WoW Discussion

Could Blizzard Be Preparing to Sell You Gold?

I was talking with a fellow player about how some of the new crafted gear being a lower item level than Firelands raid gear on normal mode and why would Blizzard do this?  What was the reasoning behind not making all the new crafted gear on equal footing with the current raid tier?

When crafted gear for Tier 11 was out, it was the same item level as raid drops, making some items best in slot, or at least competitive with what would drop in Blackwing Descent and Bastion of Twilight.  But for Tier 12 that changes, some craftable items item level is lower than that of the new raiding tier, is this to have the cost of those items lower, or potentially paying someone to get those items, won’t be truly game changing?

Now Blizzard has said they don’t want to sell gold because they felt it offered an unfair advantage to those who have the capability to buy gold and those that do not, creating an unfair advantage in game.  However if the gear someone could buy with gold, was not best in slot and in fact lower item level than the current tier of raiding, one could make the argument that its not game changing.  Though I could argue that being able to buy the mats to make an item to be better prepared to face raid content is game changing.

Now of course BoE drops from the current tier could be purchasable and that would be game changing, but what if there were no BoE items you could get?  What if all items dropped in raid were BoP.  Making craftables below that current tier of raiding’s item level not the best gear out there (based purely on item level).

Blizzard has time and again been against gold selling by 3rd parties, and most recently with the article on gold farming/selling by Chinese prisoners to make their guards cash has raised an uproar from the MMO community.  Now if Blizzard were to offer gold, one could also argue they kill off the 3rd party gold seller market.  Since Blizzard could artificially create supply of gold, there would be no market to farm the gold and sell it, as Blizzard could readjust the price to whatever they needed to run 3rd parties out of business.  This would create an inflation issue in game however.

Now I am not in favor of buying gold, and per the agreement every player makes with Blizzard they agree not to get involved with 3rd party gold sellers.  Its against the rules.  Though if Blizzard offered it as a premium service, would it still be against the rules?  If the gold you used was to purchase BoE epics like the new crafted items that were lower item level than current raid tier items, it may not be game changing.  Also if Blizzard sold gold as a premium service, and made it legal to do so, 3rd parties that buy WoW gold and sell it to players could be potentially put out of business, and we wouldn’t be hearing of stories of prisoners in a country being tortured for not meeting their quota in farming gold that day.

If Blizzard Sold Gold – A Scenario:

Blizzard’s Nuke to wipe out all gold farmers, they start selling 1000g for $2, all legal and instant, appears in your mailbox of the character you designate in account management.  Immediately anyone who was paying 3rd party sites now has a cheaper more viable, safe, legal option to buy gold.  Gold sites begin to shut down in 2-3 months due to not being able to compete with Blizzard “creating” the gold.  People who are gold farming move onto other less scrupulous activities since no one is buying their product and they see other gold farmers being fired, laid off, whatever they do when the work dries up.  Spam to buy gold in game, becomes almost non-existent in 3 months time.

Meanwhile in game, prices get inflated, what used to cost 1000g is now going for 5000g.  In an effort to stem inflation, Blizzard makes getting materials for craftable items much easier driving down the prices on the auction house basically trying to place a soft price cap on items.  Blizzard also makes repairs cost more, causing people to spend more of their gold on repairing after a raid and less on impulse buys on the Auction House.  This then causes sellers on the auction house to begin discounting their wares in order to sell them to a market which refuses to pay over a certain price for particular goods.  In order to have people put their gold back into the system, and not into other players’ hands, Blizzard might begin to sell materials for flasks, craftable items, even new mounts and non-combat pets, these last two are the most likely.  More heirloom gear appears at high costs (over 1000g) to keep the total amount of gold going through the realms somewhat stable.


