Thursday, August 4, 2011

Take the E-peen out of the AH

Today I have another article posted over at warcraft econ. Today it's on the subject of how your ego is the most likely thing to hold you back. Here's the first part:

"A great writer once said a very blunt, but very pertinent one liner about how to write a great story and that is "stop getting your balls in the way of your writing! You keep trying to put your nuts in the middle of everything just tell the story!" Pretty in your face sort of visual isn't it? But it's a very important point and applies to virtually everything you will ever do, including the AH game.

First let me explain where they're coming from and the point they're trying to make with such a quote. The idea is that when you're trying to do something well, your ego is going to hold you back. It's as simple as that. Like I've said many times when it comes to the AH or writing a blog in general, do it for the sake of doing it. If you write for the sole reason of popularity you're probably going to fail. If you make money on an MMO just to show off you are going to have the opposite of fun. Sure it's nice to brag and to have 2,345,567 readers but if that's your goal you're obviously going to fall short."

Click here to check out the whole entry.

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. I'm disappointed that you haven't put up your thoughts on the whole Diablo III RL$-AH. I wrote an entire essay on my guild's website about why the whole thing was a shitty idea that will ultimately hurt the game. I was really hoping to see more discussion of it here and on Gevlon's blog. Do you intend to do anything with regards to that?

  2. arkraven - steampike (left wow)August 7, 2011 at 1:09 AM

    why is it a bad thing joe?

    its going to happen, blizz have just jumped in and have said they want a slice of the pie! all you have to do is google the game you play and gold and a whole list of site pop up of were to get it from and these ILLEGAL site don't hurt the games now?

  3. Here's Part 1 of the gigantic rant I posted on my guild forums.

    1) The ability to buy gold completely defeats the point of separating the G-AH and the $-AH.

    Why? With gold being able to be bought, and there being a never ending shortage of chinese farmers out there to help supply you with that gold, gold will always be available on the AH to be sold. With gold farmers always trying to infuse the market with more gold (so they can make more RL$), this will devalue the price of gold. To put it into real life terms, it's like if the federal government just kept printing money, non-stop, and letting the public buy it for less than its value. Eventually, you'd have so much money in the economy, that a gallon of milk would cost $20. The situation in Diablo 3 will become one where players who aren't interested in spending RL$ on gold or items, will inevitably end up having less gold than those who are buying, and its important to keep in mind, since gold-buying is a supported feature of the game, many many more people will be buying than they already do in WoW. When JoeSchmoe has only 5,000 gold, because he plays "legit", and everyone else in the world has 50,000, prices will go up, and JoeSchmoe's buying power is significantly reduced. JoeSchmoe is forced to either spend endless hours MF'ing and crossing his fingers for the items he wants (or at least the gold to catch up to the gold-buyers), or to give in and start purchasing items with his RL$. JoeSchmoe has a couple of options now:

    A) Accept that playing "legit" and not spending RL$ will always mean he is less-geared than a lot of other players who may be worse than him

    B) Put a lot more time into the game - essentially, he'll make up the difference in purchasing power by spending way more time, instead of RL$

    C) Give up and start spending RL$

    D) Quit.

    Most people will try A or B for a little while, but it doesn't last forever. People find A generally unacceptable, because they often play video games as a distraction or escape from the stresses of real life, and forcing people to be part of a "lower" class is not a very fun distraction from real life. Option B isn't that great either, because it encourages player burn out. The options become C, or D, and a lot more people will choose D than anyone expects.

