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Thread: Commodities: A bubble

  1. #1

    Commodities: A bubble

    Is there a mechanism that affects prices aside from other people selling and buying them? Otherwise it just seams like a mechanism to pretty much avoid losing out when saving due to the inflation that happens through out the game, and a bubble market where we simply invest in something because we expect other people to later invest in it.

  2. #2
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    there are reasons you might need cash though and people will sell to avoid being stuck holding less valuable stuff. It's a pretty fun system.

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    The "Owns Most Commodities" Fame point contest is the main driver for the prices, it's the only thing that actually generates a reason to buy them. All other fluctuations are player speculations as far as I've seen. I don't think there's any kind of normalising or "game tax" being shaved off.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grinfish View Post
    The "Owns Most Commodities" Fame point contest is the main driver for the prices, it's the only thing that actually generates a reason to buy them. All other fluctuations are player speculations as far as I've seen.
    That's not true. The prices of commodities, units and GPs (not food/hammers/science/culture) follow some random walk and will change up or down every 5-6 minutes, independent of any player action.

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    Quote Originally Posted by robin74 View Post
    That's not true. The prices of commodities, units and GPs (not food/hammers/science/culture) follow some random walk and will change up or down every 5-6 minutes, independent of any player action.
    Can you confirm this?

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    What do you mean? Watch them for a while and you'll see for yourself. Unless you honestly believe that people trade GPs every five minutes. Also, selling / buing a GP changes the price by several thousand. The 5-minute random walk is only a change of maybe 50-200 gold.
    And for commodities you can actually see the number of each one owned - they don't change, even though prices go up and down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by robin74 View Post
    What do you mean? Watch them for a while and you'll see for yourself. Unless you honestly believe that people trade GPs every five minutes. Also, selling / buing a GP changes the price by several thousand. The 5-minute random walk is only a change of maybe 50-200 gold.
    And for commodities you can actually see the number of each one owned - they don't change, even though prices go up and down.
    Half of this entire game for me is scalping markets and providing liquidity. And I have seen the numbers owned on commodities change.

    I don't doubt entirely there is a mechanism going on but I don't think it's 5 minute intervals.
    Last edited by mrt1212; 07-27-2011 at 02:32 PM.

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    The prices of commodities change all the time and can easily differ by several 100 a day without any player action. You can also see that in the newsticker.

    My tactic is to always hold 10 of the cheapest one, since it's most likely to rise and it has the highest potential relative gain compared to my invested money. If the price drops, I buy more until I can sell it off with a gain. That might be an argueable strategy, since only few days ago, I have owned 180 commodities worth of over 40k gold - which was over 80% of my liquid fortune. But after a while, prices recovered and I could cash in a decent profit. Nothing for the faint of heart.

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    Commodities aren't liquid though.

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    Yes, that was exactly the point which could have lead me to trouble...

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    the price of commodities only seems to rise throughout the game, though, and never significantly drops unless someone sells all of theirs off. It seems like the only real strategy with them is to buy them at the beginning of the game, hold them forever (and try to win the commodity contests), then sell them off for a profit towards the end.

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    Prices definitely fluctuate around a rising trend independently of player transactions

    (player action should tend to even out the highs and lows as they will buy as it drops and sell as it peaks)

    So it is safe to buy and hold a while but more profitable to constantly buy and sell along the way as it goes up and down

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    Quote Originally Posted by vancian View Post
    Prices definitely fluctuate around a rising trend independently of player transactions

    (player action should tend to even out the highs and lows as they will buy as it drops and sell as it peaks)

    So it is safe to buy and hold a while but more profitable to constantly buy and sell along the way as it goes up and down
    Micromanaging is so tedious

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrt1212 View Post
    Micromanaging is so tedious
    100% agree.. I'd rather buy/sell resources any day, because they actually have some benefit aside from their gold value.

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    You also have to take account of inflation. As the game goes on, each coin pays for less - units cost more as people start fighting, Great Persons cost more as more people fight to buy them and build wonders, and so on. Spending the couple of hundred gold earlier to upgrade a building or help pay for a cheap Great Person may be a smarter move than using commodities as some long-term investment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bronzeager View Post
    try to win the commodity contests
    Hint: if you click fast enough, you can own 100s of commodities during the contest and sell them right back without losing a single gold piece.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sucinum View Post
    Hint: if you click fast enough, you can own 100s of commodities during the contest and sell them right back without losing a single gold piece.
    With the downside being that a single correctly-timed buy and sell can cause you to lose the current difference between buy and sell prices, multiplied by the number of commodities you bought and sold. Risk vs reward will tell you that its' not worth it... because a single fame point is pretty worthless.

