort of dramatic rise and fall in items prices – just look at the effect on the Grand Exchange just before - and after - a Bonus XP Weekend or bonus drop event.
It’s worth mentioning that the price of objects - especially high-level and rarer gear - has been steadily, yet slowly, declining for a number of months. This is quite natural, considering that there are more of these items entering the game every day and not many going out. Most high-level players are capable of avoiding the cost of death, returning to their graves to pick up any potentially lost equipment. This steady decline has been magnified by the introduction of the EoC and the general market panic.
There are a number of reasons to hold onto your gear:
1) New Updates
Several updates in development now are targeted at high-level players with the best gear. Updates like the Kalphite King and the new Slayer dungeon are being designed under the assumption that players will be using the best gear available to them. Using second-rate gear meant for lower levels just won’t do the job! All of the equipment intended for the next level tier will degrade or have higher repair costs, so don’t assume that the current highest level gear will be out of date - far from it!
2) Set Effects and Nex Gear
We're working on adding set effects to Nex gear (Torva, Pernix and Virtus), in line with your feedback, and are aiming to bring this out in early 2013. We're also continuing to look at the basic stats of the equipment and the enemies we expect a player to be fighting while wearing it. New benefits should mean that the price of these items will increase as their desirability goes beyond pre-EoC levels.
3) Feedback and Improvements to the EoC
As with any integral part of the game, development and balancing of the Evolution of Combat is ongoing, even post-launch. The list of features we're currently monitoring most closely includes how players use prayers, potions and food. For example, right now we can see that mid-level gear can be used to fight larger, tougher creatures than we had originally anticipated. This is something we want to change. We can also see how the use of items like Saradomin brews have changed since the introduction of defensive abilities and the new ways in which Constitution affects the healing amount of food. We have plenty of plans for rebalancing and improving the combat game as stands now, and as we won't make any major changes without being sure it's the right thing, these statistics and your feedback on the forums are vital.
4) Getting the Hang of the EoC
Right now people are still learning how to get the best out of the new system. New guides are being written every day by the community, but there still isn’t a definitive answer to the question “what is the best thing for me to do?” More than ever, combat in RuneScape is about choosing the right gear for a specific task, and in a game as huge and complex as ours, that's going to take time to learn. We're looking at putting together some guides ourselves, and as more people work out the best gear for particular situations, those prices will grow and stabilise.
In summary: don’t assume that the combat system, nor the items within it, will stay the same. Also, don't be tempted to sell up all your best gear 'just to be safe'. Once the changes we have in mind are launched, and the demand for high-end equipment becomes even higher than before, we are confident that the prices will rise again.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the forums! As always, we value your constructive feedback beyond anything else.