Friday, March 18, 2011

Blizzard should buy gold

Here's a controversial one for you: I think that Blizzard should buy gold from players.

Some players are of the opinion that Blizzard should sell gold, partly to compete against gold sellers and botters, partly to offer a service which some of them might appreciate. Personally I don't agree with this. I believe that World of Warcraft would be damaged to a great extent if people could buy gold legally. There are many reasons why I think so but this article is not about these reasons.

When I say that they should buy gold from players, I don't mean that they should pay actual cash for it. Instead, it would be rather neat to exchange gold for some sort of credits, which could then be used for a variety of Blizzard products.

Imagine if you could finance your WoW subscription with the gold you made in game. EVE Online does this, so there is precedent.

Imagine if you could use your gold to buy special pets or plushies or any other merchandise that Blizzard sells. That would make in-game pets purchasable both inside the game (directly with gold) and out of it (with real money). You wouldn't have to convert your gold to credits in order to buy those pets. Instead, you could just head on to the in-game vendor and buy whichever pet you wanted.

How much gold would a monthly subscription cost? How about 10K? Too much? Perhaps 5K. I would be ok with 10K gold a month, partly because I could easily generate that much (and more) each month, partly because I could keep playing for free for at least 50 months without even trying to generate more gold, with the gold I already have.

I'm sure many other players are in the same position. On the other hand, there are those for whom 5K gold is an enormous amount. Which is fine. This wouldn't change anything for poor players. In fact, it might even help them in the long run. Here's how.

Being able to buy game subscriptions, vanity items and merchandise with in-game gold would essentially create a huge gold sink which would destroy large chunks of game money. All that inflation from recent years, as players hoarded more and more gold, would deflate like a pricked balloon. This, in turn, would make gold more scarce, which would make it more valuable. Poor players would find that their gold can now buy more stuff than before.

The way I see it, most players could benefit from this. Hey, it might even drive lazy players to work harder so they can finance some of that cool stuff.

The obvious question is, would Blizzard ever do it? Assuming they have thought about this (I'm not sure they have), I highly doubt it. How would Blizzard benefit from this? They wouldn't, unless market stabilization and the reduction of inflation is their goal. But I don't think it is because they have stated repeatedly that the in-game economy is free and they won't stick their noses in it to control it in any way, unless there's some major craziness going on.

Since this move wouldn't benefit Blizzard in the least, it is highly likely that we won't ever see this feature. There are probably major drawbacks that I can't foresee. As a player with excess gold, however, this sounds like a good deal to me.

What about you? Do you think I'm crazy or does this idea have any merit?


Anonymous said...

"EVE Online does this, so there is precedent"

You're forgetting the other half of the equation - you can buy PLEX for real money and sell them for game 'gold' (on whatever passes for the AH in eve?) to other players with lots of time, but little real life money.

It will definitely hurt gold seller scum - the people who want a full set of fancy BoE raid epics just need to buy stuff (legally) from Blizz & AH it for game gold, so it might work out.

Assuming it's a net profit, they may consider it, but then again, EVE has been doing it for ages and they haven't yet, and Blizz ain't normally slow nicking good ideas from other MMOs...

Darth Solo said...

Yeah, I forgot about that aspect. Of course EVE profits from currency trading. Unless Blizzard also found a way to do this, there wouldn't be any incentive for them to do such a thing.

SirFWALGMan said...

I have very little to buy and do not even have as much gold as you. So i would personally like the idea... but I doubt Blizz does it. The corporate Blizz is going to see it as losing money from sales of ingame pets.

Anonymous said...

My thought is that people would buy lots of gold online from gold sellers and then get there subscription payed much cheaper, and get cool items and stuff

Darth Solo said...

@SirFWALGMan of course they won't do it :) It's just a fantasy of mine.

@Anonymous they'd have to find a point where it wouldn't make sense for people to do this but again, all this was a hypothetical exercise on my part.

Djactionman said...

Illegal gold selling already inflates AH market prices. A legal form would make it even worse.

Darth Solo said...

I'm talking about Blizzard BUYING gold, not selling it. I agree that any form of legal gold SELLING on Blizzard's part would wreck the game. I've stated this many times: I'm against gold buying by players.

Anonymous said...

It turns out Blizz is adding a new "cool" mount to the Store (real money required). So it really looks like they perfectly know how to milk players (see Celestial Steed).

No way they're going to acquire gold FROM players :)

Darth Solo said...

@Anonymous well they've had these mounts and pets in their store for a while. I think it's crazy to pay $25 for some virtual eye-candy but many people don't share my opinion, which is fine by me, it's their money after all. But no, I don't think they'll BUY gold from players either. Never gonna happen. In fact I think it's more likely that they'll start SELLING it at some point rather than buying.

djactionman said...

Yeah, I got what you were originally saying, but I got the impression that the conversation was going beyond your original point.