One interesting aspect of the new crafting recipes added in Patch 1.0.7 is the way they’ve changed the Diablo 3 Economy and impacted the prices of various materials. We’ve seen big fluctuations in the value of Iridescent Tears, (on SC Americas they used to be under 400g, but have been up over 1200 for the past few weeks), and even more in the price of Tomes of Secret. Those remain very cheap in the softcore economy (around 420g), but they cost a fortune in Hardcore, where they have been selling for over 12,000 gold of late.
Note that nothing has changed in the game; these items are dropping just as often as ever, and the game didn’t get harder to keep players from harvesting them; there’s just much more demand to use ToS in the new crafting recipes, which makes their price increase dramatically. (In Hardcore, at least, where optimizing gear is essential, and farming for profit with undergeared chars is not an option.)
This sort of price fluctuation is interesting in of itself, but it also shows how things are interconnected. For instance, thanks to the huge increase in the Hardcore prices of Tomes of Secret, all the higher level gems have gone up hugely in price, and the most desirable Radiant Star gems in HC (Amethysts and Rubies) are now selling for over 72m (they’re around 20m in Softcore, while the *most* expensive Emeralds are still only 25m, less than half the price of the *least* expensive Radiant Stars (Topaz) in Hardcore.And yes, I’ve been playing HC lately and spending more time studying the economy, since it’s so much more interesting and vibrant than the largely stagnant and end game-focused softcore economy. You can see a screenshot of my recent hardcore AH activity to the right, with numerous 5-10k sales of items in the level 20-35 range; a space that simply doesn’t exist in softcore at this point, since freespecs means no one ever needs to reroll in Diablo 3. (My new Monk is level 34 now and just into Nightmare.)
This post might seem off topic thus far (probably because it is) but the point is that small changes to the drop rate, or new crafting recipes requiring high amounts of previously worthless materials can change the supply or demand for various materials, which can create waves that spread across all the entire economy. So, when the D3 devs speak of changing the drop rates of anything, even junk Rares, fans have to wonder how that will impact the overall economic ecosystem.
Happily, according to Travis Day, the devs are giving thought to that as well.
Travis Day: As designers part of our job is to understand and be aware of the ripples caused by changes we make. Reducing the drop rate of items in the future will certainly impact the rate at which players acquire gold and crafting materials and we will adjust values where necessary to compensate for this.
It’s hard to speculate how such a change would work since we don’t know the details yet, but imagine that Rares become 75% less common, but have a 75% better chance to roll with useful mods. I don’t think that would make a real big difference in Softcore, at least. From what I’ve seen in game and heard from other players, most people pick up (at most) about half of the Rares that drop in Inferno, and of those, 95-99% are vendored or salvaged for personal use in crafting, with the remaining 1-5% put into the Auction House. If some future patch cut the drop rate of Rares to half or a quarter their current rate, it seems like players would adapt by picking up a higher percentage of the Rares they do see, thus keeping the supply of Iridescent Tears at roughly the same level as now.
It’s harder to predict what would happen to actual item sales if many more of the Rares we found were useful. It’s tempting to imagine finding better gear and using or selling it for a profit, but of course the Rare improvement isn’t just for you… everyone would be finding better quality Rares. Perhaps you’d be able to upgrade some of your gear with self finding, but so would everyone else, and as tons of better quality Rares flood the Auction House that just means an item will need 99.9% quality stats to sell, rather than 99.0% quality stats today. Thus in a month everyone’s got slightly better gear, but the only thing that sells in the AH is gear with almost-perfect rolls, and the situation is basically the same as now; the Rares you find have better stats, but 99% of it still isn’t good enough to AH for a profit.
Sounds like a vicious and unbreakable cycle, doesn’t it?