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Why don't Blizzard (and other devs) sell gold?

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    Toxic PickleToxic Pickle Thash grape! Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Dyscord wrote: »
    Yes, the providing company still really owns the "items."

    You can kinda look at this in the same way as you do when buying a movie DVD. Do you own the item? Sort've.

    You own the disc, but the stuff contained on the disc is copyrighted, and even though you purchased it, you are not considered to be in ownership of that content... you are merely licensing one copy of it. You are not allowed, then, to make additional copies to sell to others and if you were caught doing this, the consequences would be very real.

    Moving back to game currency, Blizzard could very easily sell their own gold to people, but it would not be smart of them to do so. As has been stated many times above, it would cause massive inflation, because right now gold farming is considered illicit and there is definitely a taboo about it in the game... people hate gold farm spam, and thus they despise people who buy the gold from the farmers which perpetuates the spam.

    Were Blizzard to get into the market of selling their own currency, this taboo would instantly be gone. Yes people would still grumble about others not getting ahead legitimately, but since there would be no in-game spam, those grumbles would stay low and probably be kept mostly to the forums (which I daresay the vast majority of the community doesn't read). People would feel free to buy gold whenever they needed something, and if Blizzard then attempted to put limitations on how much gold people could buy, well then the gold farmers would again have a market and we'd have gold-selling spam again.

    Despite the constant frustration most of us feel when it comes to being solicited by gold farmers, it cannot be denied that Blizzard has gone to extraordinary lengths to quell them. Just look at other games like Final Fantasy Online and Star Wars: Galaxies, where gold farmers have taken over the economies, and it's clear that things could be a LOT worse in WoW. Despite farmers, gold in WoW is still valuable and yet there is a limit to what it can do at endgame. They have struck a remarkable balance, I would say.

    Toxic Pickle on
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    Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    It's worth mentioning that, at least in WoW, goldfarming is a dying industry. There's a reason you don't see very many bots or non-english speaking dudes out farming anymore. WoW isn't growing quickly enough, and gold is too easy to get (dailies!) for it to be profitable for poor chinese to be paid to play it. Most of the gold being sold these days comes from scammed or hacked accounts or from active (or quitting) players selling off their surplus gold. So even if Blizzard were to start selling gold, it's not a given that there would be a ton of demand for it.

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
    hold your head high soldier, it ain't over yet
    that's why we call it the struggle, you're supposed to sweat
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    Little JimLittle Jim __BANNED USERS regular
    edited March 2008
    Laonar wrote: »
    If you play Starwars Galaxies or did, everything on there is now extremely expensive due to credit farmers. Things that used to cost a million creds, are now so expensive its not even worth playing.

    If they sold credits it would destroy the economy.

    so now people are like

    "republic credits?

    those are worth nothing here, I need some real money!"

    right

    Little Jim on
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    FairchildFairchild Rabbit used short words that were easy to understand, like "Hello Pooh, how about Lunch ?" Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Waaay back when WOW first appeared, I believe you could bet in-game with a NPC on the winner of the Shimmering Flats races. Boy did Blizzard take that out quickly.

    Fairchild on
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    SikarianSikarian Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Fairchild wrote: »
    Waaay back when WOW first appeared, I believe you could bet in-game with a NPC on the winner of the Shimmering Flats races. Boy did Blizzard take that out quickly.

    I used to participate in that race.

    I never won :(

    Sikarian on
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    KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    What interests me is what wil happen when/if virtual worlds start to develop real complexity and get progressively integrated into real world - do we still go with the same old "it is a US / XX company and its servers are based there" rule or does something else happen, perhaps the development of new treaties?

    Kalkino on
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    Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Why would we need new treaties?

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
    hold your head high soldier, it ain't over yet
    that's why we call it the struggle, you're supposed to sweat
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    KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Dyscord wrote: »
    Why would we need new treaties?

    Well that is really just a "what if" scenario really - however there is precedent - there are swags of treaties out there that regulate things like postage/telecoms networks/shipping/fishing/oceanic mineral exploitation> I would have thought something like the internet, that creates amazing potential for cross border activity would almost inevitably spawn a heap of international agreements.

    Kalkino on
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    Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    It has spawned a heap of new international agreements.

