April 3rd, 2006

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Level 60

Finally hit level 60 for my main character last night. For those who don't play, level 60 is the top level (for now) in World of Warcraft. Since I don't intend to become a hard-core raider, I am somewhat skeptical I will find the game too interesting at this point. We'll see. For the moment, I haven't done any quests in Burning Steppes, Western or Eastern Plaguelands, Silithus, or Winterspring. And I have only done a few in Azshara and Blasted Lands. And most of the upper level dungeons are new to me as well. The one exception there being Sunken Temple and that's a mid-50s dungeon. Not to mention a bunch of lower level regions I barely touched on the way up. So there are lots of quests I could do as well as dungeons and shorter term raids to keep me occupied for a month or two. After that, I have two choices, roll another character or become a hard-core player. Or a gold farmer.

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Gold farming

It continues to surprise me how many World of Warcraft players are communists or socialists.

First, a quick primer on the World of Warcraft economy:

  • The first way to acquire gold is through killing things. Mobs (a.k.a. monsters) carry some gold as well as items. A player keeps the gold on a mob after killing the mob. He can either use the items or sell them.
  • Players need various pieces of equipment to play, such as armor, swords, or wands. These can either be found on dead mobs, or purchased from vendors or the auction house.
  • The game has vendors, who sell needed things and will buy things a player doesn't need. Usually the prices paid when buying things are 20% or 25% of the price the vendor will sell the equivalent item at.
  • Some raw items can be farmed through mining for ore, skinning for leather, gathering for herbs, etc. The raw materials can more or less be found scattered around the maps in the game. The results of such gathering can be sold for gold.
  • The game contains three auction houses, one for each side, and one in a neutral area. Vendors are run by the game. The buyers and sellers in the auction house are other players. When selling something, a player can either set a fixed price at which he wants to sell an item, or a starting price and then let other players bid for it, or a combination of both. Generally, used items can not be transferred to another player though.
  • Players can trade or sell one-to-one as well.

There's a lot more to it than that, but that's the key basics.

So on to my comment about socialism. There are two kinds of players that seem to be universally reviled, neither of which really bother me.

The first type are gold farmers, sometimes abbreviated as C.G.F. for Chinese Gold Farmers. So named because many gold farmers work for companies in China who sell World of Warcraft gold for real money to players who want to skip parts of the game and not earn the gold themselves. But gold farming isn't limited to that. Gold farming is the practice of killing mobs or whatnot extensively and primarily for the purpose of increasing a player's amount of gold. There seem to be a couple objections to the practice. The first is that the practice causes rampant inflation in the game. The second is the behavior of farmers who camp out good spots and deny other players the pleasure of killing items in those areas for whatever reason. Wellyou and Katesky are known gold farmers on the Draka server.

The second type are players who buy low on the auction house and sell high. Sometimes they will buy up every item of some needed type and then re-sell those items at much higher price. Since they've bought up every item, other players have no choice but to pay the asked for price. A player named Alderon does this on the Draka server.

The objections all seem like B.S. to me. They may make it a bit harder to play for some players who are lazy. To me, it's a socialist idea that these game items have some sort of intrinsic worth and selling for more than that is somehow immoral. As a player, I have plenty of opportunity to find cheaper ways to obtain something. I can go kill the mobs myself for the needed items. I can trade one-to-one. Or I could even do a bit of gold farming myself and then buy at the inflated auction house prices. In my view, once the prices become too high, players will just go use the alternate means for obtaining the items. It may cost more in terms of time, but that's an appropriate trade-off. And why should I forgo some in-game profit over moral objections. It's a game; there isn't much where morals really play into the in-game economy. I may trade for less gold, but I'm getting something else in return: a needed item, goodwill, e.t.c.

I say to the bitching players, I think what's upsetting you is the fact that those folks are getting something you are not. Blizzard allows it, so jump in. Or don't bitch because you are choosing to enjoy the game play more than the economy.

My only bitch about all of the farming or profiteering characters is that a lot of the farming players aren't all that good at playing. When forming a pick-up group, I sometimes get these guys in a group. They make the group suck, but they get an equal share of the loot. I wish that the poor playing farmers could be better known beforehand so we didn't waste our time and give them loot. In fact, I wish that non-farmer players who suck could be so labelled. For instance, a reputation system. (Not to be confused with the in-game faction reputation system.) Of course, designing such a system could be tough. Google's reputation system still needs tweaking frequently to prevent web sites from manipulating it to everyone's detriment. An in-game system would need a good design to prevent poor players from banding together to game the system.

Toon

Hot crushes

I'd just like to point out to Maria and publicly to the world how right I was. I wrote that I wouldn't find out who her crush was until I see you making out with whoever it is at a club. To which she responded: You say it like you're sure that I will end up making out with this person at the club..

So on walking in to the Mercury Saturday night, I saw Maria sitting next to a man (hmm, a possibility). A few minutes later I walk by again and she's leaning in for the hot make-out action (score!).

I sat down and gave her shit then for objecting to my correct prediction, and the guy also jumped in to flip her shit too. Awesome. But, I felt, not enough. I felt this must be posted.