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The key price thread

  

181 members have voted

  1. 1. Should Keys Go Up Or Down? Would They Help The Economy If They Are Higher?

    • Up / Yes
      59
    • Down / No
      122


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buddhapest

Which country allows a News Agency (eg. Bloomberg or Reuters) to give false information in an attempt to "regulate" the popular price?

problem with this:  there's no real alternative to backpack.tf.  i have asked repeatedly for backpack.tf to release some unique visitor numbers for october-december of 2012 to see if there is any correlation between the post halloween ramp and the popularity of this site.  i know how laughable alexa.com is, nevertheless they do show an almost 3x increase in unique visits in november.

 

in addition any site that wants to show price suggestions uses this: http://backpack.tf/api/ (IGetPrices specifically) - again, there is no current alternative and thus the bible and feedback effect cannot be ignored.

 

 

One thing that people seem to believe is that keys are in integral, vital, indispensible part of TF2. This is NOT true. Keys are a commodity. Ownership of keys offers you no special advantage over other players - there are no weapons that can only be obtained from keys, and having keys does not make you play better. Having a key is like having a lot of money - you can show off your money by buying a BMW (unusual hat), but in the end it is just a symbol of vanity. All unusual hats also come in a unique form, and this cheaper variant can be bought quite easily with metal. All weapons come in a unique form, and they are constantly traded for other weapons or items.

 

 

no, that's actually wrong.  everyone keeps talking about keys as if they are only a commodity however, and this goes back to backpack.tf's influence on the marketplace, the fundamental use of keys is as currency.

 

what i see as the biggest problem right now is simply that backpack.tf has chosen to list the prices of items in 3 different currencies.  refined, keys, and buds.  TF2 is not composed of three different nations, all these currencies exist in the same economic space (this is my main beef with base64's "Ratio of quantity existing" section in his http://tf2finance.com/2013_03/.  he compares the currencies of two counties which compose of two different economies, regulated by 2 different government entities as equivalent to refined vs. keys - this is simply not true)

 

many traders have completely dismissed the idea of bp.tf reporting everything in terms of refined.  for some reason, buying a car in the real world for $20,000 seems ok, but pricing an unusual for 120 refined is somehow seen as ludicrous.  no one is saying you can't use a bud or keys to finance purchase, just that the price is reported in terms of one currency.  it would be up to the individual traders to decide how they want to take payment.  keys and buds would be treated just like any other "item" typically used in the exchange.

 

think about everything that would be solved if backpack.tf started pricing in a single currency: refined.  there are literally hundreds of items that hover at the price level between being priced in refined vs. keys.  any items that currently fall into refined lose status and value.  any items that manage to rise into the key range are suddenly protected from key inflation.  currently there is a 2 class economy created solely because backpack.tf uses different items as the reported currency

 

i do realize all the headaches that would be caused if this kind of change would be seriously considered.  suggestion would become much more difficult to make but backpack.tf's UI could provide simply calculators to help make the suggestion reflecting the current state of the market (i.e. you see the splendid screen selling for between 5-6 keys, then convert the key price to refined using a calculator and suggest 21.11-25.33 refined)

 

again, you might balk at the idea of such bizarre looking number, yet you don't do so when you pay $12.99 plus tax + shipping (lets say $15.35 total) for an item on amazon.

 

when the tuefort kicker was repriced from 1.25 keys to 4-4.66 refined it lost a lot more value than ~2 reclaimed - not only has the key price gone up since then, the very fact that the kicker is priced in terms of refined puts it in a less desirable category when using it as part of a payment for a higher priced item.  again, only because of the multiple currencies used in reporting and because there is no stable conversion between those currencies

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F  CHARLIE

what i see as the biggest problem right now is simply that backpack.tf has chosen to list the prices of items in 3 different currencies.  refined, keys, and buds.  TF2 is not composed of three different nations, all these currencies exist in the same economic space (this is my main beef with base64's "Ratio of quantity existing" section in his http://tf2finance.com/2013_03/.  he compares the currencies of two counties which compose of two different economies, regulated by 2 different government entities as equivalent to refined vs. keys - this is simply not true)

 

many traders have completely dismissed the idea of bp.tf reporting everything in terms of refined.  for some reason, buying a car in the real world for $20,000 seems ok, but pricing an unusual for 120 refined is somehow seen as ludicrous.  no one is saying you can't use a bud or keys to finance purchase, just that the price is reported in terms of one currency.  it would be up to the individual traders to decide how they want to take payment.  keys and buds would be treated just like any other "item" typically used in the exchange.

 

think about everything that would be solved if backpack.tf started pricing in a single currency: refined.  there are literally hundreds of items that hover at the price level between being priced in refined vs. keys.  any items that currently fall into refined lose status and value.  any items that manage to rise into the key range are suddenly protected from key inflation.  currently there is a 2 class economy created solely because backpack.tf uses different items as the reported currency

I have mentioned this before about bills hat.  The problem of using items as standard currencyThat u create a duel function for the item.  Its not entirely true tho.  I have seen some items that were priced just above a key get pulled down.

i do realize all the headaches that would be caused if this kind of change would be seriously considered.  suggestion would become much more difficult to make but backpack.tf's UI could provide simply calculators to help make the suggestion reflecting the current state of the market (i.e. you see the splendid screen selling for between 5-6 keys, then convert the key price to refined using a calculator and suggest 21.11-25.33 refined)

Not much of a problem.  U place a toggle which would price every item in ref, key or bills/buds even if listed as a fraction.  Voting would be in ref only.  If this option was standard before, I wonder how many items priced above key point would have moved with the key or not changed in ref price.

again, you might balk at the idea of such bizarre looking number, yet you don't do so when you pay $12.99 plus tax + shipping (lets say $15.35 total) for an item on amazon.

 

when the tuefort kicker was repriced from 1.25 keys to 4-4.66 refined it lost a lot more value than ~2 reclaimed - not only has the key price gone up since then, the very fact that the kicker is priced in terms of refined puts it in a less desirable category when using it as part of a payment for a higher priced item.  again, only because of the multiple currencies used in reporting and because there is no stable conversion between those currencies

The biggest initial problem is for the more established traders.  They would see this as an erosion of their efforts/packs.  Many still believe the situation was mainly caused by massive amounts of idlers and the "free" drops.

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~shenanigans

no, that's actually wrong.  everyone keeps talking about keys as if they are only a commodity however, and this goes back to backpack.tf's influence on the marketplace, the fundamental use of keys is as currency.

Trading in itself is a commodity. One is absolutely NOT required to participate in trade whatsoever. One is not required to own an unusual in order to play the game. Maybe you can argue that having the different weapons may be somewhat necessary in order to get the entire gaming experience. Having strange weapons or unusual hats, however, is not.

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buddhapest

Trading in itself is a commodity. One is absolutely NOT required to participate in trade whatsoever. One is not required to own an unusual in order to play the game. Maybe you can argue that having the different weapons may be somewhat necessary in order to get the entire gaming experience. Having strange weapons or unusual hats, however, is not.

 

i agree with what you say here about trading (mostly) but you missed the point of my earlier disagreement.

 

the fact is that backpack.tf displays the prices of items in terms of refined, keys, and buds is a problem.  and this is why you are wrong in saying that keys are just a commodity.  it has nothing to do with how the items are used - simply how prices of items are displayed.

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F  CHARLIE

Trading in itself is a commodity. One is absolutely NOT required to participate in trade whatsoever. One is not required to own an unusual in order to play the game. Maybe you can argue that having the different weapons may be somewhat necessary in order to get the entire gaming experience. Having strange weapons or unusual hats, however, is not.

why does this even exist then?  it most definately is part of the game and gaming expierience.  I dont remember anything like this for neverwinter nights, icewind dale, balders gate. 

