Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Beginners Bane: Part III: Gold

Warcraft has a long history of being a good game.  It has been around for a long time in terms of gaming and as such has a very expansive world which can be overwhelming for the new players.  This will be a series about the problems with warcraft from the perspective of the new player.

Part I : Abilities
Part II : Flow
Part III: Gold

For most of us that have been around the block a few times we know how to make gold while leveling.  I've said it many times here and there are hundreds if not thousands of sites and blogs out there that say the same, just pick two gathering professions and sell everything while leveling and you will have no issues.

For new players this is part of the problem because while we know it they do not.  A new player will usually, at best, pick one gathering profession and its related crafting profession.  Some of the smarter new players will even pick the crafting professions that would work well for them.  This is a smart move really but when it comes to terms of gold it is a horrible idea.

The economy is brutal on most servers and downright horrible on quite a few.  A new player can not even get any bags within reasonable pricing and bags are the most important thing anyone in the game can have while leveling, even more important than decent gear because you can level in just quest rewards alone just fine but if you have no bag space to put stuff, you are basically screwed.

The lack of gold to buy the grossly over priced bags on the market is only the tip of the iceberg for a new player.  If they are intent on keeping their professions in line with their level they will most likely need to spend a fair deal of the little bit of money they get to do it or spend a lot of time in areas where they do not get any experience to gather the materials needed.  If they do the later then it is fine but if they do the former, or wish to do the former, it becomes a huge burden on the wallet of a new player.

As time goes on and you move further into the game the lack of gold can only become more of a hindrance for a new player, or at least makes them feel as if it is a hindrance.  Most new players with no help and no prior knowledge in the game will reach level 60 and not be able to afford flying for outlands or the old world or cold weather flying when the time comes for that.  Lets not even think about getting fast flying or 310 flying, these are the same people that will rarely be able to get something for 500 that 5000 feels like it is a million miles away.

For new players with little or no gold making knowledge they are put into a circle of feeling as if they can not keep up with the required things they feel they need in game.  Like decent sized bags.  Like keeping their professions up to date, that poor player that needs a rod or primal might to continue along with their enchanting but it costs more than flying does might just have to give up on it there or make the hard decision, flying or profession.  Like getting flying so they can spend more time playing the game and less time traveling by foot or from flight maters.

Lets not even think about that person when they do finally reach the end game and gear up some and enter the looking for raid and someone bitches them out for not being gemmed and enchanted.  They might want to be, they might even be trying to do just that, but one look at their wallet and the moths flying out of it and the prices of one thousand or better for an enchant they will only need to buy three or four more times each time they upgrade their gear it could be a daunting task.

As I said, money is not hard to come by for the people that have been through it all or have alts with every profession and that is why things are so expensive on the auction house.  Like that rod or primal might that the enchanter needs or the gems and enchants they would need when getting into higher random content.  This could be a huge turn off for new players at the most and disheartening at the very least.

While we can never experience it as being a new player again even if we reroll on a new server we should all be aware, for as easy as gold is to make for us, for a new player it is a huge beginners bane.


  1. This is/was? a serious issue that cropped up a LOT when I still frequented the World and hence met a lot of new players (Alt Levellers tend to spam LFD).

    In case someone wonders, the other major topic was the general nastiness of other, more established players in Group Content(including PvP, which many stopped bothering with before 50 due to the Gear differences etc.)

    The core problem is, again, Blizzard's wish to push End Game PvE content and making it 'accessible', and also pleasing the 'big numbers' crowd (it wil be no surprise that in princpile I was/am in favor of a Stat-squash).

    Raiding means wiping and Consumables, wiping and Consumables cost money, so Blizzard made it easier to acquire money and by extend Consumables (they also made Consumables easier to acquire, period. There's a whole world of difference between Purple and Black Lotus farming vs getting Fanthom Eels and Fortune Cookies, and e.g. Rumsey Rum Black Label should have never become a Vendor Item).

    So we e.g. first saw converting of XP to Gold when capped (mid-to late Vanilla), then adding a system of Quests that primarily serve to line pockets (Dailies, TBC), then a LFG system with a XP (and hence gold) bonus for letting Blizz choose what to play, and with ever higher iLevels and XP ever more gold rewards for Questing.

    While these may look good from the miyoptic view of 'accessible Raiding', the problem is that it throws a lot of money in your hands when you're at cap, without A) actually requiring you to actually use it for that miyoptic purpose and B) without stopping once you basically have your kit and the Bosses on farm (creating an ever-higher pile of money quite rapidly).

    In other words, making things 'more accessible' helps out those who spend more time at the game more than it does the group it ostentably should help.

    Add to this an increasingly skewed AH (Heirlooms made pretty much only end-game Gear relevant, which made the Gear newcomers would need aboth rare and, in case they're sellers, have little value; note that Transmog changed this a bit) and the huge concentration of cash at top, and you have the makings of a dreadful inflation that affects newcomers a lot more than established players, their 'Burger quotient' gets screwy.

    A solution to this would be to for example remove Durability (and hence the need to repair and hence the 'need' for money) and the automatic XP-to-Cash system (a major culprit), and restore the economy by removing Heirlooms (so there would be a 'real' market for non-cap Gear again). If you stop throwing money at people there is no need for goldsinks to begin with.

    1. With the speed of leveling there will never be a market for non-cap gear ever again. Why would anyone spend anything more than a few silver for something they will be replacing in six and a half minutes when they gained 5 more levels and it is now outdated.

      To make non-cap gear relevant, they need to make getting to cap take a crap ton longer.

      Heirlooms do indeed skew things in ways they never imagined, you can tell. Now you can always pick the item that sells for the most and vendor it which in turn turns into more gold in the system. I can say with absolute certainty, as I have leveled so many characters, that heirloom gear roughly equates into an additional 5K by the end of the game if you choose your rewards correctly.