What makes the economy in the World of Warcraft behave in the way it does? What factors determine what players deem a fair price for an item? Why do the same items cost different amounts on different servers? What causes sudden price spikes and drops? Is there some way to explore the answers to these questions? Can we further use this knowledge to profit and build wealth within the World of Warcraft?
On Wall Street, every nuance and movement within a specific market is recorded and analyzed with the intent for patterns to reveal themselves and new potential profits to be harnessed. With this in mind, the folks here at the WoWenomics project have set out to create a set of metrics that are consistent and transparent enough to provide us with reliable and measurable data. With reliable data we can ideally study the various WoW markets and identify patterns and trends. In the coming weeks, as part of our ongoing exploration of the WoW economy we will begin publishing our metrics on the in-game economy. However, in exploring the ideal way to measure and share our gathered data on the WoW markets we have also developed additional questions. What items do we use to represent the overall economy? How do we determine the representative cost of this item (Do we use an average of all prices? A small sample of approximate prices?) Why do the prices of some of the same items vary so widely server to server? Is there a reason for a cost difference on the same item between PVP and PVE realms? Does time zone have an effect on price? For that matter, time of day?
What do you think? What makes the WoW economy tick?