Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Blizzard to Players: Buy Gold NOW!

Warning:  This post is a tin foil hat edition
Please take it with a grain of salt

Blizzard has finally made their stance on gold buying public.  They support it.  Even more than support it, they have decided to make a reason for you to buy gold and they spent time, effort and development money to create the perfect place to spend the gold you are buying.   Enter the Black Market Auction House (BMAH).

It has been a long held belief around some in the community that blizzard doesn't really mind the gold sellers being out there.  Anyone that has ever reported one of the susan express gold sellers posting in trade can tell you that.  Even more so, someone that did not report the susan express gold sellers could tell you better.

If you do not report them their future messages will not be blocked, so you will see them in all their gold selling glory.  All... Day... Long... You will also see that they keep going for hours and hours on end.

I've seen days where one susan express person was in trade all day long on the weekend.  Were the GMs letting them post or does no one work on weekends?  That is a full day of people reporting for spam.  That is a full day of any GMs possibly logging into the game and seeing trade.  That is a full day of no one playing the game that does not see it at least once.  Yet they are not banned.  They are not even silenced in trade.  Blizzard wants them to get some solid sell time before they pretend like that give a crap.

The common tin foil hat belief about gold sellers is as follows.

1) Gold seller creates an account.
2) Gold seller sells gold for some time quietly.
3) After a long time operating, blizzard gives them a short ban.
4) They come back and shift their stock to another account that just sells quietly and has not been banned yet so it is not lost.
5) They change that account to just an advertising account and spam trade until they are banned.
6) Go back to step one.

The reason for this approach is simple.  They want the gold sellers to feel as if they are getting away with something.  If they ban them as soon as they find them they might stop making new accounts because it is not profitable for the gold seller.  The gold sellers need to sell product to make it worthwhile to keep getting new accounts, blizzard has to allow them to make money to keep the flow going.  So they let them make money, enough to feel it is worth having accounts to do this, and then ban them for a short time, to let them know a permanent ban is coming.

This allows them to send all their stuff to another account so it is not lost when they come back and then they spam trade with that account until they get the permanent ban they knew would be coming shortly thanks to blizzard giving them the nice little warning.  Now this forces them to buy a new account and some game time, making money for blizzard.  Even if they only buy one new game, the base one, it is still a product sold for blizzard and it is still an additional subscriber for their numbers.

This is how gold sellers are handled.  They let them get away with it just enough so it is worth them continually buying new accounts, thus buffing up the companies bottom line.

The introduction of the BMAH is just pushing it to a whole new level.  More people will be needing gold to buy stuff on the market, which means more gold sellers.

More gold sellers means more people to ban and make buy new accounts. New accounts mean more income.  New accounts mean more people that they can label as active players for the stock holders meeting.

By creating a market that offers items that can not be attained any other way in the game, like offering T3 sets, they are saying you have to buy this, you can not earn it in game in any other way.  It is pay gold or you don't get it.

This will create a much larger market for gold sellers meaning they can ban gold sellers more often, as they are making a lot more real money, which means they will buy more accounts more often.  It is a full circle.  They create more demand for gold, so gold sellers make more money, which means they can ban them more often.

When people are not buying a lot of gold they can not ban them often.  It might reach a point where it is not worth them making new accounts all the time.  But if they are making a lot of money, they can ban them much more often.  This means it is worth them making more accounts which makes blizzard more money and looks like they are getting a nice subscriber boost.

This tin foil hat is on fire now.  It burns.  It burns because as wild as it sounds, it does sound... possible?

But could there be any truth to it behind the scenes?

People might say that blizzard does not want gold sellers around because that means hackers too and that makes more work for them.  There could be some truth to that but you also need to remember that they offer everyone in the game the perfect way to protect their accounts.

They do not want people getting hacked, that just creates work for them.  So they offer a free authenticator, just pay shipping and handling, so you can protect your account.

So basically anyone that says that the hackers causing them more work is proof they do not support gold selling is wrong.  It is an unfortunate side effect that they have created a way to beat, instead of banning the gold sellers and account hackers to begin with they just tell people, protect yourself and let the gold sellers do their thing, here is the item to protect yourself.

