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  • ArchVile
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The gold standard: A WoW economics course proposal {WoW}

Jan 11th 2009 6:08PM I agree. I've actually been having a blast discussing an issue intelligently on the site, for once. As I said in one of my follow-up points, I regretted some of the confrontational tone I may have had in my original post, which was probably just the natural tone I tend to take here, since I'm used to responses like, "l2p fgt! QQ moar n00b," or any other variation of that.

I actually did know what you were trying to say about the Zimbabwe point. I think I didn't make it clear that my explanation one the Zimbabwe economy was more of a side-bar tangent, just to provide a solid example of why the economy of countries, like Zimbabwe, are grounds for proper study in an economics course. As I said, I wasn't too clear about my intentions of that point.

As for the education systems between the UK and the US, from the bits of information I have gathered over time, it doesn't sound like they are really too different, aside from differences in the terminology used. I think the similarities in our systems is probably why we in the US can recognize a degree from, say Oxford, and visa-versa for the UK (barring some circumstances, from irregular or non-accredited schools of course).

I fully agree with you about how things are changing and that we are finding more value in intangible trade these days. Especially with the advent of digital downloads. Could you have imagined that 5 years ago? I mean, even a few years ago, when you bought a DVD, you at least came home with a disc, a case, and maybe some collector's memorabilia , artbooks, or whatnot. Now people are completely comfortable buying a movie through digital download, or a game through Steam for example, with nothing tangible to hold in their hands at the end of the day. This has been the secret to the success of gold farming, really the major "X factor" in the WoW economy.

I think we can all agree that a WoW or any virtual economy and the real-world economy are, more or less, completely autonomous from each other in most senses, but the gold farming factor, I will admit is where the two worlds cross over (aside from the obvious purchase cost of the game itself, and the subscription fee, which goes without saying), and as I said before, I can and DO see the validity it analyzing that factor in an economics class, for sure. In an economics class, anything that can have a real-world impact, is valid enough for study.

I think for the most part, we are in agreement about most of these issues, I'm just thinking maybe we differ on the application, or perhaps we're just misunderstanding each other's viewpoints. I think that if this was a proposed course, at the moment, I wouldn't see it as anything other than an elective course, perhaps, and even then, it wouldn't just be related to WoW, but on virtual economies forever, since WoW will someday be a thing of the past, but similar virtual economies will continue to exist. I just think that, unless you are going to a school specifically for an education in game development, or perhaps you plan to be an economics major, in which case you will study ALL aspects of all types of economies, a class on a virtual economy is irrelevant, outside of it's real world impact (gold selling, or perhaps the annual cost of sustaining an account on the game itself), in which case, I think that would classify as a side-bar lesson to a general economics class. The idea behind a general education economics course is to give you an understanding of how to function in the real world, such as pay\salary, how a mortgage works, what an economic recession means to you, etc. A virtual economy, within its own right, is purely extra curricular and doesn't affect you outside of the real world for the most part. As I've said before, and I'll state again, so that there is no mistake than anyone may interpret from what I am trying to say, I do understand that the gold farming, and its impact on some economies (namely China) are the exception to this rule, but in that case, I think that most likely transcends the study of WoW's economy and delves into the study if human behavior and the value people are willing to put on entertainment, past-times, hobbies, and dare I even say, addictions?

The gold standard: A WoW economics course proposal {WoW}

Jan 10th 2009 7:02PM @ eadipus

Hmmm...that is an interesting point you make. I think I'm willing to meet you half way on that and say that perhaps there is some cause to examine the effects of a virtual economy (not just a WoW economy). I'm still not convinced that it justifies its own separate course, but I can maybe understand it being a side-bar to an economy course.