 

Hang on, I got one more for u, just to blow u away;  The Bards Tale.  Good luck with that.

 

Community gaming means this here and as I said, Valve did not one day say that the bill or the bud was to become currency, so sayeth us.

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~shenanigans

why does this even exist then?  it most definately is part of the game and gaming expierience.  I dont remember anything like this for neverwinter nights, icewind dale, balders gate. 

 

Hang on, I got one more for u, just to blow u away;  The Bards Tale.  Good luck with that.

 

Community gaming means this here and as I said, Valve did not one day say that the bill or the bud was to become currency, so sayeth us.

Are you saying that having keys is integral to the gaming experience? That I can't enjoy playing the game if I don't own any keys? I can give away my entire backpack and still be able to play TF2 fine. Trading is a secondary aspect. How many people do you think actively trade, versus the number of people who just play the game?

 

When TF2 first came out, it didn't have hats. It didn't have loadout slots or other weapons. It was a simple FPS, with a more cartoony style than other shooters at the time. Eventually new weapons were added. Then hats came along. THEN trading started, when users wanted a way of exchanging items. The game was released October 10th, 2007. Trading was added on September 30th, 2010.

 

What is TF2? Is it a trading simulator? Economy simulator? Or first person shooter? Is there trading in Halo, Call of Duty, Battlefield, Quake, Unreal Tournament, etc?

Maybe I'm addressing the wrong audience. Maybe all of you really just play "economy simulator" and not Team Fortress 2. But for me, and for most of the people who play the game, trading is a secondary commodity, a fascinating addition, to a fun shooting game. Absolutely no trading is ever required to play this game, thus making it a commodity.

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buddhapest

i want to raise another concern regarding key prices.

 

there's another good reason to slow down the suggestions - the most recent one: http://backpack.tf/vote/id/5156cd4aba2536114800002e went from suggested to closed in about 6 hours.  that is way too little time to establish a good trading average.  volume of trading is fairly low which makes prices more likely to be volatile.

 

in addition, trading activity changes day to day.  thursday-sunday have a lot more volume of trades due to the combination of the drop system reset and the weekend when players have more time to play.

 

a true average would be best established over a week of trading.  if we take and accept suggestions on a saturday morning it will likely be an inflated price.

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Aerolite

Sorry I've been away, guys! I've had Uni assignments that required completion over the last few days.

 

Anyway, on to the replies:

 

_____________________________________________________________

 

 

I still disagree with the idea of your "lesser of two evils". If we are indeed "manipulating" the price of keys indirectly, I'm sure there are other factors that do the same. As Base64 stated, premium packs, halloween unboxing and others played an important role in the spike of keys. 

 

I really understand your concern, it's crazy for all of us. Honestly I don't think "rich" players are getting anything either, as they make more ref per key, but keys are still the same value in $$, so they can make more metal while the metal and items priced in metal drop. Basically, the increase in the metal price of keys means nothing to the real value, unless all you want is lots of hats and don't care about values (Regular players would enjoy this, traders wouldn't care).

 

Again, I think we're talking about something out of our reach here. If a solution to the key problem shall arise, I think only The Gaben can help us.

 

So you're saying that while Backpack.tf may indeed be manipulating the prices, we don't know to what extent, and thus do not have enough information to make an informed decision regarding any directed action on the listed price of Keys?

Ok, that's actually a very fair point, and I can respect that. Deliberately altering the Key price is not something that can be done while ever there is any doubt in Backpack.tf's market influence.

 

My question then to you, Chief D, is if myself and/or a group of players came to you with evidence of what I've stated here (i.e. that idlers are responsible for 90% of current Key purchases, and thus are, through Backpack.tf, driving up the price of Keys for everyone else), would you be willing to actually take action to prevent further Key inflation? If you are open to the idea of Backpack.tf actually being a controlling influence as opposed to merely an observer, then surely the answer to that question would be "yes".

 

___________________________________________________________________

 

 

In regard to refuting a suggestion. I do not know why you say comments are the wrong place to post refuting evidence, because it seems to be the best place. Also, there is a system in place: create another suggestion. The other open suggestions are listed at the top of each suggestion page, and voters can look through each one. This is the same as posting reaction videos - separate videos which provide a different view. Users who find that the proof is unsatisfactory can post a different suggestion, or show that the current price is still accurate. In the case of inaccuracy, they will have to show in the comments the proof is inaccurate (unless the item in question is an unusual over 2 months old in price). Sub-suggestions are unnecessary.
Bp.tf is not a bible. Users treating it as such are making a mistake. Actual sales may fall on either side of the suggested average price. Being labeled a "lowballer" is a subjective assessment. In regard to keys, people try to sell at a higher price, and they are successful. Think rationally - why would a seller settle for less, when they can make more with minimal effort? Idlers and metal farmers are still potential buyers, and they cannot be ignored. An example is that a very wealthy person may decide to arbitrarly buy a ton of coke bottles, thus driving up the price of these bottles. Anyone else who wants bottles has to pay more for them, or refuse to buy.

One thing that people seem to believe is that keys are in integral, vital, indispensible part of TF2. This is NOT true. Keys are a commodity. Ownership of keys offers you no special advantage over other players - there are no weapons that can only be obtained from keys, and having keys does not make you play better. Having a key is like having a lot of money - you can show off your money by buying a BMW (unusual hat), but in the end it is just a symbol of vanity. All unusual hats also come in a unique form, and this cheaper variant can be bought quite easily with metal. All weapons come in a unique form, and they are constantly traded for other weapons or items.

In a free market, sellers are allowed to sell for whatever price they want, and buyers can pay whatever price they want. When the seller's price matches the buyer's price, a trade occurs. Whatever that price is, it is not up to us to regulate it. Backpack.tf did NOT create the problem, although some argue it may have accelerated key price increase. There are many forum topics on the cause of key price increases, please give them a read. Anyone is allowed to create a suggestion, and that suggestion will be assessed for validity, so I don't see how "those attempts to report" is being controlled by bp.tf.

Bp.tf's pricing is not enforceable. We simply create a guide that users can choose to follow or not. For example, if a community deems "killing rats is wrong", some may agree and some may not. If a second group, a band of vigilantes, comes in and decides to kill anyone who disagrees with "killing rats is wrong," does that make the original community responsible for the vigilantes' actions?

Many people use bp.tf's price guide because they find it to be accurate, convinent, or profitable. Bp.tf does not control the market - if tomorrow we changed key prices to 3 ref, how many people do you think will actually sell for 3 ref? Although bp.tf does have influence on the market, the market is still essentially free to change as it wishes. Greed is a part of human nature, and traders always want to make a profit. Bp.tf is not capable of fighting human nature; we can only watch and document it.

EDIT: I had typed out an extremely long and carefully detailed explanation. Then someone logs me off the library computer I was using, and deleted everything ;_; This is a very shortened version of what I probably had...

 

The reason I stated comments are the wrong place to post refuting evidence is because of exactly what happens to said evidence - it gets buried and disregarded by all but the few people who bother to read through all the comments.

What I am suggesting is a way of allowing users to immediately see that a price suggestion is being challenged, before they vote on the actual suggestion. This way, if the refuting proof is good enough, many people who would otherwise have up-voted the original (and we assume for this example, wrong) suggestion will instead instantly see refuting proof, and thus be able to make a much more informed voting decision. In this regard, I think "sub-suggestions" as you call them are very necessary. :)

 

No, Backpack.tf may not be a bible for you, or even me, but the truth is that the vast majority of traders DO see it as a bible. You are definitely entitled to believe all such players are making a mistake, but that opinion becomes completely irrelevant once you actually commence the act of trading, and your partner deems any price outside of the Backpack.tf range to be unfair.

