Money Money MoneyJanuary 18, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Posted in General | Leave a comment
Tags: choice, game design, World of Warcraft
I drafted a post yesterday, and was very close to publishing it. Then, like all true slackers, I decided to get a quick bit of daily questing done before the massing hoi-poloi logged on, and it was whilst I was logged on that I realised yesterday’s post was just a bit too woolly.
Cue the decision for a re-write, and a bit more effort in thought, with the addition of a downsizing of potential slack (don’t you just love management-speak?).
In yesterday’s proto-post, I had decided that in-game cash was not something I cared about enough, when compared to the potential for in-game experience.
The catalyst was the purchase from the auction house of a Dragonkiller Tunic. Recently, they’ve been available for approximately 10,000 gold on the alliance auction house. I’m pretty sure that there are a couple of reasons for this:
- They’re a useful item for getting geared up for heroics or raiding,
- They require three Chaos Orbs, which are Bind on Pickup and can only be rolled on by crafters, and only drop in instances.
This means that they’re highly desirable, and a bit of a seller’s market as it’s not like I can collect the Chaos Orbs myself, or even buy them from the auction house. Add in the usual hike in inflation that comes with a new expansion, and there we go; 10,000 gold for the asking.
I saw one for less than 8,000 gold on Sunday, and that was what got me thinking. First of all, I’ve made well over 8,000 gold since ‘Clysm’s launch, most of that being me selling what I’ve farmed on the auction house. At first it was silly amounts, but those prices have dropped over time.
At the same time, I’ve been wondering what it is that I’m actually saving this money for. It means alts can get an easier ride, but alts can make their own money whilst levelling, easily enough to get them all the skills they’ll need to get to level 85.
Now, I could have asked a guildmember to make a Dragonkiller Tunic for me, with me providing all the materials to get there, but that leaves me waiting for them to get lucky enough to get all three Chaos Orbs, and them having to run enough PUGs to get them. Which might well not be much fun for them. Even so, I’d have preferred to throw the golds at them, and part of me feels bad for that.
Simple question time: Is in-game cash better or worse than the potential for in-game experiences?
That Dragonkiller Tunic is the potential for in-game experiences, as it will get me much closer to raid-ready. Add in the fact that throwing the in-game cash at the problem means getting raid-ready now, as opposed to waiting a few weeks, and then still being behind the rest of the guild due to them hitting newer content.
So, with the flood-gate opened, I blew more cash on those enchantments I couldn’t blag from the guild bank. And then tidied gear up with gems and what-have-you. All in all, it was quite cathartic really, and I ended up very close to the point where I was raid-ready.
Wow Heroes, in its impersonal and arbitrary way, says I only need a little more to get me going, as I joked to a mate last night.
I suppose what really made the decision for me was wondering what, exactly, was I going to need all that cash for.
The amount of in-game cash I’ve been making more than covers repair costs, and because I don’t have any crafting characters, it’s not like I need to pay for any materials. All my characters do is gather materials, so they make money rather nicely. All of the big cash-sink skills have been bought by Shaman Herewerd, barring super-speedy mount riding, and that’s because Shaman Herewerd doesn’t have a super-speedy mount to ride (and I’ve kept that much cash ready in case I find one).
The guild I’m in has potion makers enough to keep me in raiding flasks, and I can gather everything needed for them. Cooking has been maxed out, and I’ve got all the recipes I need for now.
So, after gearing up to a raid-ready standard, I don’t have much need for cash. I think.
Of course, I could be missing plenty of uses for cash, but apart from vanity, I can’t think of much else.
And whilst I can be just as vain as the next player, it seems that vanity purchases are now the domain of the cash-store. Well, it makes quite a lot of sense; selling items which give an in-game advantage gives too much of an impression that application of money is more important than application of skill when it comes to success.
But satisfying the needs of vanity? It seems perfectly acceptable to charge real money when a player wants to stand out from among his peers. So what used to be an in-game cash sink is now an opportunity to sell a fancy mount, a pet, or a set of cool duds to wear in game.
Scratch one more way to blow all that in-game cash. There are still vanity items to be bought, but there just isn’t the same level of choice in most games any more.
There we go. Slightly more thought through than yesterday, and I hope a bit more interesting as a result.