Ladies and gentlemen, the story you are about to read is true, the names have been changed to protect the innocent. You might want to take this as a warning.
There has been a person posting in trade for about six weeks now offering to sell things in game for gold, things that none of us would think anything about being illegal. His average post goes something like this.
[Trade] [Mrsellsalot] Selling [Iron Skyreaver], [Armored Bloodwing]. other mounts, pets and game time for gold. PST for price.
He is on almost any time I am on selling. If I log in before I leave for work I will occasionally see him post. If I log in after I get home from work, he is sometimes online posting. During the weekend where I spend more time he is on any time of the say I am on posting, sometimes even for hours and hours on end every 10 minutes.
It is not like this guy can not be seen posting, he has been posting the same stuff every 10 minutes for what seems to be almost an amazing 24/7 for weeks and weeks on end. Any reasonable and logical person could easily be lead to believe that blizzard is probably okay with it because if it were against the terms of service they guy would have surely been banned right?
A friend of mine from guild who was having some real life cash flow issues like a great many of us in the world at any given time asked me if I thought it would be safe to buy from him. He figured he can make gold in game easy enough but if he can save money and not need to spend for some game time or some mounts it would be great. He could continue to play and never have to worry that he is wasting the little money he has on game time because the game is basically paying for itself.
It is quite a logical idea. Wildstar is doing it now as well as other games, many other games, before it. Where you can buy the game time and sell it which is what this guy in trade is basically offering.
I told him that it was against the rules. He could get in trouble if he buys from the guy and then that is where the logic entered the picture. He said, the guy has been selling stuff for almost 2 months, if it was illegal wouldn't they have banned him already.
I could not really answer that question. Yes, they should have banned him already. Why he wasn't shows, in my opinion, one of the biggest faults with the management of the game. They have absolutely no moderation. I find it hard to believe, amazingly hard to believe, that after all this time not even one game master has seen this guy advertising to breaking the ToS and they did nothing about it.
I still advised him against it but he figured it would take the chance. He whispered the person and asked for a price for one mount and 90 days game time. He got quoted 30K gold. When he told me this I was immediately thinking I would buy my game time like this for now on if blizzard allows it now. You can make 30K in one day if you know what you are doing, and in 2 weeks even if you do not know what you are doing. So 30K for 30 days worth of play time plus a mount is amazingly cheap if you ask me.
He went and he made the trade. Very happy with his new mount, which he immediately jumped on and flew around with for a bit and the knowledge that he saved himself 45 bucks that 90 days game time would have cost him. For someone that is tight on money saving 45 bucks is pretty huge.
Two days later he comes to me and says he should have listened to me. Blizzard stripped him of the 90 days play time and the mount and did not even give him the 30K he spent on it.
See folks, it is against the terms of service.
But here is where the situation gets a little cloudy and I start to believe there is something else going on here behind the scenes. Break out the tin foil hat.
This all happened a month ago. That person is still posting in trade, still selling mounts, still selling game times, still posting every 10 minutes what seems like 24/7 and is still on the same exact character doing it.
So they took the stuff away from my friend because it was illegal to buy it, did they take the gold away from the guy because it was illegal? And better yet, why is that guy not banned?
Some people in trade started to say that it was a rip off, that they bought something and had it removed. I whispered them to ask them a question or two about it. Told them it happened to a friend and I wanted to collect information to put in a ticket to get the guy banned. Did not tell them I was collecting info to post here but be assured I not only am making this post now but I did make a heartfelt please that will surely be ignored in a ticket asking for these people that did nothing wrong to have their goods, or at least their gold, returned to them.
I interviewed 7 people and had another 6 that refused to talk to me because, I guess, they thought I was going to make fun of them or something and there is nothing further from the truth. I personally believe they did nothing wrong.
Person 1 : Retired Dwarf and his Dwarf wife.
This couple, as retired people, both in their 60s and living off a fixed income decided that they have more than enough gold and free time to make more that it would be good if they could save some real life cash for some game time. He purchased 90 days of play time for himself and for his wife for 120K.
As he explained to me he can make that much money if it put his mind to it in a week so it did not bother me and he thought the price was more than reasonable being he was saving real life money.
Both he and his wife had their game time stripped from them less than 24 hours after purchasing it.
Person 2 : A pink haired female gnome.
Just hearing her story made me sad, maybe because it seems so mean to happen to a gnome. It is worse than gnome punting. She said that she just started getting into pet battles and wanted to get some of the store pets but really did not want to waste real money. She spent 35K and purchased a few pets.
Three days later, and after she spent the time leveling those pets, they were removed from her account. So not only did she lose her gold she lost all the time she spent leveling them. Sorry blizzard, but that is just freaking mean, this person put in the time and effort to level them.
Person 3 : A teenage druid.
He purchased a mount because his parents would not buy it for him. They did not mind the monthly fee but he has enough mounts so he did not need to buy one. He saw a way he could get the mount he wanted in game so he went and got the mount in game.
