Skip to Content

WoW Insider has the latest on the Mists of Pandaria!

Posts with tag Gold-Sellers

The Lawbringer: Guardian Cub pros and cons

Pop law abounds in The Lawbringer, your weekly dose of WoW, the law, video games and the MMO genre. Mathew McCurley takes you through the world running parallel to the games we love and enjoy, full of rules, regulations, pitfalls and traps. How about you hang out with us as we discuss some of the more esoteric aspects of the games we love to play?

Blizzard recently treated WoW fans to a preview of the Guardian Cub tradable pet, going on sale soon at the Blizzard pet store. Immediately upon hearing that the pet was tradable, readers began inundating me with email and Twitter messages to talk about said cub on The Lawbringer, as this is sort of the thing I fancy myself a connoisseur of. So here we go -- let's talk about the ramifications of these adorable little pets on our server economies.

The Guardian Cub represents a sea change in the nature of the gold selling war from Blizzard's perspective, one that has been coming for a long, long time. With a Blizzard-sanctioned way for players to dip their toes into the waters of pay-for gold, gold buying looks a little less attractive to players who would otherwise have to risk their computer's integrity and credit card security. Players have sharp opinions one way or the other on player-bought gold, so I'm going to do my best to hit the right points to discuss my opinion on the whole premise. I mean, it's right there in the FAQ. This pet has the added incentive of being a safe and secure way to potentially, maybe, make some gold off your purchase.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Lawbringer

The Lawbringer: Q&A on Diablo's real-money auction house

Pop law abounds in The Lawbringer, your weekly dose of WoW, the law, video games and the MMO genre. Mathew McCurley takes you through the world running parallel to the games we love and enjoy, full of rules, regulations, pitfalls and traps. How about you hang out with us as we discuss some of the more esoteric aspects of the games we love to play?

Since Blizzard dropped the Diablo 3 bombshell on us early Monday, I will post the second article in my series on micro-transaction models next week. For those of you who have been living under the proverbial internet rock (you are missing some awesome memes right now), Blizzard announced that Diablo 3 would feature two auction houses, one using in-game gold as currency and the other using real currency that would be deposited into a Battle.net account wallet and used from there.

The whole system gets more intriguing when you take into account that sales made on the real-money auction house can make their way to your own very real wallet through an unannounced third party or deposited back into your Battle.net wallet for use on anything digital in the Blizzard store, including WoW game time.

If you're a regular reader of The Lawbringer, you already know how excited I get over virtual currency. This is my wheelhouse. I feel like a master carpenter at Wood Con 2011, cosplaying as my favorite oak tree, quercus alnifolia. Pair that with real currency, and excitement levels hit the stratosphere. I may break through the atmosphere at some point. That faint sonic boom you hear will be me hurtling through the air in excitement and wonderment.

Sure, the Diablo real-money transaction (RMT) auction house is not related to World of Warcraft -- or is it? Oh, it very much is. Faithful readers and not faithful alike (how could you, Debbie?) have been writing in questions via Twitter and email asking me to explain the auction house and talk about some of the potential legal and tax issues that could come around because of it. Also, many people want to know how the RMT auction house could benefit World of Warcraft, despite Rob Pardo's saying there are no plans to bring it over to WoW. Let's take a look at your questions.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Lawbringer

The Lawbringer: China, forced labor, and why we must stop buying gold

Pop law abounds in The Lawbringer, your weekly dose of WoW, the law, video games and the MMO genre. Running parallel to the games we love and enjoy is a world full of rules, regulations, pitfalls and traps. How about you hang out with us as we discuss some of the more esoteric aspects of the games we love to play?

Gold selling is a multi-billion dollar industry that spans the globe, with a healthy portion of in-game currency sales originating from China. It's a cheap operation to start up -- all you need is cheap labor, some computers, a PayPal account, and a copy of World of Warcraft. The overhead is low and the payoff is big because the demand is present for the supply. People have a perceived need to buy gold, so more people sell gold, which allows the market to grow. It won't stop, either, as tradable virtual currency from all types of games hit the gray market.

What happens when an industry with low overheads becomes too profitable? What happens when a relatively simple setup like gold farming goes from the quaintness of cottage industry to a virtual currency-fueled industrial revolution? People start getting ideas when money is sitting there on the table, ready and waiting to be snatched up by the stalwart businessman. Combine that sentiment with the corruption and profit motives of institutions and a labor force that is for all intents and purposes free, and you get the sad tale of prisoners in China and the people in charge.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Lawbringer

The Lawbringer: Fighting the gold fight -- how the strategy must change

Pop law abounds in The Lawbringer, your weekly dose of WoW, the law, video games and the MMO genre. Running parallel to the games we love and enjoy is a world full of rules, regulations, pitfalls and traps. How about you hang out with us as we discuss some of the more esoteric aspects of the games we love to play?

