Friday, August 19, 2011

Legendary Mechanics

Since it was announced that the first legendary of Cataclysm would be a caster weapon people have been asking questions and speculating about it and wondering what the proc would be. When the tool tip became available during 4.2 questions we finally got to see the proc. "Equip: When you deal damage, you have a chance to gain the Wrath of Tarecgosa, duplicating the harmful spell." While this answered one question, it created a thousand others for obvious reasons. Now that we are a month and a half into patch 4.2 the Legendary Staves are starting to come out and we are starting to get some answers. Siiz of Premonition was the first to get one on August 10th, and luckily for us a moonkin Happyjojj was able to get one a day later and has been posting some of the results from his testing of the proc on the European forums. You can find Happyjojj's thread here and Siiz's post is here. Also, I want to say congratulations to Happyjojj and Siiz on completing the legendary and thank you for doing the testing and posting the results.

The Highlights:

  • The Basics - As the tooltip says, when you deal damage, the Wrath of Tarecgosa (WoT) proc has a chance to duplicate the harmful spell, but this means different things for Direct Damage spells and DoTs. According to Siiz, when WoT procs on a DD spell the duplicate acts like a completely independent spell and with its own damage calculation. It's possible for casted spell to proc but the duplicate to not and vice versa. DoTs on the other hand do not behave the same way. When WoT procs on a DoT tick it does not refresh the spell. It only duplicates the DoT tick and has the same damage as the original tick.

  • The Proc Chance - Happyjojj didn't address this directly but I did look up the log he did while testing on World of Logs. You can see the results in this CompareBot report.

    According to Siiz, duplicated DoT's are listed as Wrath of Tarecgosa rather then the spell that caused the proc. In an effort to calculate the moonkin proc rate I divided Happyjojj's Wrath of Tarecgosa hits by their total number of DoT tick. According to that math the proc rate is around 11.2% (38/340=0.11176) give or take a couple percent. It's important to note that this is a fairly small sample and the actual proc rate is probably a percent or two above or below this number. So, please don't go quoting the 11.2% number I quoted as a fact. We need to get more data to say what the proc rate is more definitively.

  • Duplicate Nuke Energy - When Wrath of Tarecgosa procs off of moonkin nukes the WoT procs will generate lunar or solar energy. For example, if you proc when casting a Starfire that generates 20 energy, the WoT proc will generate at least 20 energy also. It is unclear if the WoT proc can benefit from Euphoria, but Happyjojj has confirmed that the original and duplicate cost do not necessarily generate the same amount of energy.

    My Thought: This is huge! Getting duplicate casts is significant enough as it is, but generating energy with the duplicate casts makes this proc even more amazing. It basically makes the proc behave like a haste buff without the mana consumption. Moonkin that are able to get the staff will transition between Eclipses even quicker. This will allow for more Eclipse buffed DoTs and greater Nature's Grace uptime. I'm jealous.

  • Moonfire and Lunar Shower - When WoT procs on the Direct Damage portion of Moonfire, the duplicate Moonfire will not stack Lunar Shower or generate energy.

    My Thought: I know a lot of moonkin don't use Lunar Shower regularly anymore, but I'm happy that it works this way. Having the duplicates stack LS in movement heavy situations would be helpful, but I think that is the exception rather then the rule. Most movement is usually done in fairly short bursts and probably insignificant when compared to the possibility of having MF generating energy when you don't want it to due to WoT procs.

  • Wild Mushroom - Each mushroom that is placed is treated as an individual spell, but if a mush room is duplicated it is duplicated for all the targets hit by that mushroom. For example, if three mushrooms are placed and each mushroom can hit three targets, normally you would see a total of nine hits. If one of those mushrooms procs WoT then you would see a total of 12 hits.

    My Thought: I'm not surprised by this. I'm sure some people would rather that it duplicated all of the Mushrooms placed, but it probably doesn't matter mathematically. Yes the damage of an individual mushroom will be less then if all three were duplicated, but you are probably three times as likely to get a proc with each of the mushrooms treated as individual spells.

