Goodbye Warcraft! Hello Warcraft?

Long time, no see.  Sorry, been transitioning into a new job out in Arizona.  I left my hometown to embark on a new mission.  No, I’m not stalking our favorite bleggar, either.  Something’s been on my mind a long time, and it was confirmed today.

I chose to name my blog and officially place it on it’s own domain at a time when WoD sorta looked like it had promise.  It was a short time after that I found myself finally throwing in the towel and playing content from 10 years ago…  and loving it.  So outside of relocating halfway across the country, beginning a new job, and messing with a game that was dead I made a big choice to quit Warcraft (even though I’m part of the subs thanks to tokens) and then start playing Warcraft.  Just in a different time.

Since today’s numbers demonstrate that I’m not alone in leaving the game, with 1.5 million people (mind you, this would be considered a major city in the USA) telling Blizz where to stick their content.  And even more humorous to me was this gem:

They were more fucked than 5.6 million prior to the release?  How low?  One can only speculate, but I don’t even want to think about it.  They’ve officially arrived at December 2005 numbers.  The game had 5.6 million players a year after the official release of Classic.  Why?  Because players were joining in droves and telling their friends to get in on the phenomenon or get left behind.  Today’s community is telling their friends to gtfo while the getting is good.  Sad, no?

While I’m playing in a completely non-TOU way to enjoy my favorite MMO my way, that’s also sad.  I’m forced to seek out my favorite content because the manufacturer is busy retconning and hyping their official game, while ignoring that they have players that would like to take in the sights and sounds from years past, even though the toxic community of assholes they’ve developed are busy telling me “nostalgia”.  I dunno, I have a 60 and am about 2 months out from 3 more.  I am taking in the lore of the game and dealing with the bugs like a hardcore, and I get talent trees that actually are somewhat interesting.  I’m not playing nostalgia, I’m playing a game with evolving content by hardcore fans of the game.  Further, my server is packed with between 3500 and 8000 players at any given time.  People are halfway decent to one another because you have to be to get things done, and being a jackhole will land you on a blacklist.  Further, cheating is aggressively sanctioned.  You, on the other hand, get forced into more and more solo gameplay and told “no” more than “yes”, content gets burned through in days rather than months, and your announcements are peppered with new store microtransactions.

I don’t want to slam the game for those that are enjoying it, because I simply don’t enjoy your content.  I enjoy my favorite content.  If we went to an ice cream store and you ordered a banana split and I ordered a fudge sundae, I think we can both agree that we got what we wanted because we had the options.  There are officially 5 expansions and classic content.  How do you make 6 generations of Warcraft players happy and benefit your bottomline at the same time?  Gee, I dunno.  Burn those previous tiers of content and tell your players to adapt or die?  You’re telling a story?  Like it or not, this is a game, a business, and entertainment for millions.  There’s a reason why reruns are shown on TV.  There’s a reason why you change your business paradigm when things aren’t working.

With an announcement of another expansion just hours away from this post, it just makes me wince.  We got royally fucked with this expansion in terms of almost everything.  Price?  Higher than the previous expansions while being told “free 90”.  Content?  3 patches with 2 raid tiers.  Developers outright telling us how to think.  PvP content receiving change after change to very cold reception with the lead developer exiting Twitter.  The gold game was practically destroyed and everyone shoveled into the same funnels.  And now, after years of precedent, the next expansion is being announced at Gamescom, and the rest of us will miss out on seeing it except in YouTube videos and streams.  Woohoo.  Pinky swirl.  And /golfclap.

Blow by Blow

Straight from MMOC’s comments…

  • More developers are working on World of Warcraft than ever before

If I was involved with Warcraft at Blizzard, I’d be pulling a Ghostcrawler/Bashiok.  Bashiok is now a Senior Content Manager over at NCSoft.  Smart move, they keep releasing new IPs and building on them and he was just a CM at Blizz.

I would expect that with the loss of about 1.5 million subs, which at most would be a hit of around 22.4 million bucks per month, there’s going to be some massive adjustments incoming.  You don’t go from 10 million to HALF your income without rethinking the office cubicle layout.  Someone’s got to pay, and it won’t be any of those bloated officer/VP/Executive Director checks.  In these situations, the little guys in the trenches feel the penalties, not the guys at the top.  All those GMs and CMs you like to abuse, they get to pack their desks.  Raises don’t happen.  Careers go stagnant.

It’s not all doom and gloom though, maybe an adjustment is just what they need?  New ideas, new blood, beheaded managers who were stopping innovation get replaced by people who come up with better ideas and paradigms.  When you stare into the abyss, you figure out what’s really important.

  • The Warcraft movie is a chance to expose Warcraft’s lore to new audiences and increase interest in World of Warcraft overall.

This is a year away.  They won’t even show us the trailer unless we attend SDCC, and YouTube accounts showing it get instantly hammered.  So you’re going to show a movie demonstrating lore that was followed up with game content that was destroyed by Cataclysm and the company refuses to re-release.  I’m telling you, if they don’t open legacy servers with this next expansion (and I know how popular they really are), you can count on the same graph as you see right now. If this is acceptable, then the executive management has officially lost their fucking minds and need to go back to business school.

Show me lore from 15 years ago and then put me into a game that doesn’t have anything to do with the demonstrated lore.  That’ll be a nice introduction for those people.  Other issue:  New players coming in?  What will happen to the game as a result?  You guessed it.

  • The subscriber count was down in the east, in part due to Diablo 3 release.

Ah yes, because people often quit Warcraft when Diablo 3 is released.  I assume they are talking about the season that was released shortly after 6.1, because 6.1 was a pile of dogshit and I for one was happy to pay attention to Diablo 3 instead of Warcraft.  Eastern players recognize what’s best, and Diablo 3 kicks ass now – and the game has come light years from the 7 year development period that resulted in another pile of dogshit.  The thing I fear is that they may cut devs from Warcraft and put them on D3 and one of them may be Jay Wilson.  /shudder

  • Patch 6.2 helped to stabilize the subscriber count in the last few weeks of the quarter.

Again.  They were LOWER than 5.6 million?  Third quarter is going to be an A-Bomb.  This explains their actions the past month in three letters…  S.O.S.

  • Blizzard has been listening to players experiences during Warlords of Draenor and thinks players will be excited by the announcement this week

Fanboys will be excited.  Fan sites will promote the news.  Twitter will go nuts with screenshots.  The hype machine cometh.  That’s the biggest no-shit statement I’ve heard all day.

  • Tokens are included in this timeframe, as they launched in Q2.

/Raises Hand.  Yes, I have tokens out the wazzoo. Will I play? No. The account can rot.  I have zero desire to play live Warcraft today.  I log into Classic and I’m excited to see if anything sold for a few silver.  Log into WoD?  Blow CDs, look at mission table.  Check friend list for who’s on?  Noone?  Ok, log out.

  • Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, and Destiny combined now have more than 70 million registered players.

The future of Blizzard and Blizzcon, gang.  Learn it, live it, and love it.  Once Overwatch releases and with all those micros, they’ll have one forum at Blizzcon for the Warcraft people, and then we can all scuttle off and enjoy the rest of our weekend.

