Blog post

RS Currency fluctuation

Aug 2017

Every RuneScape gamer knows: gold is important. It gets you the things you need and the things you want. Sadly, they do not always cost the amount you have. If you are buying products and services in the real world, you are probably aware of the worldwide phenomena of inflation. This process happens to RS currency as well.

What is inflation?

Ever see those infographics of how things cost more now than they used to in 1940s? That doesn’t necessarily mean it was cheaper at that time: the money just devalued over time. That means that if you want to buy the same product you would have to pay more of the local currency. This process of rising prices and devalued currency is called inflation.

Local governments take a lot of care to see, that the currency would not devalue too fast or too much. That is why the supply of money is controlled – if too much money is supplied, prices will rise to deal with the surplus. An example of an extreme case of inflation (or hyperinflation) would be Zimbabwe, where constant money printing caused the prices to reach sky height: for 1 US dollar you could get 2,621,984,228 Zimbabwean dollars.

Image source: http://runescape.wikia.com/wiki/Currency_pouch

RS currency inflation

The process of rising prices also happens in MMO games, such as World of Warcraft or RuneScape. It can be planned by the game developers, players, or it can happen naturally in the course of the game. Some of the factors that influence the money value are:
• quitting players: this increases money value as there is less demand for money;
• banning players: has the same effect as quitting players;
• NPCs: they sink money to keep its value stable. So if in a quest you have to buy something from an NPC, it means the designers put it there to keep the money from devaluing too much. That also explain why some goodies are so expensive.
• expansion release: this usually leads to currency inflation for some period of time. It’s a way to keep the players active and encourage them to play the updated content.

In some cases, where fluctuation becomes too unstable, or can’t be efficiently controlled, players might switch to real world trade (getting coins for dollars or the other way around). This happens when dealing with RS currency as well.