The preparation for Mists of Panderia series of posts have not stopped. I am currently working on the next
part of the series. The previous two parts are available below and look for part three soon™.
Mists of Panderia Preparation Pt1 - Enchanting
Mists of Panderia Preparation Pt2 - Space Management
Today though, I wanted to discuss another dilemma we are facing while making end of expansion gold
and preparing for Mists – Gold seller activity is expanding greatly. If it hasn’t hit your smaller server yet, it
will, up until a few days ago I noticed no increased suspicious activity and now out of no where you can’t
use the AH or stand in Stormwind/Orgrimmar without being bombarded by players breaking the Terms of
Service. I want to start by stating I would never condone using methods to break the ToS or buying
gold from these services – This post is meant to stir discussion about how to deal with their presence.
Recognizing the Issue
Anyone that has tried mining top level spots for any length of time has more than likely become
accustomed to miners following very robotic routes showing up in waves and ‘mysteriously’ disappearing
and reappearing over the life of an expansion. It is important to note that these are usually individuals
and small potato operations that we naturally deal with as methods slip under Blizzard radar and then
get zapped over time. What we are dealing with now is a massive influx of activity including account
compromising, speed/terrain hacks, item duplication, and all the other things little goblins are taught are
just ghost tales so that they can go to sleep at night without the lights on worrying. If every few days a
random level 1 character is posting 500 stacks of ore at 2/3rd the AH going price it is hard to stay in the
dark about what is happening.
That is not what it is limited too now though. Herbs are being posted 500 stacks at a time under 1g
each. Some servers are showing leather being done the same way. Duplication has removed the need for “farming” so things typically not farmed like epic gems are being sold 1/3rd normal price, rare mounts like the Crimson Deathcharger are showing up in undercut wars, and generally nothing popular is safe from the corruption anymore. The sellers are getting brave and now even barking in Trade Chat and talking to people, even setting up deals to sale in bulk to buyers that know what they are doing. This would have almost never happened before – Trade chat barking was reserved for advertising sites and actual sales happened on silent accounts that moved inventory and gold quickly. It should be a little alarming. I get the visual of gang activity that’s grown enough and wields enough power they conduct their business right out in the open instead of hiding in alleys. Though the analogy doesn’t work too great because gold seller activity always happens in waves and they will get squashed eventually and reappear some time in the future.
The main question posed is ‘should we be contributing to these transactions?‘ While that usually sparks
some discussion yay or nay…I think its shades of grey instead of black and white like that. The problem
is any created item be it a gem, glyph, potion, or otherwise has a good chance of having started life in its most
raw form as a product of a gold seller. You can’t really tell people to farm and make all this themselves to
avoid “tainted” materials (and you wouldn’t want too anyway because most of us make our WoW-livings
off the heavy markup on these type items). So where do you draw the line personally?
Do you try to avoid the most obvious goods? If those 500 stacks of ore are posted at 40g ea who would
skip buying those and instead buy the 30 stacks listed at 60g ea? I imagine not many of us would even knowing the origins of the ore. One scenario that is easier to avoid because of cost would be a rare mount that you know once the loopholes are closed will return to very high prices, do you think it is “bad” to buy them to stock for MoP? What if the buyer was not aware of what was going on, does that change it any? How many people have bought cheap stacks of epic gems from trade chat? All of these have some level of risk for gold making as the items can be taken back, or prices may not stabilize after they are gone, etc. Do you think it is any different if you are gold maker than if you were a guild leader just buying them up with guild funds to (epic)gem out your poor raid team? A lot of questions I know…
It wouldn't be fair to ask all this and not give my side. I accept their presence in our economy because they've always been there influencing how we play the economy and always will be. I've profited heavily from ore/herb shuffling I know wouldn't have been possible without the hundreds of stacks bots bring in. I will not go as far as to have direct dealings with them though (through setting up bulk deals for the goods, etc) because I've seen the bad trend for games that allow the back-alley black market activities to spill over into the main streets and let normal people in on what is happening. When random Betty Sues and Johns start thinking in the murky waters of duping, speed hacks, etc then it explodes and it is hard for the game to ever return to a balance. Blizzard has done an excellent job so far keeping botting that "minor annoyance" as you are farming or playing low level Warsong Gulch. I don't want to contribute to tipping that balance.
I would appreciate any feedback from those that reach the page. You can reach me here in the comments, on Twitter @formerruling, and on my YouTube channel FormerRuling