While ever you have an act that involves input from more than one person, you have to accept there are going to be differing opinions. Given that, and given the nature of trading, if you want something off another player (be it Keys, metal, hats, etc), YOU have to conform to what THEY want (within reason, of course. Obviously it's not black and white, here). With that in mind, if you can't agree with them, they are going to have a vastly easier time finding an alternative trading partner than you who conforms to Backpack.tf's pricing, than you are going to have trying to find a partner who conforms to whatever you consider fair, yourself. Thus, Backpack.tf dictates prices to the majority in a bible-like fashion, and the rest of us are forced to either go with it, or take the extra time to look for alternative traders.

I don't know about you, but for me it's much easier and faster to just go with it.

 

Idlers and metal farmers are indeed still buyers, and indeed still have a right to consideration when observing new prices for items. That said, so do the rest of us, and that simply isn't the case right now. As I've said to Base64 previously, there appears to be a large enough number of idlers such that even if the majority of average traders stop buying Keys, Key prices will never fall because sales will continue to be made. Base64 has argued that there is no problem with this, as the economy is still functioning, however I respectfully disagree in that any economy that runs exclusively for the rich, and considers the average Joe irrelevant, is not a correctly functioning economy. Now of course, Capitalism works exactly like that, however (and I don't know about other nations here) in Australia, the Government goes out of its way to provide some financial assistance for those who are poorer, and as a result they are still able to function in society. Given that Backpack.tf, while run by the community, is the closest thing we have to a governing body, it is our duty to ensure that the trading economy remains fair for everyone involved, and does NOT exclude, ignore, or prevent other players from taking part in trading.

 

With regard to Keys, no, they are not vital or indispensable, but they are without a doubt integral to the game, completely irrelevant to whatever happens in trading. This is exactly what I'm getting at. Keys have a function other than trading, people! Keys allow us to open Crates (which remember are the most common of drops), in some cases allowing us to obtain items/hats that cannot be found via any other method. Without keys, irrespective of trading, players cannot gain access to many aspects of the game. The most obvious example are Strange weapons, and also Festive weapons, which can only be obtained via opening of the Christmas Crates. To say that Keys are nothing more than currency is simply ignorance of the fact that without trading, Keys are the only way for average players to obtain these items.

Also, when last I checked, uncrating your first Unusual is one of the funnest aspects of TF2's universe. I would argue that that experience is intergral to the game, but that is my own subjective opinion.

 

I never said attempts to report are being controlled by Backpack.tf - I said that through the prices being changed on the site, as a result of a suggestion, Backpack.tf is dictating to every player who uses it that this is an acceptable price for this item, and anything else is either out of the ordinary or unfair. Sorry for the confusion. Also, I never said Backpack.tf created the problem - I am saying that it is facilitating the problem, and compounding it.

 

With regards to Backpack.tf's pricing being unenforceable - please see what I wrote above regarding interactions with other traders.

On the question of setting the price of Keys to 3ref - Initially, not many would start selling at that price, however every player who references Backpack.tf for pricing information would not be willing pay anything above that (read: market control). Even idlers/metal farmers would be forced to reconsider their purchases, given the difference of over a ref between 3, and what ever the current price is (for which many sellers would attempt to maintain sales at). I suspect that, given maybe a week or two at the price of 3 ref, sellers will have no choice but to drop their prices to conform to this, and as a result it will be more reasonable for the average player to again consider the purchase of Keys, as opposed to just the idlers.

Of course there will be initial resistance, but given that the majority of the community would favour such a change, there is no doubt in my mind that the price of Keys would actually become 3 ref.

Of course, the idea of such a radical change is not one I think we should entertain.

 

Sorry to hear about your original post being lost. :(

 

________________________________________________________________________

 

 

The power of backpack.tf is given by its reporting of true market price. 

 

Market --- Influences ---> Backpack.tf --- Influences ---> Market

 

Ideally, we want Backpack.tf to report the exact market price, it would become

 

Market --- Influences ---> Market 

 

which is what "price signal" is intended to be in price mechanism. 

 

Your majority community view does not mean that the Newspaper can report Gasoline to be US$1 because the majority of individuals want lower price. 

 

 

 

 

I'm going to explain your assumption in a mathematical way. 

 

You are saying that Quantity Demanded is the same regardless of the price. I'm going to prove you wrong. 

 

Each account gets roughly 0.5 Refined (9 Weapons) per week. And your assumption is they spend all of them on Keys and keep no Refined. 

 

LGOKnOv.png

For every price increase, the Quantity Demanded for Keys (if you assume that idlers buy Keys with 100% of refined they received) decreases. 

 

On the other hand, we know that Quantity Supplied increases as price increase, and thus Demand and Supply intersects. 

 

Buyers compete on open grounds with Money or Purchasing Power, same reason fighters compete in a boxing arena only with fists, but not family background, how handsome they are, etc. 

 

The rules of allocation of resources through market are like that, get used to it. 

 

We don't care why the "average non-idler trader" wants Keys, or where did the Refined come from. 

 

Whether it's Consumption Demand, Speculative Demand, Demand from Fraudulent Money, Demand for shits and giggles. 

 

All it matters is the summation of market Demand. 

 

df5qUSt.png

 

If you agree that Idling is a problem, please consult Valve. 

 

 

I thought you said not to start a flame war, yet you question what on earth my mindset came from. 

 

The mindset came from the adoption of Capitalism, which exist in over 200 countries on Earth. 

 

And so far, no countries on Earth gives residents access to ALL resources of the country, including free iPhone 5 plus unlimited bandwidth subscription when people can't afford it. 

 

If you want to complain why we don't have access to enjoy ALL parts of TF2, ask Valve why the Mann Co Store needs us to pay real money. 

 

Also, I'm in a worse position of getting a Burning TC as part of the game, please help me complain to Valve. 

 

----

 

As a side note here, even though I own hundreds of Keys equivalent, I have never unboxed a single crate in my life. 

 

Also, the last time I bought keys was at 3 Refined. 

 

Unboxing is not a necessity, you don't die if you don't unbox. So if Demand for unboxing by "average player" cannot compete against the "Demand for Transaction" by rich players/idlers, deal with it. 

 

"Your majority community view does not mean that the Newspaper can report Gasoline to be US$1 because the majority of individuals want lower price."

It does if the gas station gets it's price range from the paper, the same as everyone else. This is exactly the situation Backpack.tf is in.

Backpack.tf is not an external observing entity that merely reports prices that come from an alternative entity (which is what you are implying in saying that - that the gas station gets its price from somewhere else, and so the paper reporting $1 would mean nothing) - In our case, both the buyers AND sellers get their pricing information from one place, and thus our community DOES have a say in the stated prices for items.

So to your example, if the gas station gets it's price from that paper, than whatever they report as the price is what gas moves at for that day, be it $1 or $100.

 

Truthfully, I'm having difficulty interpreting your graphs. Could you explain them in more detail please? If you have irrefutable proof that I am wrong, based on actually figures as opposed to assumptions, I'd be a fool to ignore it. As I said when I made this topic, I am just as open to being irrefutably proven wrong as I am to proving to the staff of Backpack.tf that their website is, however partially, responsible for the Key inflation.

 

With the boxing analogy, however, I will say that any reasonable boxing match held today matches the competitors fairly. That is, they are of equal weight, strength, whatever. This is what I'd like to ensure in our economy - traders competing on evenly matched ground, as opposed to an economy where the rich stay rich and the poor get downtrodden.

