The Albion Online Carrot Bubble

Caleb Ayrania 2017-08-04

A few weeks ago, Albion Online (AO) finally came out of a very long beta and is now live. The game is of special interest to INN readers due to the fact that Goons and a lot of EVE players have already decided to go there for a summer slump vacation.

As many might have heard or seen first hand while playing the beta, AO has a rather interesting sandbox economy. It is this aspect that has drawn a lot of the EVE market interested people into the game, and they are already shovelling sand like frantic kids in a new playground.

It’s important to give a small explanation of how things work in AO. There are a LOT of cross dependencies along with a lot of overhead types of expenses and consumption. In AO, food is very important, not only to the players running around, but also to feed laborers on player owned structures (islands). Not to get too deep into the crafting and farming, but one of the first basic types of food that can be created by farming is carrots. Since the game is so fresh and new, everyone has been in a land rush mode. A lot of people have just created their first islands and gotten started with farming. These first movers are also severely felt in the current market prices, and we are basically seeing Hype Cycle prices on everything. What makes carrots so interesting is that Sandbox games just patched the servers. In the initial phase of the game, the carrots were available as drops from mob loot tables because there would, of course, not be any available until players had their islands up and running, so the devs decided to compensate by making it a drop. This has now been removed, and the carrot market is in the hands of the players only.

The way the market has been reacting to the pre-announced patch in regards to the carrot markets is textbook Hype Cycle theory, something extremely familiar to most EVE players. In the classical story about the tulip bubble, also called, “tulipmania”, we saw the example of how quickly the market goes from the manic speculative trust, and rather a blatant disregard to reasonable doubt, to a complete panic and mistrust.

Tulip Price Index

Tulip Prices in guilders. Image from vastari.com

 

In AO, it looks like the entire economy is in a state of Hype Cycle, and each item seems to be hit by this at the rate with which the players gain access to it. Thus, we see another real world equivalent the Product Life Cycle.

Product Life Cycle

 

The Product Life Cycle is a very well known term to most people in the business world, and a lot of our economy seems to be the endless struggle to avoid the last phase of it, thus to always keep innovating, or suppressing outside disruption from innovators. At this point, it would be an ideal time to segway into cartels and interdictions, but the EVE audience at least will be well aware of EVE history, and how this can and was utilized in New Eden. In AO, as players progress their consumer behavior is very much like these stages, but with the strong added effect of a manic driven rush much resembling a Black Friday shopping spree.

So whats up with those carrots? There is a lot of trading in carrots and with a lot of good reasons. Primarily, when there is a bubble or a phase II growth cycle, there is a lot of money to be made. The risk is how long it will last and how fast the crash will come. The reduced supply from the patch is naturally a major factor, if not in the actual numbers, then at least in the information people base speculation hype on. So, we will have to wait and see how the market moves and how many salty speculator tears will be harvested; I chose to stay clear of this one since I was way too busy learning the most basic mechanics of the game. I try to stick to the rule of not trading what I don’t know and I am struggling to build a proper liquidity to move hardcore into the speculative markets.

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Comments

  • Rammel Kas

    Seems to follow average progression and demand. Lot of the advanced guilds in AO now would be familiar names for someone in the early access betas. They learned well to specialize their alts early and acquire the other goods.

    August 4, 2017 at 7:22 AM
    • Caleb Ayrania Rammel Kas

      Prices are set by a flawed logic, that npc prices set value. Its a T1 product, and it will not stay priced like this for long, if I am not mistaken. Current price as far as I can discern the mechanics of design, is the maximum price. As more and more gain access to islands and land, and can shift their requirements to higher tiers that yield better, the price should tank. I could ofc be totally wrong, and have misjudged the design and ingame future supply and demand, but that is my prediction. The inter dependencies and negative feed back designs in Albion have some itneresting effects on pricing and economy as far as I can tell.

      August 4, 2017 at 7:35 AM
      • Rammel Kas Caleb Ayrania

        Also tends to be affected by in-game timetables like the gold price slump just after the city plot rentals all came up for renewed auction recently.

        The organised groups needed the gold before to bid on the rentals. Failed bids were refunded and lots of instant-pvp-minded people tried to cash out. But the Russian TZ followed just after so by the next day they had farmed the bottom out of the gold market again.

        Another thing seems to be the resurgent Nilfgaard alliance who were very prominent in Beta 2 have started a move to strangle access to the yellow zone siege camps around Caerleon. You need those 3 camps to lay siege to adjacent towers for control, which allows you to start a siege of next door red zones and ultimately Caerleon itself. The guild who owns that sets the rent with in game currency or similar. So this looks like they are leveraging their elite GvG 5-man team to create a rental empire in the city all the other players have to use to access the black zones. The amount of hours those guys must be putting in to get that much apparent fame (which you can check on the in-game client) must be burning them out a bit.

        August 4, 2017 at 7:45 AM
      • chimpy Caleb Ayrania

        I am very ignorant on the game but “negaitve feed back” is the sole and utter requirment for oscillation in physics. e.g. digital logic gates. You may see this reflected in the market.

        August 4, 2017 at 8:11 AM
        • Rammel Kas chimpy

          Yes but that hardly identifies the players or the motivators behind them does it?

          August 4, 2017 at 8:28 AM
      • digitalebola Caleb Ayrania

        No, you aren’t wrong. Prices tanked on a lot of things. Gold prices went up, higher tiers are priced higher as demand for house/structure upgrades go up. I haven’t quite figured out a good way to make money yet, aside from drizzle my founders gold into silver… and I even did that one wrong because its over double what it was on launch. Some of the good market players in Eve should be able to clean house in Albion though and it wouldn’t shock me if some of the same tricks work.

        August 8, 2017 at 7:56 PM
        • Caleb Ayrania digitalebola

          The obvious one I found, but have not abused yet, is the good old bait and switch trick with “standard fittings” sale orders. I noticed a LOT of the pew pew crowd just “quick buy” everything they usually want/need, and hardly even look at prices. So I am sure the good old 100 times markup will trick a few players. You only need to sell a few that way to make up for the cost of cornering the market.

          August 8, 2017 at 8:49 PM