  • Blizzard Entertainment had the largest online player community in its history, with Q2 MAUsB up 50% year-over

I believe this, given the new games.  Thanks for making me feel like a Blizzosaurus.  Maybe in two years we can all check into a gamers museum where people can sit and speculate what we died of.

  • Hearthstone engagement metrics nearly doubled year over year, largely on account of the new content and new platforms

See above.  Yikes.  Get me my cane and lawnchair.

  • Diablo III has now sold-through over 30 million units life-to-date globally.

And this was the good news for the day, because Diablo will always be my favorite game universe.  I wish I had a Tyrael hood for my “fun” photo up at the office.

Conclusion

I think it’s great that lots of people still enjoy the game as it is.  5.6 million people?  No other game has that player base, unless you count all the Asian-market-only MMOs.  Or the playerbase of some of these non-MMOs.  It supports a rather large group of people’s lifestyles, which I’m sure they’re thankful for.  Nothing is worse than wondering where your next meal is coming from, so hopefully the bleeding won’t be too bad.  Of course, it will be more challenging for people to get into Blizz, with a looming freeze coming since they have more candidates internally than you can shake a stick at.

Here’s hoping that the next expansion has nothing to do with Draenor, and possibly has content for those of us that like the old stuff (Say it with me… Legacy… servers…).  But this would require lots of resources, and unfortunately it looks like they’re going to be playing that old card moreso in the future.

Thanks for stopping in!

The Good News Is…

I don’t normally disclose my tactics ahead of a patch, but I will make an exception for you here.  I do it… for the people.

Bob Odenkirk circa 1997, and ahh yes, we meet again 180p.

I want to talk about a common topic today that arrives after every PTR patch launch, and that is stockpiling for 6.2.  This isn’t a troll post, there’s some damned fine critical thinking going on in here!

The issue with stockpiling anything for 6.2 is that we are looking down the barrel of a loaded gun, we could all be wrong and it will blow our damned head off like Daffy Duck.  6.2 is probably 2 months out from now, I’m thinking a mid-June release date.  If nothing earth shattering happens between now and then, we’re looking at severe price normalization.  Garrisons are going to produce insane levels of reagents in this patch with the number of people who will stockpile Rush Orders, primal spirits and garrison resources; especially since Rush Orders will produce 100% more reagents when used.

The Plague

That being said, I would avoid the following items on busy servers:

Temporal Crystals – While it’s still advisable to perform daily CDs on these, Rush Orders are going to make it possible to generate oodles of Fractured TCs the first minute the patch is released causing widespread price shock.  People will not be killing bosses immediately and progress will be slow giving time for the entire server population to go nuts with crafting and dump them on the open market.  I learned my lesson about this expansion’s progression with 6.1’s release, where we had massive amounts of transfers coming over to Illidan and dropping the price on crystals while demand was low.  Not that I’m proclaiming I won’t get fooled again, I’m proclaiming that pricing is flat out not going to be pretty enough for me to ask it out.

Fractured Temporal Crystals – See Temporal Crystals.  Crafting these via Rush Orders right now will be a bad idea as you’ll receive half the materials.  Crafting them via Primal Spirits is still a poor idea regardless.

Sorcerous Elements – With Rush Orders come lots of these, especially on larger servers.  People are also stockpiling them like mad right now in anticipation of a heavy Felblight market so they can upgrade the hell out of those 685 pieces.  While this is smart business, I’m anticipating market prices to hit the shitter on patch day as everyone tries to cash in on their adjusted prices and then causes a panic as they dump them.  Best to probably wait for patch day to buy them.

Alchemical Catalysts (Cats) – Since we’re entering the official second tier of raiding and Blackrock has been considered old news for a while now, I would only collect these if you’re making them yourself and not receiving good prices on them.  It makes sense to unload them asap so as not to absorb market fluctuation.  For myself, I’ve found it easiest to get rid of these through Alchemy transmutes of all flavors.  Because herbs are going to probably have price issues after release, flasks are going to probably lag behind as demand wanes.  Realistically if you can make money on anything besides flasks with these, I’d bet on those odds instead of laying against the flasks to have better pricing.

Savage Blood – These are going to continue to fall in price.  If you harvested your bloods and cannot eliminate the stock right now, you could always keep them around for upgrade tokens in 6.2.  The player base will be returning this summer and will be looking for quick upgrades so they can get up to speed from Blackrock with Heroic 715 level BOEs.  Most people’s attention will be on cashing in primals for the half-off Savage Bloods and chasing down Felblights and not grouping to trap wolves and clefthoofs.  One would believe the price of them would rise in that vacuum, but if you’re on my server, the duper spam will be incoming.  Groups to farm them are not nearly as present as they were a month ago, so the seedy underbelly of Warcraft’s material supply market will probably fall all over themselves to supply ridiculous amounts for the greedy fencing goblins to race to the bottom with at the local AH.  That is unless Blizzard fixes the duping issues that they claim do not exist.  Be right back, laughing so hard I’m going to hurt myself.

BOEs – I’d be very careful about going into the patch with any of these things in stock.  My experience has taught me that people want them, but the cost to make the first stage of the BOE is a lost opportunity.  It costs you 100 of a crafted reagent to make them, but the reagent could have been used to craft upgrades.  The lone exception on these will be weapons, as non-Mythic raiders will immediately desire upgrades to ilvl 705 weapons with perfect stats.  The PvP audience will be limited because they’re already rolling around 10 ilvls below so it’s hard to say if it will be worth it for them, and most people that are good at PvP won’t be waiting too long to get their new weapons anyhow.

Conversely

The things to look into buying will be (I’ll leave it to you for interpretation):

Draenic Dust – You cannot perform Rush Orders without it.  Expect the price of it to spike briefly after release as people start going through all their rush orders and long neglected accounts load up their work orders.  Further, once the price relaxes, people will again go back to using it for lesser enchants so having several hundred stacks of it laying around will be useful as LFRs are released and trade posts refuse to spawn the dust trader.  Thank me later.

Luminous Shards – Used exclusively for lesser enchants and daily CDs.  I would not suggest paying retail on these, but finding creative ways to go about getting your supply of them.  Depending on server demand, I would recommend a two week supply at minimum.

Ores – Again, Rush Orders and primal spirit crafting.  You cannot upgrade weapons without the reagents, and the prices have (at least here) relaxed since March.  Jewelcrafters are going to go nuts with the demand since Epic Gems make their long waited reappearance.  Miners will beat their heads against nodes in Tanaan at release but it’s going to be packed, and about a week after 6.2 releases you’ll see bots running all over themselves.  Get your “Report Player” macro ready!

Furs – If you’re like me, you’re overstocking this in your Garrison outhouse because you ran out of space.  My followers clean up with nothing but the finest in asswipe.  The market will demand this material because for many servers it is THE cheapest exchange for primal spirits.  Don’t get stuck paying full market retail in 6.2, because people will be skinning like maniacs come the opening of Tanaan Isle so have a nice stockpile around for when you need to supply 100% of the server with Epic Gems to upgrade that pretty gear they got out of Blackrock and the new raid.  Yes, I said Isle, because the this is the new Timeless Isle and most everyone will be spending time there collecting it while the smart people will be consulting my patented “Trader Schedule”.