 

I apologise if you took any offence to my questioning of your opinion in that manner. I confess I was shocked at what I had read and the implications therein, that I did not exercise restraint in my reply. I'm sorry for that.

No, you're correct in that no country allows us access to everything, but (and again, I don't know how other countries handle this) in Australia, the Government grants payments to those who aren't particularly well off, allowing them to remain functional in society and benefit the economy as a whole. Given that we are our own governing body (as F CHARLIE has pointed out), we are thus responsible to ensure the poor are assisted, not downtrodden.

As for the Mann Co. Store requiring us to pay money for items - please note that in my previous reply I stated that we are entitled to all aspects of a game, EXCEPT if there are legal implications, or ongoing financial requirements to said game.

 

That's all I can say without some additional explanation of your graphs, Base64.

 

__________________________________________________________________________

 

 

It would be worse if they didn't report.

Base64, all coutries regulate thier free market economies because if they don't there will be coruption and abuse. Economists always strugle to calculate the effect of motive and emotion because they effect outcome. There r product or comodities that must be regulating because of how they effect an economy.

 

You think it would be worse if they didn't report? Then by definition, that would mean that Backpack.tf is controlling/regulating the market. Just thought I'd point that out. ;)

 

__________________________________________________________________________

 

 

problem with this:  there's no real alternative to backpack.tf.  i have asked repeatedly for backpack.tf to release some unique visitor numbers for october-december of 2012 to see if there is any correlation between the post halloween ramp and the popularity of this site.  i know how laughable alexa.com is, nevertheless they do show an almost 3x increase in unique visits in november.

 

in addition any site that wants to show price suggestions uses this: http://backpack.tf/api/ (IGetPrices specifically) - again, there is no current alternative and thus the bible and feedback effect cannot be ignored.

 


 

no, that's actually wrong.  everyone keeps talking about keys as if they are only a commodity however, and this goes back to backpack.tf's influence on the marketplace, the fundamental use of keys is as currency.

 

what i see as the biggest problem right now is simply that backpack.tf has chosen to list the prices of items in 3 different currencies.  refined, keys, and buds.  TF2 is not composed of three different nations, all these currencies exist in the same economic space (this is my main beef with base64's "Ratio of quantity existing" section in his http://tf2finance.com/2013_03/.  he compares the currencies of two counties which compose of two different economies, regulated by 2 different government entities as equivalent to refined vs. keys - this is simply not true)

 

many traders have completely dismissed the idea of bp.tf reporting everything in terms of refined.  for some reason, buying a car in the real world for $20,000 seems ok, but pricing an unusual for 120 refined is somehow seen as ludicrous.  no one is saying you can't use a bud or keys to finance purchase, just that the price is reported in terms of one currency.  it would be up to the individual traders to decide how they want to take payment.  keys and buds would be treated just like any other "item" typically used in the exchange.

 

think about everything that would be solved if backpack.tf started pricing in a single currency: refined.  there are literally hundreds of items that hover at the price level between being priced in refined vs. keys.  any items that currently fall into refined lose status and value.  any items that manage to rise into the key range are suddenly protected from key inflation.  currently there is a 2 class economy created solely because backpack.tf uses different items as the reported currency

 

i do realize all the headaches that would be caused if this kind of change would be seriously considered.  suggestion would become much more difficult to make but backpack.tf's UI could provide simply calculators to help make the suggestion reflecting the current state of the market (i.e. you see the splendid screen selling for between 5-6 keys, then convert the key price to refined using a calculator and suggest 21.11-25.33 refined)

 

again, you might balk at the idea of such bizarre looking number, yet you don't do so when you pay $12.99 plus tax + shipping (lets say $15.35 total) for an item on amazon.

 

when the tuefort kicker was repriced from 1.25 keys to 4-4.66 refined it lost a lot more value than ~2 reclaimed - not only has the key price gone up since then, the very fact that the kicker is priced in terms of refined puts it in a less desirable category when using it as part of a payment for a higher priced item.  again, only because of the multiple currencies used in reporting and because there is no stable conversion between those currencies

 

This is actually a very good point! It's also something that has irked me since I started trading in TF2, but have just taken at face value given I doubt it will ever change.

 

I can't count the number of times I've either rejoiced or grimaced when an item changed from being listed in price as metal, to Keys. Or from keys to buds. As prices fluctuate, the value of such items have been fundamentally altered by changes such as this.

 

If Backpack.tf wants to list items' prices in multiple currencies, then it should do so via the use of calculated values, not stored ones. Keys and Buds can retain their use as currency items, however as the metal prices of both Keys and, by extension, Buds, fluctuate, we maintain a constant representation of item value that could otherwise change arbitrarily.

 

Chief D, what is your input on this? Do you think it would be worthwhile to alter the database to store the metal equivalent price for items currently listed in terms of Keys/Buds, and use calculated values to show value in other currencies, as opposed to stored values?

 

___________________________________________________________________

 

 

Trading in itself is a commodity. One is absolutely NOT required to participate in trade whatsoever. One is not required to own an unusual in order to play the game. Maybe you can argue that having the different weapons may be somewhat necessary in order to get the entire gaming experience. Having strange weapons or unusual hats, however, is not.

 

I disagree. How is a player supposed to attain Buds, Festive weapons, etc that are all items from long since expired promotions? They have to trade. No, these items are not required in order to play the game, however they make up a part of the game's experience, and thus should be accessible by all players, not just the rich. Again, why we have to ensure a fair economy.

 

______________________________________________________________________

 

 

Are you saying that having keys is integral to the gaming experience? That I can't enjoy playing the game if I don't own any keys? I can give away my entire backpack and still be able to play TF2 fine. Trading is a secondary aspect. How many people do you think actively trade, versus the number of people who just play the game?

 

When TF2 first came out, it didn't have hats. It didn't have loadout slots or other weapons. It was a simple FPS, with a more cartoony style than other shooters at the time. Eventually new weapons were added. Then hats came along. THEN trading started, when users wanted a way of exchanging items. The game was released October 10th, 2007. Trading was added on September 30th, 2010.

 

What is TF2? Is it a trading simulator? Economy simulator? Or first person shooter? Is there trading in Halo, Call of Duty, Battlefield, Quake, Unreal Tournament, etc?

Maybe I'm addressing the wrong audience. Maybe all of you really just play "economy simulator" and not Team Fortress 2. But for me, and for most of the people who play the game, trading is a secondary commodity, a fascinating addition, to a fun shooting game. Absolutely no trading is ever required to play this game, thus making it a commodity.

 

Yes, again, Keys are most definitely integral to the gaming experience. Given that some players would rather not commit to ongoing costs such as the purchase of Keys from the Mann Co. Store, they are forced to trade for them. This, by extension, places Trading itself in the realm of being integral to the game.

 

________________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

i want to raise another concern regarding key prices.

 

there's another good reason to slow down the suggestions - the most recent one: http://backpack.tf/vote/id/5156cd4aba2536114800002e went from suggested to closed in about 6 hours.  that is way too little time to establish a good trading average.  volume of trading is fairly low which makes prices more likely to be volatile.

 

in addition, trading activity changes day to day.  thursday-sunday have a lot more volume of trades due to the combination of the drop system reset and the weekend when players have more time to play.

 

a true average would be best established over a week of trading.  if we take and accept suggestions on a saturday morning it will likely be an inflated price.

 

This is another very good point. Perhaps rather than freezing price suggestions for Keys, we could entertain the idea of limiting their frequency?

