Friday, March 20, 2015

Do People Really Buy Gold or are They Buying Something Else?

With the coming addition of being able to buy and sell game time legally in warcraft through blizzard directly people are thinking about it as legalized gold buying.  With the common idea being that the 30 days game time will sell within the 15K-20K range, as blizzard themselves said they were monitoring gold selling sites to use them as a basis for what they should start the sell price at, it makes me wonder, do many people really use this service, the illegal version of it.

I've personally never purchased gold.  I do know people that have however.  Back in wrath I remember someone in my guild talking about it in guild chat even.  He had just got a new character to 80 and wanted to take the quick route to catching up on gear.  Not sure why as wrath had one of, if not the, best catch up mechanics in game for gear, one I would personally love to see return but that is another story all together.  So he went to a gold selling site, bought a bunch of gold, and then bought every single piece of BoE gear he could find for his character.

He said he does this for all his characters.  As a matter of fact he still does that up to this very day.  He does not mind because he has more money than he does time.  I can understand that.  If you can afford it and do not have the time to spend hours upon hours in trash farming groups looking for that BoE to drop and then hoping you win it, all you are really doing is spending a few dollars so you do not have to waste that time.  The thing is, even if I can understand that line of thought, I don't really know that many people that have purchased gold.

Purchased other things like the gear itself, yes, I know a lot more of those.  I know people that have purchased unmerged accounts, gear, items, pets, mounts, carries, heck I even considered buying a challenge mode carry this expansion so I don't have to go through what I did last expansion trying to assemble and find my own groups.  But gold, just buying gold?  I really do not think I know many people that have done that.

You could say I have purchased gold indirectly.  Basically I have many of times.  Way way back before the entire world seemed to catch on to it, I would buy battle pets from the card game on ebay and the such and then sell them in game.  Seems everyone and their mother is doing that now, but when I was doing it, it was a very good business.  So you can say I bought gold, in a way.  But buy gold directly.  Nope.  And so very few I know have.

I asked the people I know that have purchased other "illegal" services if they would buy gold.  Each and every one of them said, never.  They had no problem admitting they bought a carry, bought an unmerged account, bought items, or gear, or anything else from one of those sites, but each and every one of them shunned the idea of even entertaining buying gold.

It is almost as if buying anything in game is "okay" except for buying gold, even for people willing to buy stuff from these sites, it is a sin.  It is the worst of the worst you could ever do.

So if people that freely admit buying things in game for real money don't even touch buying gold, does blizzard really think selling gold, so to speak, is going to combat the problem with these websites out there?

It is not the gold people are buying from these sites, it is the service.  The service of not having to find a group that can manage challenge mode gold, so they find it for you.  The service of not having to spend 200 hours worth of trash runs to get those BoE 700 item level boots with a gem slot.  The service of letting you recruit them as a friend so you can get the refer a friend mount for cheaper than it would be for buying a second account for yourself or easier than finding a friend willing to play that isn't already playing with you.  The service of them farming for all those rare pets so you do not have to hang out and kill 37,000 whelps to try to get that whelpling yourself.  The service of them sniffing out an unmerged account that you can merge with yours so you can hopefully, if really lucky, get something that was removed from the game like the vampiric batling.

Gold selling sites sell a lot more than gold and from the people I have met in my life while playing, the people that have used the services of these sites, they usually use it for those other services, not for buying gold.

So if blizzard really is adding the game time for gold service into game as a way to combat the gold sellers, they are going to really need to step up their game.  Because people that use these gold selling sites are not buying gold from them, they are buying other things from them.


  1. I basically agree with you, Grumpy.

    I mean what do people buy gold for in order to buy in game:
    BoE gear

    They don't do it for normal stuff (repairs, gear enhancements, etc) because it's too easy to fund normal gameplay just by questing and stuff.
    They also don't do it just to stockpile gold.

    One of the main reasons I started playing the AH (other than for something to do) was to buy BoEs and mounts.

    I generally don't spend real money on the game other than the sub. I've bought a couple of pets/mounts from the store but only during sales/special occasions.

    Depending on how the pricing for these tokens ends up, I may even stop paying for my sub. If they're in the 15-20k range, I can make that in game in less than a month basically by just showing up...

