Want to bring down energy prices? It’s actually easy

Thursday, April 14, 2016 by spiralspy

Ever since after beta, energy has been too expensive (and back then, “too expensive” meant 4k cr per 100 E) and a lot of solutions have been proposed to bring the price down, such as:

  • Make energy bind when bought
  • Limit the volume you can trade per day
  • Disallow bid cancellation
  • Sink crowns in special events

Predominantly attempts to make it difficult to use the supply depot as a stock market, most being a case of the cure being worse than the disease and all of them a fail from the start. Technical solutions require implementations and coding isn’t something we should have high hopes for. Besides, the problem doesn’t lie with the venturers (those are only a symptom). It lies within our heads. If we truly want to lower the energy price, all we need to do is rethink a couple of things. Yes, you read that right: bringing down the market comes at zero cost and almost no effort beyond overcoming our own stupidity.

It all starts with a simple question: what do you think one dollar is worth? If the first thing that comes to your mind is along the lines of 0.92 € (or whatever currency you want to use as reference) then congratulations, your way of thinking is part of the problem. Let’s try again: what do you think one dollar is worth? A cup of coffee? A burger perhaps? You are getting closer!

The value of a dollar (or any piece of currency for that matter) is worth what you can trade it in for. It doesn’t have any intrinsic value at all. All a dollar is, is a means to an end: a token that allows us to buy the things we actually want or need. Now, with that in mind, what’s the value of 1 unit of energy?

In the early days of the game, the need for energy was pervasive. You couldn’t progress past 2* gear without using it and running out meant being grounded in Haven with nothing to do. Pretty much everything except basic chat was paywalled behind an “insert coin mechanic”. Today, this is no longer the case. Elevators are free and rarity drops make it at least possible to reach endgame without ever opening the supply depot. The ingame value of energy has greatly diminished from an absolute necessity to something you buy slot upgrades with.

These days, the thing that makes energy valuable is not its practical application (=letting you actually play the game) or its scarcity (there is plenty in the market), but the amount of crowns it buys. The reasoning here is, of course, completely backwards. If you measure your wealth in crowns, you measure it in what you actually own, not what you could potentially buy. Nevertheless, we got a handful of players who do exactly that. Why? Because in the old days, when energy still had practical applications, they sponged it up. Worse yet, they even went in way over their head with market intervention support and now need to maintain a high price in order to not loose wealth. To repeat that: Energy is expensive because of gambling – betting on rising prices and then driving up prices on purpose in order to win the bet.

Why are those gamblers not simply cashing out? Well, there are several reasons for this, but the most important one is that the real demand for energy is low and every unit sold lowers the price till it finally gets consumed. Converting several hundred thousand units of energy into crowns would crash the market and the seller would loose a lot of wealth in the process.

So, this is all nice and dandy, but what is this simple solution to our problem? Start a fund raiser to collectively crash the speculators? Tickle them into submission? Actually, no! The solution is much simpler: STOP FUCKING TREAT ENERGY AS AN INGAME CURRENCY, MORONS!

Yes, we traditionally pay for high class costumes and accessories with energy. But just because something has always been this or that way doesn’t mean it is the right thing to do, let alone that it should be continued to be done this way in the future. For years(!) now we have been crying into OOO’s ear to implement something that would make crowns more valuable, yet we have (and always had) this gigantic crownsink at our disposal. We only need to start using it!

If you want the energy price to go down, simply stop using it as a shadow currency. Ignore that it is P2P tradeable, don’t offer your wares for it, don’t accept it as payment and likewise insist on buying with crowns only!