 

I have already stated I feel the price keeps increasing due to Backpack.tf's listing going up before players have time to restock their inventories with additional Keys to sell. Limiting the frequency of allowed suggestions might actually allow the price to stabilize (as players will be able to restock their trades, so less players will be forced to pay highball prices).

 

Chief D, again, what do you think of such an idea?

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Chief D

1.- If 90% of the key market is "controlled" by idlers, then I'm sorry but that's the market. IF by Everyone else you mean 10% of the market, then I'm sorry for them, but they're the minority.

 

2.- Most of the time, if not every time, I see an item's price switch currencies, it's for a valid reason. Say, and item is constantly being sold for a key when keys are 3 ref. Keys go up to 4 ref and the item is still being traded for a key. The price should stay as "1 key". On the other hand, if keys go up to 4 ref and the item is still being traded for 3 ref, then the price should change to "3 ref". That's usually how it works. If people stop trading for metal, then metal would stop being a currency, and the pricelist would be edited to show it. (I highly doubt it)

 

3.- I can't really say for sure if I support the idea of blocking key suggestions for, let's say, a week. People might see this as price manipulation, as they can't report the current price if the keys start raising up petty fast because, perhaps, halloween is here and people get crazy again to unbox. 

 

I stand by my position that all we can do, is wait for Valve to do something. I think a good solution would be to make keys craftable with 4-5 ref. That way, 4-5 ref = a key and it won't change again. That would mean a monetary loss for Valve, though.

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buddhapest

2.- Most of the time, if not every time, I see an item's price switch currencies, it's for a valid reason. Say, and item is constantly being sold for a key when keys are 3 ref. Keys go up to 4 ref and the item is still being traded for a key. The price should stay as "1 key". On the other hand, if keys go up to 4 ref and the item is still being traded for 3 ref, then the price should change to "3 ref". That's usually how it works. If people stop trading for metal, then metal would stop being a currency, and the pricelist would be edited to show it. (I highly doubt it)

 

metal can't stop being a currency because you have to make change.  however metal is not like coins in a typical monetary system and yet it is expected to be used as such.

 

but the reason why those items you mention stay at the currency they are being traded as is mainly because bp.tf is reporting the price in that currency, not the other way around.  it takes a lot of market pressure to get an item to switch from one currency to another.  a lot more market pressure than on items that stay in the same currency.

 

as to the "we will not manipulate prices" pledge, it's starting to get bandied around like google's "don't be evil" - the intent is pure, but the reality is not parallel to the intent.

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Chief D

as to the "we will not manipulate prices" pledge, it's starting to get bandied around like google's "don't be evil" - the intent is pure, but the reality is not parallel to the intent.

 

I just don't think that stop updating the prices is a good solution. Removing the key prices, I don't know. I still think Valve has to do something about it if they thing it could "ruin" the economy.

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Corillo

Sorry, this will be a very short post.

I think that (another) reason for the rising of the key price is, that nobody buys "new" keys in the Mann CO Store. Most people buy the keys from other users via the steam market -> less keys are in the trading system -> they become more expensive.

I would like if Valve tries make the key in the Store cheaper, so that more people actually buy it there -> more keys are in the trading system -> more people sell them for metal -> the market is full of key sellers -> the key sellers sell them for less to get quicker deals -> the price dropps again.

 

This is just a small thought i had, not really prepared for those big discussions, but i wanted to mention that.

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buddhapest

I just don't think that stop updating the prices is a good solution. Removing the key prices, I don't know. I still think Valve has to do something about it if they thing it could "ruin" the economy.

 

not stop, but a weekly moratorium on key price reporting could have a calming effect on the inflation as the demand for keys goes up toward the end of the week.  if you look at the volume of trading as reported by tf2finance, there is always a spike near the latter part of the week when the drop system resets and we enter the weekend.  any suggestions that get made and accepted during that time are therefore more likely to be inflated.

 

i agree, valve hold all the ... ahem ... keys to any realistic solution.  an earlier suggestion of allowing players to craft refined into keys will just invite everyone t make alt accounts completely tossing out balance.  as to corillo's suggestion above:

 

Sorry, this will be a very short post.

I think that (another) reason for the rising of the key price is, that nobody buys "new" keys in the Mann CO Store. Most people buy the keys from other users via the steam market -> less keys are in the trading system -> they become more expensive.

I would like if Valve tries make the key in the Store cheaper, so that more people actually buy it there -> more keys are in the trading system -> more people sell them for metal -> the market is full of key sellers -> the key sellers sell them for less to get quicker deals -> the price dropps again.

 

this would only allow a temporary "relief" as key prices would quickly re-adjust, the $$$ value of metal would simply get pushed down.  i actually think there's a lot of keys being bought from the mannco store still.

 

on february 28th, stats.tf reported a total of 467961 keys in visible backpacks.  today that number is 496850 (~6.1% increase).  there was also a peak on the 22nd of march of 511946 keys.  remember stats.tf reports on only the backpacks that are visible and visited at backpack.tf so these numbers need to have a margin of error (i have no idea what that might be).  but clearly most traders who have more than a few items will use backpack.tf from time to time so this number is probably at least showing that despite being used to open crates, keys are still entering the system which means they are being bought at the mannco store.

 

btw, during the same period the number of refined went from 1221331 (2.61 ratio of metal to keys) to 1291867 (2.60 ratio) once again giving major pause to the idea that inflation should be blamed on refined farming.

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BQE

I started tracking the amount of metal and keys in circulation (stats.tf) and key price (tf2finance.com) a week ago.  I'll keep this up as long as it remains interesting. 

 

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AqfwmAoqShs7dEVWellMbTBjWUxJcmJwaVNuLVZBUEE&usp=sharing

 

Week 1 fun facts -

  • Metal increased an average of 3,843 ref per day.
  • Keys decreased an average of 1,473 per day.
  • Key price increased by 1 scrap in 7 days, but mostly has remained the same.
  • Based on the graphs, it appears as though the amount of metal is increasing faster than the number of keys is decreasing.

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Lava

Now, with regards to the voting serving as a reward to users - sure, I get that, that's cool. But the fact that you automatically assume that because someone votes against a price they are guilty of trying to manipulate it is extremely disturbing to me, and sets a terrible precedent for community input. By doing this, you are actively punishing users for providing their input in an open system. What is the point? If you're going to punish those who vote against a price suggestion, then Backpack.tf is about as far from democratic as it gets!

 

This is exactly why I stopped submitting price suggestions and stopped voting. I was very concerned when I saw the Reddit thread about community votes being ignored with key prices, and felt voting on this site was pretty pointless once I saw how arbitrary it was, but this suggestion was ultimately the last straw for me. Say what you want about supply and demand, but that seller successfully pointed out people willingly selling keys for a lower price (albeit discriminating against key resellers, which I hope at least some people here can understand). Granted it wasn't very tactful, that user believed the price of keys should decrease, followed the proper channels, provided evidence, took and accepted criticism (even if he wasn't very tactful about it), but got banned for it. Believe it or not, people do sell keys for less than what's listed on backpack.tf, even if they split away from key resellers. I have bought keys for well under the backpack.tf price, and I have never resold them, but that's besides the point. Here we had a user suggesting what he felt was a better price, and what did we do with that suggestion? Well for starters we banned the person suggesting it, and he's still banned from backpack.tf to this date. Then someone from TF2outpost went through all the trades he linked, banned those sellers (including the suggester), and closed all their trades (the reason for closing was different at the time the suggestion was first closed, and the sellers are no longer banned). Not the first time someone has been banned or had trades closed for low-priced keys on outpost, but still, conflict of interest much?