For things like Ashes, you could still farm it if you want to in game, or you can buy it with gold.  So that could be a flip of the coin in wondering if they support gold sellers by creating the BMAH.  However, by offering things that can only be attained through the BMAH they are basically saying they want people to have a lot of gold.

Being we live in the x-box generation of instant gratification, and they know that, people will not grind to make money.  The grinder generation is mine, not the ones playing the game now.  The x-box generation will just go out and buy the gold and blizzard is 100% fine with that.

Blizzard has been working on ways to drive up subscribers ever since they released the patch they passed off as an expansion called cataclysm that they charged us for and they scared away a fair portion of their customer base with.  The annual pass was a subscriber grab, and it worked.  The scroll of resurrection was a subscriber grab, and it worked.  The BMAH is a subscriber grab, and it will work too.

The thing is, it is a back handed subscriber grab.  They want gold sellers buying new accounts, selling gold, getting banned and then starting all over again by buying another account.  This way their subscriber numbers will go up while their player base gets happier because they feel like they are getting away with something and getting hard or impossible to get items.

It is win/win for blizzard on many levels.  For those that know how to make money, there is more reason for them to stay in game playing.  For people that are not good at making money, there is even more reason for them to stay in game to grind money.  For people that buy gold they get to feel like they are getting away with something.  For the gold sellers they will be more likely to continue to make new accounts no matter how often they are banned because they are making money hand over fist.

It is all good for blizzard, as long as hacking does not increase.  So expect a new push for people to get an authenticator so they can let the gold sellers do their thing while they have less hacking worries.  Don't be surprised if an authenticator is included with the new mists box, just so they can let the gold sellers do their thing with less hacking going around.

This might very well be completely tin foil hat but you have to wonder what are their true intentions.  There are a lot of questions we can ask them and I wonder what the answers would be.

Is it really just a gold sink or just a sign they are out of ideas?

If they are really trying to get away from grindy content for the x-box generation why create something that would require people to grind gold?

If they want people out in the world why stop them from making TK groups every week to get the ashes mount when they can sit in their home town and buy it?

If it is just about making money, why not sell T3 at a cash shop like they do the mounts?

How is creating the BMAH good for the game?

Are they going back to the concept of whoever has to most time to play has all the best toys?

Do they have a plan to stop people from cheating (buying gold) to get stuff over others that actually worked for their gold?

This might be a tin foil hat edition but something inside of me read the announcement of the BMAH as blizzard putting up a huge sign in blinking neon lights over Org and SW that read "Buy gold NOW!" in huge letters going blink, blink, blinkity blink.


  1. I wrote a post about something similar a while back, where I stated that I support having the ability to buy gold through safe, honest channels. I don't support hacking. I don't support the spam that happens in Trade. Nothing unscrupulous like that.

    But I do think that we have reached a point where how much gold you have really doesn't affect the outcome of how you play the game anymore. I remember it may have netted you better enchants, when you could afford Maelstrom Crystals before anyone else, but otherwise what did having all of that gold get someone?

    There's a reason why when someone applies to a guild that the application doesn't ask you how much gold that you have - because most of the time it doesn't matter. I have been very fortunate to see a lot of content while being flat broke (usually no more than 10,000g at a time)and I can't say that I would have seen said content faster or more of it were I rich.

    Sorry, I went off on a bit of a rant there. Like I said - I think the importance of having gold or earning it the old fashioned way has changed along with the times and I think that we as a community should change with it.

    1. People will still want the little goodies that the game will be selling and, as you said, people have gotten into the habit that gold does not matter, many people will just buy the gold to get what they want.

      That is why I ask if people think that adding something like this means blizzard is basically giving people the go ahead and allowing them to buy gold now.

    2. I love that you call having less than 10k "Flat Broke". That goes to show how little value the gold actually has in WoW anymore.

      I wonder, Grumpy, what your position would be on individual players selling their own gold that was obtained through wholly legitimate means. As in, say I, Hyperious, regular guy, went out and farmed mats and recipes and had a bunch of max level professions, crafted things and made a killing on the Auction House. All my behaviors are legitimate and acceptable in the realm of WoW ethics.