All of this will most likely never happen, but Blizzard and Blizzard alone has the power to in one decision wipe out gold farmers and the sites that employ them.  Though doing so could permanently damage the economy of every realm, unless very calculated steps and economic control mechanisms were put in place (read gold sinks).  There have been plenty of reasons in the past why this is a bad idea, mostly around those with more real world cash will have a better advantage, but if Blizzard removes that advantage like they are by making some BoE craftables lower item level than current tier, make all raid drops BoP, then what could you really spend gold on?  Flasks, raiding food, are maybe a few things but what if there was a way that the in game vendors could assist players with getting these?  Though make no mistake Blizzard is against people buying/selling gold because they say the gold in game belongs to them, well if it belongs to them, then they could also be the only legal entity that could sell it.

There would potentially be the issue of inflation if Blizzard were to do this, which is another reason why I don’t think it will happen especially with so many ways in game right now to make extra gold.  So while, yes there are some pieces of the puzzle and reasons why it couldn’t be done in the past being put into place by Blizzard now, does that mean they will?  Most likely not.  Never say never, not when it comes to Blizzard.  If Blizzard sold gold legally would you partake?  If they figured out how to sell gold while keeping inflation in check, would it make you more likely to buy gold from Blizzard?  Everyone’s answer may be different on this depending on personal situations, but the fact remains this is something we may see, if Blizzard truly wants it.

I personally would be for Blizzard selling gold themselves, if not for the simple fact that I think it would stop a lot of the phishing attempts, gold selling spam in game, and potential overseas human decency issues (i.e. torturing people for not reaching their quota).  If the only thing holding Blizzard back is buying gold gives people an unfair advantage, they are certainly taking some steps to minimize any advantage one would get by using bought in-game gold.


8 Comments on Could Blizzard Be Preparing to Sell You Gold?

  1. If Blizzard sold gold directly, it wouldn’t stomp out other gold selling hackers – they would just continue to hack accounts (relatively low cost), and try to match or beat Blizzard’s price by tricking people into using their hacker sites instead of Blizzard’s legit site. And if Blizzard made their prices too low, it would destroy every server’s economy by flooding them with millions of gold and pretty much destroy the game in one swoop.

    Notice that the types of items Blizzard sells in their store doesn’t effect the strength of your character in normal game-play. They are all cosmetic pets & mounts (where you can just as easily never have them and still be the best at whatever you want to be – unless what you want to be is a pet & mount collector, but then you’ve probably been spending hundreds of dollars on trading cards for years before the much cheaper pet store opened on Blizzard’s website).
    lissanna´s last blog post ..The Eclipse problem version 42

    • Ceraphus

      But even if Blizzard introduced extremely cheap gold, couldn’t they possibly implement another gold sink in game to help keep the total amount of gold flowing at a stable rate, I would hope?

      I honestly just hate being spammed in game, and would love to see a way for Blizzard to get rid of that, and seeing that some new gear was lower item level than normal mode raid, it had me thinking maybe its their way of taking away the non-competitive advantage of those with more gold.

  2. Here’s my thoughts on this. Also, my comment will likely be more “controversial” than the post itself.

    As wide a market as WoW is, and more so because it’s become the benchmark for every single new MMO out there, I don’t think Blizzard will end up selling gold. If anything, selling gold by Blizzard will almost definitely cause a mass exodus of players from the game, which in turn causes a bigger loss of revenue than the gold-selling would come up with – never mind their reputation (which is already riding a fine line). The combination of the two together would almost certainly dissuade them (from a business standpoint) from doing so, since there are these to take into account as well.

    Now, a lot of people probably remember the outcry from when the Celestial Steed became available to purchase in their online store. Though I can understand where a lot of people come from in terms of asking, “Well, how long until they start selling gear online?” And again, this goes back to reputation, and the fact that, again, they’re the benchmark for all other new MMOs, whether people like it or not.

    Consider that there are all of two mounts, and approximately ten pets, available via the online store. These are simply micro-transactions. The pets are cheaper than any other micro-transaction save mobile auction house ($3/mo) and name change ($10 per, same as the pets). The mounts are equivalent to other services (race/faction change), but more expensive than everything else (listed above, and account change, which is $15, if I remember correctly). Additionally, all the pet and mount achievements in-game can be obtained without access to those mounts directly (and the RAF mounts, and the discontinued mounts), so they’re more or less “Feats of Strength” of their own accord.

