[WoW] Should the economy reset with new expansions?

GOLD covilha@flickr

The in game economy is the last holdout in WoW of the virtual world type of MMO. Players buy and sell on the open market, various tradeskills and gathering skills feed into the auction house ‘game’, and although Blizzard tweaks the economy occasionally, it’s usually indirectly.

Not only that but they have no intention of trying to balance this aspect of the game. Some tradeskills have the potential to make MASSIVELY more money than others, and barring actual exploits, Blizzard usually leaves it all well alone.

But really – why don’t they reset the economy for new expansions? Everything else about the endgame is reset. Gear and progression are certainly reset. New levels are added, and just about everything a player accomplished in previous expansions is relegated to memories of old achievements. All except for gold in the bank.

Gathering gold is the only thing you can do in WoW which – so far – has been guaranteed to carry over into the next expansion. The only vaguely permanent accomplishment you can have on a character. But why? Since tradeskills aren’t balanced for cash making, all this means is that anyone who leaped on a gold making scheme in one expansion may never have to worry about gold again.

Nice for them, maybe. But is it good for the game?

There will never be enough gold sinks to soak up all of that spare cash, so the gap between the ultra rich and the regular player continues to increase. Even as a non-gold maker, I have about 60k gold between my alts on Argent Dawn, and since I have no interest in fancy mounts or 359 trinkets that’ll soon be replaced, there’s no real reason for that money to get ploughed back into the economy at all. Compare this to a game like EVE where you actually can plough your profits into better ships, different markets, and ultimately building large mercantile corporations. Or just use it to buy extra game time.

It doesn’t really matter in WoW that a new alt on a new server would be behind the curve.  Blizzard does provide plenty of ways to make gold via dailies or gathering or trade skills. You’ll have enough for anything you need. There’s no special reason to make more gold unless you deliberately build it into your own play (for example, gold DKP runs where people bid gold for drops favour players who gathered more gold) or like fancy mounts. (Incidentally, I think my two person rocket is at least as cool as the alchemical dragon, and seems rather rarer on my server.)

And that just shows how broken the entire economy is. Blizzard have actually given up on this part of the game. They know it’s not working.

But if they reset it with every expansion, that would give the players who enjoy building up their gold reserves more of a chance to show off their skills. It would help keep the gold levels at a level where gold sinks actually could make a dent in people’s hoards. And if they aren’t going to make a proper endgame for economy players, keeping the economy relevant is surely the next best thing.