Leather – I’m fairly certain people will wonder why here, but leatherworking has been one of my favorite professions going all the way back to TBC.  You supply so many different classes who also happen to be mostly hybrids – Druids, Shamans, Monks, Rogues and Hunters.  That’s almost half the freaking classes in the game, and with TJ promising to be the next stop for everyone with a skinner chasing Felblight, it’s possible we may see a slight shortage of mats at good prices.  I would suggest keeping a solid supply around, enough to make reagents for tokens and to execute daily CDs and WOs.

Herbs – Right now we aren’t assured we’ll see non-Tanaan Jungle contain herb nodes in any real quantity, the whole place looks corrupted and will play the RNG game for herbalists.  First, if the spawn points are anything like Timeless Isle was, collection is going to be brutal and you should expect bots to make an appearance within a week.  Second, when gathering anything, you usually want to see herbs of specific types.  That won’t be the case in Tanaan, and more than likely we’ll see even distribution of all herbs.  So the best place to get the herbs you want will be from the Garrison, as per usual with this expansion.  Lots of people will also be gathering at release, so get these as cheap as you can in the meantime.

Fish – Wait, what?  Why not just save it for Tanaan?  The issue is that you have new content, and we haven’t seen any new cooking recipes giving up the feasts or noodle carts giving everyone free +stats buffs.  The demand for high end foods (for good servers) should be nothing short of astounding.  Cutting edge raiders and tryhards are going to bring everything they can to the party including an extra 25 stats, and most important they just buy the crap they need.  While fishing is supposed to yield Felblights, reports I’m hearing state that they are from pools only so fishing bots are probably going to get killed here while others are going to fight over pools just like an STV fishing tournament.  Meanwhile, the smart play is to insure you have several thousand of each fish/meat type and don’t forget to stock the Crescent Saberfish while they’re cheap.  Come patch day the prices will escalate back to normal if not well above normal.

Crafted Reagents – All of them.  Stop making upgrade tokens RIGHT NOW.  All of them.  Don’t make another one.  Let the market go to hell and let everyone else blow their wads on it.  There’s almost no reason at this point to eliminate costly crafted reagents by selling dangerously underpriced upgrade tokens when the lowest cost reagents will take a week or two to replenish without Rush Orders or primal spirit recipes.  In case you don’t know what they are, these are the things you get for the various armor professions from daily CDs, work orders, or primal recipes.  Jewelcrafting will probably have the largest boom from all of this, because people with JCs will now have a massive choice to make between “make epic gems” or “make rares” or “make upgrades”.  Inscription will also have enormous demand as people who were unlucky with trinkets will want a heroic upgrade.  There are TWO levels of upgrades here with Mighty and Savage, both requiring insanely high amounts of the crafted reagents (175 and 350 reagents each respectively, with 30 and 60 Felblights required respectively).  Epic gems are going to require only 100 while requiring 15 Felblights.

The jury is still out as to how common Felblight will actually become and if either bots or dupers will destroy the prices in the market first.  I would probably hold onto some extra gold for purchasing the Felblights until we get further information.  If they become a rarer drop, expect prices to go nuts for quite a while.  If you’re into farming for “free” mats, dust off a gatherer or fisherman and go check the drop rate for us.

Primal Spirits – These will be used to craft the extra crafted reagents when you get short.  If you choose not to stock these, then you’ll probably be run out of the high end markets very, very quickly.  Watch for your favorite trader now.

Conclusion

As with all stockpiling, don’t go too heavy into collecting too many things.  I would encourage at most 40% of your bankroll so you don’t get hurt too bad.  You want to hedge heavily whenever stockpiling anything because if one market craters, you can at least make it up in another, or at least eliminate the stock all together in the AH and get some of your investment back.  And you treat this almost like gambling, as unforeseen forces can cause havoc.  We can’t all predict the future, but you can at least try.

I’ve always stockpiled as I went along so that I can take advantage of price escalations and market shortages.  I’ve got the kind of funds to not care if I get vendor price for things (it’s happened by the way, I vendored a ton of MoP items that I miscalled) and only put money on the table that I can afford to piss away.  With this being gold, you shouldn’t care anyhow!  If you disagree or have another idea or want to point out typos, please comment below!

Bugsy:  So?  It’s only dirty paper.  I’ll make more!

Thanks for stopping in!

What the Gold Tokens Will Mean for You

Last night I happened to strike up a conversation on Twitter with Sivation.  Somehow I missed this fellow, and they’re very interesting to talk with.  They also run a blog.  After some discussion in DMs, it was decided that I needed to publish this article.

Don’t get too excited for Patch 6.1.2, this only puts the infrastructure into the game.  From what I’ve seen we won’t have the actual tokens in the game for a little while.  When it does arrive however, I’m off the grid forever.

Well maybe.

Blizzard’s system is rife with issues, no doubt about that.  I got a pseudo-chance to debate Elvine in his “expert” column on Wowhead, but that was almost pointless because, well, Wowhead.  There’s lots of concerns about inflation, paying to win, how people use their gold, and how unfair it is and how we should all be in some manufactured rage over it.  I want to address something, and I’m no economist, but I happen to understand the mechanics a lot better than most.

At Issue:  This is going to cause inflation

Since day one of the game’s release, and prior to it’s release, Blizzard games have tended to deal in RMT.  That’s Real Money Trading for those of you unaware.  Diablo 2 supported lots of us with extra income to spend on hookers and beer, and I was approached prior to the release of WoW about joining up with a few Indonesian suppliers to sell gold in the game.  At the time I regarded World of Warcraft as a crappy idea.  I tried Star Wars Galaxies and hated the subscription model.  Lots of us back then were going to buy Guild Wars just in protest.  I actually did buy and play Guild Wars for a while and it was really good, so good that I remember actually carting my computer from Phoenix to LA just so I could play it while in a week of sales classes with the company I was with at the time.  It took me over a year to come to the Warcraft scene and several D2 friends chomping at my hide to come PvP.

Quite the digression there, but I chose to play Warcraft entirely legit.  I worked the auction house because it was absolutely familiar, as I had been one of the chief people Blizzard was trying to kill on Ebay.  Before all this D3 RMAH crap, I had made lots of real money off their game when it was a real and fair challenge only accepted by the truly ambivalent to Terms of Use players.  Why would I choose to sell others the great gear one could get for pennies on the dollar from trading sites everywhere?  Because there’s a fortune in pixels, silly!

You think I learned my skills just experimenting for a few years in a make-believe sandbox?  I was doing auctions for many years prior, and I love auctions because there’s something in them that gets my blood racing.  I should work for an auction company in some capacity because it’s a real passion.  But this experience taught me several things about how people online treat their credit lines and parent’s checkbook.  I learned that appealing to the masses was the best bet; giving them what they wanted and desired, at a fair price, and how they wanted it.  I also learned that people want things immediately and have no time for bidding wars.  When given a choice, they’ll pay a premium if it means they can have their stuff NOW.  Sound familiar?  Well I found the AH at level 5 on my first character, and have been here raking in gold whenever I want it since.  Today I consider a million gold pocket change, and soon to be a week’s pay.  How’s your auctions coming?