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    Hint 2: check who is online.
    But you are right, there is a certain risk...

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    Quote Originally Posted by bronzeager View Post
    the price of commodities only seems to rise throughout the game, though, and never significantly drops unless someone sells all of theirs off. It seems like the only real strategy with them is to buy them at the beginning of the game, hold them forever (and try to win the commodity contests), then sell them off for a profit towards the end.
    The profit is worthless near the end of the game though, when fame points and the leading civ are all set on stone. You are better off selling those commodities early, and investing in some GPs that increase your harvest and trickle output for the remainder of the game.

    That is, investing in GPs gives higher returns than investing in commodities. Commodities are only good for short term profit.

  20. #20
    It's not a random walk, that they follow. It's something more like a sine wave that moves between +50% and -50% of a base value.

    The base value keeps increasing as the total amount of gold in the game increases. Early in the game, the base value is around 90, but by the end of the game the base value can easily be 700 to 900 plus or minus 50%.

    The player impact on pricing is very strong at the beginning of the game, then fairly weak at the end. The sine wave pattern dominates the pricing at the end of the game.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GammaZ View Post
    It's not a random walk, that they follow. It's something more like a sine wave that moves between +50% and -50% of a base value.
    Possibly. I don't know. And don't really have time to test it. Out of curiosity - why do you think it's a sine around gold-dependent trend and not the random walk plus player influence? Do you have any statistical evidence or inside knowledge to support it?

  22. #22
    Just playing the game multiple times and watching the pricing Robin. I was #3 in game 367, #1 player in game 1225, playing the commodity market was a big portion of getting an edge and then the win.

    The line that either sits at top of the graphic, or the bottom seems to be more like a derivative. It's an indication of percent rate of change with time, not the absolute pricing. That graphic does not zoom up or down in a random walk, except by player influence. It moves in progressive increments in one direction or the other. You want to be buying or selling when the the line is either dropping or rising across the graphic (when the derivative is going to zero midway through the graphic) indicating a change in direction of the pricing.

    It's usually pretty easy to see player influence, it's sudden sharp spikes up or down in that derivative, but toward the end of the last game I was selling or buying slowly to push it in the opposite direction of the computer-driven direction to fool another gold heavy player. Once they heavily dumped their commodity because they thought it was starting to fall in price, I bought. Once you figure out that the other player has figured out the meaning of that line, then you can screw with them and not have them realize it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GammaZ View Post
    That graphic does not zoom up or down in a random walk, except by player influence.
    For commodities, I'd say the line doesn't really move much for me, even when prices change (except by player influence). But for military units (and I expect the mechanism used is the same) when I now look at it, I think you're actually right, it doesn't look like a random walk. I'll do some more staring to fully convince myself you're right

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    GammaZ - thanks A LOT for your observation

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    Just noticed a random thing related to culture and great people:

    When buying and selling culture the price of great builders flipped back and forth around a price point. Definitely think there might be some randomness+some correlation going on here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GammaZ View Post
    You want to be buying or selling when the the line is either dropping or rising across the graphic (when the derivative is going to zero midway through the graphic) indicating a change in direction of the pricing.
    I realise this post is very old and the game may have changed since this but I haven't found anything else on the graph. I don't see this behaviour at all. The Incense price has been steadily falling over the last half an hour and the graph is still a straight line at the very top of the box.

    I believe the wiki says that those graphs show the current price in relation to the average price they have sold at. So only when the price drops to 182 in my game, should I see the graph in the centre of the box.

    I doubt it will get down that far this late in the game so may be unprovable.

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    I interpret that setion of the wiki to be a rolling average as ooposed to the average for all time.

    As one who pushes the civworld markets around for a hobby, I can assure you that the line does rise and fall as GammaZ outlines. But I can also say that you are 100% correct.

    Commodities will continue to slowly trend in one direction. It will trend slowly enough that the moving average flatlines rather than reflecting actual price trend.

