The Ins and Outs of OSRS Economy
As with any other MMORPG, Old School RuneScape and RuneScape both have economies that somewhat reflect real life. Although Jagex has the power to add or remove gold, they have mostly left it up to the players to decide on prices based on supply & demand and gold naturally making its way into the game through skilling. Through this OSRS Economy guide, you will understand the nuances behind what drives pricing in the game so you can get better ideas of how to make and use your money.
What currency is used in OSRS?
Gold coins are the central currency in OSRS and are used for direct trades between players, buying items at shops, and the Grand Exchange. It’s generated through various means like killing monsters, selling items to shops, and converting items to gold via high-level alchemy (the most significant source).
In both RuneScape 3 and OSRS, gold is devalued over time as more of it is introduced to the game, in which its price in real-life money slowly declines. Jagex tries to combat inflation through various means, such as adding more activities that cost money or implementing a tax to the Duel Arena.
What are controlled prices in OSRS?
Due to the high alch or vendor sale value, some items in the game remain at a stable price thanks to the minimum price imposed by the game. This usually includes rune items or dragonhide armor, runite bars or gold jewelry. The slight price variation does allow a window of opportunity for players to buy items in bulk and sell them to vendors.
In the case of most runes, this is controlled through stock prices set in rune shops. This is particularly true for mind runes, chaos runes, and air runes that are bought in packs, making the price relatively the same margin in the exchange.
The “hard prices” of these items usually don’t move unless a major update is made to the game. This may include new quests, new vendors or vendor prices, or a new means to make an item easier or cheaper to obtain.
What is the OSRS Grand Exchange?
The most significant update to the OSRS economy was the addition of the Grand Exchange, which is comparable to “auction houses” in other MMORPGs. It has added an incredible amount of convenience connecting buyers to sellers with an abstraction layer to take the social factor out of trading. Of course, there are still instances in which direct trading is beneficial, like buying items beyond GE limits or trading high-ticket items.
The GE has also enabled the consolidation of prices for both highly-traded goods and has made otherwise sparsely-traded items more popular. Aside from wasting more time, the original trading system had made common trade goods much more expensive and the supply poorly distributed among players.
The Grand Exchange had also made the practice of arbitrage even more viable, including items that aren’t necessarily in high demand. This usually entails buying items from a certain shop in the game and selling them at a higher margin on the exchange. The more distant and hard-to-reach the item, the higher the price will generally be—especially when it comes to items needed for quests.
Merchanting in the game has mostly evolved into item flipping, in which players will buy prices slightly lower and sell slightly higher. Due to the convenience of trading, margins are quite tight for most items and you will need to invest large amounts to make a decent amount of money while flipping. Newer players should look into arbitrage for starter cash.
What about supply & demand in OSRS Economy?
Just like in real life or other games, prices in OSRS are determined through the principles of supply & demand. If an item happens to be scarce (like drops from hard bosses), you can bet the price will be steep and only grow further. If Jagex makes an update to the game to make an item easier to obtain, it will generally make the price crash on the market.
There are some items stuck in perpetual equilibrium where the price barely moves yet has stable demand. This may include basic skilling items (like logs or fish) where players regularly put them into the exchange and are regularly bought at the median market price without much adjustment.
In the case of items that are no longer available in the game (known as “rares”), the item steadily appreciates over time, especially if it’s a cosmetic item with plenty of demand. One perfect example in RuneScape 3 is Party hats, but there are seldom rares in OSRS due to holiday items being reintroduced to the game on a yearly basis.
How do the economies of OSRS and Runescape 3 compare?
Considering that OSRS and RS3 both have the Grand Exchange, both economies are relatively the same. The main difference being that RS3 has a much more expansive list of items and demands for certain goods are shifted in a different direction due to skill updates. Also, since new weapons and armor are in the game, there are a lot of dead content where prices crashed and got a chance to recover.
Considering Runescape 3 is so old, there is such a high availability for older items that even hard to obtain ones are pretty low in price. The Abyssal Whip being a perfect example as it is just as cheap as beginner rune gear, even though it requires a high slayer level to obtain. In OSRS, there is still a stable level of supply and demand since it is young and changes are seldom made to the base of the game.
Figuring out the OSRS Economy isn’t rocket science, but you need to keep up with current trends and updates if you ever wish to become wealthy in the game. Considering the OSRS is designed to not deviate from the original 2007 version of the game, there is a better sense of stability in its economy compared to Runescape 3’s, where there are vast changes to the game and possible fluctuations in the market.