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View Full Version : Real pricing of cards - What do you think?



Bells
05-02-2014, 05:00 AM
So.... as soon as the full set of cards was reveled, people already started putting together their lists and assigning value to cards.

People are already studying which cards are rated ''5 stars'' and which are ''1 star''. Not only that, but as a consequence of that, value is being asigned. Certain cards are deemed worth $0.50 while others go to $16 and higher...

What you guys think of this scenario as it develops? does the cards you like to play are well reflected in the view of the people that are used to assign these values in digital card games? Do you feel this is healthy or valuable for the HEX community while still in Closed Beta?

Poetic
05-02-2014, 05:02 AM
Definitely healthy, and cards are only worth what people are willing to pay. There will be tons of packs opened and lots of cards available. No one will be able to control the market on something.

Bells
05-02-2014, 05:31 AM
yeah, absolutely... cards are worth what people are willing to pay... but, the people with the supply can dictate the price. And it all comes down to ''how bad you want it'' ...

I think it GETS healthy... when handled well. But it's rigged for abuse... if tons of cards belongs to a small subset of players, than it becomes easy to shape the economy (even the meta...) and that can go sour... that's my main concern really.

Zomnivore
05-02-2014, 05:50 AM
1. I think its inevitable and probably 100% natural.

2. Its all good fun.

3. The market itself will figure out how it values things. Speculation is just that.

4. People with enough packs, and resources can always manipulate the market, and unfortunately its inevitable. They can enforce artificial valuations even if the market doesn't really agree.

BKCshah
05-02-2014, 06:01 AM
Well point 4 is a bit incorrect. Demand sets the market.

Demand in a TCG is typically based on successful constructed decks (or early speculation). Yes it can be manipulated when the demand is sufficiently high. However unless there is a big demand, attempts to fix the market will fail as people will just not pay the asking price.

BlackRoger
05-02-2014, 06:06 AM
People with lots of packs don't "decide" the market, there will be way too many packs opened for a few to do that.

There will however, be people who try to buyout all of a certain card and resell higher, and unless people keep opening packs and supplying the market those techniques could easily work.

That's of course part of the economics part of the game, and I think that at least for the first set will not be a big thing as there are too many packs going around.

Poetic
05-02-2014, 06:09 AM
Buying out the market generally only works on older, out of print cards. Sets in rotation and readily available will be much harder to control.

BlackRoger
05-02-2014, 06:14 AM
Seen it work plenty in games like WoW where supply is infinite (but not neccesarily fast).
It's not easy, but with time people try to undercut each other and prices fall, which can make it perfect to jump in, buy all and resell for 5 times higher.
The fact that unlike WoW cards do go out of print will only make this happen more.

Kami
05-02-2014, 06:14 AM
Point four would only apply for the first few sets, most likely - assuming it has any significant impact at all.

ossuary
05-02-2014, 06:17 AM
But it's rigged for abuse... if tons of cards belongs to a small subset of players, than it becomes easy to shape the economy (even the meta...) and that can go sour... that's my main concern really.

This is far less concerning in Hex than it would be in a paper game. It's virtually impossible for a small number of players to control the meta, because as long as the set is in print, the print run is infinite. If there are specific cards that people are hoarding and that become worth a lot of money, other people will just start cracking more packs to obtain and sell those cards. There's an inherent upper bound to the scarcity and the price of all Hex cards, because the market will push itself towards self-correction. In that respect, it's an economically perfect model. It is impossible to completely limit the scarcity of any card as long as the set is still in print - a truly elastic supply curve.

Now, it COULD be possible to affect the meta of "legacy" format several years down the road, if a certain out of print card becomes extremely desirable when combined with a newer card, but doing so would be extremely pricey due to the larger general supply of cards, and I still think you'll see an upper bound of price regardless (especially since it's so easy to sell things in a global game with a built in auction house). If a card gets to be worth enough money, there WILL be people willing to sell their extra copies. Besides, if it gets really bad and is causing a problem in the meta, CZE can just fix the problem by reprinting the card - they've not made any sort of "no reprints ever" list like Wizards has.

Zomnivore
05-02-2014, 06:48 AM
If people get it into their mind that something has value, and enough people start reacting like that is factual, and they all build up a system of actions consistent with that, then it becomes true.

Its easy to manipulate that if you have a platform, or the resources to help get that entire framework going.

ossuary
05-02-2014, 06:56 AM
Oh sure, you could create a speculative run if you're willing to risk dumping significant resources into an endeavor when a set is first launching or something similar. If you bought a few hundred packs to get X number of good rare/legendary card, then started posting them for an outrageous price and also buying up every single other copy that got posted, you could attempt to force a run up to that price, then sell off all your copies for a profit - but it's extremely risky and CAN backfire, especially when the supply really can be quite large. It would be a major undertaking.