 

If that's what happens when voting or providing, then this is as far from democratic as you get. Between that and admins ignoring votes, I'd have to say backpack.tf has become no different from spreadsheet. There is no point in contributing when it's really just the admin's discretion, and if you can get banned for disagreeing, then my only choices are to provide verbal support for the admins' beliefs or risk retaliation. Personally, I've submitted a couple suggestions, both accepted, but after seeing this I am done.

 

Another thing: What is the point in listing "sold at this price"? It doesn't affect your ability to sell, and everyone seems to be linking to trades that say "sold at ___" as evidence that keys are selling at a certain price. Anyone could claim to have sold a bunch of key at ____ price. Is there any reason for doing that other than manipulating prices?

 

But lets take a minute to assume you are correct. The price is accurate despite overwhelming opposition from the community, and we reach a point where demand is low enough to actually stop the inflation. How do you see the state of the economy at that time? The situation will be that idlers are the only ones that can feasibly buy metal in a timely manner, and it takes months and months for the average player to save up enough metal to purchase a single key, but the price doesn't actually drop because a large number of players can still afford them. The price of Strange Weapons and Unusuals will likely increase due to the increased difficulty in attaining keys, which would in turn make it harder and harder for average players to attain those items. We well end up with an economy where it is absolutely the rich remaining rich, and the poor being unable to get anywhere.

 

That sounds pretty damn bleak to me.

 

It would be just like the polarized economy we have in the U.S. - where the rich get richer and walk all over poor people, fighting against any kind of social welfare, consumer protection, or anything that benefits someone who isn't super rich.

 

I'd just like to say thanks for the responses, guys. This sort of discussion was what I'd hoped for.  :)

Now, I'd like to address some of what's been said.

 

But lets take a minute to assume you are correct. The price is accurate despite overwhelming opposition from the community, and we reach a point where demand is low enough to actually stop the inflation. How do you see the state of the economy at that time? The situation will be that idlers are the only ones that can feasibly buy metal in a timely manner, and it takes months and months for the average player to save up enough metal to purchase a single key, but the price doesn't actually drop because a large number of players can still afford them. The price of Strange Weapons and Unusuals will likely increase due to the increased difficulty in attaining keys, which would in turn make it harder and harder for average players to attain those items. We well end up with an economy where it is absolutely the rich remaining rich, and the poor being unable to get anywhere.

 

That sounds pretty damn bleak to me.

 

If there is even the slightest possibility that Backpack.tf is influencing pricing (which as I've shown, I believe there is, and not just with keys), then given that it has already altered the state of affairs, it stands to reason that it's Backpack.tf's responsibility as part of the community to prevent a shift in the economy which would, for all intents and purposes, ruin the market for the largest majority of players.

 

Am I wrong?

 

It would be just like the polarized economy in the U.S. - where the rich get richer and walk all over poor people, fighting against any kind of social welfare, consumer protection, or anything that benefits someone who isn't super rich.

 

Backpack.tf has an effect, sure, but our "job" here is to keep the pricelist as updated with CURRENT prices as possible. It works great with every item except for keys, apparently. Wouldn't you say that's why the site became so popular? Keys are our black sheep. Key suggestions have such a huge impact on the community it's crazy. However, we can't just stop doing what we are supposed to be doing. If we stopped updating the price and started closing ACCURATE suggestion, we would be manipulating the prices. If we accepted un-accurate suggestions because many users upvote it, we would be manipulating the prices. To me, Valve has the final say in this key crisis, and there's nothing we can do but to keep being unbiased as possible, no matter what the users might think.

 

I vote we quit tracking key prices. There are already some items which are excluded. If backpack.tf can't do any good by reporting key prices, then maybe we should just report everything except key prices.

 

voters who vote against an accurate suggestion are not ALWAYS trying to manipulate the price, sometimes they just THINK the price is accurate. However, on key suggestions, the firs thing is sadly true most of the time. I hope you can convince it it's not, but if EVERYONE trades keys at 4.11-4.33 and a key suggestion of 4 ref has 5000:100 positive votes and it gets rejected, you can't blame us for it. I'm sure 4500 of the upvoters knew the keys were being trades for 4.11-4.33 and wanted them to be cheaper, so they downvoted it. (See all the LETS BRING KEYS BACK TO 2.66 groups).

 

Even base64 himself is against tf2finance auto-sync, so I won't even go there. I'll only say that if we stop updating the key prices by closing accurate suggestions, we'd be manipulating the key prices.

 

Another issue I have with backpack.tf is the exclusive use of tf2outpost as a source. Several times I've watched key prices increase while people were still selling at or below the price on trade servers. In many cases, the price of keys is changing too rapidly for people to keep up with it. If I can buy a couple keys at 3.11 in a day, there is no reason to set the minimum to 3.22 unless you're only citing outpost, a method which in itself is a problem. Mathematically speaking,

K1 = K2

K2 = K1 + 0.11

Where K1 is the price on backpack.tf and K2 is the price on outpost. Outpost is well-known for highballing and lowballing, so they will always set their price slightly above the backpack.tf price (hence the K1 + 0.11), and we can never change that (arguably Sneeza could restructure it a bit so as not to encourage or reward the scum on outpost, but that will never happen). The first part (K1 = K2), where backpack.tf sets prices using outpost as a source (and outpost alone) can be changed however. As it stands, the function is a recursive one without a limit (also self-contradictory because you'll never have an accurate price estimate), but if you quit chasing the carrot on a stick and accept it will always be a short distance in front of you that may change. As has been indicated here, the same thing would probably happen if you automatically sync with tf2finance.

 

3. Future of key prices

Key prices will reach an equilibrium eventually. When that happens, nobody knows. People will decide 4.33 ref is outrageous, and refuse to spend a bit more to buy a key. Maybe people will keep buying keys, eventually causing metal to be absolutely worthless.

 

Here is something to think about. One account gets item drops, usually within 6-12 weapons per week. Sometimes the drops can be hats or other items worth slightly more. Are you paying for these drops? Aside from electrical bills, no. Valve decided to reward those who play the game with free items every week. Initially, keys are only sold in the Mann Co Store, and you would need to spend actual money to buy them. Since the start of keys, many keys have since been bought, and a secondary market has been created where users buy keys from other users, for reduced prices. Basically, this allows users to play the game, get drops, and trade those drops for something which costs actual money. If everyone were a perfectly rational human being (which nobody is, don't kid yourself), this whole endeavor would still remain profitable until the cost of buying a key with metal equals the cost of electricity needed to generate the metal (ignoring opportunity costs). In the United States, the average cost of one kilowatthour of energy is 9.83 cents. The average computer requires 60-250 watts per hour, let us take the average of 155 watts (although average useage is most probably less). Weekly idling usually takes around 10 hours, so it would be 1550 watthours, or 1.55 kilowatthours. That would make it 15.24 cents for a week of drops. Let us assume that the user gets 10 items per week in drops, and turns it into .55 ref. A key is $2.49 from the Mann Co store, so 2.49/.1524 = 16.34 weeks of drops. At the rate of .55 ref per week, this would be 8.99~9 ref. GIven these estimations, it would not make rational sense to buy keys for over 9 ref each - thus, this is the hard cap. This hypothetical can be different for everyone, because some people always have their computer running, some may use a low-power idle machine, some may have cheaper or more expensive electricity, etc. However, it proves the possibility of a hard cap.

 

Another alternative is if people lose interest in the game, and nobody cares for keys or unusuals. That would lead to a collapse of the key market, and every other TF2 item trading market.