  4. That was Part 1 of the big rant I put together. Part 3 basically boiled down to this: Remember how many times we've seen cheats, hacks, exploits, and bots within Blizzard games? How is this going to magically change within Diablo 3? It's not! Remember the underground-bots that were discussed on this very blog, who farmed Whiptail and Elementium Ore? Or the folks in PvP who glitched and flashed all over the area, preventing you from hitting them? AFK Fan of Knives bots in random BGs? The Pindlebots in D2? Maphack in D2? Pickit? Hell, I think there've been maphacks for SC:BW and War3 too. These things will happen with D3 as well - it's a fact of electronic life, that some people will find ways to cheat. By supporting microtransactions that Blizzard does not specifically control, they're opening up a whole shitstorm. What happens when the first bots are set up, and people start buying items, unaware that they were botted or even duped? If its anything like D2, these items will disappear in another "Rust Storm"... but what of the money they spent? They spent money on a product that Blizzard poofed? That's going to cause a million different kinds of customer complaints, and they're legit complaints. Blizz will either have to keep people happy (let the products made from duping/botting stay, which is not good for the game) or will have to piss everyone off by destroying items people thought they were buying through legit means (which is also not good for the game)

  5. Part 2 was pretty longwinded, but largely revolved around the fact that every dumbass out there who once sold something rare on the WoW AH will think he can do the same thing now... for RL$. This is exacerbated by the granting of deposit-free auctions by Blizzard. I'll draw an example from WoW - currently, all we can (legit) operate in is Gold. So Linen Cloth, Stokpiles Shield of Superpower, and the Spectral Tiger mount all sell for gold. Yet, if you had the option to list things in a RL$-AH, like you will in D3, those rarest items (Spectral Tiger, world BoE's, Raid BoE's, Stokpiles Shield, etc.) would often sell for RL$ instead. The same thing will happen in D3 - the best, most rare items will sell for RL$. What items do end up on the G-AH will instead be bought up by farmers and other Goblins thinking they can make a living off of the RL$-AH, to be relisted there once the "auctionable" cooldown has worn off. All the best items will end up being find-only, or pay RL$ to get them. If you want to play without buying gold, well, fuck you.

    I know you've done guest posts before, Stokpile - I could email my whole thing to you if you like, and guest-post it. I haven't seen a lot of people talking about the issue that the RL<->G dynamic is going to be absolutely inescapable within D3 (except for on Hardcore), mostly just about what the microtransaction philosophy means in general and stuff. To me, the fact that it is inescapable is the most indefensible part of the whole thing. If they wanted to set up expressly separate RL$ and G-only servers and associated economies, I wouldn't have much of a problem with that, but the fact that I cannot choose to play D3 without being affected by this whole thing, that's whats turned me off completely from the game.

  6. Ahaha, little pessimistic and narrow minded Joe... change is coming, it's inevitable. Adapt or ignore, don't fight it.

  7. @ Joe

    Now that you have taken over Stok's post for TODAY in the comments section of HIS blog with your already posted else where, "gigantic rant I posted on my guild forums", and stretched your epeen for the day... I may be wrong...No, wait I'm not! A link to your "rant" would have sufficed.

    @ Stok,
    Great post as always!

    Fickle Little Riddle <3

  8. @Anon Pessimistic? Yeah. Narrow-minded? I have a hard time seeing that - I know what I want in my game experience, and part of that is to not be forced to choose between microtransactions or being relegated to a second-class player. As its currently set up, I honestly can't see any way D3 doesn't push that choice. I wouldn't be surprised if down the road, the mechanics of the whole thing change, but as it currently stands, where I was previously excited about D3, I am now completely turned off towards it, and do not intend to purchase it. I'm not the only one coming to this decision, and a lot of people will also come to this decision after buying the game and finding themselves in that predicament.

    Will D3, with the RL$-AH, be a commercial success, even with the misgivings many people may have about it? Yeah, it will. But the more important consideration is that if the RL$-AH undermines the game experience for those who do buy it, and it drives them away, it's going to really damage Blizzard's reputation amongst those of us who've been playing their games for 10+ years now. Blizzard's reputation is what gets people to buy games that they would otherwise be on the fence about, it was one of the initial driving forces between the wildly successful launch of World of Warcraft, and its a currency that's a lot harder to build up than it is to destroy. We'll see what happens.

