Neverwinter Economic Fun

Neverwinter's economy is fascinatingly complex. And like any complex economy, there are ways to manipulate it for profit. And like any economy, some of it comes down to luck. I had some of each.

For a start, there are two main currencies - coins, and Astral Diamonds. Coins are more properly reckoned in copper - 100 coppers make a silver, 100 silvers make a gold. Any coin drops from mobs are in copper, or sometimes silver, and the actual coins don't matter; they just accumulate into a counter. Many quests also award coins, and anything you sell to a vendor is paid for in coin. So you need some coin to buy crafting base materials, healing potions, injury kits, and skill kits. Some very basic equipment can also be got for coin, as well as mounts, basic companions, and some other odds and ends.

Then there are Astral Diamonds. You get Rough Astral Diamonds as rewards for some quests (between 500 and 3000, it seems), and if you pray, the gods will occasionally give you some (between 300 and 1500, or thereabouts). You can refine up to 24,000 Rough Astral Diamonds per day into Astral Diamonds, and these are the currency used on the Auction House. Prices are still settling there, but they range from about 10AD for a level 20 green item to a million or more for a Lillend companion.

You can't directly trade Astral Diamonds for coin. However, players will often offer goods for sale in the Zone chat channels in Protector's Enclave (the main and indeed only central city area) for gold instead of putting them on the Auction House, so you can work out a broad exchange rate.

In addition to these two, you can purchase a third currency, Zen, with real money, and buy things in-game with it. Almost all of these can be sold onward on the Auction House or for gold, so these items are not limited to players putting real money in. Plenty of players keep themselves supplied with Astral Diamonds by buying stuff with Zen and selling it on.

Enchanted Keys, which open Nightmare Lockboxes, seem to be most common way to do this. The lockboxes are a relatively frequent drop, and opening one basically gives you a chance at a random treasure or set of treasures. Because some of them contain a token that can be exchanged with a particular NPC for 40,000 Astral Diamonds, the Auction House price for keys has settled to around that. You can, however, get a dud one that holds only a runestone worth about 700 AD. The Auction House also charges a 10% fee for items that sell, which you have to take into account.

So the exchange rate that I'm seeing at the moment is that an Enchanted Key, costing 125 Zen (or slightly less if you buy 10 at once), goes for about 30 gold, or 44,000 AD. So you could reckon that 1g is worth 1466 AD - call that 1500. This rate is more or less borne out by other exchanges I've seen.

However, there was a breakdown quite recently in this exchange rate. Technically, it's still going on, but having made my pile from it, I'm happy to release the details. A recent in-game event made special giftboxes drop from mobs - about 1 in 20 on the average, but a few particular mobs dropped them much more often. The giftboxes are, again, a random treasure, ranging between three level-appropriate potions (basically a dud), and a Dragon's Egg (high-end crafting component, worth about 30,000 AD). One of the frequent drops was a level 60 Trickster Rogue item; a "Tunic of the Covert Brigand". I got one of these, and on my next pass through Protector's Enclave, I looked at the Auction House to see how much I could get for it. About 250 AD, it seemed. But it was worth 34 silver if you sold it to a vendor.

The exchange rate on this, obviously, is more like 750 AD for 1 gold. Half-price gold!

So I bought dozens and dozens of these tunics, which were clearly dropping like rain, and being sold on the AH for low money. I racked up 30 gold quickly, bought an Enchanted Key from another player, stuck that back on the AH to turn it into Astral Diamonds, and continued to buy tunics. Once I'd run the AH out of tunics, three times over two days, I sat back to see what I could do with my new-found wealth. And this is where the pure luck came in.

Eventually, I settled on Profession Booster Packs. These are boxes of random stuff (this is a really common theme throughout Neverwinter's drops and rewards and goods) applicable to crafting. They cost about 120,000 AD, and I had enough for two of them. I was expecting to get a few high-end craftspeople out of them, and be happy with that. What I didn't even consider is that for a limited time, you can also get Tarmalune Trade Bars (a token currency) from them, or sometimes, very rarely, a Lillend companion. My second pack had the Lillend.

I thought long and hard about that, and really did consider attaching her to my own character. She's an epic healing companion. But then I looked at the Auction House, and Lillends were selling for over a million. So I listed mine at a bid of 900,000 AD, and a buyout of 1,000,000 AD - which, after a successful sale, would net me 900k. Having put up high-price items on the World of Warcraft AH before, I expected it'd take a few days before I got the sale. I was wrong; it took 20 minutes, and I was a temporary Astral Diamond Millionaire.

I've since bought some odds and ends of packs, an epic fighting companion, and a new bank vault for my guild, so that's diminished from the million-high, but I reckon I won't be short of in-game cash for a long time yet.

Posted by Drew Shiel at August 1, 2013 11:48 AM

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