    I realize I'm kinda jumping on you here, I just don't understand why people get all glassy-eyed about the possibility of future "virtual" economies that will have new rules and need new regulations, when every "virtual" economy so far has integrated just fine into our current world economy. Because hey, all the people building these virtual environments can't eat virtual food.

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
    hold your head high soldier, it ain't over yet
    that's why we call it the struggle, you're supposed to sweat
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    HarshLanguageHarshLanguage Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    On the other hand, Dyscord, US law and legal precedent has made a number of imaginary/virtual things into valuable property. So it's not unprecedented nor unthinkable. I don't think it's as cut and dry as you're making it out to be. I'm just waiting for the first lawsuit over virtual theft or similar.

    HarshLanguage on
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    Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Edit: this was poorly worded the first time.

    I don't know of any time the law has considered a purely virtual thing to be property, without it first being fixed in a tangible medium. There are property crimes committed "virtually" in the sense that they use computers to move data, but that's not really what we're talking about. There's also copyright infringement, but that's also different.

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
    hold your head high soldier, it ain't over yet
    that's why we call it the struggle, you're supposed to sweat
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    Dark HelmetDark Helmet Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Waaay back when WOW first appeared, I believe you could bet in-game with a NPC on the winner of the Shimmering Flats races. Boy did Blizzard take that out quickly.

    Oh god. I always wondered if there was more to the Shimmering Flats Raceway! Why did they take out all that content? Why? WHY? I didn't start playing until mid 2006, so I missed out on alot the earlier content. Like the stories of old Alterac Valley that apparently had much, much more content.

    Sorry to derail. Back on topic!

    Blizzard has done a faily solid job nipping gold-farmers in the bud. There are still a few pesky websites soliciting their ill-gotten goods, but as someone mentioned earlier - they are a dying breed.

    Increasing the daily quest cap to 25, adding tons of new daily quests also - really helped players get access to gold in the game that as far as I am concerned was easily available already. Gold is all but falling from the sky at this point, why the hell would you pay someone real money for it?

    Dark Helmet on
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    HamurabiHamurabi MiamiRegistered User regular
    edited March 2008
    As an aside, and vaguely related to this thread:

    When you have your portrait taken in a studio, always ask for the copyright form; you don't technically own the copyright to the photos of yourself, and you'll need it if you're planning on reproducing the shots in any reputable photo place. I presume they don't give the form to every customer because they're greedy bastards who want the customers to keep coming back to them for reprints, and because they like to make me feel awkward explaining to people why we can't reprint their stuff.

    Hamurabi on
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    Beyond NormalBeyond Normal Lord Phender Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Waaay back when WOW first appeared, I believe you could bet in-game with a NPC on the winner of the Shimmering Flats races. Boy did Blizzard take that out quickly.
    Oh god. I always wondered if there was more to the Shimmering Flats Raceway! Why did they take out all that content? Why? WHY? I didn't start playing until mid 2006, so I missed out on alot the earlier content. Like the stories of old Alterac Valley that apparently had much, much more content.

    They should bring this back, pronto. Along with the ability to bet on gladiator fights in the Arena, maybe. Like, if I go spectate an arena match, I could bet maybe 50g on the outcome. If all the top end arena teams are all about skill, then it should be anyone's guess as to who the winner is.

    Beyond Normal on
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    815165815165 Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Waaay back when WOW first appeared, I believe you could bet in-game with a NPC on the winner of the Shimmering Flats races. Boy did Blizzard take that out quickly.
    Oh god. I always wondered if there was more to the Shimmering Flats Raceway! Why did they take out all that content? Why? WHY? I didn't start playing until mid 2006, so I missed out on alot the earlier content. Like the stories of old Alterac Valley that apparently had much, much more content.

    They should bring this back, pronto. Along with the ability to bet on gladiator fights in the Arena, maybe. Like, if I go spectate an arena match, I could bet maybe 50g on the outcome. If all the top end arena teams are all about skill, then it should be anyone's guess as to who the winner is.
    These are great ways of finding thousands of level 1 warriors suddenly appearing at these places.

