Exciting times for Gods Unchained: in less than 48 hours, players will be able to buy, sell and trade their cards with others. This is a big deal, people have been eagerly anticipating this moment. Afterall, this is the moment where we'll see how successful our investment has been... or is it?
price speculations are all over the place, with some people expecting lambos for all and others expecting the worst. in a way, both sides are kinda right - some cards will moon, others will crash and burn. let's figure out why.
All cards are equal - but some are more equal than others
for the past year, people have been able to buy packs at a fixed ETH value. the contents of these packs were random, with only a little bit of control over the odds of finding the various rarities available in the game. all that's gonna change overnight: from now on, each card is valued on its own stats and qualities. the biggest deciding factor here is going to be the meta: the most frequently used cards will see the highest demand, while the cards that hardly see any play will have the lowest demand. combine this with a free market economy and it won't be long until we'll see prices decoupling from the initial pack values very quickly. a simple example: a legendary pack had a cost of roughly 20 dollars. would you buy a Spellwyrm for that price? or would you rather spend that on Aeneas? this is a question every buyer is going to ask themselves when looking at the available cards on the market. there's no more randomness involved, so people can skip all the fluff and go straight for the meta cards. Sellers will have control over how much they are willing to sell for, so they will be asking themselves the same question. in the end, the price of every card will go to that sweetspot where buyers and sellers find each other. if the majority of buyers is willing to pay the price the majority of seller are asking for, that will be the new market value.
This process will happen to each and every card in the game: every card will have its own dedicated market, with price discovery happening for each and every card individually. sure, they are all GU cards, which will grant every card a base utility value. however, the fact that you paid 20 bucks for the pack is not going to matter much if the cards you found aren't being played.
How much is a thousand?
Scarcity is another factor people are rooting for when determining the price of a card. however, herein lies another question we should answer: Scarcity relative to what? if there's only 1000 active players, the demand for each card is not going to be as impressive as when there are hundreds of thousands of eager collectors trying to complete their collections. Now of course if the game does end up attracting a healthy playerbase (even a doubling compared to where we are now would have a huge impact) I would say we won't have much to worry about. the question remains how long it will take us to get there. until that time, I expect the overall card value to be below potential.
A very important factor when determining card values will be shifts in the meta. there are a lot of cards in GU that don't have very obvious use cases at first glance, but can be tremendously powerful once someone manages to make proper use of it. sometimes this can lead to such an effective answer to the meta that the result is a meta shift. when this happens, some cards can fall out of grace while others skyrocket overnight. In GU, the meta seems to shift at a fast pace, with new players finding new decks to play all the time. the only way to stay on top of the action is by paying close attention to the meta and running some experiments of your own. sometimes you can see a shift coming well before it happens, which would be a great time to go shopping for good deals.
And then there's the question of how to value the real gems. lets say you have a diamond Aeneas in you collection (you lucky bastard). right now, Aeneas is one of the most used legendary in the genesis set and will undoubtedly be quite popular when the market opens. the diamond version of this card will probably be among the highest valued diamond legendaries in the genesis set. the real question is, how much? for this you need to understand your target audience. you are not catering to the average players here, chances are high there are only a handful of buyers who A) can afford it and B) are willing to spend so much for a card. in such a scenario you will need to figure out a proper strategy on how to maximise your returns. sure, you can settle for any high number someone offers, since it will still be a lot. but if you want to get the best results, you may need to think outside the box: auctions, raffles, special terms, firstborns... name it. if you put a bit of thought into it you may be able to push the limit on what that one card can do for you. (contact me if you need ideas!)
Everything written here is my personal opinion based on my experience with TCG markets and ingame economies. don't blindly follow my words, rather dive into the variables yourself. there's a lot at play here, I could be very very wrong. this is not trade advice in any way shape or form. every market is unique, so is this one. if a trade or deal doesn't feel right, don't do it. its a free market, anything goes.
whatever you do, think before you act. there's much to gain here if you know what you're doing.