The world of RuneScape has long had people who bought and sold items in order to make a small profit from them. Whether its rare items or raw materials there have almost always been those who are affectionately called merchants. Most think that they’re just out there to make a quick buck, but it does take some skill to actually see the trends in prices rising and falling. Those who are skilled in reading the market can get considerably wealthy. But there is another end of that spectrum. One could lose it all on a bad investment. With the introduction of the Grand Exchange, and the beginning of merchant clans it’s become more of a risk for individuals new to the "skill" to get into it and profit. But this article is less about an individual’s merchant escapades and rather on the effects that price manipulation has done to RuneScape and its economic stability.
There was a time before the Grand Exchange and merchant clans though. Some may remember the days of trying to buy and sell items on World 1 or World 2. It was kind of a mess of people shouting trying to get what they needed. It was sometimes hard to buy and sell things but it was much harder to merchant things in those days. For certain items one would have to work against another’s price. One could be standing directly next to his/her competition. This writer has had a few occasions where that has happened. So in a way, this kept the prices for certain items down and others higher. It kept things fairly constant and without the fluctuation we see now.
Today we see a different story. The Grand Exchange has undoubtedly made it easier to get the items we all need, but it’s brought an unwelcome guest with it; price manipulators and on a larger scale, merchant clans. Now I don’t want to go so far as to say all merchant clans are bad. Some don’t manipulate prices like others. However a large majority solely exist for the purpose of manipulating prices. As a prime example, Prayer Potions have been on the rise considerably due to a clan known as Smokin Mils. Their goal, as shown below is to raise the price of Prayer Potion (4)’s to 38k.
(Names blurred for privacy reasons.)
Here is a link to the Jagex G.E. Charts.
As you can clearly see above, the clan has managed to raise the price higher than it has been in over 180 days. That said, it’s been predicted by our own Aeolus that it won’t ever reach 38k. He’s stated that, "People will just make their own [Prayer Potions]." It’s a great point, and true to some degree. But for those of us who don’t have the ingredients for Prayer Potions, or for that matter other things, it makes it harder to get play the way we may want to on RuneScape.
With that said what effects would this have on RuneScape? It means nothing dire to anyone who is self sufficient in collecting raw materials and producing what they need. For those who may not have the levels or the means to get these materials however, they’re at the mercy of price manipulating clans. Jagex has stated that these clans aren’t in the spirit of the game, as have a large portion of the RuneScape community. But little has been done to potentially discourage players from joining these clans. If one were to look today on any busy world in the G.E. you’re bound to see at least one player advertising for a merchant clan.
The idea that one clan or a group of clans can corner the entire market in certain items is sad. Monopolies are generally against the law in most Western Nations, as is unethical buying and selling of stocks. In a way, what these clans do is no different. They buy items (stocks) up completely, hold them and watch prices rise, and then dump them all at once. This causes the bottom to drop on whatever the item may be. It is to some degree Insider Trading, which is illegal as well. Given RuneScape is just a game and as such shouldn’t be taken as seriously as a real stock market, BUT it still rules in the unethical side of morality to this writer.
Thoughts or comments? Feel free to post here.