    815165 on
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    Beyond NormalBeyond Normal Lord Phender Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    815165 wrote: »
    Waaay back when WOW first appeared, I believe you could bet in-game with a NPC on the winner of the Shimmering Flats races. Boy did Blizzard take that out quickly.
    Oh god. I always wondered if there was more to the Shimmering Flats Raceway! Why did they take out all that content? Why? WHY? I didn't start playing until mid 2006, so I missed out on alot the earlier content. Like the stories of old Alterac Valley that apparently had much, much more content.

    They should bring this back, pronto. Along with the ability to bet on gladiator fights in the Arena, maybe. Like, if I go spectate an arena match, I could bet maybe 50g on the outcome. If all the top end arena teams are all about skill, then it should be anyone's guess as to who the winner is.
    These are great ways of finding thousands of level 1 warriors suddenly appearing at these places.

    It's too early for me to comprehend this, so, what?

    big ninja edit: I'm in no ways a smart man when it comes to economics, but in what way would betting on some things be negative? I mean, it would allow some casual people to accumulate gold faster so they can have some of the nicer luxury items, such at epic fliers and BoE epics, without having to spend all day mastering money making techniques. Or is that it? Do the people that did master these techniques not want to have their work trivialized by some John Doe who got lucky with a bet? Shit, make the bet have a top limit, say 200g. I sill see no harm.

    Beyond Normal on
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    OremLKOremLK Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Even if gold is "falling from the sky", I think it's a little optimistic to expect that the gold farmers will just quit. The very fact that gold is becoming so plentiful simply means that the economy is going to inflate and shit will cost much more--so you're back to the good old problem of how to get more gold to get the stuff you want/need. And some players will turn to gold sellers.

    OremLK on
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    DirtyDirtyVagrantDirtyDirtyVagrant Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    KVW wrote: »
    I've never actually bought gold online, but after playing MMOs for 5 or 6 years, I've known several friends that have bought gold online, specifically for WoW and with the popularity of WoW, when I played, I was spammed to visit sites at least once a day for 2 years.

    Clearly, Blizzard doesn't want gold farmers or sellers and tries to ban them whenever it can, but it's not something they can police or eliminate with any level of satisfaction.

    So, why don't they, and all games, sell gold in microtransactions? People obviously want it since they do buy it. Farmers are making money off it and Blizzard can't stop them. Why fight it when you can profit off it? It would end the constant mail and bot spamming and reduce the amount of people required by Blizzard to try and police something they can't stop and give them a new source of revenue.

    I know a lot of people hate the idea of buying gold, but if Blizzard came out and offered it in the same manner they make you pay for server transfers, I wouldn't really complain that much. Put level restrictions on amount of gold you can buy so you can't just start the game with 10k gold or something ridiculous, but can go out and buy a 100g for a mount at 40 if you want or 5k at 70 for epic flying, etc.

    I'd love to see them do this just to stop the damn spam every day. Gold farmers / sellers are out there, everyone knows it, may as well make it official and put a stop the things non-gold buyers find detrimental (spam, etc).

    Is there a reason no company has tried selling gold to customers or is it some taboo they don't want to even attempt for some reason?


    Because putting too much money into circulation causes inflation. Why do you think your mount training costs so much? And your professions, and your class skills, and your repairs, etc, etc? Because these things are all part of a system to take money out of the game.

    DirtyDirtyVagrant on
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    KVWKVW Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    I actually had the flu and forgot to come back to the MMO board when I got better after posting this, but the general concensus seems to be that Blizzard (or any other MMO dev) would devalue their own economy by selling gold and / or they could lose users due to perceived integrity of not selling gold.

    Concerning the economy, the gold farmers generate gold by grinding 24 hours a day. They do not drop money on anything else. No potions, no tradeskills, no mounts, no durability from raiding or insane epic repair bills, nothing. They beg a mage for food and water and go do their thing. For all intents and purposes, this is identical to Blizzard just changing some values on the gold buying person's account and magically creating gold for the server. Instead of buying the gold from the gold farmer, the person buys it from Blizzard.

    Okay, people seem to think everyone would start buying gold on masse now that it's legitimate. Do you have a $100 do drop on a 1000 gold (or whatever the going rate is these days)? How often would you do this? Rich people don't get rich by throwing money away and I don't see many people dropping $2000 on gold every couple months to buy the mats for the next epic craftable or to pimp out an alt, even if they are rolling in the money. It's stupid and very, very few do it now, so why would they do it if Blizzard sold it to them?