I think the thing about Zimbabwe's economy is that it counts as the global economy, and you'd probably be amazed at how much effect a seemingly unrelated economy can actually have on your own. Consider that Zimbabwe was at one point, under the control of the UK until its recent independence, and that the UK still conducts many operations from within. Also, due to their current economic hardships and their poor living conditions, you'll have to consider the involvment that the UK has had and the investment they have put into Zimbabwe in recent years, including trade, travel, and humanitarian efforts, all of which, in one way or another, affect the economy of the UK. Especially when you consider that it has long still been a valuable resource in trade for gold, ivory, diamonds and copper, not to mention safari expeditions for big game hunting and even illegal poaching.

On that note, since I've opened up that can, the point could also be made that we need to look at and consider China's economy and the effects that gold farming and trading for real-world currency as well as real world taxing on such transactions, has had on China's economy. I can see the legitimacy in studying that and those economic effects. I'm just not sure I'm open to dedicating an entire course curriculum to the study of the WoW economy just for it's own sake.

The gold standard: A WoW economics course proposal {WoW}

Jan 10th 2009 6:35PM Sorry about the wall of text. I actually didn't realize that my response had gotten so long until after I had posted.

Also on a second reading, (after personally cringing at some of my typos and syntax - what can I say, I tend to rush these types of posts), I feel that maybe I came off as a little more combative in my response than was deserved. I still stand by my original points, but there tends to be a natural combative or defensive tone that I take on by default on WOWInsider, and perhaps it got the best of me.

And also on a second read, and from some points that were brought up to me by other posters, is that this is not necessarily a serious proposal with serious plans to be pitched as an actual college level course, but perhaps was more of a hypothetical idea or just one of those "wouldn't it be interesting?" types of ideas.

As i said, I still stand by my points, but I admit that I may have misunderstood the intentions of Mr. Friedman's blog article.

The gold standard: A WoW economics course proposal {WoW}

Jan 10th 2009 5:52PM Really? It's that easy to just start a college course? Just like that?

Hmmm, seems like Mr. Friedman didn't think things through.

First of all, he's acting like he can just walk up, make a proposal, and see it available on the academic curriculum by the next semester. But life isn't that simple, and he sure wants it to be. These types of proposals (even if they had any chance at all) need to go through ENDLESS amounts of approvals through various committees, councils and boards, and then have to be recognized by the state education board as a valid course for school credit.

Okay, now lets be realistic. How much longer does everyone think WoW has left in it? Maybe another expansion pack? Two if we're really feeling like pushing it? The game is already over 5 years old now and as much as I love the game, my drive has waned and so has most everyone else's. Already people are starting to feel "ho-hum" about the same old grind present in WotLK and showing signs of WoW burnout, admitting that they still play WoW almost out of habit, but the joy just isn't there. My girlfriend made a good analogy. Say you ate Cheerios every morning and loved them. Then after a few years, you gave Honey Nut Cheerios a shot and said, 'Wow! a different type of Cheerios. Awesome." And then a couple of years later, you switch over to Apple Cinnamon Cheerios and though, "You know, this is good and different and all, but I'm kinda starting to want to try something other than Cheerios soon."

Blizzard knows their game has a half-life, which is why they were smart enough to have already started working on their next MMO. It was a really smart move on their part, because they knew that if WoW was going to lose it's appeal eventually, why let another company steal away their fanbase, when they can just transfer their fanbase over to one of their own new MMOs instead? It's actually pretty smart. In essence, they are trying to ensure that they are only competing with themselves and their own products.

Now get back on topic, lets say this guy's proposal had ANY chance of happening, doesn't he realize that by the time anything actually came of it, people would read the course curriculum and say to themselves, "World of WarCraft? That game is soooooo 2006. Who plays that old game anymore?"
Essentially, he's proposing a course that will cost lots of money to implement (in the middle of an economic crisis, to boot) and is guaranteed to become obsolete, perhaps even the moment it would be implemented.

