The Greedy Gordon
Now I’m no goblin but I have to admit that I’ve been enjoying my tinkering with sales and trades on the WoW Auction House a lot lately. In fact, combined with my trial of the Remote Auction House I’m turning into a bit of an amoral, gold-toothed, maniacal trader living for that adrenaline rush only red-blooded capitalism can give me. I check my iPhone frequently (must… resist… purchasing RHA… subscription), buy low, sell high and gleefully lap up the tears of the defeated. Gevlon would be proud.
Part of this is turn to greed is fuelled by a genuine need for gold (I’ve started a new character on Horde and have no means to twink myself) and part of it is that I’m actually getting a strange sense of enjoyment out of it all. No doubt it’s all tied into my obsession with progression or a primitive need to ‘gain more things’ but it’s all quite satisfying anyway. And the thing is, making money in WoW, as it turns out, is easy. You don’t need to be super smart, well-trained or educated with a college degree but rather all you need is a bit of time and the will to grind. Getting ultra rich, no doubt, requires more skill, or rather specific personality traits like being tenacious, cunning and committed. Oh and cold hearted. I know where I stand in the grand scheme of things however and will happily take my hat off to those that manage to hit the gold cap.
The funny thing is though that earning gold in WoW is a really bad use of my time and has an incredibly low efficiency and high opportunity cost. To be goblinish about it (yes, I’ve been busy wading through his back articles), the more valuable my non-game life is to me, the more I have to lose by spending my time in game gathering and grinding. It’s kinda ironic, I suppose, because the most ‘efficient’ thing for me to do would be to do a couple of hours overtime at work and then hire someone in the Philippines to collect my in-game resources for me. Even giving them a generous wage of, say, $1 an hour and paying for a WoW subscription for them to use every month (I wouldn’t want to share my login details obviously), I could stand to make close to 20x more gold than by farming myself.
This approach is perfectly logical, in-tune with the concepts of capitalism (you’re doing it every day at your job, in fact, just on a bigger scale), is perfectly moral, and wouldn’t have anything to do with the gold-selling industry at all. The big problems with gold sellers, as we know, is the constant spam and account hacking whereas this approach avoids all of that completely. In fact, it also have some very positive real life benefits as I would be employing a Filipino at a good salary, allowing them to work the hours they choose doing a relatively white-collar job, all thus enabling them to have a good quality of life. Plus I get big fat wads of Warcraft gold at a more efficient rate. It’s win-win really.
However, as I said before, I’m not really interested in making gold in WoW because it’s uses are pretty limited and I see the activity as enjoyment rather than a business opportunity. Even the grind of gathering gives me a certain thrill as I see my wallet get fatter after a successful sale and that’s not something I’d want to farm out.
The really scary thing of all though is that even the approach I outlined above is less efficient than just buying gold from an online Chinese company as they charge something ridiculously cheap like $1.80 per 1,000g (or so they kindly advertise every 30 seconds in global chat). Those are slim margins that nobody can beat and it just goes to show how much it’s devaluing the in-game concurrency. Still, that’s probably one the reasons why suckers keep paying for my copper ore.