In which players start realising that making gold on the WoW AH is ultimately pointless

This is an eloquent goodbye post from Caffeine, Smokes and Auction House Fees. He writes about his journey as a player from getting interested in making gold in game to maxing out his gold reserves, and the anticlimax of realising he has nothing to spend all that gold on.

Summary for those who don’t want to read spammy Meat Loaf lyrics (look, I like Bat out of Hell as much as the next person but that doesn’t mean I want to read entire songs in blog posts.) He’s finished all his goals in WoW, which included maxing out his gold via auction house antics, and is quitting blogging about gold.

I don’t know how long a million gold will last me, but I don’t see myself being a pauper in the near future and until then I will be living off my stockpiles of mats and when that fails my gold. I hope that eventually I learn to be frivolous.

I’ll answer that question. A million gold will last all of your alts for longer than your entire future interest in the game. Well done, you’ve made more WoW gold than you could feasibly ever spend. But did you make any friends along the way, or only auction house rivals?

From comments on the post from players who have similarly made lots of gold and then gotten bored, you can see though where all the interest in gold DKP runs (where you bid for raid drops with gold) comes from. Players who have convinced themselves that the reason they make gold in game is because they’re just that much smarter than everyone else can’t bear to think that it’s a pointless endeavour. So they start inventing schemes that reward gold-makers, rather than player skill at combat. (GDKP starts to fail when the boosters don’t feel that they need the gold enough to put up with the paying newbies/ alts, incidentally.)

This is not to disrespect making gold as an in game activity. In many ways it is very egalitarian – there are many many different ways to make gold in MMOs and surely some will suit every playing style.

However this does underline a comment I made in a previous post which was that I didn’t understand why more AH junkies in WoW didn’t want to try EVE.  EVE Online is a far better and deeper economic simulation, and devs also reward those who do well at the economic game by allowing players to swap in game cash for subscription fees. So if you’re good at the markets, you can play for free.

And yet people prefer to stay with the game where they have market expertise and know exactly what sells and who buys, even when they have no need for the gold at all. But what if Blizzard decided that economic play was something they wanted to encourage, and that there should be cool but extremely expensive stuff for them to buy – for example, what if you could buy a guild house for 1 million gold?

Should WoW offer better rewards for gold makers?

The problem with offering better rewards for in game currency without requiring players to complete content is that it lures in gold farmers and gold sellers. And when I say gold farmers, I also mean account stealers.

There isn’t a good way around this other than policing gold sellers/ buyers carefully or limiting gold supplies in some way which would require even the gold farmers to play in a productive way. And the horse has bolted on the latter because even moderately casual players likely now have large gold reserves in WoW.

But aside from that, assume that there is a hypothetical way to confirm that a player got their gold legitimately by playing/ trading in game.  What if there was a whole subset of endgame which cost large amounts of gold to enter? The housing example I gave earlier might be a good one — a guild could pool together to buy a house, or a rich individual could have one of their own.

Whatever it was would need to have lots of fancy stuff to show off. We assume people with gold want people to know about it, and that means showy luxury items and ‘exciting’ shopping experiences. And yet not everyone with the drive to make gold has a similar drive to spend it. Perhaps instead what they’d want is better market-related tools — banks of NPC crafters maybe, or sell orders, or the ability to set up their own shops in capital cities and design their own goods.  But that just unbalances the market even further in their favour without really setting up a proper gold sink.

Or maybe something really offbeat like being able to pay WoW gold for improved access to developers.

You sometimes have to wonder, is this where capitalism ends too? Once people in the ultra rich class simply run out of things to buy and just keep going out of habit?

I still think there’s a lot to be said for my suggestion of resetting the gold supply after every expansion. Think of it as an inheritance tax 😉

I was right, incidentally

I don’t mean to rag on Breevok, who sounds as though he’s been through an emotional time.

But actually gold in WoW ceased to have much meaning awhile ago. I have about 40k on Spinks and I’m not even sure how – yes I occasionally sell things on the auction house but not in an organised way. I don’t even know if I can be bothered to make some of the new 365 weapons and sell those, even though she’s a blacksmith and has the recipes. I don’t need the gold. And the gold I have isn’t going to go anywhere. Why not? Well, it’s basically because I have friends and a nice social guild and there aren’t many goldsinks in WoW, and even the ones there are will ease off over time. I didn’t have to actually pay much gold for my 365 two-handed sword, I’m not the person in the market for the finished article although I did buy some of the mats.