The mount was removed 2 days later. He has paid 20K for it and for him, as he said, that was a hell of a lot of gold, it took him an entire month of working his ass off to make that so he could buy it.
Person 4: A male human lock.
Oddly enough paid by a female. Who says females do not play male characters, I found proof. She said she is a stay at home mom that plays for fun and is not really all that active. She decided to use some extra gold he got in game to get game time and save real cash. She bought 90 days play time for 20K.
Her game time was removed 5 days after it was added. This was the longest time of all the people I spoke to before they had something stripped.
Person 5 : Another male human lock.
This one an actual male who is in the armed services. Figured it was a good way to save some cash so he bought some game time to the tune of 40K gold.
His game time was stripped within 24 hours of purchasing it.
Person 6 : A worgen warrior.
He said he was sitting at 199 mounts and wanted to achievement for 200 mounts and this seemed like a nice and easy way to get number 200 so he purchased a mount for 15K.
The mount, and the achievement, was stripped from him 2 days later.
Person 7: A gnome with too much gold.
He might as well call himself a goblin. He said he purchased all the mounts and pets he needed and even bought a bunch of game time to the tune of 480K gold.
All the mounts, pets and game time was ripped from his account 3 days after purchasing it.
All these people plus the one person in guild mean I have now talked to 8 people that have purchased something from this player that has been posting in chat for months and had it removed from their account because they broke the ToS. I would not be surprised if there is not some sort of note on their account as well, a black mark, for doing something wrong.
In all this time that person is still in trade and he is still selling things and blizzard has done absolutely nothing to him what so ever.
My question is why?
Does blizzard let him keep selling the stuff because they are making money off him buying the stuff to sell, and then only strip it from the people that were buying it to save money so basically if they really want it they need to spend the money effectively meaning blizzard is double dipping. Getting the money from the guy that sold it and then getting the money from the people that now need to spend their own money to get it.
Someone said, when talking about it, maybe they removed the stuff because it was purchased with a stolen credit card. That argument does not hold water. If someone was using a stolen credit card they would stop allowing that person to buy item on that account and this is the same person that has been selling for a month, so it is not a case of a stolen credit card.
But lets play pretend for a moment. Even if it were a stolen credit card, how the hell are the people buying it supposed to know that? They can't and it is not their job to find out if it is. They should either get to keep what they purchased or get their gold back when it is stripped from them. The only person that should have action taken against them is the person using the stolen credit card and we have absolutely 100% proof that no action was taken against that person because as I write this that person is no doubt spamming trade every 10 minutes offering to sell things.
I personally do not see what the issue is. No money is being exchanged outside of the game. If money is paid directly to blizzard for an in game mount and that mount is being used by someone in game, by logic, that is exactly how it is supposed to work. Money paid for a mount, someone gets a mount. Nothing wrong with that.
Blizzard seems to not understand that. Or, like I mentioned, they are just ignoring their own terms of service and penalizing the people that purchased the items but doing nothing again the person that is selling them. That is wrong, wrong on so many levels. It is blizzard breaking their own terms of service by letting that person continue to sell stuff in game.
Blizzard wants him to spend the 30 bucks on game time, sell it, strip the game time from the person and then the person needs to spend 30 bucks themselves to get game time. Effectively blizzard is getting paid for the same 30 days twice by not banning that person selling game time.
They can not say they do not know who is selling it. If they know who brought it to strip it from them than they know who sold it to them to penalize them as well. They just do not want to, they want to just make more money and that is why they let this guy continuously sell with no actions taken against him.
And please, please, do not even try to use the defense blizzard used on a ticket that one of the people entered. I will of course paraphrase here but one of the people told me that they put in a ticket asking for the gold back and were told they would not get the gold back because they broke the terms of service. With a follow up ticket asking why they had the good stripped because it was against the ToS did the person that sold it to them have nothing done to them. Their reply was that they do not comment on ongoing investigations.
Now get ready for the kicker, and one I agree with. They put in another ticket asking a simple question. No investigation was needed when you stripped my game time in less than 24 hours, so why can this guy post for months and months on end. Just look at chat, see him post he is selling the stuff, ban him. No investigation needed. Other people will keep buying because you do nothing to him which makes it seem as if you support him. Blizzard reply, not paraphrasing but exactly how I was told it was, If you put in another ticket regarding this topic you will be enjoying a 3 day vacation.
Blizzard is prepared to strip everything from the buyers, ban the buyers if they question why they had the stuff removed, and not ban the person doing the selling.
Does blizzard ignore its own ToS when it benefits them to do so?
As far as it seems, absolutely so. They will continue to let this guy sell stuff, and then strip it from the people that buy it, so they need to buy it with real cash now. So they are getting cash twice. No wonder they are not banning this guy, this guy is making them money.
Word to the wise. Do not purchases anything from people selling it in trade like that. The only person that loses is you. As one guild member said, with his tin foil hat on, the guy selling the stuff probably works for blizzard and this is how they are making money now. Makes you wonder.