Game Theory: What is a Minecraft Emerald WORTH?Feb 27, 2020
Hrrmm Hrm HAHAHAHAHAHA! Sonic: Eggman, you're finished! Okay, the chaos
emeralds explode~ Sonic disappointed: Hmm. What! that is all? HEY Sonic: Shoot, not my day Mat Pat: Hello internet, welcome to GAME THEORY! The only program on the Internet that pays its staff with Minecraft
emeralds. Uh, surprise for all the theoreticians on the team this month! Mat Pat: Look guys it's February adrates are really low Ugh if you do better I'll add some donuts Man you're right YES it's currency! - I can eat! Mat Pat: Anyway, with its 10th anniversary last year, Minecraft not only underwent a massive renaissance here on YouTube, ahem... kicking Fortnite to the curb, but also released some of its biggest content updates in years, giving us everything from the target blocks to the bees OH NO, NOT THE BEES!
NOT THE BEES! Mat Pat: But out of all of them, probably the most interesting was the revamped villager trading system. Prior to last year's 'Village and Pillage' update, villagers would give out randomly generated deals that could range from: Trump Worst deal, maybe ever signed anywhere. Mat Pat: All the way to Uh, this Futurama guy: "Shut up and take my money" Mat Pat: Now, after the 2019 update, that randomness suddenly disappeared. Instead, all trades start with a base price and then fluctuate based on a variety of factors: the villager's experience, their player status, and their personal demand for the deal.
But it's that base price that has me most interested... You see, for the first time, it gives us a standard value for the emerald. An emerald, in the world of Minecraft, is the equivalent of 1 stone axe, or 16 bricks, or 22 carrots, or 32 sticks, or just 1 rabbit stew. And so, that's
whatI wanted to investigate today. What is the value of a Minecraft emerald, in real world dollars? Can it really be quantified? Does the dollar amount make any semblance of sense? Should Team Theorist be bummed about getting paid in emeralds this year? Team Theorist: Yeah! MatPat: Just hold on guys, because by the end of this episode I think you're all going to be singing a very different tune.
At the very least, I hope you're singing a different tune, because I don't have much else to repay you with... So as I walk over to Kay's Jewelers, I drop my pack of 32 sticks and get Stephanie a nice emerald necklace for our anniversary. , I should probably know how much I'm going to spend on it, right? Who knows! Those sticks could be very valuable. *ka-ching* So like I said, under the new trading system everything has a base starting price, with 1 emerald being tradeable for many different types of items. Anything goes, from 6 loaves to 32 rotten meats, 24 sheets of paper, to 1 empty map.
Which, let's face it, is literally just 1 sheet of paper, so the cartographer over there is doing quite the deal. Price hike to win! So the first way to look at this problem is to simply price a few of these items and see if they are all in the same price range. As I look at the items, I'll only pick the ones that are pretty standard. Things that don't really depend on weight or quality, like pounds of chicken or things like that. So, a loaf of bread. Probably the most nonchalant standard item out there. Keep your fancy $800 Whole Foods seedless rye loaves out of here;
This is a pure Home Pride butter superior wheat carcass. That will cost you about $3 at your local Target, Vons, or Food Lion my friends, so 6 will net us about $18 for that 1 emerald traded. Carrots are about 30 cents a piece, so 22 is... $6.60. A sheet of paper costs about 2c, so... 24 brings us to 48c... for that 1 emerald. Jeez, we keep going backwards, this is not good! And you can already begin to see the problem with this methodology; 1 emerald is
worthbetween 20 dollars and 50 cents! And that's without me getting into some of the bigger items, like axes and shovels. The value range of that 1 emerald is highly variable, depending on
whatyou trade it for.
There doesn't seem to be anything consistent about its value. So, let's approach the problem in another way. Consider this, when you trade 22 carrots for one emerald, the farmer isn't just paying you for the carrots. The carrots are usually right there, literally next to that villager. I mean, we've all felt like evil capitalists before cleaning up a villager's garden, only to sell it to them, but that's exactly what he wants, or, at least, that's what I tell myself. far. No, the villager is not just paying an emerald for the carrots, he is paying you an emerald for the carrots plus the labor costs needed to dig them out of the ground.
How much work are we talking about? MatPat: Wow, that's not really a lot of work. Or is that it? Sure, as a player we can clear a field of carrots in seconds using our superpowers, but the villagers clearly don't have the same abilities as us. They can't build things instantly. They can't defend themselves against monsters and farm much, MUCH slower than us. So, to get an idea of â€‹â€‹the actual value 22 carrots would have to a villager, I mixed things up a bit. I set up a village with 5 villagers and watched them cultivate their carrot plots for a full day.