Anyhow, I called this one back in January and suggested that if gold was reset with every expansion, it might keep economic players more interested.

Gathering gold is the only thing you can do in WoW which – so far – has been guaranteed to carry over into the next expansion. <…> 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?

Which is why it’s so funny that all these so-called goblins are so quick to label more chilled out players as morons and slackers and idiots and stupid people.

[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.

Happy New Year Goblin Money Making Tip

I laughed when Arbitrary told me how she’d been making money on her goblin, and suggested this post for Markco’s gold blogging carnival just to share it. Goblins have a racial bonus that lets them get large discounts from NPC vendors …

Arb says:

“Goblin racial discount ROCKS. I offered to buy expensive components for guildmates for a percentage (I’m on a RP server, goblin greed has gone to my head, I would NEVER charge anyone for buying something from an NPC, but they played along!)”

She’s been getting a cut for helping one of our alchemists by buying expensive components for vials of the sands. He has even started advertising that he’ll arrange for a goblin to buy the components as part of the whole service 😉

5 great ways for you to help new players

Blog Azerorth has a particularly challenging Shared Topic this week – it’s about helping new players.

Here are some other bloggers on the topic:

I do not spend a lot of my time  helping new players, if only because I don’t encounter very many. It also can be tricky to spot the new guys, often indistinguishable from experienced players who just act like newbies. So before I tackle the topic, here are a few pointers for newbie spotters. This is how you know you’ve got the Real Deal on your hands.

  • Player has not yet figured out how to use chat channels. They may use say or whisper instead, if they’ve worked those ones out.
  • Player does not know how to find the bank or auction house (or add any essential facility of your choice.)
  • Player is confused by need/greed conventions. Unfortunately this is easily mistaken for ninja behaviour. This could also just mean an experienced solo player who hasn’t grouped much.
  • Player can’t ask for help because they don’t really know what sort of help they need. If you are struggling with how to start combat, there’s no point asking for help with complex rotations.
  • Player went exploring and ended up in a totally inappropriate zone for their race/class/faction, and doesn’t know how to get back. (It’s the not knowing how to get back which scares newbies, more experienced explorers usually have A PLAN involving a bucket, 50’ of rope, and/or a hearthstone.)
  • Player got lost. (This does not hold for instances such as BRD where everybody gets lost.)
  • Player wants to improve or learn how to do something better. This is how you know you have a live inexperienced newbie and not an experienced zombie.

So, assuming that you’d like to help new players, how do you do it? Here are five things I try to do – and you will notice that I don’t go too far out of my way. I’m in game to play and have fun, not to act as teacher or big sister to the unwashed masses (err, excluding my actual sisters). I have also learned through experience that I won’t be helping anyone if I’m grumpy and out of sorts.

1. Answer (sensible) questions on global channels

A lot of people goof off in trade chat or the local equivalent, which is all well and good. But one easy way to help newer players is simply to answer questions on the chat channels. If someone has gotten as far as asking a question, it means that they’re taking the first steps towards helping themselves. And if you happen to be in the area covered by the channel and aren’t busy, why not answer?

I sometimes talk to people via whisper if they are asking warrior or tanking questions. For example, I spoke to a player last week who was asking how to gem gear for a protection paladin – it’s not a difficult question, and it’s also very little effort for me to give a basic informed answer, and offer signposting to decent tanking websites if the guy wants to read more.

2. Help new players to settle into your guild

If a new player joins your guild, you can help to smooth their experience. This doesn’t mean that you need to talk to them extensively every time they log on, especially if your guild isn’t chatty anyway. But you can help by making sure they know about guild activities, bulletin boards, addons, bank, or any other way in which your group usually communicates and organises.

It might mean as little as checking that someone has read the guild info tab (if your officers are organised and put useful information in there). Or asking if they want to join some regular guild activity if they are online and appropriate level.