    Blizz is going to have a hard time picking a price point because they want to make the tokens seem valuable, but they also want to compete with the gold sellers. I've seen estimates between 15k and 45k. They'll have to go for the low range if they want to compete with gold sellers, but they don't want 'everyone' buying game time with gold instead of cash...

    1. Getting BoEs is why I have gold too, so you are not alone there.

      I will place real money on a bet that they will never exceed 20K per month, unless blizzard is actually flooding the community with gold to make money, which is not out of the question.

      So for anyong slightly active they can play for free, assuming there is someone to sell at that price. Which I doubt.

      15K to 20K max, absolute max. If they appear anything over 20K on launch day, spend your money freely. You will make it back, and somewhere around 20K, while a reasonable price, is still way the hell over priced.

      Warcraft, in my humble opinion, is worth no more than 8K gold per month. And that is over valuating it because I still love the game.

  2. Anon, Grumpy's former Guild Leader:

    There is one point to this no one has bought up, i.e. the IRS. A few years ago I recall the IRS sniffing around a taxation question on eBay sales of pixels, or in other words, items from games like WoW and Everquest. So what happens when the IRS decides the in game value of gold has been set at a value in real currency and therefore is a valued and valuable asset worth being taxed. Now suppose you have a million gold, valued at 15 dollars per 20k gold and that has to go onto the IRS declarations of income...

    Unlikely you immediately want to say, but folks, we are talking the government here and if it has value, then some one wants to see it as taxable income.

    Personally, I think the idea is idiotic: both taxing gold in-game as even a potential idea, and also Blizzard selling gold as a real idea. But then again, I play their game my own way and find my own enjoyment despite all the wrong ideas I see and have seen.

    And as a segue, that will serve to say I am very happy with the player housing expansion. Not the PvP nor the PvE elements in general, but the player housing in which every character can now spend 10 levels+ building the castle of their dreams. With both an Auction House and a Bank, plus its' very own hearthstone, it insures that the current castle will stay potentially relevant far into Blizzards WoW future expansions. Blizzard always hinted that they wanted their version of player housing to be special, and by gum, they made it so. A whole 10 level expansion just so everyone can have a home. This sounds like it calls for a /sarc but in truth it is really what I see as the best and for me, the only part of the expansion which holds my interest.

    The Burning Legion is coming to a Draenor near you soon... That is the future I see coming for WoD, and not necessarily in a good sense. Oh it will be good to fight them, but as far as I can tell, Blizzard does not have any writers/developers capable of seeing far enough down the road to make the fight make any sense in their overall storyline. Basically they lack a Josh Whedon to lay out an arc of stories that come together to make sense in the end. Actually at this point they need a Marv Wolfman to make sense of their overall story.

    I think most will understand the Whedon reference. For the Wolfman reference, see Crisis on Infinite Earths and understand the enormity of the task Wolfman undertook.

    1. I don't think the IRS comes into play here at all. The problem with the real money auction house in diablo was that players were making real money from it. That is why the IRS got involved, they wanted their cut.

      With this there is no real money to be made. You are buying 30 days play time with real money. That is it.

      Sure, I can see how the IRS "could" try to get involved because you are then selling that 30 days play time for in game currency. But I am sure their lawyers have looked into that. Being no one is making "actual" cash in real life they do not have to report earnings. Nothing real is ever changing hands, unlike with diablos real money auction house. Where I was selling an item for real cash. No one can make real cash here at all. Everything is pixels. Nothing is changing hands in real life.

      I think part of their writing issues is that they try to compartmentalize everything into one expansion/ They are not thinking long term. And the game has been around and seems like it will be around for a while. They need to start writing this more like the TV series of 24, where each episode (expansion) leads into the other as a long story you get invested in instead of a sit com where every episode stands on its own with the only connection between episodes being minor back drops and characters only.

      When they first announced warlord crisis was the first thing that popped into mind. I face palmed just thinking about it because we all know that blizzard can not handle a story like that.

  3. When my girlfriend came back to WoW for WoD her account was hacked. Her gold and gear was gone. To hack her account they had also needed to hack an old email adress of hers. But that is all ok as long as your friend with to much money and to little time doesn`t have to grind LFR for his 7th alt I guess.