  • Starsurge and Shooting Stars - Duplicate Starsurge casts will consume a Shooting Stars proc that occurs while you are casting Starsurge, but will not put Starsurge on cooldown. To put it another way, in rare occasions your Starsurge casts with Shooting stars will not be instant casts.

    My Thought: This is the one negative I saw from Happyjojj's testing. It sucks but it should be rare enough that it isn't significant.

  • Hurricane - Damage from Hurricane behaves like a DoT when it comes to Wrath of Tarecgosa, and when it procs for a Hurricane tick it duplicates the damage for all targets hit by the tick.

    My Thought: Hurricane isn't used that often by moonkin anymore and probably isn't mathematically significant either way, but this is nice to know.
Thanks Again:

Once again, I just wanted to say a quick thanks to Happyjojj and Siiz for doing the testing and posting their results on the forums and in World of Logs.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

My Russian Interview

A Russian Blogger contacted me a few months ago to do an interview. He's done several great interviews with other moonkin like Hamlet from EJ and Lappe from Paragon, and I am honored by the request.

Since, I assume most of you can't read Russian, I asked Avl if it would be ok for me to cross post the interview here. He graciously agreed. You can find the original version in Russian here. Also, please note that I answer all of these questions in late May early June. Some of the answers may seem a little strange and out of date given that 4.2 has since been released.

Hi, Graylo! Let’s start with a question about your nickname - it’s kinda unique. Can you tell us about the story behind it?

- It's not all that exciting. My middle name is Gray, and I just started adding syllables on the end of it until I found one I liked. All of my alts fit that same pattern. It's very creative as you can see.

What’s your WoW story, Graylo? What classes have you played?

- WoW is my first MMO. I got a free trial with one of Blizzards RTS games and decided to give it a shot. That was in December of 2006 just before the TBC patch was released. I was hooked almost immediately and have maintained my account ever since with out any big breaks. In that time, I've played ever class to some degree, but only the caster DPS classes to max level. Prior to the release of Cataclysm I had 5 level 80 characters (mage, warlock, Shadow Priest, Ele Shaman, and Druid of course). I have raided the warlock and shadow priest at various times as an alt, but never seriously. Most of my attention is focused on my Druid, but I have gotten my shaman to level 85 as well.

When was your famous moonkin born?

-Graylo is actually the first toon I created, and has always been my main toon. I chose a Druid because they were said to be easy to solo and very versatile. I didn't know anything about the game other then what I had read online, so a druid sounded like the safe choice. My first few months playing WoW were an absolute disaster. Two thirds of my talent points were spent in Balance, the other third was spent in resto, but I spent half the time DPSing in Cat form with a mixture of caster and melee gear. As I said, I was a walking disaster. Then at about level 50 I realized that if I respecced I could pick up moonkin form, and haven't looked back since.

What’s you favorite thing is WoW currently? What activity you like the most?

- I've always been a raider. My primary goal in this game is to kill all of the raid bosses before the next content patch and get all of the raid related achievements. I've tried other aspects of the game off and on, but none of them have really stuck with me.

Is there any WoW achievement you are proud of? Some PvE boss or arena rating actually?

-The achievement I'm most proud of is getting Glory of the Raider (25man) and Immortal before patched 3.1 was released. This meant that I got the Black Proto-Drake as a reward. The Immortal achievement was such a pain in the butt because, little stupid things could screw it up. When we finally got the achievement it was cathartic. We had been working on Immortal for months with several near misses. The tension we felt by the end of the instance was enormous and being able to let all that go at the end was awesome. It was one of the happiest moments I ever had in this game.

The other big moment was killing Lady Vashj in TBC. My guild at the time had gone through a lot of trials and progression related drama, and it was awesome to finally kill her. In reality, it wasn't all that impressive because we were the fifth or sixth guild on the server to do so and it was after Sunwell was released, but it felt like a breakthrough to us.

Is there any feature, ability or mechanic in the game you would like to change?

