Greedy Goblin

Friday, March 31, 2017

Locality in Albion

So far it seems I'm staying in Albion Online. If you want to try it out, here is my referral link! Warning: The game is still in beta, so it can change. "Change" in video game development is a politically correct term for "nerfed to the ground to cater to paying morons and slackers". Continue on your own risk, don't blame me! The game currently looks the most fitting to the "player can make an impact on the game world" hope. This promotional video tells what the game is promised to be. Of course there is a chance that it will become a "get everything from running piss-easy instanced dungeons", but one can hope.

I've made an exhausting experiment to analyze locality of the Albion markets. Locality means that one place is different from the other, you have a reason to care if you are here or there. To do that, I placed both buy and sell orders to 4 tier 3 resources (cloths were too low to matter) in all 10 cities and towns. Yes, that's 80 orders to update, twice a day in a horrible UI.

At first I've found that sell orders are much more volatile than buys. Buys are placed by businessmen, slowly overcutting each other if demand increased, slowly dropping buy price if decreased. Sell orders on the other hand were placed and consumed by random people who dumped things at low prices or bought up a lot without care for the prices. The markets were too small to resist such forces. Here are the buy prices in the 5 cities:

There is indeed some locality. You see, there were originally different biomes in Albion with the idea that people will transport and trade the logs of the forest for the ores of the hills. But of course casuals just whined that ores are too expensive and logs are worthless in the forest, so the system was broken instead of redesigned easy. The biomes stayed, but the 5 cities got instant teleport between each other. There is a 50 silver/kg transport cost between neighboring cities and 100 between away ones. This is nothing for most items, but for low level resources it's relevant. So we get this chimera of resource locality and product globality.

The different prices matter at the start, so a newbie planning to craft leather items should not start in the highlands (Martlock) or in the mountains (Fort Sterling). Also, during the first days it might be profitable to grab a load of cheap leather in the forests and transport it to the highlands on foot. The transport cost is fixed, while the silver supply is constantly growing as mobgrinders spawn silver. The silver/gold (real money currency) price went from 25 to 120 in a week and the focus alt (when an alt does nothing but uses his daily focus to water plants or process materials with focus) equilibrium is around 300 (when a focus alt can no longer pay for itself).

Onward to the price spread, every dot is a buy-sell order pair in a town or city for a material:

Ouch! Buy orders are at half price on average and the difference varies a lot. These markets are very far from equilibrium and there is serious money to be made on this field. Of course not with 2M capital and twice a day updates but with 50M and once a week. The far-from-equilibrium state is because of two many markets. Albion has 40K characters logged in once since this beta and about 1.5K players logged into cities, so somewhere around 5K total world population. It won't keep 10 markets alive, especially if travel between is easy. I think Fort Sterling will become an economic capital and 90% of the trades will take place there.

So, after all these charts and also deeply analyzing the data, I could formulate the most profitable resource trading scheme: forget them, snipe T6 gear from the Fort Sterling marketplace and sell it for twice in Martlock to M&S who doesn't know about the fast travel NPC.


Hanura H'arasch said...

"The silver/gold (real money currency) price went from 25 to 120 in a week"

Silver demand will be at *very* high at launch, because all the building spots in cities have a initial price of just 10k silver. So some people will convert their gold at abysmal rates to get one of them.

Speaking of real estate, have you any plans of bidding in the auction of building spots in the coming days?

"snipe T6 gear from the Fort Sterling marketplace and sell it for twice in Martlock"

I've been doing the opposite a lot - buying stuff from other cities and selling them in Fort Sterling. Especially for gear, the demand seemed to often be higher than the supply, leading to empty markets at higher and higher prices.

Jonathan Silva said...

Two years ago that game was paid open beta with talk about it going live/launch within 6(?) months. No surprise it's still a work in progress. i enjoyed the more hardcore concepts like full loot pvp and all but the combat was grossly inbalanced and at the time productive activities were fairly limited. I'm a fan of your economist approach to BDO, and like any passionate gaming fan hope you can find joy in whatever you play, but watch out for Albion. I bought two founder packs back then and they definitely changed the relative value of the perks with their tweaks then, felt robbed. Can't imagine if any things has changed since to bait and switch new players