Share the joy

Hey I’m finally up on something WoW and contemporary. You know what I’m like – I’m usually so behind the times. I’m riding my first mount when everyone is flying, I’m going in my first dungeon when everyone is raiding, I’m starting to raid DS now everyone has it on farm etc. But this time it’s different.  I’m up on something that’s going on now – in the MoP beta anyway. The Black Market AH.

For those of you who don’t know (okay I know you all do but  indulge me for a second) this is an auction house in which rare (possibly no longer in the game)  special items can be bought for what seems to me to be ludicrous amount of money. The examples on the screenshot I have seen include Sandals of Faith, Redemption Spaulders, a mount called Ashes of Al’ar , a Sen’jin Fetish pet and Dreamwalker wristguards – all selling at the starting bid price of 10,000 gold apart from the mount which starts at 20,000. All these are things I’ve never heard of by the way –  how quickly we  reached the limits of my knowledge.

The reaction to this has been interesting. Most people call it a gold sink (you know – the thing millionaires do their dishes in – boom boom) for people with too much gold (oh a problem I wish I had). To some the whole thing is a good thing. To others it’s a bad thing, a very bad thing indeed. In fact from some comments you would think this heralded the coming apocalypse.

The arguments against it seem to be the following:-

1. If you buy something for a lot of gold you don’t really deserve it. You only deserve it if you gain it out in the field e.g.running dungeons/raids/killing something special/farming various things that when put together make a super duper thing.

2. The fact someone can buy that special thing now makes your own (which you gained via the original torturous method – may have involved needles under fingernails judging from the anguish that usually accompanies this argument) less meaningful and valuable (basically the bloody thing might as well be vendored).

Now I think I can speak on this topic very objectively since (a)I never have much gold at all (I am over the moon if I hit 5000 gold & immediately go blow it on the AH on various frivolities  (b) I never have any special rare gear, pets or mounts as the thought of all the repetitive farming it involves makes me go outside and howl in frustration (the neighbours have complained). I can’t hack it. I make no apologies. So I’m never going to have anything special in WoW – I have come to terms with that fact – me & my mediocrity are comfortable bedmates (although it  hogs the bedclothes).

So what is my view on it all? Well regarding (1) I think it’s true as it applies to people who buy gold- but given that they are breaking terms and conditions anyway I don’t think they are actually relevant to the argument. We can’t judge something’s merits based on how it is used by people acting illegally (that would be e.g. to condemn cars because sometimes bad people steal them).But if you yourself have accrued all that gold in game by working hard at  something (the gathering professions perhaps  or by cleverly playing the AH – something I spectacularly fail at  – everything I buy as a bargain I end up selling off cheaper just to get rid of it) then in my opinion  you have earned that special item. I mean it’s not as if they’re going to be just dotted all around Azeroth from now on for any mediocre player to pick up (dammit why won’t they do this?). If you’ve earned the money you’re spending then you’ve earned the item.

This is only  what we see in the real world after all. Some people work hard at their discipline & produce great works of  art, others buy them & show off at parties. Some people make lovely cakes from scratch (weighing stuff & everything), others buy them & pass them off as their own (whistles innocently). So what? It’s the way of the world. Who is to say one way is better than the other. Effort has been deployed in one guise or another (I mean I had to actually go to the supermarket to buy that cheesecake – I queued up and everything).

2. And what about the argument that the item itself is now less special and valuable because others can now buy it (only those with vast amounts of money though). This argument suggests to me that for some people the value of the object is not the object itself or its function in game, but that it serves as a sign to other people of something about themselves that they want to convey. It signifies something to the wider world. It signifies:-

-Look how hard I worked – I got this

-Look how good I am- I got this

-Look how long I’ve been playing  – I got this

In other words they signpost one’s effort, skill or game seniority and they say “I am special.”

And I think this is sad. I think it’s typical of us all, but sad nonetheless. Because what it really means is that so many of us (in game & out I would suggest) are still looking outwards for validation – still looking to impress others in order to feel good about ourselves.  That special in game thing hasn’t changed –  you have still earned it through effort, skill or time. But the value you ascribe to it is reduced because it no longer signposts your specialness. And that was its real value.