In the time I’ve played, I’ve been asked to sell my gold to both players and wholesalers, and yes I’ve traded for a month or two of subscription time, most people I know have.  While I don’t excuse my behavior pointing to other people’s behavior, I will say that there has always been a market for this type of trade.  Making gold comes naturally to me and I’ll never be broke.  I log in to what many would consider a fortune every single night.

I’ve discovered almost every hole in each expansion since, and I’ve worked at exploiting them to their fullest potential and worked even harder keeping my discoveries under wraps and only sharing my finds with a select few people.  If you want to be rich in the game world, and in the real world, you work at it and you keep your mouth shut about how you’re doing it.  Otherwise you take your clothes off for money online when you have nothing else to offer, and based on the twitch crap I’ve seen and “best of nominations”, we’re not far off.

Ultimately, I don’t think this will cause much inflation, because people have always Mastercarded their way through this and every other game for nearly 20 years of online gaming.  If there is an item or gold seller out there, there are people who are desperate enough to seek them out. In Warcraft, gold buyers tend to SPEND their gold, and that gold is either taken out of the game through vendors, or parked in someone’s fat guild bank where it will never re-enter the economy again.  Inflation implies a homogenous growth in the money supply causing prices to escalate relative to that available supply.  This is only achieved when everyone is participating in the system and not in isolated cases.  Inflation occurs at the beginning of every expansion because everyone is participating in quest turn-ins and increasing the money supply.  So unless a vast majority of players suddenly turn into gold buyers, you won’t see a huge spike in prices for general goods and consumables.  I suspect many will buy their tokens strictly to get some gold together for day-to-day use.  Buy 50k in gold, you are pretty well set for this expansion for casual raiding.  People that buy their gold also tend to spend it rather freely, which is why they’re always buying more.  It’s that old adage I like about giving fools a million gold, and taking a million away from me.

Motivations?

Where you WILL see a spike in prices will be at Madam Goya’s shack in Nagrand.  She offers all those shinies for gold that nobody has real access to unless they beat their heads against a wall in old raids for a year or two, or they magically come up with an outdated and limited supply TCG loot card off Ebay.  The only way for the vast majority of players to come up with the gold to get those items is to outright buy it, and this can get expensive quickly.  In the past buying gold could result in account closure, but now that prohibition is about to be lifted, everyone with a Mastercard, Visa, Amex, or Discover Card will be able to participate without fear that they will lose all their shit.  The only people losing their shit are the Al Capones of the gold selling world who are about to get some massive competition.

This sounds rather strange, doesn’t it?  Am I saying that the token system will ultimately turn the Black Market Auction House into the Real Money Auction House people disliked in Diablo 3?  Yes.  I am.  Welcome to the future of gaming folks, name an MMO out there today that doesn’t have micros.  After the system is released, you will enter Nagrand and you’ll hear the faint sound of a vacuum cleaner sucking up coins.  As you get closer to the Ring of Blood the sound will become deafening.  This system is going to remove truckloads of gold from the game forever on every server with each passing day.  I wish I could put together a graphic for you so you better understand it, but picture a cyclone over Nagrand dumping exclusive mounts, gear, and TCG items everywhere while sucking a train of gold into the sky.  The Blizzard store now includes the ability to acquire every pixelated unique snowflake item in the game.  It’s the mother of all micro transactions, because there’s no set price for how much you will have to pay everytime something comes up that people want! 20k? 1 million?  The possibilities are limitless, especially when Blizz is going to set the price of what gold is actually worth.

Further, thanks to the collection tab, you can also shop for these items across several servers on the same account.  You don’t have to pay money to only transfer 50k or a guild bank, you can now do this unchained across every server of your choosing.  I suspect a TUJ style listing of each server’s BMAH auctions will be heavily in demand because that stupid toy box needs filled.  Just log into the server of your choosing, buy some gold, and go nuts bidding for what you want.

Consider further that one is completely able to pick up pieces of gear they otherwise wouldn’t have access to.  PvP gear and higher end PvE gear.  Removed transmogs.  Think of the catalog of Madam Goya, I think you may get my point.  It’s not pay to win because you aren’t going to gain any particular advantage at this point.  It definitely will save those with limited time to play a hefty amount of time.

Unclaimed Black Market Containers are also gambling for addicts.  Much like D3’s RMAH was considered gambling, these future scratch offs for gold are going to produce tons of revenue from the hopelessly degenerate gamblers.  Will we see news articles about the people losing their homes chasing down those elusive rewards?  One can only dream, right?

But Is This Really Going To Happen?

Will people actually throw down hundreds of dollars just to buy things in a stupid video game?  I hear you, “Zerohour, you’re full of shit.  People don’t just throw down credit cards on pixels.  People aren’t willing to spend hundreds or thousands on a stupid game.”  Wrong.  Head, meet sand, population: you.

Look at Hearthstone.  This game had severe Pay to Win elements.  Were people pissed?  Were they quitting over it?  No, they were demanding ports to their phone and entire streams were dedicated to winning the game.  I had friends who used to cash in their Battle Net Balances for Hearthstone cards.  Hundreds of bucks to do it.  This was merely a digital version of MTG and Pokemon, but people fell hopelessly into the business of feeding the machine.

Look at Diablo 3.  The RMAH may have been hated by so many people that they were able to get Blizzard to reconsider it, but I assure you Blizzard did this with a heavy heart and lots of cash in the bank.  It sucks they went to the soulbound gear system with no trading allowed, but this shows that they are quite aware of what would happen if they conceded and allowed trading.  People would be spending tens of thousands on gear that they would never profit from in the REAL black market.

Watch for Overwatch.  This is really nothing more than a reimagining of Team Fortress 2, and that’s not Blizzard’s fault.  Team Fortress 2 specialized in fun FPS play and a gigantic shop for skins and flavor items.  What gaming giant could refuse this opportunity?  Blizzard saw this and obviously realized that they were missing out on a ton of money in FPS with overpriced pixel shops for special snowflakes.  The prices people pay for these things is nuts, and if I was them, I’d Double It!  Let’s ask Jay Wilson what he thinks.

Thanks, Jay, that’s what I thought.

Let me introduce you to Jack.  Jack (not his real name) is a buyer of gold.  Jack is a successful small business owner.  Jack competes against me in GDKP runs, and Jack, like me, is loved because he pisses away gold with seemingly no care.  Jack buys millions of gold from gold sellers because he’s your average player with real money and this is his entertainment.  Jack hasn’t the time to farm up gold because his attention is towards making real money, not pixels.  Jack pays out the ass for gear when he competes with me, because he pays 500:1 for gold.  That means for every 100,000 gold he bids, he pays 50-70 bucks in real money.  He’s fine throwing down several hundred thousand because it would mean he wins.  He’s like me, a bully with their bankroll that likes to win.

