Thoughts on WoW Token in Wrath Classic

Greetings.

We want to take a moment to talk about WoW Token in Wrath of the Lich King Classic.

The best way to start is to simply say that this wasn’t something we arrived at lightly. For the entirety of Classic so far, the WoW Classic team has been very resistant to the idea of adding WoW Token to any form of Classic in the Western regions (NA and EU). When WoW Classic started in 2019, adding something like token felt unimaginable to us, and that continued to be true for us–even late into Burning Crusade Classic–for a few reasons:

  • In Vanilla WoW, the scarcity of gold is a major factor in how you approach your journey in Azeroth. From saving to get your first mount at 40, to picking and choosing which skills you wanted to learn while leveling so you could afford a new weapon or piece of armor. Later on at level 60, some form of time investment is needed to “maintain” a character in an ecosystem where flasks, resistance potions, and elixirs are such a major part of the game, and resources are scarce and highly contested. This was true all the way through Burning Crusade, where potions and flasks could represent a significant weekly expense and the resources required to make them were still quite difficult to obtain.
  • It just didn’t feel “Classic”. It felt jarring, out of place, and was antithetical to what most of us wanted to relive about those early years of WoW.

However, what we want to do from a design perspective and what we need to do for the good of the community aren’t always aligned, and this is one of the more difficult things about maintaining a large online game like Wrath Classic. When we really looked at the state of things in Wrath Classic, and how different players approach the game, we saw that we cannot cause the demand for gold to be lower. The impact of illicit RMT is beyond just buying gold; it’s the entire black market that revolves around gold sales. The concept of bots gets thrown around a lot, but it’s not just “bots” that fuel this, it’s compromised accounts, credit card fraud, scams, hacked clients, and the tools that illicit third parties use to fuel the engine that is the RMT trade.

We hear folks say things like “just ban the bots” a lot. We ban tens of thousands of bots a week. It’s not visible to you just how much we do, and that is absolutely another problem in itself; we need to be better at surfacing these actions (more on this later). The truth is we’ve never been better and more effective at identifying and actioning malicious accounts, and our Game Security Operations (GSO) team that handle these actions are iterating and innovating on a nearly daily basis.

Unfortunately, in the history of WoW, the people perpetrating this illicit trade have also never been better at coming up with new methods, schemes, farms, and exploits to work around our efforts. As much engineering and analytics effort as we put into this, illicit RMT “workshops” put the same amount in, or more, and there are hundreds, if not thousands of these workshops out there all working around the clock to develop new technologies and techniques to counter our new technologies and techniques. It’s an arms race, and it never, ever ends.

We will never completely beat “bots” or illicit RMT. It’s an unwinnable war as long as there is money to be made by third parties. The ubiquitous nature of this type of thing in online games is an objective fact. It has always been a part of WoW, and every other popular online game for the past 25 years, and it will always be a part of online games going forward. It’s frustrating to fight this fight, but we will not stop fighting it.

While we can’t completely “win” the war, what we can do is mitigate the impact it has on the game. Is WoW Token the be-all and end-all to solve this? No, but it is a tool. It’s just one tool, though, among many. There is clearly a demand for gold for certain types of players, and that demand is only increasing. So, we are engaging a tool that we’ve used before to help mitigate the impact that illicit RMT has on the game. The more tools we employ, and the less lucrative we can make it for third parties to do what they do to make a profit, the less likely it is that new malicious actors enter the illicit RMT scene, and the more likely that existing malicious actors will exit the business. Ultimately, it’s taking incremental steps and using a multitude of tools that will reduce how impactful those third parties will be in Wrath Classic and beyond.

Wrath Design and the “Value” of Gold

Circling back to what was mentioned earlier about why WoW Token feels like a tool we should deploy now, we have to look at the base design of Wrath of the Lich King. Ultimately, this is what convinced us to reconsider WoW Token after resisting and refusing this path for so long. In Wrath Classic, your normal weekly activities are, for the most part, self-sustaining. Buying potions, flasks, reagents, and other normal necessities of endgame can be subsidized entirely by mostly just playing the game normally. Doing your usual weekly raid, a few dungeons, or a few dailies a week will net even the most fervent and well-prepared characters more gold than they would need to maintain themselves. Simply put, gold is more plentiful, and the base design of Wrath minimized the focus on needing to “farm” to support normal play.

When we considered that, we realized that the introduction of token wouldn’t be a temptation for most regular players to buy to help support their usual everyday gameplay. It’s simply not impactful to the average player who logs in, raids a few days a week with their guild, does a few dungeons and dailies, and then plays other games in between those activities. There’s no friction in that player’s experience that would tempt them to buy a token just to keep themselves afloat.

Better Visibility into Exploitative Account Actions

As mentioned earlier, we need to improve the visibility around what we do. We posted some weeks ago that we banned over 120,000 malicious accounts in World of Warcraft alone in a large wave, but those large waves that we talk about are actually a very small portion of the overall actions we take on a week over week basis. Using just the past two weeks as an example, here are the actions our GSO team have taken:

  • Total Exploitative Battle.net Account Closures: 248,105
  • Total Exploitative World of Warcraft Account Closures: 73,057

This is just the last two weeks, and this is what our efforts look like very regularly, week-in and week-out. It’s an enormous effort and it’s many, many individuals’ full-time jobs to do this. This is an issue of sheer, staggering scale. We have the tools, and those tools are effective, but the malicious actors come right back with new and different methods every time. All that being said, we need to post these things more, and that’s something that our team wants to be able to surface more often.