    Even if someone got the stupid idea to go and buy gold on masse from Blizzard and buy out the entire auction house, what would they do with the gold they get? They just bought enough to buy out the AH, what do they want more for? They can't sell it, which is what some farmers try to do when they jack up prices of certain items on the AH after buying alll the stock. There's no point to making more gold if you went and bought 10k or 20k gold already.

    Also, people won't pay that much. They'll farm their own materials or resort to trade channel spam until the economy righted itself. Just becaue gold can be bought legally from Blizzard doesn't automatically make it something everyone can afford now. I don't have any numbers, but let's assume 10-20% of the population (1-2 million -people) bought gold at one point or another form farmers. Why didn't they buy more? Because they can't afford weekly or monthly payments of $100 per transaction. Few will be taking out a mortgage payment to drop on gold payments. Its usually a one time thing (or was when gold was hard to come by back in the old "You have an EPIC horse mount????" days).

    As someone said, you get to your 5k for the epic flying mount training and you're essentially done. I grinded for a week when BC came out and got my epic training and after that, I had gold and didn't know what to do with it. I never ended up with another 5k, but I was always hovering in the 1k-2k range depending on if I deck out an alt or wanted a new epic pattern or something. If someone bought 5k gold, they'd never really need to buy more in BC. Maybe if there's a new gold sink in the next expac, you might want to buy another payment to get 5k for the next mount or whatever, but no one can truely afford monthly gold payments. If they could, they be buying it from gold farmers and this so called economy crash would be happening right now.


    So, if the economy doesn't crash from gold selling by farmers who essentially exist outside of it by never putting anything back into it, Blizzard should be able to do the exact same thing, make money, legitimize it and eliminate the farmers by making them obsolete and any undercutting attempts by them would lead to bans, making that $5-10 savings or whatever they'll try a foolhardy gamble when you can just get it legally. Same with illegal alcohol or cigerettes. Jail time / large fine or pay an extra couple dollars? Most do the smart thing.


    The name brand integrity is the only thing I can think of and I'm sure their are other more unscrupulous companies (cough*ea*cough) that could go this route. Limits on accounts by server (so no buying for alt and mailing to main) or time based (1000 gold every so many months or something) or buy the actual mount for money values, say $40 for a lvl 40 mount, $100 for a 60 mount, $150 for a flying and 300 for an epic and the item gets put directly in your backpack, no gold created, since that's the biggest incentive to buy gold (farm 5k over a couple months casually / weeks hardcore or buy it for $100-300 or something). Game breaking? It happens now with gold farmers. Game isn't broken outside of typical class bitching.


    My whole point on this is that gold can be bought. Farmers are a detriment to most people and were a major problem spam wise and also if you wanted to grind for mats and the farmers were always there, etc. You can ban accounts, but the farmer just gets on another cafe computer and starts again, delayed slightly by the ban. If MMO company makes it legal, similar prices, same people that bought gold already should still buy gold and it should be out of reach or non factor for the people that don't buy it from farmers. Some might indulge with a "legal" option, but I'm not spending a $100 on something I spend $15 a month to play and can just grind out the gold as I play. Others don't have time and want the mount and are willing to and will get the gold legally or illegally. Economy should not be damaged in the slightest by this and if it poses a problem, restrictions can be a major factor in limiting it. (ex level restricted gold purchases, no lvl 1 getting 10k, etc)

    So why do ALL MMOs ignore this obvious cash cow? And WoW was just an example. I do mean all mmos. WoW is just the most popular and easiest to use.

    KVW on
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    OptyOpty Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Is your entire argument "gold selling exists now and the game's not broken, why can't Blizz do it?" If it is, you're ignoring that a lot of people who would buy gold don't buy gold right now because of its "illegality", hating the spammers, the risk involved with dealing with a gold selling company, and the banning threat to their account if they get caught. Blizzard providing these services means the people who wanted to before but were too scared can now do it without any fear of being ripped off. Also it doesn't matter how much gold the farmers have on themselves because it's not part of the economy, it's only when it's sold when it becomes a problem and because of what I just mentioned very small amounts are sold. Plus the majority of gold buyers do it once and only once, whereas making it "legal" would make them more likely to be a repeat buyer.