A long time friend of mine from back in D2 days (I met him because he was a customer of mine) actually quit D3 when they removed the auction house.  He doesn’t have the time to mess around in the game looking for gear that might be an upgrade, he wants gear NOW because he has what those in the real world call “a good paying job”.  I remember what he told me after they removed the auction house – if I can’t Mastercard my way through a game, I’m not interested.  He was true to his word.

We have to realize that microtransactions are the future of games.  They’ve been around in the underground since online gaming for items and gold started.  Ultima Online, Everquest, Diablo 2, Star Wars, Dark Age, Guild Wars and Warcraft.  The research is there, the experience is unquestioned, people will always buy gold for real money.  Can you eliminate it or regulate it?  I think regulation is the answer.  It’s a giant market, just like useless apps are a giant market for phones, micros are almost exactly like it.  I can buy an app that tells me when to feed my dog for crying out loud.

Epilogue

So what does all of this mean for you, the average player who probably won’t be buying tokens or selling gold to token buyers?  Not a helluva lot unless you shop on the BMAH.  There are people with both the means and the desire to acquire things with their real world currency.  Is this fair?  Absolutely!  That’s the free market.  You are free to sit on your ass and do nothing or free to go try to make something be successful.  If you cannot participate in this latest venture in either capacity, then the only thing you’ll notice is a lot more Spectral Tigers riding around, more Mim’s heads flying by, and people will finally have the means to pay those stupid repair bills because dailies are a pain in the ass and who has the time to run Heroic Firelands for 20 minutes?

If there is a reduction in gold in the game because of widespread overuse of the BMAH, you’ll see prices of your flasks, your enchants, and your gems stay pretty much at the same levels.  Why?  Because the gold that is being unlocked has been rotting away in guild banks for years and has absolutely nothing to do with the future prices of materials and consumables.  High priced stuff is purchased on a perceived value, and most regular players will never acquire these items.  Gold for many of us is a dead asset unless we need to use it.  Those with millions of liquid pixelated currency laying around have chosen not to let their gold work for them.  You, however, have nothing to worry about.

Ok, Jay, that’s enough now.

Now for me, I personally help the economy every weekend by redistributing 30-40% of my weekly profits to help my local world ranked raiders increase their gold supply in GDKP runs.  Remember, these are the highest stakes GDKP runs in the world where a seat at the table requires a quarter million gold on hand minimum and the pot grows to several million in just hours.  There are no friends in GDKP, and that’s good because I don’t have the room for more.  I can’t wait to see if this token system actually affects anything for us.  And if you’re on the US realms and interested in getting into these runs, please feel free to tweet me @zerohour15 for more information.

Thanks for stopping in!

 

Thank Goodness for Small Miracles

It looks like the token system for gametime is real, and from my post at the end of last year, it looks like they’re going to do it right!  Not tradeable, BOP after the first sale, and the system doesn’t seem to look like it will be exploitable.  Further, a separate part of the AH will be dedicated to it.  It sounds like I was in the development meeting for it.  The only thing I didn’t get was notification that there is an economist in place to insure that those buying the gold are getting a good deal.

Now if they’ll just release it in a timely manner before I bankrupt myself in GDKP runs.

Oh yeah, the complaints from those with the gold have already begun.  Lots of worries for no reason.  And I can’t believe what I’m reading.  It’s either for one of several reasons:

1) People are concerned that others will have a means to access gold they didn’t earn, just fill out the merchant services information and go get your unearned gold.

2) They’re ultra legit and this is an affront to everything good and decent about their favorite game, even though gold sellers have been in the game since day one and their precious little world is about to be tarnished by the real world!

3) They’re very concerned that people will finally wake up and realize that grinding gold is worth it!  And that spending time grinding it means they will have more competition.  Oh no! Or that Blizzard will not slack off on their aggressive anti-bot stance, and the fellows over at Honorbuddy will get away with something even more because of some imaginary concocted reason.

4) People are actually pissed because they currently sell their gold for more cash than the lousy subscription cost, and this is going to interfere with business.  Getting a job is hardly in the cards, because that would interfere with sitting on their asses.

Pay to win (P2W) isn’t even an argument here, because gold is pointless unless you need it for something gamebreaking.  Nothing has even come close to that outside of the BMAH, and I’m fairly certain that world ranked guilds already have their subs paid.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and let people know now that grinding gold for your sub is not worth it.  Unless you’re me, and you pull in over half a million and over in sales a week.  And I can guarantee you that the vast, vast majority of players in the game are not me, because I only play on one server and only I have access to my account.  In fact, I’m 1 in 10 million according to the current stats.  I’d like to meet the person who’s making more than me, I’m pretty sure they’re not dealing in legitimate Blizzard intended markets or they’re running a dupe technique.

But let’s discuss my reason behind #4.  I know point of fact that many of the people out there grinding gold right now are doing it for nefarious reasons.  Maybe nefarious is too strong a word, maybe the money pays for their beer and good times.  Maybe it’s how they subsidize their income.  People, for whatever reason, are people.  They’re going to try to get ahead with the least amount of effort.  People bring coffee machines to work because they can’t get off their asses to get a cup in the break room.  Anyone who claims to have made over 5 or 10 million gold in this game and isn’t able to show you the gold on their characters at this point is probably selling gold or has contacts over at Ownedcore or in-game that are buying from them, wholesale or retail.

I say all that and I can’t show you my gold results from expansion to expansion.  Why?  Because I love to piss it all away at the close of each expansion.  It’s just what I do.  Gold is meant to be spent, and to acquire millions without a use is the ultimate in useless life spent.  When I started WoD I had under 400,000g between my characters.  I was broke by my standards.  What happened to all of it?  Well I did some BMAH, but I also did GDKP across 5 different characters with the top 3 guilds on Illidan.  I went through millions just doing that because I like treating other “rich” people like they’re shit and their tears are more delicious.  In the last GDKP I ran in SoO I detected a hint of lemon.

Besides all this, the efforts by Blizz to crack down on bot users is going to probably escalate to Def Con 1.  Harmless bot fishing?  Bye.  Gathering herbs and ores because you’re 15 and you pwn everyone?  Probably should stay in school.  Running a posting bot because you’re asleep at 2am and you just can’t fathom that sales are being made while you’re sleeping?  Hasta la vista, bitch.  I have a feeling Blizz is going to be monitoring AH activity with this change even moreso.

How?  Well money silly.  Goldselling in games is a multibillion dollar business.  In some MMOs, selling the currecy is more profitable than the game itself.  This service is going to cost the people buying that gametime.  I am expecting to see a price tag of $20-$25 US for each token purchase.  This is going to be a gigantic windfall for Blizzard, and they’ll probably have the extra resources afterwards to boost many QOL and security issues within the game itself.  That premium is definitely deserved.  Funny story.

