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5-25-2007 @ 2:04PM
Gold farming presents several nasty problems to the game of WoW. Firstly, the gold spam, which was growing immeasurably out of proportion until this most recent patch (thanks), but it won’t stop there just because the patch fixes it. They have to advertise… these companies are 98% marketing firms. We’ll be seeing more mailbox spam, and they will eventually look to traditional vectors of spamming. Penis pills, mortgages and stock tips will soon be joined by WoW gold in our parents’ inboxes. The second ugly effect is the auction house prices. Nobody can say for sure what prices would be like without gold buying, so it’s arguable that this actually has an effect. But it’s apparent that many people have no problem buying gold to finally outbid that bastard sniping them on their long-awaited auction (happened to me). In turn, the seller may go tell his guild that he got 3000g for some rare item, and now all of the sudden others are selling that item for 3000g. The item may fall in price, but probably never again to the value it had before the inflation and it will take a lot of time for it to fall.As a personal opinion, I don’t think it’s a horrible crime to buy gold for a mount because you’re nullifying that money, not destabilizing prices on the auction house. I still wouldn’t do that because buying the gold supports the business model with every successful sale and I would be terribly depressed if my account was banned/deleted. Knowing transactional databases, it’s not hard for them to trace in-game gold sales and it’s not unrealistic to think that they have built or are building a list of buyers to ban at some future time, when the mechanism is in place to “permaban.”This is the tip of the iceberg and it goes well beyond WoW in scope. It took hugely populous MMOs to create the phenomena, but the networked platform behind all MMOs will grow to accomodate business and creative applications, not just games. Think second life integrated with 3dsmax, mathematica, protools, massive (LoTR) and VMWare; the legal ground is the only unexplored territory. All of this means a virgin and largely ungoverned (except by the laws of nature) economy will arise. The day the government puts taxes on virtual property is the day when you can believe everything I’ve just said, as it means the impending rise that economy. WoW content is the primordial ooze and the catalyst for new life is virtual property sales.
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