It's becoming a trend for developers to hire economists to help them understand and adjust their increasingly-complex virtual economies. For Guild Wars 2, that man is John Smith. He recently whipped up a blog post full of colorful charts and graphs visualizing data that was collected about Tyria's economy over the course of the beta.
Among the more interesting tidbits is a representation of wealth distribution among players. By the end of the beta, 50 percent of players controlled 80 percent of the game's wealth, which he compared to a US statistic from 2007, when 20 percent of citizens controlled 80 percent of the country's wealth. Smith says his goal is to initially maintain a high level of equality (i.e. 80 percent of players control 80 percent of wealth).(opens in new tab)
The profession data was also quite surprising, with Jewelers vastly outnumbering all other professions. Smith chalks this up to "beta weekend[s] skewing player behavior into exploratory areas like Jeweler, and away from known areas like Cooking." It will be interesting to see if the same professions still dominate in the live environment.
If you'd like to see more, like what the primary methods of income during the beta were, or how Guild Wars 2's currency values mimic a real-world stock, we've included Smith's complete infographic (opens in new tab) below.