In my first job out of college I was talking with my boss (who owned the company) about the future of phones.  He believed we would always have landlines, and I believed that one day we would all be talking online for free and that phones as he knew them would go away.  I argued (I was a young and clueless fresh college grad of 23 and an idealist at one point) that the phone companies deserved to take that hit, after decades of overcharging for services that they didn’t deserve any premium for because they already laid the lines and that bill was paid years ago and if anything the prices should go down on landlines.  His argument was I had a long way to go to learn about business.  They laid the lines, they deserve to be paid for that service.  Well, he was wrong about several parts and right on one.  I definitely learned about how business works (took about another year of getting my teeth getting kicked in), and I really learned that the business that makes the exclusive offering dictates the price that the market will bear, so he was right.

Blizzard deserves whatever price they get for this offering.  They make the game, they make the rules.  Everything they do has been focus grouped and test marketed, it’s not done on a whim.  The results are pretty clear – they retained 10 million subs this last expansion again.  Don’t like it, play something else and vote with your wallet.  Of course, we all know you can’t.

By the way, we’re not all talking on landlines today, are we?

Thanks for stopping in!

 

6.1 Dailies and You, and Me, and Why?

One of my favorite features of Warlords of Draenor is that it has a ton of straight forward gameplay that appeals to longtime WoW players, but mostly veterans who haven’t been back since TBC/Wrath.

* Quest your way to 100
* Enhance your Garrison and your Followers for high level missions
* No flying.  Unless you’re an engineer jumping off a cliff.
* Profession materials and patterns are straight forward and available via CDs
* No required dailies

That last one is important to me.

Dailies were introduced in The Burning Crusade as a means of adding a way for the broke population to somehow collect some extra gold by means of performing an activity.  Initially, they had a cap of 10 per day.  They offered reputation, vanity items, and a decision element that tasked you with picking only 10.  This cap was great because it governed how much gold input we saw into the game.  Mind you, at this time, raiding was also a 4-5 day per week affair, so doing them was interesting on your days off.

Somewhere along the way the lines got crossed and it went from a simple means of collecting extra gold and vanity items to unlimited dailies and the actual game itself.  Witness MoP if you will – several BIS items became available via dailies for the average raider and if you wanted access to your profession’s patterns, you were performing them for several weeks.  In reality, if you were a casual player with no access to anything beyond LFR, this was your “content”.  What a horrible design decision and it was one that I heavily disagreed with.  And before you cry “Zero, you just don’t like content!” I will tell you to shut up, sit down, and understand that I was one of those that actually did the stupid grinds across all profession alts (in some cases several times) just so I could make your little 28 slot bags, leg enchants, and throw down Dancing Steel and Jade Spirit in the AH for exorbitant prices.  How you think I got rich?  Wishing?

Bashiok assures us dailies are not the devil incarnate, and essentially THIS time they’ll get it right.  I’ve been hearing from Blizzard apologists saying that they are sorely missed.  Additionally, you can group with friends to do them!  /happyhappyjoyjoy  I have friends that quit the game in MoP over the daily situation, should I partner with them?  I bet they’re just waiting on me to ask.

People absolutely miss repeating the same low-end, bottom of the barrel content that gives them a reason for waking up everyday.  Sounds like a job, right?  Go to it and do the same thing everyday.  I already have a job, this is Warcraft and I pay to be entertained.

No.

Here’s how to get it right and leave the people busy with Garrison CDs, Missions, and maintaining raid schedules alone.

1) No gear item awarded from dailies should exceed the quality of item available in the Normal raids.  This means, everything offered from a daily should be the same quality as that you would receive raiding in Normal.  Additionally, the items offered should NEVER, EVER be a trinket with a proc that benefits some classes.  Mandatory casual play content is trash content.

2) No recipes or profession materials can be accessed with them.  I’m sick to death of performing dailies because I need something to sell to the people that should be doing these dailies to give me their gold in the first place.  I end up doing the dailies and the broke players don’t do them anyhow.

3) If you include a reputation with the rewards, the reputation should be available via other methods besides completing quests.  Tabard time.  Give me a choice, too.  Either Daily Dungeon for all my rep or complete the dailies.  Forcing me to log in or miss out on my 1500 rep for the day is crap.

4) In fact, I don’t want to see any gear rewards at all.  LFR is your gear reward, dailies should offer nothing beyond tabards, pets, mounts, and titles.

5) Dailies should be another blue ! on my screen that I get to ignore if I want.  I should never, ever feel compelled to have to do them.

Timeless Isle was the perfect example of how daily hubs should work.  Content that appeals to both raiders and casual players alike.  No recipes gated behind 3-4 week grinds.  Oh, let’s play example time:

Isle of (QQ) Conquest – Missing a JC recipe that didn’t drop in Mount Hyjal?  No problem, grind to exalted and you can have them all.

Molten (Farse) Front – Only 28 days and you can craft these scopes or bags.  Absolute trash that a BIS craftable was gated this far back.

MoP – Pick a faction here outside of Anglers.  Yeah, that one.

Hey, what’s missing here?  Wrath of the Lich King!  They actually had it right with the Tournament Dailies.  Zero beneficial items and lots of flavor items.  The other factions were completed via tabards, which was absolutely fair.

I would prefer they didn’t even introduce the recipes rather than gate them behind dailies. Grinds for recipe items outside of dailies are welcomed.  Make me work for it via turn-ins.  Make me have to buy things to boost my way with the rep.  Make me mindlessly run around an island or zone competing for kills?  Screw that.

Now if you’re a person that loves dailies, the quest hubs, and grinding the same quests over and over for weeks, I pity you.  But please, comment below and let me know the reason this is the best content 15 bucks a month can provide!  As always, defend your position articulately, especially if you’re an apologist.

By the way, dungeon dailies are great, they focus on playing the actual progression game.  I also ignore these.

Thanks for stopping in!

Zerohour is currently rolling around in gold, having completed 11 100s and their garrisons/followers.  He can usually be seen on Tuesdays dancing around with glee.

Powerleveling in Draenor

My screenshot says it all:

This screenshot also shows the order in which they hit 100.  I kept shuffling them as I went, and my priest (my Vanilla/TBC main) ended up being dead last.  Amazing how that works.

I hit my 11th 100 on December 26th, so one month and 13 days while working, raiding, and a little lack of sleep.  These were 100% leveled by hand, no chicanery here.  No dual boxing.  No carries.  I’m presently working on my 2nd account of 100s and am at 97, 95, 94, and the rest being 90/91 and everyone has a garrison opened.

Why would I need 22 garrisons?  Well, why WOULDN’T I want 22?

I didn’t buy a guide or anything, I wasn’t in beta, and my friends were of almost no help with what to do.  One friend can testify that about the 3rd week I was having a nervous breakdown trying to figure out the best possible path.  It took me about 3 characters before it all started to click, and I mastered every zone’s leveling path.

In past expansions, I found the best possible paths that made sense, and this one threw me a curve with all the different options.  I absolutely LOVE to do all the zones entirely my first go-around, and then afterwards, it’s all business.  I recommend always seeing the story before doing this, because you’re going to miss about half the zone when you’re just focused on getting through it.

The Best and the Worst of Draenor

Shortest Zone:  Gorgrond.  This thing was sadly about an hour each time because I spent a ton of time finishing what I needed to do in Frostfire Ridge.

Longest Zone:  Frostfire Ridge.  This place feels like 5 hours but it’s only 2.  Go figure.  Maybe it’s the layout?