Last week on The Lawbringer, I introduced you to the world as it is, a battlefield littered with the corpses of stolen accounts, inconvenienced players, and a priceless reputation on the line. This week, we look at concrete solutions to actually helping the gold selling system wind down and remove many of the hurdles that instant gratification with purchasing gold sets up for Blizzard. You might have mixed and angry reactions to what I'm going to talk about, but do give me the benefit of the doubt. I think being open-minded might win this fight.

So what can Blizzard do besides selling its own currency? Here are my suggestions for the first steps that Blizzard needs to take in the new war against gold selling.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Economy, The Lawbringer

The Lawbringer: Fighting the gold fight -- the world as it is

Pop law abounds in The Lawbringer, your weekly dose of WoW, the law, video games and the MMO genre. Running parallel to the games we love and enjoy is a world full of rules, regulations, pitfalls and traps. How about you hang out with us as we discuss some of the more esoteric aspects of the games we love to play?

The Lawbringer has in the past been used as a personal launching pad for some of the more out-there or esoteric ideas that I have in regards to the World of Warcraft and virtual currency in general. You guys seem to love it, and there's always plenty of great discussion about these ideas. For the next two weeks, I want to introduce you to my thoughts on how Blizzard should be attacking gold sellers and, at the same time, working to remove some of the content gates that gold has erected in the MMO we all love. This week, we will set up the story and the history of it all, and next week, we will talk about hard conclusions.

Gold selling isn't going away as long as fungible and liquid currency exists in MMOs. Gold is "fungible" because it can be exchanged for something exactly like it, at a 1:1 ratio -- gold is gold. Gold is also liquid, as it can be used and exchanged for other goods or services. Short of Blizzard's getting rid of this type of currency altogether or selling its own currency for a cheaper price than gold sellers can furnish it, people will sell gold and items that can be traded.

Blizzard has shown that it has the guts to go after gold selling as an industry but has so far failed in scope to bring down the snake that slowly poisons everything it has worked to build. As sellers become hackers, and as hacking chips away at the good will, reputation, and stability of the game we love to play and the company we love to patronize, there has never been a more urgent time to fight the gold fight. The strategy needs to change from focusing on the people who sell gold to a combination of those that sell and the gold itself.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Economy, The Lawbringer

Blizzard strikes gold sellers with Paypal notices

Last week, Blizzard sent out strongly worded complaints to Paypal, accusing many gold-selling companies and resellers of "intellectual properties violations" for selling World of Warcraft goods. After receiving these complaints, Paypal sent notices off to the gold sellers Blizzard had complaints against, stating that if these activities continued through their websites and the Paypal service, Paypal would revoke their ability to use the popular payment site as a payment option.

Here is Paypal's letter to the gold sellers:
You were reported to PayPal as an Intellectual Properties violation by Blizzard Entertainment Inc. for the sale of World of Warcraft Merchandise.

If you feel your sales do not infringe upon the intellectual property rights of the Reporting Party, please complette the attached Objection to Infringement Report by January 21, 2011.

The completed form should be faxed to the attention of the Acceptable Use Policy Department at [number removed] or emailed to [email removed].

Should you choose not to object to the report, you will be required to remove all World of Warcraft Merchandise from the website [url removed] in order to comply with the Acceptable Use Policy.
What's very interesting is that Blizzard is claiming intellectual property violations in the face of the most recent decision in the Glider case. Where Blizzard lost on intellectual property concerns under the EULA, they could have a better shot over their game assets being sold, if somehow it ever went to court. Still, Paypal is the easiest route to go for Blizzard's plan of attack against gold sellers, since most of them are run outside of the country. Suffice to say, it's nice to see some action being taken against gold selling.

Filed under: Blizzard

The Lawbringer: Interfering with gold farmers


Welcome to the Lawbringer, your weekly tour of the intersection between law and Warcraft. I am a third year law student specializing in intellectual property law acting as your crossing guard, trying desperately not to get run over myself.

So last week we engaged in some speculation about how WoW might change if Blizzard permitted gold sales. Personally, I think that the damage to the game economy and culture would be far more damaging than any legal issues that might develop, but it's worth noting that legal issues could easily develop. As for the here and now, certain facts about gold selling remain:
  • Gold selling is against the terms of both the North American and European EULA and TOU.
  • Gold selling is performed by a number of companies, many of them located outside the Unites States.
  • Gold sellers acquire their gold through obnoxious farming behaviors and account hacking.
  • Gold sellers exist because of gold buyers.
Given all this, what can we as players do to stop these locusts? The biggest thing is obviously to NOT buy gold. I really don't think this point can be emphasized enough. Beyond that though, we may be able to take advantage of a legal theory known as tortious interference in contract.