    The result is that GammaZ is correct that you want to wait for the trend to shift from positive to negative, but you are correct that you need to do this by remembering prior prices rather than relying on the graph.

    It is never to late to share knowlege

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    I've been adding the Commodities prices to a graph every five minutes to get an idea of the spread and period of the cycles. It's very interesting but I keep wrecking my graph by selling off stuff at the top (or what I think it the top) of the cycle. I must resist this!

    Like biorythms sometimes the graphs all come together at the same price point though heading in different directions. It's mesmerising.

    I enjoy the game immensely and find it really interesting trying all the different strategies I'm reading on the forums. LOVE the 6 move double swap! Makes me feel so philanthropistic, especially when I see my fellow civers GPs popping every so often as I do it.

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    I like the imagery of the graphs all fluttering about while periodically returning to harmony, only to flutter off in their own directions.

    That pop, pop, pop of great people is definitely cool.

    finally played in a game with over 6 people double swapping. Must admit, the feeling is less 'WooHoo, free culture!' and more "Another 150 swaps? really?'

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    There is a mechanism that changes prices along with the players in the game buying or selling the commodity. From experience depending on where the commodity price is suppose to be at and how the player affects it by buying or selling will result in the commodity trying to shift towards the equilibrium price the games mechanism has set. I have not tried confirming this. I took data for about 40 minutes and saw the commodity values change without any buying or selling from players. Taking advantage of this is a way to get back 1-1.8 gold for every 1 gold piece you spend on a commodity.

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    Adding a to-date summary for later cross referrence I am working on...

    Commodities are very useful for making money, sequestering gold and winning civbucks.

    There are a number of strategies for making money on commodities.
    1) Buy/Sell commodities when price trend changes direction (based on observation not graph)
    2) Buy cheapest commodity when contest starts, sell after second contest competitor buys
    3) Buy commodities early and hold till value increases as eras progress
    4) Interest. Continuously sell higher priced commodities and reinvest in the cheapest commodity to collect a steady return.
    5) Manipulate commodity market by doubling down until you switch the trend in the commodity price

    You want to sequester gold prior to taking over a new civilization or are trying to avoid an econ era win until after a promotion. Commodities are the best vehicle for sequestering gold because of their high liquidity and short term price predictability.

    Civbuck competitions start when the c ompetition starts so always buy first THEN sell otherwise you will be digging yourself into a hole. The competition score is divided by 10 for reasons unknown.

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    As a data point, in a game where my team was the only person in it, the price on commodities still ranged, and by quite a large part. In late global, they were usually between 300 and 700, but I had seen prices as low as 57 (yes, under 100) and as high as about 1200.

    If the fluctuation depends on other things as well though it might not be a good data point, as in this same game there were times when the Great People were going for 2.2 million.

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    I have seen your commodity swings, but I have only seen GP's as high as 100K... but they were worth it... hehehe

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    Quote Originally Posted by ShuShu62 View Post
    Commodities are very useful for making money, sequestering gold and winning civbucks.
    ...
    5) Manipulate commodity market by doubling down until you switch the trend in the commodity price

    You want to sequester gold prior to taking over a new civilization or are trying to avoid an econ era win until after a promotion. Commodities are the best vehicle for sequestering gold because of their high liquidity and short term price predictability.
    Can you explain what you mean by 1) "sequestering gold" and 2) manipulating the commodity market, as you wrote?

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    I could, but then I would have to kill you....

    Sequestering gold: Storing it for later use. For example. If I am going to take over a civ, I want to be able to claim as many econ medals as possible. I will buy 250K worth of commodities, jump into the civ, and then sell the commodities back to win the econ medals and promotions. If I did not sequester the gold, I would not get any promotions and all of the econ medals would be wasted. This is also valuable when starting a new civ. Barbarian hoppers could probably leverage this to acquire 50 fame in the first couple hours but they are too busy eating.

    Manipulating the market: Culture, Hammers Beakers and food are strictly market driven. They cannot be manipulated. All other market objects in the game move even when noone else is playing. Theories vary as to why. But one thing is for sure... if you are the only person in a game... you can usually buy a few of one thing... wait an hour... and sell what you bought for a tidy little profit. As I play all objects, I can usually manipulate the market in a game full of people without anyone noticing. For me the challenge is more about how much profit to wait for before someone notices rather than will I turn a profit.

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