Trickiest Questline Zone:  Nagrand hands down.  There’s 2 different paths in the zone that converge.  Best advice, head to Elements as soon as you get business done with the Talbuks/Clefthoofs.  This is my 98-100 path every single time now.  So many treasures and bonus objectives you hit 100 without thinking about it.

Worst Class:  Mage.  I tried frost and arcane.  They hit like wet noodles even WITH gear on!  I know, better in raids, but leveling them made me sad for those who HAD to do them first.  This was the first class I ever leveled in WoW, too, I know what I’m doing.  Unholy DK was a close second.

Best Class:  Outside of my Paladin main?  Frost Death Knight.  These little bastards are back with a vengeance.  2-3 shot everything all the way to 100?  Yes please, I’ll take another.  As soon as I swapped from crappy Unholy it was hard for me to stop playing him.

Biggest Rare Bastard:  That shithead strider in Zangarra.  3 of my classes had real trouble on him at level, and for a crappy trinket.  A close followup is Gar’lua in Nagrand.  Nobody died to her but she’s pretty strong for a nice trinket.

Best Follower:  Without going out of my way to get one?  I’ll nominate Blook.  The quest text is sorta priceless.  Creeperbot 8000 is a good one, too.  Reminds me of some goldmaker personalities out there.

Saddest Quest:  The frostridge pup looking for his parents.  But sorta happy ending.  I don’t bother with this one during leveling anymore because it’s a side quest but first time through it was sad.

Best Cinematic:  I liked Blackhand, I know everyone else likes Thrall/Garrosh.

Best Zone Perk:  Hands down the corral.  I made the siege machine mistake ONCE. Runner up is the air assault in Talador.

Best Advice for Frostridge Elites:  Call to Arms.  FFS use it, tradechat noobs.  Noone needs help with elites.

Zerohour’s Words of Wisdom for Powerleveling Draenor

1) Excess potions cost 100 garrison resources each, and they are best served at full rested.  You will get the resources to buy them every 1000 minutes, which is about 17 hours.  Make sure you empty your garrison cache every 3.5 days before it fills up entirely.  If you are resource starved at 100, see #3.

2) Let the characters get rested.  Being full rested at 90 will burn out entirely at level 96.  Full rested at 96 will burn out halfway between 99 and 100.  Early 97 is the best place to park to be rested for the rest of the journey.  I cycled all characters for maximum rested and efficiency – because 1000xp for a mob kill beats 500 any day of the week.  Rested also counts with treasures.

3) Get the following addons:

* Handynotes, with Draenor treasures
* RestPlus for Titan
* Ovale (yeah, because I really want to research 11 different classes, easier to just phone it in on the ones I never play)

4) Stay on the questline.  The questline is the MAIN story, not the side stories of “get my dog out of the tree” and “Little Jimmy wants his gun back”.  You recognize these quests as the ones that have followups and send you to other quest hubs.  Those that are one and done are pretty much irrelevant, although there are some nice bonus onesies in Talador.

5) If there’s a bonus objective in your way, complete it.  And always with Excess Potions.

6) Get rid of those stupid Barracks as soon as you can and replace it with War Mill Rank 1.  This gives you stronger quest rewards and in Nagrand you will probably hit close to 615 ilvl if you complete the whole zone.  You can build Barracks again at 100 when you will have a need for missions.

7) Avoid doing missions with the exception of bonus garrison resources (free).  XP missions are sometimes nice, but I tend to only be in my garrison at even levels (92/94/96/98) so not worth keeping track.

8) Try to get out of the zones at even levels.

* Frostfire Ridge – 92, or when you get Garrison Rank 2, whichever comes last.
* Gorgrond – 94,  or when you get Kaz after killing Inyu, whichever comes last.
* Talador – 96, or when you get the follower from the ogre quest, whichever comes last.
* Spires – 98, or when you get Kimzee, whichever comes last.

The reason is that the zone’s experience and mob kill rewards are tuned for lesser levels, so you will have a slower climb once you are too high for the zone.  The next zone immediately starts the experience buff again.  Basically, there’s nothing cool about questing Talador at 98, this is about speed and not completionist tendencies.

9) I found it took about 1.5 hours per zone to complete them once I figured out my route, therefore bring 2 hours of every buff.  Drums, foods, excess potions, elixirs.  If you have to leave the zone it just slows you down.  When you’re ready to move on to the next zone always hearth, don’t just run into it.  This gives time to reload mats and get the free flight.

10) Rares are great to kill, but only if they’re in the way and not out of the way.  If you can’t kill the rare and it wipes you and noone can help, move on.  Some classes really suck against some rares, come back and waste them at 100.

11)  Look for paths that make sense to you time wise.  Example:  Get a quest done while picking up 3-4 treasures and then working into the bonus objective.  Talador is loaded with these opportunities.  Maximize your opportunity in the area.

12) Gear is replaced almost entirely every 4 levels if you start Draenor in trash.  If you have BOAs from SoO use them.  I have every DPS version of BOA in the game (some duplicates for dual wielding) and at about 95 is when they are better than Mythic Warforged weapons.  Don’t waste time or money enchanting gear unless they are BOAs.

13) Realize that everything you will be missing in the zones will be waiting for you at 100.  You can always go back and finish things and it will be a little faster than doing it at level.  That’s half the fun for me.

14) VERY important, and thanks Stede for reminding me this was my big piece of advice to him – do zones in waves.  Boring sometimes, important yes.  Essentially you want to take the same level characters through zones over and over.  This means taking 92’s from Gorgrond through Talador to 96/97 after each other.  This will make the zone fresh in your mind and you can find your way around faster.  Less shifting gears, more finding efficiencies.  Your first character will be difficult to get around with, but by character 4 or 5, you’re becoming a pro at it.

I look forward to seeing others with 11 toons at 100, I’ll let you know when I finish the back loop.  I deleted a 90 on that account and have to finish that one the hard way.  Stupid dreams of Herald of the Titans, when will I learn!?

Thanks for stopping by!

Zerohour looks like he has too much time on his hands, but the bags under his eyes tell a different story. He should write a guide.

Merry Christmas and Happy 2015 Gold Barons

I hope you’re making gold hand over fist, I know I am.  What am I doing?  Well I’ll tell you sometime later.

Reading today’s notes for 2015 from Blizzard was boring, up until I got to the part about being able to trade those with soon to be implemented gametime tokens for gold.  Then I started reading official forums about this topic, and I found example after example of idiocy.

“Didn’t you learn from RMAH!?”
“Pay to win!”
“Game’s going free to play!”
“I’m a poor player, this is unfair!”

Outside of the people that are poor (and probably playing from their crappy run-down apartments, basements, or burned out double-wides) the others are morons.

In case you have NEVER heard of this system before, this is very much like Plex in Eve.  Never played Eve and WoW is your first video game?  Ok, it’s simple.

