Any time the subject of bots comes up, someone insists and claiming that bots keep prices low, supplies abundant, and liberate us from the horrible grinding of materials. How kind of them!
Bots undercut actual people out of the market. Sure, this means lower prices for the buyers of the mats. It also means the sellers are no longer humans. Oh you say people run bots? No. Only scum run bots. Lazy greedy worthless scum who insist on something for nothing, who refuse to play the game, who join the game with the implicit contract of what is expected, that not every moment is pure happyfungreatbosskilltime, and just reject it, breaking the ToS in the process. If you don't like the grind, don't expect the benefits. Complain about it, demand that the grind be reduced, that's just fine; but don't bot and claim "oh but they made such a horrible grind!" Fucking jackasses. Where was I?
Okay, so bots get mats, then we buy mats and gold is lost to humanity except when it is purchased by those barely-human beings who buy gold. God dammit, this post isn't supposed to be about how some people are scum. You can read Gevlon for sociopathic ranting. Let's try this again.
Bot gets mats. People buy mats. Where did our gold go?
We're not liberated from any grind at all. We just do a different one. rather than farm materials, we run dailies to give gold to bots. I'm all for different content for different people, but when bots drive people out of the market, that's not adding options, that reducing them. Personally I prefer farming to dailies. It's just as trivial and mindless, but it gives me a dull high, whereas dailies are just boring as shit.
What is a low price anyway? Is 5g low? 10g? 1g? Once upon a time 10g would have been huge. Well not huge huge, but not like these days when it's less than a single daily quest and essentially trivial. To just call a number low is ridiculous. It must have context. I once thought 15g per ore was cheap for titanium. Now I think 7g is cheap and 10g is ridiculously overpriced. Within an expansion that's clearly due to changes in material supplies, crafting demand, and so on. But looking between expansions we can see that gold itself has changed in value. Dailies have caused massive inflation, meaning that 10g is no longer 10g.
By driving players to dailies and away from farming, bots have indeed lowered the price of mats, through inflation. But we once got the mats ourselves, and while that doesn't make them free, it does put them under our control, and that has value. The mats are not any cheaper. We just do a different grind and think they're cheaper because of inflation.
Do bots increase the supply of materials? Yes, but much less than apologists pretend. Obviously a bot can farm for longer than a player. They don't get bored or tired and a bot can even be a bit more efficient than a player due to planned routes rather than the semi-willy-nilly method used by many players. However, materials have limited respawn times. This means that players who would be farming are less efficient due to the bots taking their spawns. Two players are not going to clash as much as two bots or a bot and a player.
Without bots we would be farming rather than questing. The number of farmers would increase while the gold supply would decrease. Now imagine that: the price increase due to lower supply could be offset by reduced inflation. The real price would have still gone up (since as I said before, inflation isn't exactly price), but... actually it would go down, because reduced inflation would also mean fewer dailies needed for a set number of mats. Just as more dailies drive inflation, encouraging more dailies, so the reverse is true, and as prices are no longer inflated we can run fewer dailies. There are of course ceilings and floors, so it cannot be extrapolated endlessly to conclude that we will eventually have every player running 25 dailies and paying 300g for a single titanium ore, or that without dailies material prices would go to 5 copper per ore.
Bots have not made the situation much better for players overall. Pure crafters have benefited due to lower prices, but farmers are driven out of 'work' and consumers are pushed into dailies. Bots aren't doing us any favors. Let's not fall for their lies, their attempts to trick us into being part of their black market.
Pillars of Eternity: Further Thoughts
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