But that kind of thing HAS been done before, especially in games like EVE Online which try very hard to mimic a realistic economy and supply/demand model. There's also the potential to exploit poor choices or improper design of the in-game economy with PVE items, but that kind of thing is really hard to predict as the demand for those items is genuinely fueled by player desire and extremely difficult or impossible to fake.

It's a fascinating phenomena that I never get tired of reading about and thinking about. I'll be very interested to see what happens with Hex when both the AH and the PVE side of the game are fully developed. :)

Poetic
05-02-2014, 06:58 AM
Magic dealers couldn't even keep the prices of shocklands high during the recent Ravnica block. There was simply too many on the market. It'll take someone with deep pockets a lot of money to force a value.

Dealers like cards that move quick, they'll adjust their buylist accordingly. They'll speculate on cards they think will get a boost in value with a new set or new block. Once the first block is out of print, that's when more control of the market comes into play. The introduction of eternal formats.

Lawlschool
05-02-2014, 07:47 AM
I think it's a pretty good idea to begin assigning values to cards, just because it gives us a starting point for when the AH launches. After that, it'll be up to the market to figure everything out. I'd bet that prices drop a fair bit from where they start out, especially for Rares, Uncommons, and Commons, because of the glut of boosters from KS. Commons especially are going to bottom out to 1p fast, mainly because we won't have crafting in yet to give them any value.

I'm not too worried about any one "group" controlling prices, since they'll need to constantly resupply from players once their own collections run out. They'll also want a profit, so they'll probably have a maximum buying price and a minimum selling price that are far enough apart for individual players to sell within those ranges.

The first few days / weeks of the AH will probably be chaos, and it'll be really interesting to see how it all shakes out.

Zomnivore
05-02-2014, 07:55 AM
Its not really a big worry, but there are some classical examples of manipulation from other e-economies that I remember.

Personally I think speculation will affect values for what you're trading for and that's a bummer, but people are going to have to figure out what they think the cards are worth, and that's going to start with speculation. Eventually some speculative trends will clump, and probably cause negative effects, and positive effects...ya it'll suck, ya it'll be great...that's trading for you though.

Poetic
05-02-2014, 08:02 AM
I agree, just don't think its worth worrying about now as I think that's a long ways off.

LLCoolDave
05-02-2014, 08:23 AM
The idea that individuals or small groups have a strong enough influence on the market to manipulate it by a large margin is pretty unfounded, imo. The sheer amount of capital you need to pour into these schemes is quite excessive, and there's a high risk that you'll end up stuck on a lot of stock that nobody really wants anymore at the price point you need to sell to turn an overall gain. Most of the runs on cards in recent MtG history have been rather conclusively shown not be initiated by a couple of individuals but rather just herd behavior. Some change in the environment makes speculating on certain cards seem like a good idea, a couple people buy out the cheapest copies, people notice that the card has potential and the price is increasing so they don't want to be left behind, so more and more people end up joining in the speculation, massively inflating the price, people start cashing out again while more come in, the same cards get shuffled around until the bubble bursts and everybody realizes that the card's new market value isn't backed by its actual gameplay value. Some people make some money in the process but most people end up losing big time in the end being stuck on overpriced trash.

I haven't heard of any instance where some individual or small group has been identified as being the source of the rush and buying up most of the copies in it. The big chains don't really have much to gain from behavior like this, what they are interested in is turn around. Have enough stock to cover short term demand, then set buy/sell prices at a level where the flow of incoming and outgoing cards is roughly equal. The reason SCG prices for legacy cards keep rising isn't for them to rip off players in some inexplicable fashion. They need to up the buy prices because people buy more cards than are being sold to them, and sell prices have to increase to cover the increased buy price. They much prefer selling cards within a week of acquiring them at a small mark up over sitting on stock for a year before it doubles in value.

Poetic
05-02-2014, 08:35 AM
The only times I've seen it in recent times is modern cards. I just don't see it as a problem for hex players anytime soon.

Kilo24
05-02-2014, 08:48 AM
The big difference between this game and MTG is that there is a single centralized economic hub that's more convenient than any other store: the Auction House. Secondary sellers are going to find it much, much harder to compete - even if Crypto does manage to include retailers in a big way. I'd imagine that it's likely to be a lot friendlier to individual people playing the market than MTG will, especially if they make the AH automation-friendly and/or very convenient to access.