 

Let's be honest with ourselves here. A lot of the people trading TF2 items are kids. Kids don't pay the electric bill, and many of them don't have allowances. Trading with keys, for them, is often the most effective way to build up their Steam game library, and for them it really won't matter how much it costs in terms of electricity. Also, the upgrade to premium pack didn't help much because now kids without access to credit cards have a simple and easy way to set up idle farms if they trade a few keys for the item.

 

People will probably never lose interest in unusuals. However, TF2 appears to be going the way of WoW and Star Wars Combine, where it's becoming impossible for new users to get anything of value. At 2.66 it was possible for a new user to get enough metal to buy a key, hang onto it, get another the next week, and eventually after a few months get an unusual they might want. By now, I personally haven't bought a key with metal for at least a month.

 

 

4. Use of backpack.tf

Again, we're not forcing you to use our website, nor is our website dictating prices. We are suggesting prices based on completed trades. We cannot hope to please everyone, but we strive to be as objective as possible. It is not to say that we are perfect machines who make no mistakes - surely, our prices can be off. We value community feedback, and if you believe a price to be completely wrong, you may make a suggestion, with valid proof, to argue for what the right price should be. Alternatively, you may disregard our price guide altogether. We cannot and will not force anyone to follow our price guide. Our moderation team is a 9 member (as of now) group, and the tf2 economy is filled with thousands of items. We cannot possibly keep perfect up-to-date track of every item in existence. This is where the community comes in. A community member notices something wrong with our prices, and suggests a change. We look over their suggestion, assess it for its validity, and choose to accept or deny the change. In debatable decisions, the votes usually swag admin decision one way or another. On important decisions, admins will spend more time looking at the market status. If you feel a price was changed prematurely or without enough justification, feel free to open a suggestion or forum post, with evidence of the corrected price.

 

You may not be forcing anyone to use this site, but you can't deny the influence it has on item prices. Most traders follow it religiously, so if you don't reference it you're not going to make any trades. I set prices based on what I personally feel something is worth (e.g. I wouldn't sell my unusual for any less than 2 buds), but any time my price differs from backpack.tf I get called a scammer for not following their bible. If you say something is worth 10 keys, people are sure as hell going to pay 10 keys if they want it. If you say it's worth 1 key, then no matter how in-demand the item is it's not going to sell at 10 keys (save for maybe a couple rich people who don't care).

 

Another effect is that as you ignore votes, you start to lose credibility. I personally used to have a lot of respect for backpack.tf, but I don't anymore. I have encountered a handful of people on trade servers who feel the same way. As you ignore user votes, you hurt your credibility (whether or not you're actually manipulating prices). This may be a good thing, as too many people use it like a bible, but I think it'll be like spreadsheet where the next pricing website to crop up will take its place and we'll be in the exact same position as before.

 

One thing that people seem to believe is that keys are in integral, vital, indispensible part of TF2. This is NOT true. Keys are a commodity. Ownership of keys offers you no special advantage over other players - there are no weapons that can only be obtained from keys, and having keys does not make you play better. Having a key is like having a lot of money - you can show off your money by buying a BMW (unusual hat), but in the end it is just a symbol of vanity. All unusual hats also come in a unique form, and this cheaper variant can be bought quite easily with metal. All weapons come in a unique form, and they are constantly traded for other weapons or items.

 

 

no, that's actually wrong.  everyone keeps talking about keys as if they are only a commodity however, and this goes back to backpack.tf's influence on the marketplace, the fundamental use of keys is as currency.

 

what i see as the biggest problem right now is simply that backpack.tf has chosen to list the prices of items in 3 different currencies.  refined, keys, and buds.  TF2 is not composed of three different nations, all these currencies exist in the same economic space (this is my main beef with base64's "Ratio of quantity existing" section in his http://tf2finance.com/2013_03/.  he compares the currencies of two counties which compose of two different economies, regulated by 2 different government entities as equivalent to refined vs. keys - this is simply not true)

 

many traders have completely dismissed the idea of bp.tf reporting everything in terms of refined.  for some reason, buying a car in the real world for $20,000 seems ok, but pricing an unusual for 120 refined is somehow seen as ludicrous.  no one is saying you can't use a bud or keys to finance purchase, just that the price is reported in terms of one currency.  it would be up to the individual traders to decide how they want to take payment.  keys and buds would be treated just like any other "item" typically used in the exchange.

 

think about everything that would be solved if backpack.tf started pricing in a single currency: refined.  there are literally hundreds of items that hover at the price level between being priced in refined vs. keys.  any items that currently fall into refined lose status and value.  any items that manage to rise into the key range are suddenly protected from key inflation.  currently there is a 2 class economy created solely because backpack.tf uses different items as the reported currency

 

i do realize all the headaches that would be caused if this kind of change would be seriously considered.  suggestion would become much more difficult to make but backpack.tf's UI could provide simply calculators to help make the suggestion reflecting the current state of the market (i.e. you see the splendid screen selling for between 5-6 keys, then convert the key price to refined using a calculator and suggest 21.11-25.33 refined)

 

That's partly true. Basically, what Shenanigans said here:

Trading in itself is a commodity. One is absolutely NOT required to participate in trade whatsoever. One is not required to own an unusual in order to play the game. Maybe you can argue that having the different weapons may be somewhat necessary in order to get the entire gaming experience. Having strange weapons or unusual hats, however, is not.

 

Keys are a commodity, in the sense that they are in-game items and almost everything you can buy with them is aesthetic and offers no strategic advantage in terms of game mechanics (arguably you could spot a spy disguised as you with your unusual, but I digress). Therefore the "OMG regulate the free market" argument doesn't carry the same merit. However, for anyone who wants high tier items of any sort, keys are indispensible. Most traders will not accept pure refined metal as a substitute. Furthermore, because of keys' integral use as currency, and more importantly backpack.tf's implementation, a change in keys affects almost everything, hence it's screwing up the economy. If the price of keys increases by 2 scrap, that means everything more than a key increases by 0.11 x 2K where K is the number of keys it's worth.

 

Now if you argue "metal inflation" that's a perfectly valid and anticipated consequence because effectively the same amount of metal will buy less (problem is, it's also backpack.tf whose prices fell out of sync because of the key price update). This does effectively devalue metal, but only in the sense that people follow backpack.tf like a bible and effectively accept the increased price. This problem becomes more obvious when you look at traders who cash in on their inventory. As soon as the key price increases, all their items priced in terms of keys increases. If they only carry high-tier items, their whole backpack increases in value (despite keys still being the same price in the Mann Co store) until the price of metal is adjusted. Incidentally, this actually illuminates one possible incentive for manipulating the price of keys. When you change the price of keys, it affects everything, and not only raises the bar of entry for anyone who wants an item priced in terms of keys but temporarily inflates backpack.tf's "de facto" cash value for high tier items. What backpack.tf should do in this case is make all prices dynamic and fixed on a common variable (whether that be metal, keys, credits, or whatever) and adjusted based on current prices. E.g. when the key price increases, automatically decrease prices of everything else proportionally. When earbuds go up by a key, change the price of all the old festives, salvaged stranges, and rare vintages proportionally. Until then, we're going to have sellers using key price changes as an opportunity to capitalize on temporary increases in their calculated backpack value (which I believe calculates on refined metal).

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Lava

What is TF2? Is it a trading simulator? Economy simulator? Or first person shooter? Is there trading in Halo, Call of Duty, Battlefield, Quake, Unreal Tournament, etc?

Maybe I'm addressing the wrong audience. Maybe all of you really just play "economy simulator" and not Team Fortress 2. But for me, and for most of the people who play the game, trading is a secondary commodity, a fascinating addition, to a fun shooting game. Absolutely no trading is ever required to play this game, thus making it a commodity.