- There isn't really a specific mechanic that I would like to see changed, but I do think that moonkin are a little too complicated overall. Having three nukes and two DoTs by themselves would be fine, but they way they interact with Eclipse and some of our other abilities pushes it a little over the edge for me. I don't like all of the run of play choices that we have to make at the moment.

Should I save this Starsurge cooldown for Eclipse or cast it now? Should I wait to refresh this DoT or do it now? Should I clip this DoT or refresh it later? Should I spam MF while moving? Should I cast Starfall now or wait? Should I hold solar now or can I get back to it in time?

I'm not against having to make choices in the run of play. That is what separates the excellent players from the average, but it seems like Moonkin have a lot of choices at the moment. I would like to see some of those choices simplified.

If I had to pick one mechanic to change/remove, I would pick the 4T11 set bonus. Yes, it is very strong and yes it is going away for all practical purposes in patch 4.2, but I've found it to be a real pain in the neck. It's just too easy to waste in my opinion. We transition between Eclipse procs so quickly now that it's difficult not to waste part of it with Starfall. I will be glad when I don't have to worry about it any more.

Back to your moonkin, what thing amuses you the most of him?

- Obviously the dance is a lot of fun, but I find the various graphical errors over the years to be the most fun.

What do you mean by graphical errors? Will be happy to see one myself!

- The moonkin model can only stand, sit, and dance. As a result it's had issues where and there where it didn't interact well with something else in the game, like having Moonkin stand on mounts rather then riding on them. My favorite one comes from Ulduar. For a short period of time when a moonkin got on one of the choppers the sidecar folded up and it looked like the moonkin was being dragged behind the bike. I posted a picture of it on the blog a while back.

What specs your moonkin has? What are the reasons behind it?

-The spec I use changes depending on the needs of the fight we are focusing on and the needs of the raid, but this is what I consider to be fairly standard raid build. (link)

I consider the fourth tier of the balance tree to be my optional choices. I picked them up because they are the best DPS options available at that point or I like the utility they provide. I skip all of the mana talents, because I haven't had any serious mana issues since the start of the expansion. I do pick up Fungal Growth on some fights because the slowing utility can be helpful, but the graphic is annoying enough that I leave it off when I don't need it. I skip Blessing of the Grove because it is incredibly weak (0.05% increase per point) and I prefer the utility of other talents.

Some people disagree with me but I do not consider Perseverance to be an optional talent. In my experience, raid attempts rarely wipe due to a lack of DPS. Most of the time the wipe is caused by someone doing something stupid and dying or killing someone else. They are also due to not having enough experience with some mechanics of the fight. Damage reduction and survivability help with both of these issues. Therefore, I don't consider it to be an optional talent.

Given only 3 words, how would you call current state of moonkins in PvE?

- Complex, Wanted, Beaten up

If a blizzard developer asked you to add only one feature to your beloved spec, what it would be?

-I would like better cooldowns. I would love to have something like Arcane Power, Icy Veins, or Elemental Mastery. Those cooldowns are nice because they say, I need to do more damage right now, without the complication of having do deal with trents or stars hitting the wrong targets.

Time for some blog questions, Graylo! When have you started to write Gray Matter?

- I wrote my first post for the blog in September of 2007.

What were the reasons for you to start a moonkin blog?

- When I started my intent wasn't to write a "moonkin blog." The blog started out as more of a WoW diary then anything else. As I've said before, I didn't know anyone who played this game when I first started, but I had read about it quite a bit online and had looked at a couple of WoW blogs. As I was leveling Graylo, I had a lot of thoughts and issues I wanted to talk about, but I didn't have anyone to talk about them with. Since I had read a couple of the other blogs I got the idea to post my thoughts on this game on a blog. It took me probably six months to actually sit down and write that first post, but I've been a fairly regular poster ever since.