But if any of us look outside ourselves  for validation we will ultimately be disappointed because in this world external validation is often unreliable and frequently short-lived. You might seek validation via your looks, but what about when you age; you might get it via your job, but what if you lose your job; you might get it via your athleticism, but what if you get injured? Things change. Sometimes bad things happen. Sometimes a special item gained through horrendous grinding (not the type you see in nightclubs) becomes less special because it’s available on a Black Market for people with too much gold. So what?  Surely we should all be looking within for validation – we know who we are – we are special.

And moreover if other people start easily getting the stuff you’ve worked for why not just be  unconditionally happy for them? All it means is they’ve not had to go through the same pain you did. Why would you wish pain on anyone? Why would you not just smile and be happy for their good fortune?  There’s so much bitterness and negativity in this world  – if it’s made someone happy and brought a smile to their face just let them enjoy it – because really it takes nothing away from you – because you after all are perfect.


12 thoughts on “Share the joy

  1. I don’t really understand these complainers either, but maybe it also has something to do with the idea of appreciating something more if you’ve had to work hard for it? Like, “You don’t appreciate that mount as much as I do! I had to walk across hot coals / stab needles in my eyes / listen to that mouth breather over vent for 6 months for this mount, and every time I ride it I appreciate it because I know what it cost me in blood, sweat and tears! To you it’s just a frivolous vanity item that matches your transmog, but to me it’s something more! You don’t deserve it if you don’t appreciate it as I do!”

    1. “Mouth breather over vent”!! Oh dear- is that what I have to look forward to with vent? That sounds horrendous!

      Yes you’re probably right about the idea of appreciating something more if you’ve worked hard for it. And I do get that way of thinking. For me a true victory – e.g. winning a race (not that I ever do of course) is one you’ve trained hard for & maybe overcome challenges to achieve as opposed to – I don’t know – winning a race because everyone else pulled out. But…I still don’t see how others getting something easier stops me personally enjoying what I’ve achieved the hard way. If anything those who take the easy route lose out because they get it the easy way & don’t know the true joy of having to really push boundaries to get something.

      1. I have to admit, it bothers me a little when other people come along afterward and get raid rewards that I worked months to achieve. However, I don’t feel like they shouldn’t be able to get them, or that it lessens the value of what I’ve obtained. I also started playing WoW very late in Wrath, so there are many things that I will never be able to get, and I wish I could. So I can’t begrudge others for wanting the things they weren’t able to achieve before.

        So, I guess what I’m saying is that I understand the very human desire to have something special, unique and status-bestowing, but also the desire to collect everything they can get their grubby hands on.

        Also, I’m a decent raider but a terrible auctioneer. So I think that it does indeed take skill to make a lot of gold in this game, and if people earn the gold they should have something to spend it on.

  2. I dont understand the complaints either. Just because you work hard at raiding, doesnt mean you deserve something more than someone (me), who has worked hard at making gold. I dont have 398 epics. What I do have is close to 3 million gold. I earned it, and when I buy that shiny mount or pet off of the black market, I will have earned that too.

    I wouldnt mind having the ashes of alar (which is a fiery phoenix mount btw) or the riding turtle. I would also pony up for the original T3 Dreanaught set that is no longer in the game. This a gold sink for people with tons of gold. Money just changes hands on the AH. It does not exit the economy. This is a great way to get rid of some of it.

    1. All I can do as usual is stand amazed at your gold making prowess. I really am so impressed!! And now I want a fiery phoenix mount- sounds awesome 🙂 Help me out with something though – why is it good to get gold out of the game? Is it because otherwise people pay ridiculous amounts for things on the AH & drive up prices?

  3. If one player gains a mount by running the instance for x hours, and another player gains a mount by paying 500k gold that he accumulated by playing the AH for x hours total or farming for x hours, why should one be more deserving than the other?