It's a first person dress-up game for boys, with a first person shooting mini-game.

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Chief D

 

Another issue I have with backpack.tf is the exclusive use of tf2outpost as a source. Several times I've watched key prices increase while people were still selling at or below the price on trade servers. In many cases, the price of keys is changing too rapidly for people to keep up with it. If I can buy a couple keys at 3.11 in a day, there is no reason to set the minimum to 3.22 unless you're only citing outpost, a method which in itself is a problem. Mathematically speaking,

K1 = K2

K2 = K1 + 0.11

Where K1 is the price on backpack.tf and K2 is the price on outpost. Outpost is well-known for highballing and lowballing, so they will always set their price slightly above the backpack.tf price (hence the K1 + 0.11), and we can never change that (arguably Sneeza could restructure it a bit so as not to encourage or reward the scum on outpost, but that will never happen). The first part (K1 = K2), where backpack.tf sets prices using outpost as a source (and outpost alone) can be changed however. As it stands, the function is a recursive one without a limit (also self-contradictory because you'll never have an accurate price estimate), but if you quit chasing the carrot on a stick and accept it will always be a short distance in front of you that may change. As has been indicated here, the same thing would probably happen if you automatically sync with tf2finance.

Hey, feel free to post screenshots of people selling keys for that 3.11 price and that would mean that's the lower price and not 3.22. However, NO ONE does that. People only complain about it and do NOTHING. I never go on trade servers because if I open TF2 it's to play. If you say you can get keys for 3.11 on servers and can show us, then you're in the right. Problem is, as I said, people only say it and bitch about it but never do anything.

 

Now, about the guy being banned and the sellers on outpost being banned. That guy was trying to manipulate the prices of keys. Keys are not 3 ref, and were not 3 ref 13 days ago. He knew what he was doing, and still did it. He deserved the ban. I bet he and the other guys were on those Revolution of keys group. They infest outpost with fake trades selling keys for low. They say SELLING KEYS FOR 3 REF, STOCK:0. And leave it like that forever because they never have keys or they never sell it for 3 ref. They deserve to be banned if they don't stop.

 

I'm tired of repeating this, but the solution is on Valve's side. There's NOTHING we can do, as anything we do will be troublesome for some. Also please, PLEASE remember btf is not the MAIN reason keys started to rise. When keys were 2.5 on btf people PRAYED for it to be raised to 2.5-2.55, because it was accurate. Finally Brad accepted and the key prices got updated. Then Halloween, Premium and all the other events Base64 mentions happened and keys started rising.

 

The banned guy mentions profit. Profit would only happen if keys went up, not if ref goes down. We can get more hats, but the hats are worth less. Raising the price of keys is in NO WAY beneficial no anyone. Unless you just want to collect random craft hats. Then everyone is happier because hats are cheaper.

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SexuallyAttractedToFire

I'm not going to say the key economy is horrible but really, i've seen keys sold at 4.66 now a days thats 2 ref higher than what it was less then a year ago. The problem i think is that yes people buy according to backpack.tf prices and other spreadsheets, but these sites get their prices from just what people see being sold on tf2 op. Really whats happening is that Lets say Key price is 4.00 according to whereever, people will then decide to sell for slightly higher for no reason other than to make a profit. Because of this price increase just for a profit, the site will then change its price according to the sellers of keys making it lets say 4.33. Now that the key price has risen to 4.33 people will notice and realize, "Hey i'm not making a proift." and then increase their prices again. In short whats happneing is that we are just going back and forth between seller prices and website prices, site states a price, seller sells higher than that, site re-states price to accomadate seller price, seller sells higher than that. Its just a stupid cycle going over and over again for absolutely no reason. Yes, I do understand of the key shortage that happened due to the massive unboxing of halloween crates back in October but with over tens of thousands of keys (yes there is that many, the tf2 economy itself is worth more than an estimated $50 million as of 2011) Prices should be stablized by now. 

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BQE

If metal is continuing becoming devalued, no key resellers are really making a profit.  First of all, if an item is going "up" in value and expected to continue to do so, you aren't making a profit by buying and selling, theoretically speaking, unless the price stops going up.  If you buy for 4 ref and sell for 4.33, and then the price gets changed to 4.33, you are no better off than if you just held on to your keys in the first place.  Second of all, if you are accumulating this pile of refined metal from key reselling, and metal is going "down" in value, then having more of it doesn't mean you are really profiting.  

 

All that said, if you want keys to stop going up in price, I suppose there are couple things you could do.  One, stop paying the higher price, but this requires a large collective decision.  Two, stop paying for keys in metal and buy them with items instead.  Beyond that, keys won't stop increasing in price until Valve does something about it, whether its to stop allowing key sales on the community market or to do something to discourage idle accounts.  

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Arry Waters

I'm curious about the amount of successful key traders. Is there any way to know from this data how many people are successfully trading keys? I assume since it counts each trade as 1 trade in the average, whether a couple of keys or in bulk, that it should be easy to extract that data from there; basically like a volume chart but instead of total keys sold, it shows the amount of trades involved that make up the average. It will be interesting to see the amount of successful trades over time.

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F  CHARLIE

All of these concepts have been discussed and no one cares or considers any action.  Established traders are miffed that anyone complains about keys or any other perceived issues.  New trader/players are raging because this situation makes it extremely difficult to trade and gain.  I started trading in January and have traded for most item types in the game.  I have raised the value of my pack from its low of $47 (after getting scammed) to a high of around $140 (if I bring my keys back from my buying alt).  The discussions have grown tiring and so I have closed my trades and am packing up for awhile.  Bye

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revivespirit

Sooo.. I was send here by a mod after a small discussion on why I wanted to change the price of keys to refined metal (robro 3k specifically, should be done for every single item price listed in keys): 

 

Regarding the stance of ChiefD: 

 

I believe we can do something about the key "price problem" seeing as that I like Fire here said: 

 

 

I'm not going to say the key economy is horrible but really, i've seen keys sold at 4.66 now a days thats 2 ref higher than what it was less then a year ago. The problem i think is that yes people buy according to backpack.tf prices and other spreadsheets, but these sites get their prices from just what people see being sold on tf2 op. Really whats happening is that Lets say Key price is 4.00 according to whereever, people will then decide to sell for slightly higher for no reason other than to make a profit. Because of this price increase just for a profit, the site will then change its price according to the sellers of keys making it lets say 4.33. Now that the key price has risen to 4.33 people will notice and realize, "Hey i'm not making a proift." and then increase their prices again. In short whats happneing is that we are just going back and forth between seller prices and website prices, site states a price, seller sells higher than that, site re-states price to accomadate seller price, seller sells higher than that. Its just a stupid cycle going over and over again for absolutely no reason. Yes, I do understand of the key shortage that happened due to the massive unboxing of halloween crates back in October but with over tens of thousands of keys (yes there is that many, the tf2 economy itself is worth more than an estimated $50 million as of 2011) Prices should be stablized by now. 

 

It's a cycle caused by people making profit with keys (selling 1 or more scraps above the backpack.tf price). 

 

The thing that backpack.tf could do against the key price dictating the market is changing the price of every single item listed in a key price to refined metal. 

 

Having a single base currency would erase the deviation of key prices from the equation. 

 

How much people are "attracted" to buy an item is not dictated merely by key prices- if the key prices go up this DOES NOT MEAN that the price of a hat or weapon goes up aswell: it is not suddenly a more sought after item merely because the key price went up. 

 

 

Any idea here regarding re-listing every single price on backpack.tf to refined metal? (seeing as that the price of refined metal doesn't change as much as the price of keys).

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