Eve has a subscription system not unlike other MMOs, and hey you’re playing one right now if you play WoW.  Long time players (Player A) are pretty well off in that game, and they have so much currency that they have nothing to really spend it on.  So they get to keep playing by trading their ISK (awarding Plex, thanks StupidGameTweet for factchecking) off to broke players (Player B) in exchange for gametime.  That gametime is paid from someone because CCP (Big Evil Corporate Capitalists) isn’t about to take a loss, and all parties are happy.

Player A is happy because they get to keep playing.
Player B is happy because they get in-game currency.
Big Evil Corporate Capitalists are happy because they get cash from Player B

The business cycle works, Eve is one of the longest running MMOs in history and they cater to players just like Blizzard.  Except Blizzard’s player base is generally filled with more entitled little assholes that can’t tie their shoes without mommy’s help, and elitist scumbags who cannot believe they are still playing.

Ok, so I fail to see any play to win here.  Or anything even remotely similar to the D3 RMAH.  Hell, it’s hardly Free to Play for even the people trading the gold, because gold acquisition is hardly free – you invest your time in the chase of pixels.

If you’re a broke player, I guess I could understand your plight.  You spend all your time at work, and then get home and want to raid and do other things in the game.  Rich or lucky assholes always price those items in the AH you want for far too much gold that you don’t have.  Further, you have little to no understanding of how capitalism or free markets work because your head’s been stuck in the classic works of Karl Marx.  Ok, so let’s bridge the problem here.  You have a paying job, you want some quick game gold, then trade for something people with gold want – gametime.  Unless of course you’re some stay at home loser who’s still telling us you won’t trade your pride in so you can’t find a job anywhere, or you won’t get a job because you play WoW all the time and you still haven’t got any gold.  Fat, lazy, and broke is no way to go through WoW, son.  But if you have a job, welcome to the future of gaming.

Like Ebay is to Paypal, so is Goldselling to China

People have been doing this for ages in game.  They released RAF and Gametime cards, and guess what?  Gold sellers took advantage of the system.  For tens of thousands of gold, you could pickup gametime for almost any length of time.  People spam these services in game, and they spam them in the illegit forums everywhere.

Some of the sellers are incredibly reputable.  They hail from countries like China where they acquire things like Social Security Numbers, credit card numbers, government secrets, and even gametime cards for pennies on the dollar.  Their only mission in life is to eat, so they do it by selling to cheap ass Westerners who have lots of gold and can’t fork out $15 for a monthly subscription.  At last check, it took about 4 hours of work to get the gold they ask for a 60 day game card, but 2 hours at a minimum wage job to pay the sub outright.  But I digress.

The issue is, the Chinese really are getting bargains on both RAF and gametime subscriptions, so when they sell you something they are getting an incredible deal.  This was the loophole in Blizzard’s entire free gametime system.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, you have the people who are outright scamming players.  They spam trade looking for a buyer, and advertise too good to be true prices for 30 days of gametime.  The halfwits that buy from these people then find the code to be useless, and getting their gold back to be even more fruitless.  Or worse, they would buy “gifted” game time, getting screwed.  Blizzard won’t help you here, and you’re breaking the Terms of Service in all respects.  So both of you are bad people in need of a ban.

We’ve been down this road once before

Blizzard did once before implement an item in-game that could be traded, remember the guardian cub?  This was a fantastic idea, but unfortunately too many appeared and the item’s value crashed.  Once a pet is learned, you don’t need another, so it was an evaporating market from the outset.

Gametime doesn’t have this issue.  Everyone playing right now needs it, and once a month everyone’s time runs out.  In other words, the demand will never go away as long as the game remains Pay to Play.  So the argument that we’re on our way to F2P is completely nullified.  If anything, they’re exploring more ways to increase revenue streams, and I congratulate them on this.

There are only a few ways that this system will be tripped up, and I’ll be brief.

1) Blizzard does not vigorously explore the potential loopholes, and they do not monitor the activities in game.

Gold sellers will always figure out how to convert gold into cash and vice versa.  Like I mentioned, the Chinese sellers exploited the hell out of the RAF loophole back in Cataclysm.  In this situation, they could easily buy cheap tokens and convert them into gold, and then sell that gold on the black market at a huge markup.  This would probably push down the value of these tokens, which Blizzard will need to watch.

Further, if they are tradeable, they should not be auctionable.  Resetting them sounds so tempting to me right now.
2) Duping the tokens becomes possible.  They have to absolutely make them unique and not stackable.  

You say duping does not exist?  Ok. Fine, put your head back in the sand.  Much like 99% of TCG Spectral Tiger mounts today, if they are able to make unlimited copies, then Blizzard will lose their asses on this one.  Because each token is backed with real cash, I don’t think we’ll have much to worry about.  

Unlike TCG items, which have zero cash value to Blizzard in-game or outside of licensing fees, you let the hackers come in and make 1000 copies of these things you just lost $15,000 bucks.  Do that across multiple servers and the stockholders will wonder why there was a dip in profits this last month.


How would Zerohour roll this out?

Simple.  

1) Make them unique items to the account.  One player cannot carry more than a certain number at a time.  They will have to use them or trade them off.  Be it one token at a crack or up to 3.  There’s no reason for anyone to be able to carry 100 of these things on their person.

2) Make a clearinghouse to trade these.  Just like you saw with the RMAH, the pet store, etc.  It’s available via the shop, and at a set price in gold.  If you let these go up on the AH, these same people who are terrible at making gold are also probably unfamiliar with how to use the AH UI.  How many customer service tickets will be filed saying they misposted at 1g?  If you do not fix the value, then the buyers will feel cheated when their tokens go for less gold than they expected.

This idea is brilliant because it reduces trade chat spam, errors at the AH, and utilizes a private system that’s already in place.  A person opens the shop, clicks “Buy”, validates the transaction, and a BOP item is sent to the account just like a mount or pet.  The person then uses the item.  Only tokens available for sale will appear, so if noone has bought gametime and gotten gold, then the token does not exist.  The seller does not receive their gold and the gametime is not charged until the transaction occurs, so a queue is in place for this commodity.  If the seller has cancelled payment or they hit insufficient funds at the time the transaction is made, the next person in line sells there item.  Neither party loses nor gains until a transaction is made.  Further, both parties are anonymous.  You won’t have hacking goldsellers jumping in and selling a million gold worth of the things only to see them disappear in 24 hours.

This brings me to number 3, which is…

3) Do NOT let them be freely tradeable.  Tradeable items get exploited.  I’ve worked in big data before, and when you’re talking millions of players and accounts, you cannot possibly monitor them all for illicit activity, especially short term exploiters using a throwaway account.  A person buying gametime with gold will either NEED the time at that point, or they’re stockpiling them.  Stockpiling will be wrong and the WORST thing for this mechanic.

Example?  Let’s say I have 5 million gold laying around.  I decide that all the tokens on the AH need to be raised in price, much like a TCG mount.  You probably see where this is going.  The tokens become atrociously priced and then the idea behind the concept is killed and then nobody wins.  I know people out there who love to boost and reset are waiting to get their jollies off on this, but hopefully they smarten up with it’s release.

Thanks for stopping in!

Zerohour has leveled more alts this expansion than any other, and each with garrisons.  World domination will occur in the new year.






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