    Yes, I suppose the problem comes in if it’s a gold buyer, but eh. Not everyone with large sums of gold is one–there are more AH players than people think. They deserve some mount love, too, despite the rotten fish swimming in their territory.

    1. Yes the gold buyers do skew the argument- but they are breaking the rules anyway. Shame though they spoil it for everyone. Never really considered that if someone has a lot of gold other people could assume they bought it- that’s hardly fair if they’ve spent all that time earning it. I agree – they definitely deserve some mount love too 🙂

  4. Senjin Fetish is simply a Horde pet unavailable to the Alliance except through the Neutral AH. There is nothing untoward about buying one, or any crosss-faction pets. If you want the achievements, then you either buy pets/mounts, or you put the long hours in yourself and grind them, but why should you if you can do it with a lot less pain?

    As for mounts, it’s common to see people asking for help getting a mount, and offering people gold for that help. “Mount reserved, 25k gold to the highest roller” is typically something I see in /Trade channel a lot.

    I have bought pets myself from the AH when I felt there was a bargain to be had. I bought the Azure Whelpling on the AH for only 3k gold, when it supposedly has a drop rate of 1/10,000 from any mob in Winterspring. Would I spend umpteen hours in Winterspring grinding this? No way!

  5. I would say that killing a difficult boss is a different sort of achievement than playing the AH or farming for 12 hours a day. It takes a level of ability and dedication that the other doesn’t, and that many people (including me) don’t have. Also, a game like WoW is basically about status. Whether it be through gear, achievements, rare mounts/pets/titles, or whatever, almost everything in the game is designed to say “hey, I did this and I’m proud of it”. And it does matter if exclusivity disappears. Almost without exception, people who have the Hand of Adal title wear it as a testament to their achievements, but Kingslayer has lost most of its luster.

    Gold sinks are great, and I don’t mind the BMAH in and of itself, but sticking old raid items on there was a bit of a miscalculation. A better idea would have been to design a new set of items especially for it. This would be good for both the gold farmers–now they have items that proclaim their economic genius–and for the raiders who get to retain their exclusive status. In the end, it doesn’t hurt anyone to not have T3 or a rare mount, and continually eliminating distinctions from players in the game inevitably means that long-time players feel less invested in those past achievements.

    1. I do get the ability thing – there’s all sorts of reaction times/team skills/class knowledge etc you demonstrate killing a difficult boss. But there again AH knowledge is just a different set of skills- knowledge of the items that sell well, how the economy on that server works etc It’s the difference between being a prize fighting boxer versus a successful businessman (sort of!).

      Never thought of WoW being basically about status That’s interesting. Possibly me maybe achieving 85 (not achieved much else!!) could be me announcing look what I did. But it feels more to me like me proving to myself look what I can do. Same with the School of Hard Knocks. I don’t think I use the Matron title to show others I did it (not sure they’d automatically make the connection?) – for some reason I just like it! But I know I’m proud of the fact I did that particular achievement because I knew it would be hard. Not saying I’m typical though- I have a handful of titles & no special gear, pets, mounts or anything. Maybe I would feel different if I had all those cool & exclusive things! Now I’m depressed!

      I like the idea of a new set of items for the BMAH. That could have been a good way to do it & those items would gain their own exclusivity by only being available to the WoW zillionaires.

  6. I can only hope that the rare mounts will also only rarely be found on the “Black Market”. Status-wise, I don’t really care, but I think there should be things that are rare and special – I think I appreciate those rare things more just because they’re rare. Sure, that player got lucky, had a supporting guild, has tons of gold (and drives me nuts on the AH) or whatever, but I still tip my hat to them and realize that I’m not quite cut out for “that”.

    I think it’s good to have a new “gold sink”. The discrepancy between “rich” and “poor” will otherwise get even worse. But I fear that it’s too late – there are too many players who could easily drop a million gold on something and will still be able to buy out an entire section of the Auction House to corner the market and make that million back quickly. So to them, that new toy is almost free, and to others simply out of reach.

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