      But let's say that I'd already bought everything I need. I've got all the latest and greatest enchants, every mount and pet I can buy with gold, and yet I'm still gold-capped.

      What would your reaction be if I, hypothetically of course, were to sell my gold to other players who didn't have the time or ability to farm up the endless supply of gold? I would not be engaging in hacking or anything unscrupulous. I would just be selling the gold that I myself have earned.


    3. Well Hyper, if they where to do it like they are doing with Diablo 3, which I do personally see coming, more power to you. If you earned it fully legitimately and can make money off of it within the rules of the game I say more power to you.

      Funny thing is, 10K is flat broke in the game now as it seems. I have alts I never play that have more than 10K on them. I think of all my 85s the only one that does not have over 10K is my rogue and that is because I spent 10K on the legendary quest line meaning he only has about 6K sitting on him. Even at that, if I sold all that leather I had stocked up I would easily have 20K on him.

  2. I was sorta hoping if they did add something like a way to get T3 in game again it would be like the Darkmoon Faire, where you need tickets or some other soul bound currency. I do think the stuff should be available, but making it for gold seems like, yes they don't mind folks buying gold.

    1. I would think having it for a fairly large amount of tickets would have been a perfect idea.

      People would have had to earn it over time, they would have had to play the game and it would have, in a way, crested content that lasts longer then do it once and you are done.

  3. You grumpy SOB...

    I want to disagree with you.
    I want to fight about this.
    I want to say "NO WAY! BLIZZ would NEVER support gold sellers!"

    But I cant.
    Blizz see's all, don't they? When Arthasdklol sells DKSusanExpress a bolt of netherweave for 100k gold, I would think that an alarm would go off somewhere, and Batman would jump into action and ban both accounts. Perm-ban. Boom. Done.

    And your example of trade chat spam, I mean come on!

    BUT, I have never bought gold, so I don't know how the transaction occurs, but no matter HOW it occurs, I would think that Blizz could log it and investigate.

    And maybe they are just short staffed and that's why the trade chat goes on for HOURS. But man, they make a lot of money, hire more banners please.

    I am not leaving Warcraft anytime soon, I want to see MoP, BUT, really the farmers are the one thing that could make me leave. Not because they are THAT big of deal, but because of the two faced nature of it. "WE HATE GOLD FARMERS!"
    "but we wont resolve the issue"
    Hell man, just legitimize it and move on.

    Stupid teenagers in dungeons pulling for the tank and then telling the healer to "l2p"? Doesn't bother me.

    1. I must say the people in the dungeons like that bother me a million times more than gold sellers.

      If I ever quit the game it will be because of the community going downhill like it has and not because of gold sellers.

  4. Even if people buy gold that gold will be remove permanently from the economy. The main problem with gold buying is the exact opposite of that.

    However I do not think gold buying will increase much. Any decent item like a rare mount will only appear occasionally and will be very expensive. I think something like Ashes will go for 750k gold plus. A quick look on a website will show that 750k gold will cost you 4-500 euros. Yet as it will be a bid only auction you have no guarantee of getting that items.

    I just do not see people spending that amount of real money on something without a guarantee. If you look on ebay at the number of TCG Spectral tigers that actually sell, not just posted, it really isnt very many, and they ARE a guaranteed purchase.

    1. I know what you mean. I have personally purchased a few cards on e-bay but I would never spend a lot. I put a $50 cap on myself and even at that, it is only if it is something I really like.

      I do happen to know quite a few people that have spent a lot on cards and one that spent a lot on gold from gold buying sites.

      Someone I played with a few year back would spend upwards of 500 a month buying gold. That is just one person, I am sure in a game of millions there are hundreds like that.

      As a side note. He would always talk to everyone about his gold buying and even showed off stuff he bought with the gold and he has never been banned or suspended.

  5. gameUSD is a popular site for getting all your wow gold. but not only is it that...in a JS file on their site...is a tag to the dev's site...and on her site...she says what she does..OHHH SHE WORKS FOR DEMONWARE, a subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, Inc. Nice