I would have bought his argument more if it was say, a game economics course for a school like "The Art Institute," "Gnomon," or "Full Sail" where they have programs geared for Bachelors Degrees in Game Art and Development, but not as a general economics course at a University where games have no relation to anything. Even then, I would say that it would need to be a general game economics course, that maybe has a special portion that discusses the WoW economy. I've had a game development course that had a section discussing game economy, starting with board games (remember Monopoly has an economy system too), but it was only a piece of a bigger pie.

Don't get me wrong, if your focus is to become a game developer, then I think the study of game economies is important, in fact, should be required study. This guy's proposal is beyond that, and really seems more focused on his personal desire to see WoW integrated into more of his facets of real life.

And if Mr. Friedman reads these responses (and he may very well do so) I hope he considers some of these issues, because if that wasn't enough I would like to hear his explanation of how he plans to deal with another critical flaw in the WoW economy (and game economy in general). I have seen him discuss the economics in WoW in relation to the AH and supply and demand but he's completely forgetting about the generation and destruction of money in the game entirely. In a real world economy, the dollar, or legal tender, is circulated. How many transactions has a quarter, minted in 1976, been involved in, up to this point. In WoW, outside of a personal transaction, or the AH, where does it go? WoW's economy has too many black holes where the money is either created or destryed. In the real world, for example, we can't kill Kobolds and take their money. We have to find some way to earn it through work or trade. But in WoW, when a mob is killed, money is generated, in essence, "appears out of thin air", and of course, where does the money go when you buy a flying mount from an NPC, lets say? Nowhere. The money is destroyed. Lost in a black hole. The money in WoW is initially generated by random number generation. A real economy doesn't work this way. Compound this with the fact that a real economy fluctuates. I've never heard of a recession in an MMO economy. Only inflation. That's because when money is easily and randomly "generated" or "created" in WoW or any other MMO, there's little room for any type of recession. Sure, on the AH, a recent patch can drop the price of an items demand on the AH, but this doesn't affect the overall economy of the game, just the market for that particular item. Of course, in real life, if you are all keeping up with the economic issue, we should all be aware that the idea of simply generating and "injecting" money into an economy doesn't work so smoothly, and opens a huge can of worms.

My overall point is, a WoW economy is so vastly different from the mechanics of a real world economy that I can't see any way you could possibly argue that it can be taught as an alternative to, or equal credit to a real-world economy course. With all do respect Mr. Friedman, you really didn't think this idea through.

Ghostcrawler: Wrath's difficulty is where we want it {WoW}

Nov 29th 2008 11:52PM Yes, I am aware of the irony in my previous post, in which I used the same tactics that I was criticizing another for. It was intended to make a point. Perhaps I failed to make it more obvious in my post, that i was being extreme for a reason. The point I was hoping to convey is that the rest of us, like myself, can make grand sweeping generalizations about his lifestyle as well. Obviously, I can't know if he lives in his mother's basement, or if he has an "online relationship" with an overweight old dude. I don't know that guy anymore than he knew the life of the guy he chose to flame, or others in that similar situation.

What I am willing to guess though, is that Maarick is making a criticism of a lifestyle he knows nothing about and making assumptions about how someone with that lifestyle can and should be able to live it. Maybe I'm wrong. maybe he's one of a few lucky folks who has kids of the right age that they don't require consistent attention, and a steady job that allows him plenty of free time and night, and a flexible guild that works into his raiding schedule. Maybe that's the case. I doubt it, but maybe. After all, I'm in a guild with a guild leader that has just that very lucky type of life that allows him plenty of time to not only raid, but set up raids and run them on a consistent schedule. I'm lucky to be in the raid, because it works into my busy schedule and was lucky to have cleared BT and part of Sunwell.

The problem is, I'm not nearly as busy in my schedule as some others are, and even for me, it's tough. I've nearly backed out multiple times from losing sleep and even missing a few deadlines, which I promised I'd never do. Sadly, most WoW players have very busy, or unpredictable schedules (anyone ever work retail or are on call, say at a hospital?) It makes time management very difficult for a lot of people.