It was boring. Boring is perhaps not the right word to describe this - it was frustrating in the same way that watching someone else struggle with a video
gameyou're really good at is frustrating. You just have to sit there while they just removed ONE patch of carrots for no apparent reason! I mean, villager! Just grab it! Just grab the top of the carrot and toss! Just pull a little. Really why! Why are you leaving that block unharvested?!?! Oh my gosh, it's like I'm playing with my OCD. It's literally the opposite of a "Try not to be dissatisfied" challenge.
MatPat: Very good. Over the course of the villager's 5 minute and 45 second work day, the 5 villagers managed to clear 54 carrot plots which, if harvested without a lucky tool, yielded 124 carrots. That means that, on average, each villager was harvesting just over 4 carrots per minute. But remember that we are talking about
gametime. The day in Minecraft is only 20 minutes long, which means that we should count each minute as 1.2 hours of our time. So, in other words, the villagers collect 4 carrots every 72 minutes, or 1 carrot every 18 minutes. THAT IS..., not efficient, my friends. So, to harvest 22 carrots, it takes a single villager 6 1/2 hours, a little more than a full day's work.
Rounding things out here, that means a novice farmer is making about 1 EMERALD per day in wages. Mat Pat: Since picking carrots isn't a particularly skilled job, and since trading carrots takes place at the beginner level for farmers in the world of Minecraft, I would imagine these villagers would expect the lower end of the pay scale for your real life equivalent position. So, looking up farm worker wages in crop fields on the PayScale.com website, we see that the average hourly rate for an unskilled worker is about $10.50. Since the Minecraft farmer works 6 hours per day and gets only one emerald, it means that 1 emerald will be
That... is surprisingly low. Definitely a bit better than the 50 cents we calculated earlier, but still...! This is an emerald that we are talking about here. These things are called precious gemstones for a reason. Clearly something is not lining up here. The values â€‹â€‹of these stones are nowhere near what we would expect them to be. Which means it's time to do our calculations in a third way. This time, working in reverse. We know that emeralds are valuable, right? That's why it costs an arm, a leg, and his firstborn son to buy a decent piece of jewelry for your loved one's anniversary gift.
Stephanie: Hey! Oh, sorry to interrupt the recording, I... I just wanted to say thank you. Thanks for the new necklace! I'm lovin 'it. MatPat: Well, I'm glad you liked it. It was either that or a bunch of sticks. Stephanie: Oh, by the way, have you seen Ollie? MatPat: So what if we start with real life prices and work backwards in the game? When I calculated the value of
minecraftdiamond armor we went over the four C's of gemstone pricing: carat, cut, clarity, and color, where the most expensive gemstones are the ones that are largest, not cloudy or scratchy, have a vibrant color (or color), and have a good cut or design.
The same is true for emeralds as well as diamonds. These things are huge and have a great vibrant green color, but they are definitely not transparent, which means they are cloudy and have not been cut in any way, they are fresh out of the ground. . So, technically, we're going to be conservative and price them at the lower end of the emerald price scale. Size seems like it should be our biggest challenge since who knows how big these things are. However, all we need to do is some simple calculations to be sure. We know that 9 raw emeralds can be crafted together to create one large block of emeralds.
And the dimensions of that emerald block will be 1 cubic meter. Since emerald has a density of 2.78 grams per cubic centimeter, our block of emerald will weigh 2,780 kg or 6,128 pounds. For ONE block of gemstones. Remember what I said last week about how Link might not win, but he certainly could hold his own against Minecraft Steve in a contest of strength? ...Yeah, forget I said that. Now, divide the weight of a block of emeralds by 9, since it took 9 emeralds to make it, to get the weight of 1 single emerald, and we get 680 pounds (309 kg) for a BASIC emerald in Minecraft.
That's one HECK of a necklace! Since gemstones are measured in carats, and one kilogram equals 5,000 carats, a single Minecraft emerald clocks in at a weight of 1.545 million carats. According to Singhal Gems International, a low-quality emerald over 5 carats will cost an absolute minimum of $300 per carat and up to $7,500 per carat. Which means that our single emerald valued at 24 sheets of paper, 1 rabbit stew, or just 32 slices of rotten meat, would have a true value on the LOW End of $463,500,000, or, if it turns out to be a highly desirable emerald, $ 11,587,500,000 absolute maximum. So wait, we have an emerald worth 50c, $60, or 11 BILLION dollars, depending on how we calculate it.
