Liquidating an Illiquid Asset: Basic Comms

A word on liquidity

Many may be familiar with the terminology, but to ensure that no one is held up by the term liquidity here’s the quick version.  Any asset’s liquidity is a measure of how easily it can be converted into other assets, most commonly cash.  In the context of Star Wars: The Old Republic there are a multitude of items with various degrees of liquidity.  NPC vendors provide liquidity on most items, but typically at a bargain-basement price that is not attractive for many items.  There are also items that NPC vendors will not purchase in game, which creates an additional hurdle.  Commendations have a unique niche in the liquidity spectrum of the game, because they have cycles ranging from highly desirable currency to difficult to even monetize into credits at a reasonable exchange rate.

Basic Commendations

Their useful life was fairly brief and they are plentiful, so many end game players have no use for them presently but converting them to credits is both arduous and only moderately profitable.  However, I stumbled across an option today that I had not seen before in the numerous conversations on Twitter or Reddit on this topic.  The current best ideas are to send the commendations to alts via the refund process or to purchase gear with Basic Commendations and sell the gear back to an NPC vendor for credits.  This requires either a waiting period or a weapon that a color crystal can be added to for the instant binding.  These can be profitable, but the current best rate of conversion that I’ve found or seen cited specifically is only about 265 credits per Basic Commendation as outlined by /u/yolaretis in this Reddit thread.  I have found an interesting additional option. I cannot claim to have found this intentionally, but I was perusing the reputation vendor on Makeb while passing through its orbital station.  I had an alt that was leveled through the last 12x XP and never finished the Makeb story, but I’d like to complete it and have it out of my mission log!  I noticed that the vendor was offering to sell a Vial of Stabilized Isotope-5 for 35 Basic Commendations and my interest was piqued.  I pulled the month-to-date average price and quantity data from my database for this Grade 10 Exotic Crafting Material and here’s what I found:

Vial of Stabilized Isotope-5

Trust but Verify

As we all know all too well, just because you can list something on the GTN does not mean that it will sell, so I decided to test it out.  I bought 10 and listed them on my home server (Jedi Covenant) near the lowest offer at the time and they sold within a couple hours.  I have not been able to pinpoint the likely crafting uses of the material that would drive demand, but there seems to be a market for it on most servers and, as you can see above, there is higher credits per Basic Commendation return on most servers at their current average of daily lowest prices for April 2015. As with any commodity, there is a limit to how many people can gain excess profit in the same space, but the parity level with the current highest margin gear sale option occurs right around the price for Begeren Colony listed in the table above.  If you can sell a Vial of Stabilized Isotope-5 for more than 10,000 credits on your server it is the highest credit value conversion for Basic Commendations that I’ve encountered yet.

Feedback Loop

There are a few feedback items that seem best crowd-sourced along this line of thought:

  1. Do you currently use Vial of Stabilized Isotope-5 for crafting and, if so, what do you use it to craft most often?
  2. Are there other vendors that sell rate materials that should be compared for relative viability?
  3. What are you using your Basic Commendations for currently if you are not looking to liquidate them to credits?

As always, thank you for reading and look for more quick analysis posts like this one in the near future as a target content type!

– Andrew | SWTOR Economics

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5 thoughts on “Liquidating an Illiquid Asset: Basic Comms

  1. I’m hazy on the specific figures without being able to jump onto the server at the minute, but well worth checking out the droid parts sold by the Corellia Equipment vendor. They do require the 2 hours unbinding time (I tend to leave a single cargo bay set aside specifically for this), but they vendor for ~4.5k credits and only cost 4 Basic Comms (so >1k/comm return, with a guaranteed vendor sale at all times once the 2 hours has expired).

    I have wondered for the last few months if this was the most profitable commendation dump or not, but sadly was always too lazy to investigate it in enough detail to know for sure. Hopefully someone can suggest an even more profitable comm dump, especially with the shake up that’s just about to hit comm rewards.

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  2. I sold Isotope 5’s back when they were relevant for crafting, it was a great mechanism then for conversion, you could get 30k per usually. Nowadays I am using them to mix with ziost memory cores to get 190 gear since I don’t spend as much time raiding. Is this blog done? April 28th last past right at a month ago come back we need more swtor eco!

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  3. Yes, speaking as someone who now has an alt in endgame and coming to the realization that basic comms are now plentiful and mostly useless, it seems prudent to try your suggestions. BTW, I’m finding the swtor end game sort of ok, if a bit of a jumbled mess, though I do get annoyed when you follow a long quest arc to the end (Macrobinoculars for example) only to find that you need a group or Ops to complete it. I hate having to depend on others to complete something, even if it is an mmo. But I digress.

    That said, there is something else I wanted to bring up concerning the swtor economy. You may already have a blog on this somewhere, but I’m feeling too lazy right now to look for it. 😉

    Being an ardent fan of conspiracy theories and people’s dark motivations, and knowing that EA is a business out to maximize profit, I believe they have a subtle economic manipulation scheme in place here. By taking steps to ensure the rarity of high demand vanity items, these things get way, way overvalued. The result then (and I believe precisely what EA wants) is that players do the grind treadmill and keep paying the subscription fees, and/or spend money in the cash shop buying cartel packs to do swtor’s version of the infamous mmo lockbox gambling. To use the old adage, they get you coming and going.

    Not sure what the answer is here, or if there even is one. By comparison, in Guild Wars 2 if there is a pricey item you really, really want, you can whip out the credit card, purchase gems, then exchange them for in-game gold. The plus side to this of course is it does away with the need for hours and hours of grinding. On the downside though, I found that you tend to value items far far less when you get them easily.

    At least in GW2 though most things are account bound rather than character bound, which means that you can use the vanity skins and dyes on your other alts. In swtor though, it seems that for most people by the time they can afford the vanity items they really want, they are in endgame and ready to roll a new alt. 😦 You know, I mostly like swtor. It has the best storytelling and most variety of content of any mmo I’ve played. Having said that, after sinking many hours and about $200 in to it, I can see now that EA’s reputation for being greedy is well-deserved.

    Anyway, I would be curious to read your thoughts on these points.

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  4. PS…..Something I neglected to mention concerning swtor economic conspiracies. Anyone every notice how there is no sort function in the legacy storage bays? This one boggles the mind. I mean, it is a major inconvenience to the player and something I’m sure is easily fixed. The result though is that any serious crafter is almost sure to end up buying several additional legacy storage bays. If that isn’t an underhanded cash grab, I don’t know what is?

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  5. Sorry for the thread resurrection, but I just thought I’d put my discoveries here.

    What I do when I want to liquidate my Common data Crystals (formerly Basic Commendation) is the following:
    1. Buy Versatile Armoring 40 from Level 60 Modifications vendor on fleet (supplies section)
    2. Either wait out the timer (2 hours) or send the Armorings to an alt via in-game mail (kills the timer)
    3. Sell each armoring to a vendor at 1660 credits.
    As each armoring is only 2 CDC a piece, this gives a fair 830 (or 829.675 if you use mail) credits per CDC. Probably not as good as selling stuff on GTN, but still quite fair and, more to the point, fast.

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