3. Gold$$$

You can, if you choose, help new players by either giving them gold or sharing gold making tips. (Do lots of dailies to get gold for your epic mount, is a good one in WoW for example. Or start with two gathering skills.) A lot of players are ethically opposed to giving gold to beggars. Others may be amused enough by a good pitch to help an enterprising new player out with some starting cash.

I have been in guilds – and am sort of running one at the moment – where we aim to give people gold to buy their flying mounts at level 60 if they don’t already have the cash. The idea is that people can pay it back to the guild bank later and since we’re careful with invites, the facility won’t be abused.

If you’d rather give goods, then bags are always helpful to new players. So if you get chatting to someone after giving advice on a chat channel and would like to help them further, a gift of bags will not compromise your gold giving ethics but is a very helpful gesture. If you are a crafter, there may be other low level gear you can help players with. Glyphs and potions can be helpful too, if you don’t mind explaining how to use them.

In general, giving stuff to everyone who asks will make you feel like a sucker unless you just won the in game equivalent of the lottery or are a generous drunk. But giving stuff to ‘worthy’ newbies is a time honored way of helping new players.

4. Don’t bitch at people in low level instances

News flash. You will sometimes find new players in low level groups or instances. Do not expect these low level groups to function like well drilled raid groups in which every player has been studying their role for several years.

Instead, go in to have fun and be entertained. If the group upsets you, then you can always leave. But newer players can have an infectious enthusiasm and the better ones will take tips and advice if it’s offered in a generous way.

Low level instances are also often harder than higher level ones if you tackle them at the intended level and gearing. (I have come to the opinion that LBRS is the hardest instance in the game. It’s certainly the one I have seen completed least often lately.)

Give the lowbies a break. Assume they might be new. Give them a chance to take advice before you give up on them.

5. Don’t socialise if you are in a bad mood

This is the biggie. You cannot help anyone, newbie or otherwise, if you are burned out, stressed, bad tempered, or feeling anti-social. The kindest thing you can do for your fellow players in that case is to take yourself away from the social scene and either stay offline or maintain radio silence.

Never mind if you feel an obligation to help newbies. Never mind if you promised them an instance run. If you don’t feel up to it, make your excuse and back out. It’s allowed. And you need to put your own fun and welfare first.

It’s probably better if you don’t agree to do anything that you know you didn’t really want to do in the first place. People can take no for an answer. I know a lot of players who do have trouble with saying no, but it’s just one of those life skills that you need to learn for your own protection.

Explaining the gold DKP run – everyone’s a winner

A GDKP raid is one where any raid member can bid (in gold) for drops. And at the end of the raid the total bid is split between all raid members. Tyrian explains how this works and where it came from in a comprehensively detailed post at Elitist Jerks.

Heres the concept in a nutshell:
– GDKP stands for “Gold-DKP”
– It was a Korean concept brought to WoW
– Items which drop in your run are auctioned off in raid chat. The highest bidder receives the item and the gold they pay is added to “The Pot”
– Profession Patterns, BOE’s, Crusader Orbs etc are all auctioned off in this manner as well. Everything that drops.
– The pot keeps growing in value until the end of the run
– The pot is split evenly at the end of the run to all 25 players in the raid present when the final boss dies.
– There is no mainspec > offspec priority, its gold which determines who gets items.

This isn’t something I’ve seen on my server so I’m not sure if the idea has really taken off in Europe yet. But it probably will. If there’s one thing that might make running an old raid instance more palatable, it is getting a nice cash pot at the end of the run.

I do see advantages to the system. Players are encouraged to stay right to the end. Well geared main characters are encouraged to come even if they don’t want any drops. Well heeled alts can get geared up quickly and without much grind. In fact, you could do a couple of runs on a main to earn cash so that you could take your alt on a third run and gear it up there (if you really hate earning gold by any other means than raiding).

Then there are the disadvantages – it encourages gold selling. If you could spend some real cash for in game gold and translate it so easily into items via a GDKP run, why do anything else? How many useless but rich alts can you take along without the whole run becoming a tedious drag?

But the general idea seems so sound that I wonder if hidden somewhere in the GDKP is the future of real money transactions in games. After all, all Blizzard (or any company) needs to do to complete the circle is to sell gold themselves ….