    1. I am not saying I support what he did. I am just saying that I do not think there are really as many people that buy gold as we are lead to believe and I do not think blizzard adding the ability to buy gold is going to stop things like what happened to your girlfriend to happen.

      If blizzard wants to stop things like that from happening they are going to do a lot more than just sell gold legally in game. Because most people that buy stuff are not really buying gold, they are buying something else.

      This post is meant to point out to them that if they want to stop what happened to your girlfriend, this is not the right way to do it.

  4. I don't care about mounts or rares or any of those other things people love to collect. I don't care about challenge mode or Arena carries. I buy gold from Susan express for more enchants or gems or potions or flasks to raid with. When all you care about is raiding and don't farm anything you still need gold.

    1. Valid point. On my horde character, being I do not have a support system for him, I often go waiting to enchant, gem, etc, until I have time to make the gold. It is not a main so I can take my time with it, but I can see if you are trying to actively raid and can not afford it why someone might seek different avenues to getting the gold.

      The prices on some of those enchants and gems are just out of line on many servers. I can't see how someone can make it solo unless they are good at making gold.

  5. I used to buy bop stuff off the winners in RND raids when I had a real huge amount of gold at the time. For instance, in wotlk we used to farm a mount in TotC 10m heroic at some point and I was the last one to need it But we had to fill up with a rnd. Of course we didn't state loot rules and he won. So I offered gold and kept increasing until he accepted. Best 20k I ever spent bc I doubt that I'd have gotten it otherwise and it was removed. I occasionally do this with gear too so I don't have to lose time with farming.

    what I'm trying to say is that gold has many uses and what I described requiresca lot. That said I hate gold buyers with a passion because they're cheaters and directly promote hacked accounts.

    1. I know there are many reasons gold is needed and people use it for things like gold runs, or to buy a carry, or to buy items, etc, but it is the item, the run, the mount, in the end that the people are seeking. The gold is just a means to getting it.

      Blizzard needs to address the item, the gear, the run, the mount, etc, they need to forget about the gold. As long as the other things are still out there, people will still be visiting those sites.

      Am I suggesting they sell those things themselves? I really don't know. But what I am saying is that selling game time for gold is not going to solve the problem, not even put a dent in it.

    2. The idea that people are really buying "other stuff" really resonated with me. I got to 1.2 million gold by the end of MoP just because I like playing the AH. I found a way to exploit the gem market (that ship has sailed) and it allowed me to gem up my raid team for free and keep us stocked on flasks and feasts and enchants. I enjoyed being the guy the whole team could rely on for upgrades they didn't have gold for.
      I really hope the "other stuff" Blizzard charges real money for is on the way for gold. I don't see paying more than 10 or 15k for a month of play time. But a race change? I'd pay 50k for that. Server transfer? 50k easy. Faction change? Well, you'd have to pay ME to go to the other side, but you get my point.

    3. I did the gem thing too, it was a huge money makers, at the beginning of cata there was a gem trick I taught some people in guild to do and in a matter o months you had people that never had more than 5K gold all walking around with 200K regularly.

      Not everyone knows how to make gold however. From the sampling my my guilds, as I know them, I can tell you most, as in over 90%, of the player base has no clue how to make gold. There are two people in my guild with over 1M, I am one of course, but there are dozens that have never even seen 20K.

      You will NEVER see a race change for gold or a faction change for gold, or anything of that type.

      Reason: With this, they are getting their sub fee from me and you are buying it from me. So they got paid for it. If you buy the race change for gold, no one is paying for it. So it will NEVER happen. They will not allow people to buy something that they could get money for.

      I do wish they would lower those prices however. Many times I have considered a race change, faction change or server transfer and looked at the cost and thought, it would be easier to just level a new character, so that is what I did instead.

  6. Of course we won't see it implemented like that, but I mean do it like the sub token. I buy a race change token, and sell it to you for gold. Blizz still gets paid. I'm not saying it will happen, but if it did I'd be all over it.

    1. Ah, I get what you mean now.

      You mean that I could purchase a server transfer and list it on the AH and you would buy it from there.

      That is, most definitely, something I can see them adding if this goes over well. Absolutely, that could work.

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