    Opty on
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    Dark HelmetDark Helmet Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    There is a stigma with buying gold also.

    I find the idea of purchasing gold incredibly distasteful. While it may be true that gold isn't falling from the sky, the fact remains Blizzard has made accumulating gold remarkably easy. Anyone who purchases gold as far as I am concerned is an individual who has more money than common sense and/or someone who is so lazy they find it a chore to keep their heart pumping. When I discovered that 2 of my guildmates bought gold I would be lying if I didn't think a little less of them for it. They are participating in an activity that is clearly underhanded as far as Blizzard is concerned, I don't want to get involved in that. Plus there is the good old E-Bay stereotype about no-talent players purchasing their way to glory.

    Dark Helmet on
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    The WolfmanThe Wolfman Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    There's a very important reason why you shouldn't be allowed to buy gold. And if you want to know what that reason is, play Final Fantasy XI.



    *Note - For all I know they completely overhauled the entire system since I left 5 years ago and things are different. But that game was the textbook example of how gold selling fucks up a game.

    The Wolfman on
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    815165815165 Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    I think Blizzard have done a pretty goob job of devaluing the currency in WoW, my level 70 has nothing left to buy apart from buying stuff for my alts and repairs/respecs, so cash is going back into the economy and being destroyed accordingly.

    815165 on
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    OremLKOremLK Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    I don't have a 70 yet, haven't played since before BC--are there no BoE/tradeskilled epics worth buying anymore? Seems like with Kazzak drops now BoE that could actually be set to change, by the way...

    OremLK on
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    815165815165 Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    There are, but all the best stuff seems to come from drops/rep/pvp, so basicly stuff you have to earn. I have no motivation whatsoever to earn alot of gold for some BOE epics.

    815165 on
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    HarshLanguageHarshLanguage Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Exactly, 815165. Along with banning farmer/spammer accounts, stopping/filtering spam, monitoring for account fraud (many gold sellers are stealing accounts, apparently), we're also going to see more and more gameplay features that simply don't involve gold or other tradeable items of value. More reputation grinding, bind-on-pickup equipment, untradeable items, etc etc. It won't eliminate the need for gold, and there will always be some gold sellers around, but it will make it much less important.

    I believe FFXI did the BOP route to eliminate the farmer-camping of named spawns, along with some account banning. However, FFXI was utterly clueless about this stuff until it nearly ruined the economy (and gave us this classic GM conversation). Guild Wars is doing a lot on the account banning and anti-fraud fronts, and the expensive stuff in GW is usually just cosmetic upgrades, since max equipment and armor is either cheap or only available after rep grinds. EQ2 instituted a real spam-filter into its chat system. City of Heroes has some new untradeable items, and some new anti-spam measures, but influence-selling in CoH is probably going to get worse before it gets better, since the "loot" in that game is relatively new and is turning out to be fairly pricey. CoH also had basically no farming/spamming until the loot and player market was introduced.

    HarshLanguage on
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    KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Dyscord wrote: »
    It has spawned a heap of new international agreements.

    I realize I'm kinda jumping on you here, I just don't understand why people get all glassy-eyed about the possibility of future "virtual" economies that will have new rules and need new regulations, when every "virtual" economy so far has integrated just fine into our current world economy. Because hey, all the people building these virtual environments can't eat virtual food.


    Can you give me an idea of these international agreements? I can't say I've kept up with "internet law", if that is what it is called.

    Anyway I was a teenager just as the Internet/pcs/cellphones all started really becoming mass market and I can just remember what it was like before that and it still freaks me out exactly how much these three things have changed the society I live in in such a short period. Sure, they've not radically changed society or economics, the same rules apply, we have had an evolution not a revolution.

    But with all the technologies currently in the process of being developed the potential is there for some really weird, scifi like stuff to happen in the next 20 years and I don't know if the law can keep up with that. They've had enough trouble trying to react to things like electronic contracts or copyright let alone anything else.

    Kalkino on
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