A slight change in the Chinese version of Guild Wars 2 caused a bug that deleted all the potatoes in the world. ArenaNet was conducting a “little revamp” in one of the game’s opening areas when they accidentally wiped out the staple food, game director Crystin Cox revealed at Pax West’s game economies panel this weekend.
When the Guild Wars 2 global community found out there was widespread potato panic, players started to buy huge quantities of potatoes in fear that AreaNet would soon remove them from the global version of the game.
In the three days it took for the bug to be removed, the price of potatoes sky rocketed. Some economically savvy players bought up potato stocks in the hope of selling them for a high price as a soon-to-be-rare item.
Potatoes in the Guild Wars 2 universe are used to create, unsurprisingly, a number of culinary dishes including leek and potato soup and a humble cup of potato fries. More outlandishly, 25 potatoes are needed to make unidentified brown dye and 1,000 potatoes are used to upgrade the critical harvesting guild enchantment. That’s a lot of potatoes.
During the panel, Cox explained how this potato inflation was an example of how virtual economies can be reflections of real-world economic movements. She explained that there is “really interesting, really valid stuff we can learn by watching people interact this way”. She went on to say that games should have open economies where players and developers can have a space to experiment with economic systems.
If you want to follow the Guild Wars 2 potato market and view it’s riveting history, here’s the page for that.