(I am disregarding that walled gardens will have separate AHs right now, but I don't expect those to have much influence on eachother.)

oncewasblind
05-02-2014, 10:38 AM
This is far less concerning in Hex than it would be in a paper game. It's virtually impossible for a small number of players to control the meta, because as long as the set is in print, the print run is infinite. If there are specific cards that people are hoarding and that become worth a lot of money, other people will just start cracking more packs to obtain and sell those cards. There's an inherent upper bound to the scarcity and the price of all Hex cards, because the market will push itself towards self-correction. In that respect, it's an economically perfect model. It is impossible to completely limit the scarcity of any card as long as the set is still in print - a truly elastic supply curve.

Now, it COULD be possible to affect the meta of "legacy" format several years down the road, if a certain out of print card becomes extremely desirable when combined with a newer card, but doing so would be extremely pricey due to the larger general supply of cards, and I still think you'll see an upper bound of price regardless (especially since it's so easy to sell things in a global game with a built in auction house). If a card gets to be worth enough money, there WILL be people willing to sell their extra copies. Besides, if it gets really bad and is causing a problem in the meta, CZE can just fix the problem by reprinting the card - they've not made any sort of "no reprints ever" list like Wizards has.

Finally, someone who seems to have taken at least a single course in economics (that's a compliment, always been fond of your posts).

But you're not entirely accurate, though close. As the game progresses into open beta and beyond, the demand curve will be on a positive slope as new players are added to the market. With each major influx of players, supply will become inelastic for a period until the market can sufficiently adjust over time.

Price eventually will stabilize at a rate of opened packs/growth of player base; the elasticity of which is impossible to predict, since we don't know what percentage of active players will be paying players. Over time however, you're right in that price will eventually lower as various supply streams, such as gold and cards created from drafts, increase market quantity.

Just my two cents anyway. But I'm just a financial analyst, so what the hell do I know.

ossuary
05-02-2014, 11:31 AM
No, you're completely right. I was being overly simplistic - though it was mostly due to not wanting to make the post even longer (that barely anyone would bother to read in the first place ;)), rather than a lack of understanding. There will certainly be short-duration fluctuation in the supply curve due to big spikes in demand, most notably whenever a new set comes out and the impatient people and completionists are madly dashing to get their 4x (and the speculators are plying their wares), and again just before a set goes out of print (last chance!)... but ultimately, the digital and infinite nature of the product means that the demand can ALWAYS be met eventually - which makes the supply (effectively) perfectly elastic over time, something even the best physical product cannot ultimately offer.

Companies like Wizards do their best of course, based on past experience and trending numbers, but there IS a supply which can be run through. The long and short of it is that we'll probably never see a $100 Tarmagoyf or Jace in Hex, the supply is just too readily available to allow for that kind of upper limit (we MIGHT see that kind of number on PVE items or equipment, depending on popularity and difficulty to obtain, but that's a different conversation). What we SHOULD see is a nice healthy market with high but not ridiculous prices for the best cards, a decent margin to be made for good speculators, and lots and lots and lots of super cheap uncommons and rares for everyone who wants them... which means cheaper price tag to be decently competitive, which means lower cost of entry, which means continuous influx of new players that don't feel COMPLETELY out of their depth, which means more demand for more cards, which means more money for everyone, including CZE. Everyone wins, really. Isn't economics fun? :)

oncewasblind
05-02-2014, 12:10 PM
Economics in a working economy is fun, yes, haha. Which thankfully is what we'll have with HEX. For the most part at least. The market for cards from discontinued sets however will be very interesting, especially the market for kickstarter exclusive rewards such as spectral lotuses. As the player base continues to grow, and kickstarter players stop logging in, demand for these chase rares will eventually become perfectly inelastic.

There's no avoiding this, as CZE has guaranteed us that they will never be reprinted. Flash forward 5-7 years from now, and these type of cards will be literally priceless; worth exactly what a buyer is willing to pay. The thought of a Spectral Lotus Garden selling for $300 at that time will not be surprising. a curious caveat of this reality is that, to our knowledge, the market for PvE cards will never be split like PvP cards will. Old PvP cards will be relegated to Open or Limited formats, but to our knowledge, not so with PvE.

Most MMO's reboot the PvE economy by raising the level cap, thus establishing a new standard of power, but with cards, especially cards like the lotus that should be automatically included in every deck, there's no way to destabilize their power monopoly. At that point CZE will have to alter the PvE environment so that those cards are either no longer desirable, or no longer accessible (putting hard counters against them, or banning them outright). Economically speaking, that's the only future threat I see CZE having to deal with. Either way, fun to think about.

(This also happens to be why I grabbed a King to go with my Pro Player, the Garden alone will be worth the cost. KS Mercenaries and sleeves will also eventually be priceless, for those wondering whether they should redeem codes on separate accounts or not; the answer is yes.)