Read more →

Filed under: The Lawbringer

The Lawbringer: Legal gold sales? Not a Blizzard's chance in Hell

Welcome to The Lawbringer, wow.com's weekly feature on the intersection between World of Warcraft and the Law. I am a third year law student acting as your crossing guard and trying not to get run over myself.

As an introduction to our promised discussion on gold farming, I wanted to address an idea that's been circulating in the WoW blogosphere. There has been some talk that Blizzard could solve the problem of gold farming and hacked accounts in one fell swoop by simply selling the gold themselves. It's an attractive idea on its face, as some feel as though Blizzard's current ban on Real Money Transaction for gold ("RMT") is nothing but an ill advised Prohibition. Permit people to buy gold through Blizzard, the argument goes, and the keyloggers, site spoofers, hackers, and spammers will go back to the rock from under which they came, just like the Mafia disappeared after alcohol sales were permitted in 1933. Oh wait...

The obvious problems have been pointed out before, including: rich brats will have more advantages over folks with jobs and bills; inflation will cause Azeroth to resemble Zimbabwe, the Weimar Republic, or -- God forbid -- Norrath; players will be forced to pay up to stay competitive; WoW-clone MMOs will follow Blizzard's lead, leaving players with few refuges from RMT markets; Blizzard devs will be "encouraged" to design the game around acquiring and spending more gold; players who can't remember website names will still think "www.l3g!t-w0rlduvw0wcr@ft-g0ld.c0m" is Blizzard's website and download keyloggers, etc. Some don't believe this parade of horribles is enough to discourage Blizzard from creating this quixotic market. To the doubters, let me add some legal issues that would affect Blizzard and players, namely: property rights, taxation, and investment advice.

Any of that sound like improvements to you?

Read more →

Filed under: The Lawbringer

Trial account restrictions and the 30 percent problem

A few days ago, we posted on a very interesting statistic: Only 30% of all WoW trial accounts make it past level 10. On some level, it's been assumed that this number explains why Blizzard's taking such care to smooth out the beginning game a bit, to make it easier and more fun to stick with the game past level 10 or so. In a large way, this makes sense. But there may be other reasons beyond game play in play as well.

If you're picking up a trial account, chances are that you heard about it from a friend or a blog or a news report. But chances are, you were shown or described a massively armored warrior engaged in fierce hand to hand combat on the back of a dragon flying through the air, or a finely robed mage flinging a fireball at the face of the lord of all magic, or something similarly epic. With that in mind, it might justifably get discouraging to show up in game to find yourself dressed in rags, wielding a toothpick, and being sent to collect wolf pelts that inexplicably only drop off about half the wolves you kill.

With that in mind, it's easy to see how a trial account user could get bored pretty fast. But for me, there's one other angle that very few people seem to be bringing up: The social angle.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

[1.Local]: The legendary Frostingmourne

Reader comments -- ahh, yes, the juicy goodness following a meaty post. [1.Local] ducks past the swinging doors to see what readers have been chatting about in the back room over the past week.

Looking for sweet, sweet sarcasm? [1.Local] is full of smart alecs. You'll get a good taste of sarcasm in this week's sampling of comments, as well as pointers to WoW's hottest topics ... Oh, and a virtual wave of reader approval. But before we dig in, how about seconds of this week's WoW-themed dessert?

MusedMoose: Dude! It's the legendary sword Frostingmourne, weapon of the Lick King!

... I'll go now.


Us, too. Let's wipe off the frosting and head past the jump for more of the week's comments.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, [1.Local]

The Queue: Windows 7 and the Kalu'ak

Welcome back to The Queue, WoW.com's daily Q&A column where the WoW.com team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Adam Holisky be your host today.

Patrick Stewart doesn't look good in glasses.

Many of you asked...

"How am I going to do the Kalu'ak Fishing Derby when I raid at 8pm on Wednesday night?"

Read more →

Filed under: Fishing, Analysis / Opinion, Events, The Queue

Blizzard warns against buying gold

If it wasn't already obvious, Blizzard put together a page on their official website making clear their stance towards buying in-game gold, and have just recently given it another big push. To put it simply: don't. The page outlines what we at WoW.com have known for quite some time (hence our collective stance against buying gold) -- that gold buying harms other players. The site doesn't go into specifics other than to say that gold selling companies often acquire their gold through unscrupulous means.