Thanks you for reading, and thank you for your feedback.

The WoW Classic Team

62 Likes

Yet here we are.

Yet another thing NOT in the OG of Wrath that has been added regardless of the pleas and desires of the community that begged for these versions of the game back and begged for them to be authentic replications.

This is by far an important turning moment for the community you serve. I reiterate that, you serve. Your game is a service, we pay to access that. This betrays that relationship and the trust that we, the community, placed on Blizzard to give us an authentic gaming experience of our past.

I get inflammatory on this forum, and argue with folks who I disagree with. But I do it out of passion and for what I believe to be the betterment of the game, just like they do.

We are passionate about Blizzard games. For myself, my first experience was 30+ years ago playing the Lost Vikings on my SNES in high school. We remember what this company was, and how much the experiences it gave us meant. I do not use the word betrayal lightly.

Kaivax, we realize that you’re doing PR damage control right now. We understand that. However, please communicate that releasing shell after shell after shell of games like WC3 Reforged and OW2, in addition to actions like this are driving us away.

Gone are the years of Blizzard cornering the market on such genre’s as well. We have other options. I know, I for one will not be purchasing D4 due to the constant antagonistic actions by the Classic team through Wrath. I am not alone as others on thee forum have stated. We have other gaming options, unlike 15 years ago.

Please realize that much of the negative feedback you are seeing is coming from a place of emotional pain for some of us. This is difficult to see something that we loved and trusted become a thing of frustration. And that thing also embracing business models that we hate.

103 Likes

tldr: cope

42 Likes

You don’t care about resto cats and you don’t care about the players, stop trying to act like you do!

6 Likes

tbh at this point who cares. Just don’t add it to Vanilla and I’ll be happy :slight_smile:

3 Likes

I absolutely love that you’re just flat out admitting you’re incompetent and don’t care out loud. I’m not even that angry at it because you just actually admitted. My problem, however, is that you are now on record saying that WoW token and gold buying in Classic is not bad for the Classic Experience but a dungeon finder is. That is what boggles my mind.

51 Likes

Can the token give me $15 to my account please. I want to buy Diablo 4 with my wrath gold.

10 Likes

You are right that for Vanilla in particular, Tokens would be a destructive force. Those of us playing Classic Era would really like some assurance that you will not introduce tokens to this version of the game.

31 Likes

You could always have reduced material requirements and increased spawn rates & drops for gathering ressources.

18 Likes

you do more to ban people using in-game mechanics to kill “hardcore” players on a role play server (BTW most hardcore players violate the rules of a HC server with TOS braking character names) Than you do to prevent bots and RMT
So please do not come in here with a lie written by Bobby Rotdick himself when you know well enough that wow token is only in the game to squeeze out a bit more money cause your classic cash cow is screaming its last dying breath as your company will also soon be liquidized by daddy gates

50 Likes

Please let us transfer token for bnet balance like retail.

3 Likes

A few things here. And like yourself I didn’t arrive here lightly

You have employees that actively support gdkps.

You also had a reduction in force for profit

You guys don’t have time to farm so you buy tokens

Also, que up for AV during its weekend if you can find time away from coming up with made up stats. It’s living proof that you don’t have a clue how to stop bots.

23 Likes

Oh man.

Firstly,

whatever actions you are doing to ban bot accounts is pitiful. You should have a team that monitors websites that host bot routes and monitor the high profile areas. it is a shame watching dozens of bots go through the same route unpunished for weeks.

Secondly,

You opened the can of worms with RMT with the initial classic and doing nothing about the terrain exploiting mages. You cannot pretend to care about the economy after allowing that to happen and doing nothing.

this whole post just screems of “we want more money. look i promise we deserve it”. Stop it. Get some help.

46 Likes

I refuse to believe that adding the token was anything other than another cash grab.

The people on the fence can stay subbed with gold and you can make an extra $4 a month for those subs.

There have been too many other examples of cash grabs such as the complete mismanagement of servers which has destroyed Wrath enough for me to where I will never come back. That was followed by that Faerlina to Benediction and back transferring that was ONLY done for the faction change cash.

The complete mismanagement is sad but at the end of the day, people can play or quit.

43 Likes

Can we get RDF now that the “classic” experience is ruined ??? lol

52 Likes

Can you please remove the WoW Token from Wrath, the community clearly doesn’t want it and this is antithetical to the “Classic” game. It’s addition is incredibly demeaning, depressing, and disturbing to people who want to play “Classic” and not “Retail”.

It actively promotes RMT in a way that was not done prior and completely adds a dollar value to every activity within the game.

41 Likes

Yeah, well, my super duper team that nobody knows about bans 73 octodecillion accounts every microsecond!!! It’s true guys!!!

19 Likes

This is the part that I can’t wrap my head around. Not the fact that the war is unbeatable but there’s a mass of people who thinks it is. Can anyone name a single game that has beaten bots? Because i’d call them a liar if they did.

13 Likes

What I took away from this was “We are unwilling to dedicate the resources needed to properly stop RMT or perma ban players who buy gold without it costing us money. So we decided to have it cost you money instead!”

36 Likes