  9. @Fickle Little Riddle

    1) I was hoping for a good discussion regarding the entire RL$-AH issue. I'm not sitting here presenting my ideas as fact, nor disparaging anyone elses. If anyone can explain to me why my thoughts about the whole thing are wrong, I'd love to hear it. So far I had someone ask for why I thought the whole thing was bad (hence I responded with a lot of copy/paste), and one saying not to bother fighting the issue, "shhhh just let it happen". Excuse me for participating in such discourse.

    2) Not sure where my e-peen came into this, cause I'm not claiming to be better or smarter than anyone here. If you think I'm wrong about D3, I'd love to hear your thoughts. But that's pretty awesome and really mature of you to attack me for answering a question another commenter (arkraven) asked of me. But you stay classy.

    3) I can't just link to my post on my guild forums - the discussion was on the private side of them. But you keep on assuming things and getting angry.

    4) Now that you have taken over Stok's post for TODAY in the comments section of HIS blog with your already posted else where, "gigantic rant I posted on my guild forums", and stretched your epeen for the day... I may be wrong...No, wait I'm not! A link to your "rant" would have sufficed.

    This is not TODAY's post. The post was put up Aug 4. No one commented on it until I first did, on Aug 6, 2 days later. You're coming along and getting all pissy about the comment section being all "polluted" three days later. The last 5 posts have 1, 0, 0, 1, and 0 comments respectively. Don't act like I just walked in and started spoiling a perfectly good conversation, or pretend that one was going on here. There was no conversation going within 2 days of the post, and there wasn't going to be one. Don't sit there and pretend that a conversation was magically going to spring up 3 days later, were it not for my "taking over" the comment section. All you're doing here is trolling.

  10. arkraven - steampike (left wow)August 8, 2011 at 1:39 AM

    joe thanks for the reply,

    I'm not a great fan of the real $ AH but as i said its going to happen outside of the game. as a buisness move from blizz its a good idea and every point you make is vaild and a concern.

    I don't think EVERY1 will use the $AH and even then most peeps will only use the $AH to buy themselves another 'sparkly flying horsey mount' rather than export it to there paypal account (or which ever it ends up being)

    I am an opptimist and like to think most peeps will use both AH's and since you will be able to sell gold for on the $AH playing both will be viable.

  11. @arkraven

    If absolutely no one approached D3 as a means by which to make a living, or even a healthy supplmental income, I'd probably agree with you. I do agree that most people will not actually "cash out" their accounts - especially with the fees involved, it's not going to make sense to withdraw funds and pay fees on $5, $10, things like that. But the issue will be that the farmers, the people who are making a livelihood off of this stuff, they're the ones who are going to make an issue of it. They have the manpower (and oftentimes, botpower) to acquire insane amounts of gold, giving them the spending power to buy the best items out of the G-AH, and sell it on the $-AH later for $$$. To these people, Gold is only a means to getting $$$, and they'll do everything they can to make sure that more people are forced to spend $$$, so that they can be the ones collecting the $$$.

    The fact that we're here indicates to me that we're all readers of this blog. And this probably isn't the only gold blog we're all ready. So we've all seen the effort that people can put into making WoW Gold alone, and the results they can get. Not only that, but we've seen the lengths they can go to, speculating on commodities, controlling markets, AH-warfare, all of that jazz. And all of that... by legit players, for fun, for a currency that is admittedly less valuable than $$$. When you're talking about a player who is not playing "legit", who has no problem with botting/hacking/exploiting, who is not playing for fun, but instead for a livelihood, for a currency that is far more meaningful than in-game gold... the lengths these people will go to, in order to get what they need, will always surprise you. And they'll surprise Blizzard. And that's not good for players or Blizzard.

    If Blizzard were actually selling the items themselves, it would actually work a lot better, I think - at least then you could be sure that what you're buying isn't a dupe, likely to disappear in a few weeks with a new patch. Economy could be better controlled to make sure that gold isn't devalued, protecting "legit" players. The current implementation of the whole thing is essentially Blizzard allowing third-parties to dictate, to a more significant extent than ever before in WoW or D2, the quality of the player's experience. That's a pretty damn risky thing to do.