The blog became more moonkin focused when I got more serious about raiding. Moonkin was not a popular raid spec in TBC so there weren't a lot of Moonkin theorycrafters out there. Also, I didn't trust the few numbers being posted by people on the forums. So, I did the math myself to verify or refute the numbers being posted. With that math I was able to show things like why Wrath was a bad raiding spell and why Crit was the worst raiding stat. I didn't do the research for the blog, but I wanted to get more readers and no one else was posting this type of information. So, I started to post my research on blog to get more readers and I became known as a moonkin blogger.

Does your blog improve your playstyle and WoW statistics?

- Yes and no. I didn't do my spec research to have something to write in the blog. I did it so that I would know what was the best way to play and then realized it would be good info to post on the blog. With or without the blog I would still do research and read the various sites see how I could improve my play. However, the blog keeps me honest and attracts a lot of attention and suggestions. If I post something stupid on the blog it gets corrected pretty quickly because someone reads it and tells me I'm being stupid. It also, forces me to do the research a little more quickly rather then waiting for someone else to do it.

In short, I would probably come to the same conclusions and play choices without the blog, but I probably get to them a little more quickly because of the blog.

What drives you crazy about it?

- At time's I am a victim of my own success and I feel like the blog is more of an obligation then a hobby. A lot of good things have happened to me because I've written this blog and I don't regret any of it, but the pressure to be Graylo can be tough at times.

Hm, obligation? Pressure to be Graylo? Sounds like you have more to say, Graylo!

- If someone's looking for moonkin information now there are several good sources to find it. Hamlet's guide on EJ is great. Calculated's Guide on the Moonkin Repository's the best I've ever seen. WoW Insider is finally covering Moonkin well. There is Moonkin information all over the place now but this hasn't always been the case. As a result, I used to get a lot of e-mails, asking why I haven't talked about a particular topic or why my gear list hasn't been updated yet. The worst example happened in ToC when Blizzard used different names for the Alliance and Horde items. Adding the horde items in the list required a lot of extra work that I wanted to avoid. I thought people could figure it out, but a ton of people complained and I ended up adding them anyway. To some extent I think it's forgotten that the blog is a hobby and that I have a career and family outside of WoW. I'm not always able to respond to things right away, or even do the amount of theorycrafting I used to do, because I just don't have the time anymore.

And it's not just readers that put this pressure on me. I put it on myself a lot of times, because I like being "Graylo, the Moonkin Expert." I find it very frustrating to see others make comments and observations on EJ or TMR that I think I should have thought of as well or posted about first.

I love writing the blog, and I love all the things it has provided me over the years, but it's no longer a casual activity that I do when I have time or feel like it. In that way, it's become a bit of an obligation.

What thing you want to improve in your blog?

- There are a lot of things I would like to improve about the blog, but I'm too lazy to do most of them. I would love to switch it to a Wordpress format instead of Blogger, because I think it looks a lot cleaner. I wish I had an editor to find my mistakes that I miss. I wish it had more pictures.

Our readers liked your moonkin gear rating. What’s the story behind it? Was it a social demand from your friends/colleagues?

- I wrote my first gear guide purely to get readers. This was during TBC and there seemed to be a lot of questions about cloth vs. leather and crit vs. other stats. It was just a simple pre-kara guide to tell people where the good rep gear was and what were the good dungeons to run. In early WotLK, I stole the idea of using a more mathematical approach for creating the gear list from the feral blogger Kalon at ThinkTank.

I like to think of the gear list more as a reference guide then an actual gear guide or BIS list. BIS lists are impractical because you don't get all the gear at once, and most players don't have a hope of ever getting the BIS item in every slot. What I like about my gear list is that it shows all of the options and where you can get them. This way, if you know you are weak in a particular slot you can quickly see where your upgrades are. I also like that it shows which upgrades are significant and which others aren't that important.

Is there any secret benefits of having a moonkin blog? :)

- I've benefited greatly due to having the blog. I've gotten into guilds, because of my blog. I got into the Cataclysm Beta because of my blog. I've been offered free stuff from other game developers because of the blog. Most of all, it's very pleasing to know that I've created something that the players and creators of this game have found to be valuable. I'm very proud of the fact that I've had some impact on this game.

