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.