Admitting To Punching Puppies

Last week Suzina of Kill Ten Rats admitted on a blog post to buying gold. That’s kind of like admitting to the world that you enjoy punching puppies. It’s not going to win you any friends, other than those who also punch puppies and are looking for some kind of justification.

Okay. Perhaps I am being a little harsh here. For the most part I don’t care if someone goes out and buys gold. It really doesn’t make any difference since, with a couple of exceptions, it doesn’t really affect me in a PvE game. And Suzina’s stated reason of needing the 1000 gold to get the dual spec talents really affects no-one since it just makes it easier to change over for different play styles.

But to a lot of players, admitting to buying gold is near enough the same thing. After all, someone who has had their account hacked, and had lost uncountable hours of time building up their characters, to a gold seller might feel a little touchy that Suzina has in effect (possibly) received gold that might consist of the proceeds from some of that stolen gear. The fact that she bought it from a so called reputable dealer means nothing. These guys outsource gold collection, and likely have no idea how that gold is obtained. Kinda like a shoe company denying knowledge that their shoes are made by five year olds chained to finger crushing machines.

That she was surprised about the negative reaction from other players did surprise me though. I’d have thought that anyone who’d hung around the MMORPG community for any length of time would be aware that the gold selling issue is a hot button to many players. After all, from gold spam to account hacks, it’s the same players who have to wear the bad behaviour of the gold sellers. I’m sure any player who’s played for any length of time or has been in a guild or is sociable would know someone who’s been hacked. That another player would change his opinion of her character at such a revelation and put her on ignore isn’t that unexpected.

You see, that’s what I care about. The fact is, gold sellers make the games I like to play less enjoyable. If I have to keep ignoring gold spammers just to read chat, or need to go out and spend extra money buying an authenticator, or have to distrust anyone I give guild bank privileges to, then the gold sellers have made the game a little less fun. And the gold sellers wouldn’t be messing with my play if no-one used their services.

And that’s why, I’m just a little annoyed by Suzina.

But at least she had the guts to admit it. (It’s sure pulled a bit of traffic into her blog too, hasn’t it?)

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  1. Longasc

    My real life friends had no trouble admitting openly that they bought gold. Did not matter to anyone in their WoW guilds. One even bought an account with a levelled char, the other one employed a levelling service. My buddy who bought the most played the game not for very long, he gets bored quickly and then starts levelling a new char. He feels levelling is boring. But at max level he often discovers he does not like the class.

    As they are my buddies, I could not put them on ignore. But nevertheless I did not approve and we had some interesting discussions.

    One argument was that time = money, and that I just put more time into doing boring things like farming for gold. I did not. I just picked skinning and mining, had only profits, no expenses. While my buddies decided to level the enchanting and jewelcrafting for shoulder enchants and ONE item that is really an improvement to their char or so.

    We went on to discuss crafting as useless money sinks or not, how to make money with crafting or only have gathering skills and so on…^^

    I know roleplayers were min-maxing since the very beginning, but this “rush” to get to the endgame and ideally skip the whole levelling process is IMO to blame a lot.
    People want to be max level and fully geared, ideally not only instantly, but yesterday. 😛

    Blizzard is also a bit to blame; 1000g at level 40 is possible, but unlikely, especially for new players. But the price was made with veterans who have too much gold in mind.
    I wonder if this gold sink has not failed fatally and given to those who are rather naive the biggest incentive to buy gold ever since WoW was created.

  2. Wasdstomp

    I think it happens more than anyone thinks. It doesn’t really ruin a players gaming experience who doesn’t buy it. They benefit from players doing it. Remember when you sold that Swiftness Potion for 300g? It would probably sell for 1g without gold buyers, but than other players wouldn’t be making any money selling junk on the AH.

    It is like raising minimum wage. It doesn’t help that worker. The next thing you know all business owners raise prices to compensate to pay for the higher wages. Gas is 5 cents a gallon more, big gulps are raised to 1.79, ramen noodles are 15 cents each. milk is 2.99 a gallon, eggs is 2.49 a dozen.

  3. Stropp (Post author)

    @Wasdstomp — Economies are really tricky things, and probably are a great application of chaos theory. They tend towards feedback loops, and can be highly sensitive to variations. We’ve seen that in the real world economies of the last two years.

    I believe that game economies are no less tricky, despite being less complex than the real world. Changing one small thing can change everything. However, gold sellers have an inflationary influence simply by making more gold available to the system. That has two unfortunate effects:

    1. Prices go beyond the reach of those not wanting to buy gold.
    2. The price increases stimulate demand for gold.

    Interestingly, it may be by eliminating gold sellers, the value of items returns back to where ordinary players can afford them, increasing the enjoyment of the game for more people. However, those who were making a killing on a dozen small eggs won’t be as happy.

    I guess the question is: Should WoW be a game for those who want to make gold, or a game for those who want to adventure?

    Can it be both?

    Hey. This is a blog post. Hmmm.

  4. pndrev

    What I find most interesting is in fact, that other than that first, traffic-heavy post (on a Friday no less), she hasn’t said anything in the comments or in a follow up post. Either she genuinely doesn’t care (supported by her claim that she would just do it again if her account gets banned) or she posted it purely as a PR stunt to get traffic (it was a picture perfect Friday post).

    Both is kind of sad, though…

  5. Stropp (Post author)

    @pndrev — there is a third option. Perhaps she’s feeling a bit sheepish about the whole thing and want to let the controversy die off. I know I’ve put my foot in my mouth on more than one occassion, usually to the amusement of my friends, and would like nothing better than the topic of conversation to change.

    Of course there are some slips of the tongue that are quite epic and are regularly mentioned, even years later.

    Fortunately, in my group of friends, I am not alone (and am quite happy to participate in their embarressment.)

  6. Mikejl

    I’m will not be surprised to see in game items / unlocks that cost lots of gold move to a “purchase from store” in the future. This will move the money from going to gold sellers to the MMO company.
    I know if there was a $10 to unlock dual spec in WoW I would have purchased it for my Warlock.

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