(All figures in this article are taken from the actual Auction House Sold Data provided by Hex Ent., comparing monthly averages between January to December 2015. The Winner and Losers are displayed from the highest to lowest change in terms of Standard Deviations. Cards with starting or ending values below $0.35 are not highlighted.)
On Market Watch, we usually look at the status of the Auction House on a monthly basis, highlighting the value winners and losers compared to the previous month. On today’s Special Edition, we’ll take a look at the bigger picture by covering all of 2015. How much impact do Set releases have on the amount of trading? How about PvE content? How do card and booster prices behave throughout? What are the factors affecting Plat:Gold exchange rates? What conclusions can we draw that might allow us to predict future trends in the market? We’ll try to answer these and more below.
Total Plat & Gold Spent
Although the January to March figures don’t include Equipment/Booster sales (data not provided), the chart clearly shows the gradual growth of the Auction House activity with time, culminating at 21.9M Plat in August. August was not only the month right after Set 3 release but also included the popular GenCon events and saw 3 times more activity than January (6.7M Plat) – the month after Set 2 release. Also worth noting: monthly changes to Gold spent are in line with Plat spent except for April, May, and June. The Frost Ring Arena’s release in March significantly boosted the Gold generation (and therefore spending) as Hexers played it extensively for about 2-3 months.
Total Cards Sold & Gains:Losses Ratio
The month to month changes to the total number of Cards sold on the AH are naturally proportional to the currency spent, with August topping the chart at 255K cards sold. However, the number of Rares & Legendaries gaining vs losing value (illustrated above as the Gains:Losses Ratio) seem to have no correlation with it. March and December, both months on or near PvE content releases, are the top months – Cards that gained being twice as numerous as Cards that lost value. This perhaps suggests players’ increased efforts to round out their collections that would put them in the best possible position to tackle the new content.
Average Card Prices
Looking at the average card prices, we can observe their steady increase and peak in September at $1.37 for Rares and $5.47 for Legendaries, with a notable dip in June that is likely due to players wanting to liquidate their cards and have the most funds to spend on the new PvP Set. The huge drop going from September to October suggests that players need about 2 months post-release to get the cards they want, after which point they either complete their collection and/or lose interest.
Average Booster Prices
Unfortunately, we have no data on the first 3 months of the year but we do get to see the huge impact of the Set 1/Set 2 Draft format suddenly being taken out of the client with the release of Set 3, with Set 1 Boosters dropping from $1.66 to $1.41 and Set 2 from $1.74 to $1.58. Both Sets recover and eventually exceed their previous highs, largely thanks to their decreasing supply(none generated from tournaments/VIP) and the continued dominance of cards within in the constructed metagame. Set 3 Boosters maintain their high prices around $1.80 about 2 months post-release, with the help of increased demand for Set 3 boosters generated by introduction of the great Gauntlet Sealed mode. As players slowly lose interest and/or are able win enough boosters to keep drafting without needing to trade for more, the price continues to drop and stabilizes at its lowest level of $1.39 in November.
Gold to Platinum Rate
Gold’s value was as low as 158:1 in April with The Arena generating more Gold than tournaments were ever able to and no new Gold sinks besides the Common AAs to create extra demand. The Hex team’s announcement of the cool Extended Art feature in May was enough to drop the ratio to the 100:1 levels and keep it there till August. September was the turning point as the decreasing EA demand resulted in the market adjusting itself until more or less stabilizing at 130:1 levels at the end of the year.
– Whether it’s new PvE content or a new PvP Set, Hex expansions retain player interest for about 2-3 months after which all relevant indicative figures experience significant drops. Cory’s ultimate goal of 3 PvP Sets/year with PvE content/features in between (effectively new stuff every 2 months) is well-founded.
– While PvE expansions also provide a boon, the AH by far sees the most activity around the release of PvP Sets – the game’s bread and butter.
– A Set doesn’t need to rotate out of the Store for its boosters and cards to retain/increase their value. Simply not making it available for Limited play enables demand to surpass supply, which is also an indication of good interest levels in the Constructed mode.
– In preparation for a new PvP Set release, it’s best to sell your cards at least 2 months prior to it and your boosters at least 1 month prior to it. If you wait till the last minute, you will have sold at the worst time for both as their prices are likely to recover within 1-2 months after the new Set release.
– Gold:Plat ratio is fully controlled by the HXE team, as seen in 2015 with their choice of different Gold faucets and sinks being introduced into the game. While we can’t predict the timing and nature of these, it pays off to have an ear out as even the announcement of a new feature may have an immediate effect on the exchange rate (with a feature that increases Gold generation likely devaluing it, and a feature that increases Gold spending increasing its value).
Top Winners: January vs December 2015
1) Reese the Crustcrawler: $6.01 to $26.37 + $20.35 (+339%)
2) Vampire King: $11.44 to $30.19 + $18.76 (+164%)
3) Arborean Rootfather: $2.65 to $6.09 + $3.45 (+130%)
4) Eye of Creation: $4.19 to $11.66 + $7.47 (+178%)
5) Angel of Dawn: $10.84 to $18.90 + $8.07 (+74%)
6) Pack Raptor: $3.15 to $6.19 + $3.04 (+96%)
7)Succulent Cluckodon: $0.69 to $1.64 + $0.95 (+137%)
8) Puck Dream Bringer: $0.48 to $1.39 + $0.91 (+191%)
9) Xartaxis Bishop of the Azure Fang: $0.36 to $1.31 + $0.95 (264%)
10) Water Elemental: $3.73 to $9.02 + $5.29 (+142%)
11) Noble Heart: $0.58 to $1.31 + $0.73 (+126%)
12) Mass Polymorph: Dingler: $2.07 to $3.56 + $1.49 (+72%)
13) Kindling Skarn: $0.81 to $2.28 + $1.46 (+180%)
14) Ragefire: $1.94 to $3.40 + $1.46 (+76%)
15) Extinction: $3.79 to $6.52 + $2.73 (+72%)
Top Losers: January vs December 2015
1) Storm Cloud: $3.49 to $1.26 – $2.23 (-64%)
2) Hopeheart Unicorn: $2.35 to $1.04 – $1.31 (-56%)
3) Oberon’s Eulogy: $4.55 to $2.44 – $2.11 (-46%)
4) Forge of Cadoc: $5.85 to $3.66 – $2.19 (-37%)
5) Army of the Arcane Cinder: $3.96 to $2.16 – $1.80 (-45%)
6) Highlands Magus: $2.12 to $1.03 – $1.09 (-51%)
7) Darkspire Tyrant: $2.72 to $1.52 – $1.20 (-44%)
8) Cerulean Mirror Knight: $4.43 to $2.73 – $1.71 (-38%)
9) Constantina: $0.85 to $0.40 – $0.44 (-52%)
10) Gront the Infinite: $2.82 to $1.91 – $0.91 (-32%)