The Economy of Updates

posted by on 1st May 2019, at 2:29am | Discuss Article

Each and every game update we receive has the potential to affect the game’s economy. The new Alchemical Onyx jewellery of late 2018 ensured our clue scroll items would maintain constant value. In this case, most of the price of Alchemical Onyx jewellery is dependent on clue scroll items. Recently Firemaking received an update which brought in a little side update known as Incense Sticks.

Incense sticks are interesting because they touch Woodcutting, Prayer, Herblore, and ultimately Firemaking. Incense sticks are the product of Mod Timbo. Mod Timbo updates are generally designed to fill a niche, provide use for an under used item, or bring balance to a skill. Incense sticks are thriving in the game, even a month after release.

There are three echelons of popularity for incense sticks. The superbly popular and in high demand, the good but expensive incense sticks, and the sticks that just exist and don’t really do that much. In the top most category we have Spirit Weed Incense Sticks and Kwuarm Incense Sticks. The first increases the rate at which Summoning familiars regain spell points and the latter increases poison damage done by the player. Other interesting but expensive incense sticks include Lantadyme sticks which increase the duration of potion effects and Torstol sticks which grant up to a 2% XP rate buff.

Looking at the graph for both Lantadyme and Torstol incense sticks you would assume that these would be the go to for money making. They aren’t.

Torstol Incense Sticks

For Lantadyme put simply it’s not worth spending on average around 44k GP to increase the duration of potions by 2 minutes for 10 minutes. If you want to increase the duration beyond 10 minutes, you need more sticks. We can expect Torstol incense to be in high demand come double XP weekend because that is when the community maximizes XP rates at any cost. A 2% buff otherwise is likely to be seen as inefficient.

This represents one side of the equation as to why these high end sticks aren’t optimal. The other side is that they both require infernal ashes. The second step in crafting incense involves coating the sticks with ashes.

Prior to release one concern that I had regarding the incense sticks was that there wasn’t enough of a sink for Magic logs. Magic logs come into game via a myriad of PvM drops and Prifddinas Thieving. Magic logs are currently sitting at their yearly average.

Magic Logs Price Graph

The Yew Logs on the other hand required for Lantadyme incense sticks have seen a sharp increase since the release of this update. They have risen to 164 GP from being around 155GP when the update hit. For reference, their year long average is 153GP. This is great news, especially for F2P woodcutters. We tend to focus on the big picture and one of those things is the big heavy hitters of high level drops from NPCs. What I didn’t realize is that having 3 incense sticks (Cadantine, Lantadyme, and Dwarf Weed) use Yew would ultimately shore up the game’s mid level economy.

It’s safe to say that high level incense isn’t affecting the price of Magic logs (yet) and it could but it’s unlikely at this point. Last December we heard that there was going to be more focus around the low to mid level gameplay experience to prep for the incoming players on mobile. And this is about to represent the punchline of this entire incense update.

We can collect Infernal ashes which rose and then returned to average, we can even cut Yew logs for about a 10% increase in profit over last month (10% is huge for such an old F2P item) but mid-level is where our story truly begins. I mentioned the most popular sticks are Spirit Weed and Kwuarm.

Kwuarm requires Acadia logs and accursed ashes. Menaphos was a story of 2017 that resulted in a major Jagex u-turn and still probably isn’t understood by the majority of the high level player base. Where do you go for great Woodcutting XP? Crystallized Acadia. Where do you at mid-level for profitable Woodcutting? Acadia (386 gp). Acadia logs 90 day average value has risen to 411 gp.

Spirit Weed incense requires willow logs and impious ashes. Spirit Weed spent a great deal of time rising in value prior to the launch of the update (another reason why providing all information is a bad thing). The untold story of Spirit Weed incense is two-fold. First Spirit Weed seeds rose to 20k a piece and have been declining steadily to the point where they are now about 12k and still won’t buy at market value. Spirit Weed remains the most expensive herb seed. Herb seeds used to be this expensive, Slayers out there are wondering if this day will ever come for other seeds. Why? Spirit Weeds the herb only come from Black demons and Mutated Jadinkos in small quantities meaning that herb farmers are the primary source of gathering.

Spirit Weed Seed Graph

The biggest and most surprising part of this update though is the ashes required for Spirit Weed incense. Impious ashes. Impious ashes are required for a grand total of 7 of the incense sticks. Impious ashes are also typically not collected. You can get them from imps, pyrefiends, and icefiends to name a few. Since this update hit, these ashes have seen an exponential increase in price.

Impious Ashes Graph

These are all severely mid level creatures and at the time of release it wasn’t uncommon to see profits in the 10s of millions per hour. These of course have gone down since but any new member training Slayer at these creatures should be overjoyed to find value in all of their kills. When Incense sticks were first announced we thought this was a Firemaking update, and it is because it grants Firemaking XP. We then saw the potential it could have on the mid level Woodcutting and Herb economy. Finally, it’s safe to say that its biggest impact falls towards the mid level Slayer tasks of Pyrefiends and Icefiends. This update ticks all the boxes of a good update and gently moves the economy of RuneScape forward.

Thank you Mod Timbo.