The. Same. Emerald. All using perfectly valid ways of calculating the value of this thing. Then what is? Am I wrong in the way I'm calculating this? Well, no. You see, it all goes back to something I said earlier in this episode. Past MatPat: We know emeralds are valuable, right? That's why it costs an arm, a leg, and his firstborn son to buy a decent piece of jewelry for your loved one's anniversary gift. Present MatPat: The thing is, we do NOT know that emeralds are valuable. In fact, we have a pretty solid understanding that in Minecraft they are not.
Besides being a trade item, emeralds have a very limited use in the game world. You can't build tools or weapons with them, you can't build armor with them, you can't eat them. Its only other use is to select powers from a beacon: the player must select one of the available powers and then insert an emerald into the item's slot, and even here the emerald can be replaced with iron and gold ingots, or just a diamond. In the world of Minecraft, it does not have unique functional properties. The problem we are facing in this episode is that we base the value of an emerald on the price of things.
And we live in a very different society than the world of Minecraft. We can mass produce paper, we can harvest thousands of carrots, we have machines that bake bread 24 hours a day. But in Minecraft everything is done by hand; it takes a long time to make a single loaf of bread. And a rabbit stew alone? Just think about what you are asking! It requires one carrot, one mushroom, one baked potato, and one cooked rabbit. As we discussed, the carrot alone takes 18 minutes to harvest, and that's not even taking into account the time and resources it takes to grow it in the first place.
The same with the potato, then you have to catch and kill and clean and cook the rabbit, then you have to look for mushrooms. That dish, that rabbit stew, for us as gamers living in modern times, and as Steve, who is literally a superhuman in this world, there's nothing special about it. But for a villager in this primitive society, that steaming bowl of soup is absorbing a great deal of time and resources, for just one meal. Which makes it worth its weight in gold, literally. In short, the currency is only worth the value that we ourselves give it.
The oldest coins back in the year 9000 a. C. were cattle and other animals, mainly because people knew that such things were valuable. Animals provided labor, food, transportation, and that value could be calculated.Fast forward to 1200 B.C. C., and you'll see China change the game by using cowrie shells as currency. You know, those shells that are made into necklaces today and sold in souvenir shops on the beach along with shark teeth, sand dollars, and novelty sodas. In fact, cowrie shells are one of the oldest and most widely used coins in history. They could have bought you a cow or land, but today they are one rung below boogie boarding and fun.
Sure, at this point we all jump around the world of Minecraft without a care in the world, but if you look at it from the perspective of the villagers, it's a brutal existence, where every night could mean death at the hands of rioters. mobs. It's a rudimentary society where people aren't just wearing jewelry for the fun of it. Here things that are valuable are food to survive, weaponry and armor to defend yourself, basic shelter to help you get through the night. When you're operating at that level, a glowing green stone with limited function, while certainly special and pretty, isn't particularly valuable.
Only the days of work that it saves you are worth, the 6 loaves of bread that it buys. But today, we are beyond all that. Food is plentiful, we have shelter to keep warm, angry mobs don't knock on our door every night, hopefully... So for us, it's about prestige, it's about signs of wealth: the biggest TV , the most elegant automobile. - and that's why suddenly a bright green stone dug out of the ground is so much more valuable. It's frivolous, it's weird, it's unnecessary, and therefore it's worth millions. It makes you wonder what our currency will be in the future, thousands of years from now.
Fiber optic bits, plants from the days before global warming, or maybe nothing at all. The era of Bitcoin and digital currency, where our wealth is literally numbers in a cloud, is here. Currency is worth whatever society needs it to be worth, and it could be that we are fast approaching a time when society tells us that a bunch of 0s and 1s are now better currency than gold, paper, precious stones, or cowry shells. , Or something else. So how much is a Minecraft emerald worth? I don't know, how much is it worth to you? Look out Steph, looks like it's going to be a lot of sticks for our upcoming anniversary.
But hey, that's just a
theory, a game
theory! Thanks for watching. And hey, if you want to see me calculate the actual value of
minecraftdiamond armor, which has a solid result in the end, click on the box you see on the screen right now. That's a very special episode of the show, it was the first one my friend Ronnie Oni Edwards worked on, our first team member, and one we've sadly lost since then, so if you want to watch that one. , We appreciate it very much; And heck, while you're clicking the buttons on the screen, consider clicking the subscribe button.
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Thank you all so much for watching, I've got another Minecraft theory up my sleeve coming out in the next few weeks, but in the meantime, something different next week. Alright, see you then.
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