What advise can you give to a novice blogger?

- The best blogging advice I can give, is to write because you want to write. I've seen a lot of people start blogs because they want to be e-famous, be listened to, or make money. Most of those guys burn out quickly and are unsuccessful because blogging is a lot harder, and less rewarding then it looks. I wrote Gray Matter for over a year, before I got any serious traffic, and most of my success comes from a lack of competition when I started rather then being a great blog. A new blogger starting today would have a much tougher time then I did. So, if your primary reason for starting a blog is to be read then I would reconsider, because chances are you are just going to be frustrated and disappointed.

From a technical perspective, my suggestion would be to buy your domain name when you start. Domain names are not expensive and owning your own can make a lot of things easier down the road. Owning your own domain name means you can redesign or and move your blog/site without having to redirect your traffic. I wish I had bought my Domain name when I started.

Moonkin bloggers an elusive people, don't you agree? :)

- Moonkin Bloggers have become more elusive recently with people like Quith and Relevart getting out of the blogging game.

What can you tell our Russian readers about yourself?

- I'm a married 35 year old father of two small children. I work in the banking industry. All in all my life is fairly normal and boring. Outside of WoW I spend my free time reading, watching movies and tv. I also spend a lot of time watching and reading about soccer. Most of my casual wardrobe consists of soccer jerseys. I am quite pissed that Qatar stole the 2022 World Cup from us, but congratulations you Russia for getting the 2018. Choosing Russia made a lot of sense to me.

Woot! Married, two small children! Does it mean you play less now and spend more time with your family than before?

- Yes, and no. My son was born about 6 months after I started playing WoW, so family has always limited the amount of time I could play. In my four years of raiding the amount of time I spend raiding has been fairly constant, and since my kids go to bed before raid time they don't have any impact on my WoW time from that perspective. That said, they have limited more of my casual raid time, since we do more stuff on weekends, and they don't take as many naps as they used to.

Where do you live atm?

- I live outside Milwaukee Wisconsin in the US

What music you prefer to listen? During raid-time maybe?

- I can't listen to music or watch anything on TV while raiding. It's just to distracting for me. Outside of raid my musical interests very. Right now I'm listening to band like Emery, Thrice, Bullet's for my Valentine, but my interests change pretty quickly.

Some people think we, moonkins, are fat, clumsy and got large hair irl. Is it true?

- Unfortunately for me this is a little too true, but definitely not true across the board. Have you seen a picture of Murmurs/Tyler Caraway on WoW Insider? That is one skinny kid.

Is there a favorite moonkin meal you like to eat? :)

- Now that I'm not a Tauren anymore I have to say a Hamburger.

Time is money, friend! As a final word in this interview, what would you say or wish to our Russian audience?

- I just want to say thank you to all the readers. My blog would be anything without them and I appreciate all of their support.

Thanks a lot, Graylo, that was an awesome interview!

Thanks Avl

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Blizzard Trademarks "Mists of Pandara"

Blizzard Trademarked the name "Mists of Pandara" recently according to multiple WoW news sites. With Blizzcon just a few months a way a lot of people are assuming that this is the next expansion. Since Blizzard registered "Cataclysm" as a trademark about this time two years ago that seems like a reasonable assumption. However, I want to go on the record and claim one thing.

I'm Calling Troll.

I acknowledge that I could very well be wrong, but "Mists of Pandara" doesn't smell right as a WoW expansion. First of all lets remember the history of the Pandaran. The race started as a personal art project of Blizzard's lead artist, that was eventually turned into an April Fools joke. The Pandaran were so popular that Blizzard has included them in minor ways into various games and the lore, but none of it was all that major. Since Blizzard knows people are looking at the trademarks to get a clue of what the next expansion will be, it wouldn't surprise me if they threw this one out there to yank our chain a little bit.

Second, let me list the expansions and lets see if we see a pattern.