So yes, I realize the irony in my previous post and I expected people to mention that. Frankly I'm surprised I didn't get nailed over my plethora of typos (the grammar police love me). Yeah, I'm a lousy typist. Usually I just glaze over those types of posts, but sometimes after seeing so many elitist posts from people with big mouths starts to build up on me, and now and again I see a post where...well my tolerance cup done runneth over, so to speak. It gets to the point where no one can express their feelings about something without some jackass coming back with cheap shots and holier than thou attitude towards someone who really didn't deserve that.

It's a game, but elitists that want to complain or disagree with someone, sometimes like to treat the issues like its the Republicans versus the Democrats or something. it's not. The hardcore need to calm down, or if the game isn't good enough for them, wait it out or cancel their account for awhile and come back later. We're talking about a game whose mechanics can literally change over a Tuesday morning. And we've also not even yet seen any of the real endgame content. There is more to come, and Blizzard knows what they are doing. Not saying they are infallible, but they don't do things at random or make wild stabs in the dark when they make decisions about their game.

As for this post -- it'll definitely take more than 40 seconds to read. I apologize for my poor discretion when calculating the time it would take to read my previous post. Let it be known that my math skills are just as pitiful as my typing skills.

Ghostcrawler: Wrath's difficulty is where we want it {WoW}

Nov 29th 2008 6:04PM And I'm tired of people like Maarick flaming others for their opinions because they are so insecure about themselves that they feel threatened at the idea that they may be playing a game that is not tough enough for their "1337 skillz." t another idiot who needs to command respect through an online video game rather than in real life.

Putting down others for making a comment is, like many others, his only way to feel tough and important. If you actually had a life and commitments, you'd probably understand that its hard to raid 5 nights a week with a job and a family, but since you most likely live in your parents basement with not so much as even a sweater overweight dude that you speak to through AIM, whom you believe is a girl and indeed you online girlfriend, you may understand that WoW raiding doesn't sometimes fit in people's schedules. I'm sure the pinnacle of your existence, and those like you, are the idea that people are walking past you in Dalaran, inspecting your big gear and thinking 'Wow, I wish I was that guy's friend IRL" (newflash, people aren't inspecting you - they're too wrapped up in their own gameplay, to care about yours).

Well, if WoW has gotten too soft for you, try AoC, while its still around, or test your skills on WAR. The guys over at EA Mythic to have another WoW defect in their ranks, and you can take your BS posts and flaming over there.

Oh, and calling people "scrubs" isn't cool either. That word was died back in 1991.

I await for, what I'm sure will be a rebuttal along the lines of how my "wall of text" is too much for illiterates to read. That's fine. it would just prove a point that anyone who can't spend 45 seconds to read a little over a paragraph is probably better off living in their parents basement past the age of 40. There's a reason why the cash registers at McDonalds have icons of hamburgers and fries, rather than the words of the hamburgers and fries.

Blizzard's splash screen changes for June 27th: A "Lost" penguin and Death Knight imagery {WoW}

Jun 27th 2008 6:02AM This would be funny. The only problem is Commander Keen is not a Blizzard property. That is the property of id software, makers of the Doom, Wolfenstein 3D, and Quake series of games. I'm sure that if you wanted to push this though, there are ways to prod them through their own website.

Richard Bartle grudgingly plays World of Warcraft {WoW}

Jun 21st 2008 2:23AM That's actually a really good point, that I hadn't even thought of. But yeah, you're right. The game experience changes so vastly from server to server, and it's the community on the server that really shifts the tides around. Kind of like how some people complain that Alliance sucks in Battlegrounds, but I have friends in completely different Battlegrounds, that have the complete opposite issue.

Richard Bartle grudgingly plays World of Warcraft {WoW}

Jun 20th 2008 4:34PM LoL. I'm not sure why we're all getting worked up. Who is this guy and what makes him qualified to talk? He made some pen-and-paper MUDs back in the 70's and now walks around and talks about how he knows the system?