They sum up their statement by saying that "players who buy gold are supporting spamming, botting, and keylogging." Basically, if you're a gold buyer, you're part of the problem. No, seriously. Gold sellers acquire gold by hacking into other players' accounts, taking their gold, selling all their items, and sometimes maliciously deleting their characters. That gold you think some Asian spent hours farming in Nagrand or something is more likely to be some other player's hard-earned gold and the seller is just as likely to be some dude from Jersey.

As tempting as buying gold may seem -- and I've read many arguments towards why people buy them -- the bottom line is that it is harmful to the game and you're not doing yourself any favors in the long run. Blizzard says that it "diminish(es) the gameplay experience," but that's putting it nicely. Gold selling and power leveling are against the EULA, anyway, so anybody who patronizes these services are in danger of getting banned. And if you don't believe in buying gold (go you!), protect yourself by getting an authenticator or reading up on account security.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Account Security

Beware of Blood Elves selling mounts


A friend of mine recently got hit by a pretty devious phishing scam targeting wealthy (in-game) players looking to make legitimate purchases. My friend, we'll call him Cobra, was in a major city when an offer in the Trade Channel caught his eye. A player, we'll call him Bubbles, was offering a Spectral Tiger Mount for 5000 gold. Since this mount is only available as a code on a rare loot card, Cobra contacted Bubbles to inquire. Purchasing codes for in-game items with in-game cash is perfectly legitimate, according to Blizzard, so Cobra did not worry about going against the TOS with this transaction.

Bubbles, a level 78 Blood Elf Mage, seemed legitimate. For one thing, he was not a throwaway low level character. Also, he didn't want to take the cash then, but just see it in a trade window to make sure Cobra was in possession of it. So Cobra gave Bubbles his email address only and waited for the email that included the code and a link to where to input the information.

Read more →

Filed under: Mounts, Account Security

Blizzard puts advertising on the WoW front page

Bornakk has fessed up to Blizzard's little slip yesterday of letting gold buying ads sneak onto the official forums. As expected, he says it was a complete mistake, and that Blizzard is taking steps to keep it from happening. I'm surprised this isn't the action Blizzard took from the beginning -- when the ads first showed up yesterday, Blizzard's forum moderators were deleting (and presumably banning) anyone who mentioned the ads. But almost all of Blizzard's fansites (and even WoW Insider) have had problems with gold ads appearing in advertising content outside our control, so it doesn't seem like Blizzard need worry about it. Sure, it was a mistake, and sure, it was hilarious, but there was no reason to hide the fact that it had happened -- especially since there were screenshots aplenty right away.

However, Blizzard apparently still hasn't learned their lesson: they've now also got external advertisements being served right on the game's front page. These ads are served up by the same company responsible for the ads on the forums, and thus clearly they have the same possible problems -- if one gold ad can appear, more can as well. And while the ad that appeared on the forums was not harmful (other than the fact that it linked to a website that offered a service that would get you banned from the game), anytime you're bringing outside content to your own site, you run that risk. Blizzard has decided to monetize their presence on the web, but it's costing their customers a little bit of security as well.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Bugs, Blizzard, Making money, Account Security

Account security mythbusting

So, you might have noticed the increased number of warnings and advice from Blizzard regarding account security lately. They've even popped up in the game itself, as a server message when you first log in. Needless to say, this has caused no dearth of consternation in the WoW community (read: people be trippin').

So, why the sudden notices? Has something changed? Has Blizzard lost their footing in the war against hackers and gold farmers? Is Blizzard in cahoots with them? What's this itchy pentagram-shaped rash I've developed?

Now, there's a lot I can't talk about regarding this stuff, and certainly not for any sinister reason. It's a selfish reason, though, that being that I really like not getting sued. I can, however, use my experience and knowledge to bust or confirm some common account security myths. Ready?

I'm a trained professional. Don't try this at home!

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Account Security

WoW Insider Show 

Subscribe via  iTunes for our latest show.

Hot Topics


 

Upcoming Events

Event Date
WoW's 10th Anniversary 11/21 - 1/5
Pilgrim's Bounty 11/24 - 12/1
Darkmoon Faire 12/7 - 12/14
Feast of Winter Veil 12/16 - 1/2

Around Azeroth

Around Azeroth

Featured Galleries

It came from the Blog: Occupy Orgrimmar
Midsummer Flamefest 2013
Running of the Orphans 2013
World of Warcraft Tattoos
HearthStone Sample Cards
HearthStone Concept Art
Yaks
It came from the Blog: Lunar Lunacy 2013
Art of Blizzard Gallery Opening

 

Categories