    Now, as for your original point regarding craftable BoE gear being lower item-level than Firelands raid loot, I can understand this to a degree – basically, filler for some of those slots that are harder to fill via raid drops (for example, bracers tend to be one of the hardest to obtain slots for almost every class, and ranged slot is equally difficult, if not more so), and kind of a stepping stone from T11 gear to T12 gear. I guess one can almost consider it a T11.7 (since heroic T11 would be 11.5). On the other hand, it does kind of devalue crafting professions a little bit, and doesn’t really bring the “perks” that one might have had otherwise. If they were BoP like engineering goggles, it’d be a different story entirely, I’d imagine. Granted, alchemists would still be lacking, as would anyone with a gathering profession (I happen to fall into both of those categories, being both an alchemist and an herbalist), as would enchanters and possibly scribes, since neither profession has any actual gear they can provide themselves with at the moment. Scribes are an interesting issue, since they can also make Darkmoon Cards, and traditionally, DMCs last a very long time, but Blizzard might actually be “fixing” this with Firelands.

    Finally, to answer your question, I would not. And if it did not come sooner, it’d be the straw that broke the camel’s back for me to leave the game.
    Tomaj´s last blog post ..10-Man Chakra States

    • Ceraphus

      Those are valid points, fact is in one of my previous posts about premium features, and to your point about micro transactions, I can almost guarantee you, the idea of selling gold themselves is something Blizzard has or is analyzing.

      Will it cause an exodus? Perhaps if handled poorly. You are right they have set the bar, so if they were to do this, they would have to tread very carefully.

      If the only purchasable stuff in game was like mounts and pets, and you only used gold on enchants, flasks, etc, All gear was BoP, then it might work, but having all gear be BoP could be game breaking I think.

      Its a touchy subject for sure, and one I don’t think there is an easy solution to stopping gold sellers while also keeping a competitive advantage amongst the community without destroying the community.

      • Now that I’ve had time to read this a couple times and actually process it:

        They probably have looked at it, yes. But each and every time it’s brought up, they say they have no plans to do so. Looking comparatively at other games, such as LOTRO, which is a free-to-play game, even Turbine does not actually sell gold (not directly, anyway – they do sell various crafting materials, but they are also legitimately obtainable through their store without using real money, and by garnering in-game Turbine Points from various achievements), and yet they also are plagued with gold sellers. Granted, their economy is a little more awkward, considering one does not have AH-posting or gold-trading capabilities unless they have a premium account, but still, it lends to the fact that gold-selling is pretty much a big no-no in the MMO industry.

        The other thing is that even if they were to decide on selling gold, there are other implications as well, such as changes to their Terms of Use, which already is complex enough on the gold-selling front. As far as enchanting mats, flask materials, etc., look at the JP trade vendor. I can get a stack of elementium ore for 1000 JP, and prospect it for gems. Even without the guild perk, that’s easily doable in just a couple of heroics (which I’ll be grinding for Valor Points anyway on any number of my alts). The BoP gear, though, I was referring to the craftable stuff for T12 content (much like, say, Robe of the Void in vanilla – any tailor could MAKE the pattern, but one had to be a warlock to use it, and it was BoP once made).

        In the end, though, would it stop gold-sellers? Assuredly not. In some way, shape or form, they’ll be there.
        Tomaj´s last blog post ..10-Man Chakra States

  3. Eric

    The problem isn’t just that Blizzard selling gold would hurt servers economies. If enough people ended up buying gold, then buying gold would end up being necessary to play the game normally. If you didn’t buy gold, then things that are priced to be gold sinks for gold buyers would be out of your reach. Plus the things that require participating in your server’s economy – e.g. crafting professions – would also be out of reach.

    I’d take the lower ilevel Firelands crafted gear as a sign that Blizzard wants to reduce the incentives to buy gold from third party vendors, and nothing more. They aren’t going to start selling gold themselves because that would create a barrier between players, especially new and casual players, and many aspects of the game.

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