On that note, I once knew a guy who criticized Marvel and wanted to suggest a lot of changes to pretty much all of their comics, and was qualified because he drew his own comics in his free time.

Sounds to me like this guy is just another "comic guy." A guy who made some stuff on his own free time, but never did anything professional enough but feels that he knows all there is to know, despite the fact that he has never had a job or any experience that qualifies him. And the fact that he himself has never made anything really noteworthy, or has even ever been a part of an MMO development should be a red flag. Seems there is probably a reason.

I don't have much else to say, because everyone else has pretty much already said everything else that is important. And all the great points were already made. It only takes one 70 to decide if the game sucks. He sounds suspiciously close to the whiners on the official boards who have multiple 70's and complain on the boards about how "my class is broken" and everyone else's class is "OP." "Buff my class and nerf everyone elses, right now, OR BLIZZ WON'T GET ANOTHER CENT OF MY MONEY." And of course, they never do actually cancel their subscription. Hollow threats.

And for the record, a lot of things about TBC I really am not fond of (spaceships and sci-fi have NO place in WoW, IMO - but I am happy to see that WotLK appears to be going the right direction again), but a lot of the mechanics are good and I do actually prefer the new raid dungeon structure (getting 40 people for 100+ MC runs, was not exactly working out). That being said though, Karazhan, is probably the best, and well made raid dungeon in the so far. Even though I don't raid Kara much anymore, when I do 9even though I don't even need the badges anymore) I still have a blast with it. It's pace, theming and scaled difficulty are all handled just about perfect. Plus, it's themed with old Azeroth in mind, which helps for me ;)

Most people agree that Karazhan was handled great. I've never seen a guild break up over it. This guy is backwards. Guilds are FORMED because of Karazhan. I've heard of guilds breaking up over the Kael'thas fight (the original TK one of course), but never Karazhan. Karazhan is like boot-camp for raiding guilds. It's use in the game is two-fold: a speedbump for the aspiring, hardcore raiding guilds, who need the means of getting used to working with, and coordinating with each other, and also gives raid leaders the experience they need before they go out to the higher raids (Gruul's is a similar entry into raiding, just adding the 25-man aspect to it). The second thing about Kara, is that it provides a perfectly acceptable challenge to the guilds and people that CAN'T do the big raids, don't have the time for hardcore raiding, or just aren't quite good enough. Therefore, Karazhan is great, because those who won't go up to BT, Hyjal or Sunwell, can still run Kara and feel challenged enough and still have something to master, without feeling like they haven't been given anything.

And for the record, if you've ever read any interviews with this guy, he is about as full of crap as Robert McKee (wikipedia him, if you don't know who that is) and every interview he makes excuses for why no companies call him as a consultant for their MMOs (my favorite excuse is that he thinks that companies don't call outside consultants because it's a sign of weakness - that's funny, because WoW was founded on outside consultants, whose lead developers were all brought in from top-rated guilds from other MMOs). Oh, and his other excuse is that he doesn't get work because he lives in the UK.

Is Blizzard stealing ideas from WAR? {WoW}

Jun 18th 2008 8:11AM As I said earlier, I hate to break it to you, but that's how all games are. Every game is made up of parts of stolen ideas from other games. There's is very little innovation left anymore. And BTW, you do realize that Blizzard's first RTS was "WarCraft: Orcs and Humans", right? Up to that point, the only really definitive RTS that existed that was a real inspiration was Dune II. warCraft, honestly, was second on the map when we talk about the modern incarnation of the RTS (Yes, I'm aware that other RTSes technically existed, but the modern style that exists today and the true birth of the RTS started with Dune II). At any rate, I would HARDLY consider that an RTS model that existed forever.

As for the "Warhammer" rip-off, well lets just say that neither of them can really claim to have created the concept of dwarves, orcs and elves, now can they?