[TBC/Classic] RMT, Botting, and the Token

An issue that is currently- and will forever- plague Classic servers and Retail alike is RMT (real money transactions/trading.) Third party websites to purchase gold with real currency is something that’s hit the WoW community hard since the WoW community existed.

A product only exists when there’s demand. Let’s look at why people choose to turn to RMTing in the first place on TBC servers in particular.

  • Gold Sinks: Money taken out of the economy and put into the void. Flying mounts, constant respecs due to no dual spec, gigantique bags, gear repair costs, AH fees, training talents, arena charters.

  • Consumables & Professions: Money usually cycled around the economy related to sustaining raiding or goldmaking. Leveling up tailoring/LW/BS for the gear and cooldowns, engineering for sappers and battle chicken. Various consumables, the most expensive being flasks, sappers, dark runes, haste + destro pots.

  • GDKPs and Carries: Money traded from person to person and sometimes redistributed within the raid in the case of GDKPs, usually used to buy item drops in raids. Also a large economy for selling and purchasing boosts and exchanging a carry service giving XP for gold.

So why don’t people just farm the materials themselves and feel like they have to RMT?

  • Competition with bots and farmers in poorer countries generating gold for a living. Bots have had a stranglehold on the market for materials and consumables, leading to extreme bloat. There’s simply too many to compete with, even with multiple layers.

  • A lack of time. Simply put, the majority of the Classic playerbase is made up of adults and parents with a life outside of the game. It just isn’t as common anymore to be able to dedicate tens of hours a week to an MMO. There are more raidloggers than people that actively participate in the game outside of raid nights.

  • Price to raid. Even if folks had a few hours to dedicate per week to farming- an activity usually characterized as not fun- those few hours usually don’t cut it because of competing against bots and the intense price of fully consuming, making those hours farming even more sour.

Really, the core of this problem and RMT as a whole centers around botters. It’s far harder for the product to meet the demand if the product is harder to obtain. That being said, the demand will always be there. We can meet this issue two directions: helping curb the demand, and more importantly curbing the availability of the product.

Cracking down harshly on GDKPs, boosts, and more importantly than all, bots, is the number one thing that will keep Classic (and even retail) servers alive and thriving for as long as possible while still making it pleasant and accessible to play.

From the player’s perspective, it feels like there simply aren’t being bans handed out, and if there are, there certainly aren’t enough. I know Blizzard tends to prefer to crack down in large banwaves, but these bots persist through and through. And it’s the same bots- not bots with the same names, I mean the same exact bots on the same exact accounts that are doing the same exact things for months on end.

With how readily bots and RMT is cracked down upon on pservers that have far less staffing and resources, it feels like this is willful ignorance and a blind eye turned to this problem that is absolutely destroying the game we love. Many people think that this is in part due to those bots still generating revenue with the sub and the boost. There’s a massive amount of botting, probably more than most people realize, and that leads to a massive amount of potential relative profit.

What this needs is hands on personal surveillance by a small, but dedicated team looking into bot reports and scoping out suspicious activity ingame. A humble fishbot only operating for a few hours while someone runs to the store is easier to slip through the cracks, but the notorious amount of bots flyhacking, running into walls, running endless herb/mining loops, killing the same mobs for months are surely easy to pick out from normal human behavior.

  • So what’s the fix?

People who RMT are going to RMT, whether it’s sanctioned by Blizzard or not. If we crack down entirely on RMT as is with no remorse, a very large portion of the population would be snapped into dust and the population on servers would noticeably sharply drop, as unfortunate as that reality is. We can help curb this by reducing goldsinks, the cost to raid, and GDKPs, but even then the demand is still there. There needs to be jobs created and money poured into this- and consistently, not in waves.

If there currently isn’t enough money allocated to making this happen, the careful introduction of the WoW Token would give both profit on Blizzard’s end (to hopefully create this overwatch) and a sanctioned way to RMT. If the token is added, there NEEDS to be the follow up of perma-banning bots, GDKPs, and 3rd party RMTers. If there isn’t that followup, the entire situation I’m describing will just get worse and people will just end up giving more money to Blizzard for what will be perceived as no return.

There are what feels like an infinite bot army, but past that there’s a much larger portion of the subscriber numbers that feel burned and disrespected by this situation every single day, every single time they log on.

Just to be clear, everyone would rather bots just…be banned than to indroduce the token, full stop. The token should be used as a last resort to this problem.

This is not a post advocating for the WoW token. This is a post about properly removing bots more than anything else.

Please do something to fix this problem and let us know what your goals and plans are on making strides towards fixing the economy and environment in Azeroth, or what ideas you could have on making this better.

Thank you!

26 Likes

Which is what should happen, because Classic was never designed around the Token. Or, more precisely, the token wasn’t designed around how Classic versions of WoW played / plays.

If you reach for the token as a solution you failed and there will probably be no reason to raid - or just handle gold in the first place. The token would inject too much gold into the economy, and with how high the demand is in Classic for consumables, raid recipes, materials, etc. compared to Retail where it just simply doesn’t matter because of how dirt cheap consumables, enchants and gems are, the Classic economy would fall.

The Token replaces one credit card swipe with another. The end result of both is the same.

10 Likes

I’m only proposing the token as a “solution” - a bad one, but what other option do we have? - in response to Blizzard’s apparent lack of want to ban bots and mean it.

This is a post calling for banning of bots more than anything else.

4 Likes