Today I am going to present to you a question. A question I saw mentioned in different ways and not actually as a question on forum posts and blogs around the net for the past few weeks. It is in concerns to how we will soon be able to buy gold in game with the new game time tokens.
For this question I am going to introduce you to three players. Bob, Tom and Dave. Bob and Tom already exist in game and have for a very long time, Dave will exist soon. So lets get on with the story and then when each persons tale is told I want you to ask the question, is this person cheating.
Say hello to Bob:
I don't have to search far for Bob, don't even need to make up anything about him. I can give you as much detail about Bob as I want because I know Bob. I've known Bob for many years, Bob is in my guild. Many guilds like mine have a Bob or a few just like him.
Bob is a great guy. He is fun to have around, he is willing to help anyone when they need, he will go above and beyond, no need to even ask. Short on a few bloods for that upgrade, don't worry, Bob has got you covered. He will even tell you that you do not need to pay him back. He is a decent person and a team player even if he understands his team job is riding the bench.
The problem with Bob is that he is a dreadful raider, to put it as nice as possible. He is the guy you read about that is still having problems with getting the silver proving grounds. He has been at it for at least 20 hours that I have noticed and probably a lot more. A little here and there and seemingly never even getting close. He asks for tips and advice and I am giving him all the help I can, but he just can not get silver in proving grounds. He tries, he really does. He is just not a very good player for whatever reason.
He is the type of guy that is always dying to avoidable damage in the raid. The type of guy that when there is some special ability that if one person gets it they can wipe the team so you hope and pray it does not target him or if it does that you get lucky and somehow only he dies.
He is a great guy, don't get me wrong I really like him, but he is not a raider. He, actually, is the average warcraft player. There are more people in game closer to his ability level than the ability level of your average raider. The most awesome thing about Bob is that Bob realizes that he is Bob. He knows he is not a raider and he knows that we will not be sending him an invite when the raid time invitations start.
After we have a raid on farm we always invite Bob along. We let him gear up his character, so that gear goes to someone that needs it. When we have something on farm we are just killing for fun more than anything else Bob is the first to get an invite, he earned it by being a team player and a ncie guy all around. He also knows his place, so that if there is someone there that needs something and they are a regular raider Bob would never roll against them. He is glad to get anything that no one needs and is happy with just that.
Last expansion Bob was so well geared by the end of SoO you would have thought he was a regular raider, but that is more because of the expansion running on as long as it did. And Bob was never a slacker, he always valor capped, he upgraded his gear, he was gemed, he was enchanted, he was reforged, he was in the right spec with the right stats. He was just a poor player, but a great guy that really tried.
Basically, Bob got carried. We carry him because he is our friend. We will not sacrifice progression to try to squeeze him in, but when we start downing stuff with our eyes closed, we always drag Bob along. He is one of those guys that when we first killed garrosh we started thinking, when can we get Bob in for a kill, how long until we have it on farm so we can carry him.
So, is Bob cheating because he was carried through a raid?
Say hello to Tom:
Tom can come in a varied number or skill levels. There are Toms out there that are great players and Toms out there that make Bob look like he is great.
Basically what Tom is is someone that really does not have a great deal of friends in game or on that specific faction or server. Maybe Tom plays mostly solo. Maybe Tom is an alt on another server. Maybe Tom is the one token alliance / horde character someone has.
Tom, while having no guild, no friends, no connections or anything else in game that would help him on the raiding scene does have one thing of value, something he can barter with. Be it gold, pets to trade, an item someone else wants, or max characters of the other faction that can be used as trading tools. Sometimes, most times, Tom is a gold goblin, someone that has a lot of gold because they know how to work the auction house.
Toms ability as a player means nothing, I was a Tom once myself. I don't suck, but I am not great either. I was doing heroic (now mythic) so wanting to do normal (now heroic) on an alt of the same class I do heroic with really does not seem out of the question does it. The problem is I do not play horde much and never really had a raiding guild horde side, nor do I have many friends horde side, more so friends I could ask to let me tag along on my baby hordie. When they added the group finder I started to slowly work my way to getting some gear, but it was hard alone and quite honestly not all that fun alone.
Tom is a barterer. Tom is a deal maker. I know when I was a Tom on my horde character last expansion I worked a deal. I will carry your character through SoO alliance side if you carry my horde character through SoO horde side. Fair enough right. I thought so. One hand washes the other.
Now, at my skill level, I could easily carry my own weight in a pug, but it was so much easier to get into a group when you barter your way in. No worries about being last in DPS because you have no good gear yet or what have you. You can stick around no matter what because you basically paid to be there. I won a few pieces, won two more on rolls, and suddenly, my horde character whom had the legendary cape and not much more outside of a few raid pieces was now sitting pretty with nearly half raid gear. This made pugs amazingly easier after that.
I bartered carry for carry. Many Toms, being good gold makers, barter gold for those carries. They pay for the run just to get the achievement, maybe get some gear, maybe get some experience, whatever their reason for wanting the run, they barter for the run. They pay for the run with something that they have earned, gold, via the auction house and hard work. They barter just the same as I did. I traded carry for carry, they traded gold for carry.
It is easier than trying to find a group that you know can down things with the group finder. It is guaranteed success. No waiting hours refilling and waiting for people to get there after each boss. No waiting hours trying to find a group in the first place. No waiting hours between pulls because of people stepping away. No wiping to stupid stuff because of the nature of pugs. No dealing with asshats. You pay for a nice, smooth, and full run. Heck, that sounds so good I wish I could do that on my alts right this very second.
So, did me, as Tom, cheat because I traded an alliance carry for a horde carry?
So, did the average Tom cheat because he paid for his run with gold?
Say hello to Dave:
Dave is a completely fictional character, at least as of the time of this writing. There are no Dave's in game yet (legally) because you can not buy gold with real cash yet.
See, Dave is the guy with lots of money in real life but very little time on his hands. He does not have the connections that Bob does by being in a guild that will carry him because they are his friends. He does not have the gold making knowledge or anything else to barter with like Tom does. But he does have a boat load of cash and he is not afraid to use it.
In this fictional, but soon to be true, account we see Dave selling his little heart out $20 at a pop trying to amass enough gold so that he can buy some of the things he wants. Maybe some gear off the auction house, maybe some pets or mounts, maybe even a run in the newest raid, a carry, just like the one Bob got, just like the one Tom got.
Just like with Tom, the actual skill of the player is meaningless. He could be the greatest player in the world or the worst, it does not matter. He is paying gold, gold he made by exchanging real cash for it, to get into a group that he can do the run with.
So, is Dave cheating because he was carried through a raid?
That is the question.
Do you think Bob, Tom and Dave where cheating? Just one or some of them cheating and other(s) not cheating? Or all off them not cheating?
Interesting question, because the bottom line is Bob, Tom and Dave all did the exact same thing. All three tagged along with a raid group that could carry them. How they got into that group is completely irrelevant. They just went about how they got into that carry differently. Bob just used him being a friendly person and showing a willingness to wait until we could carry him before he got his carry. Tom bartered his way into a carry by trading something he had of value like trading a carry for a carry or gold he worked to get for a carry. Dave bought gold with game time tokens and used that gold to pay for a carry.
Reading around the net and on the forums. The gist I get from people is that what Bob did was fine, was Tom did sometimes can be considered fine and what Dave will be doing is completely and totally wrong.
What do you think?
Secondly, why is what Dave will do wrong but what Bob did perfectly acceptable?
And one last thing, why do people consider it cheating?