The Burning Crusade - Established in Lore and a clear enemy in demons.
Wrath of the Lich King - Established in Lore and a clear enemy in undead.
Cataclysm - The name doesn't invoke any established Lore, but a Cataclysm is clearly something bad.

Now lets look at this new trademark.

Mists of Pandera - Pandas?

Lets face it, there isn't a lot of lore about the Pandaren, and most of what we do have comes from the RPG books which Blizzard has confirmed is not canon. Not only that who would we be fighting, and how are the Pandaren related to that. Also, the Pandaren Islands are supposed to be small far away islands, and I have to wonder if they would really be big enough to support an expansion.

I wouldn't be surprised if this turned out to be a small Facebook or pop cap game that Blizzard created for the fun of it, but I would be absolutely shocked if this is an expansion.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Real Money AH in Diablo

It's pretty strange that I am writing a post about an announcement for Diablo. In truth, I have very little experience with the franchise. I played Diablo one for a little while after sold for a heavily discounted price. I never touched Diablo 2 and had/have no plans to try Diablo 3. This isn't a comment about the quality of the franchise; it's a matter of so many things to do and so little time. So I think you can see why it is strange for me to post about a Diablo announcement, but this one cuts very close to WoW.

In case you haven't seen it already, Blizzard has announced a new Auction House feature in Diablo 3 that will allow transactions both in game-gold and real-life currency. For the full details, please look at Blizzards site.

An Attempt at Fairness:

First and foremost, I need to qualify my comments on this subject. As stated above my experience with Diablo is very limited. While I can envision a lot of bad things if this type of feature was introduced in WoW, I can't say with any experience that the same bad things would happen in Diablo. In fact, Bashiok has made some decent arguments as to why having this type of AH in Diablo is different then having the same type of AH in WoW.

It should also be said that Diablo 3 is not WoW. Just because this is happening in Diablo doesn't mean this will be added to WoW as well. Blizzard has said in the past that this type of feature won't be implemented in WoW, and they have also said that real money transactions provide any game advantage. This could be a feature that is only intended for Diablo and will never interact with WoW. I recognize that players who have an opinion similar to mine could be overreacting, because there really is no intention of ever implementing this type of feature in WoW.

That said, it's incredibly hard not to see this as a step down a new road for Blizzard. If you had asked me yesterday if this type of feature would ever be considered I would have given you a complete and confident "NO." This step definitely increased the chances of this type of feature being added to WoW, especially when you consider other features like Race and Faction changes which Blizzard claimed at one time or another would never happen. That is why I think my concern for WoW is justified, when Blizzard adds a feature to another game that could possibly be added to WoW as well, even when the games are unrelated.

I really don't care if this feature is added to Diablo 3 or not, but I do have very strong opinions about if this type of feature should be added to WoW. And when I see posts like Mathew McCurley's on WoW Insider absolutely drooling over a real money AH I feel the need to post an opposing view of why this would be bad for WoW.

Dual Auction Houses are a Lie:

One of the big selling points Blizzard is trying to make is that there will be two Auction Houses that you can use depending on your preference: a Gold AH and a Currency AH. Bashiok has gone so far as to say "I have no doubt that the gold auction house will by-far outweigh the real money auction house in scope and amount of items available."

While I am sure that there will be in fact two Auction Houses, the idea that you can choose which one to use based on preference is an illusion. You can tell by answering one simple question. Which is better, fake money or real money? If you answer real money then you are like 99.9999% of the people who will play the game.

Anyone who thinks about this situation at all will realize that the Currency AH will drive the postings on both auction houses. Bashiok may be right that the Gold AH will be bigger, but all of the prices will be determined by the Currency AH.

For example, let say that the Boots of Uberness are listed for $5.00 on the Currency AH, and 1000g is selling for $1.25. How much gold are the Boots of Uberness worth? Clearly they are worth 4000g in this situation. You can list this item on either AH, but the price is clearly going to be determined by the Currency AH. I could list this item on the Gold AH for 10,000g but why would someone buy it there? They could just sell 4000g for $5.00 and buy it off the Currency AH.

So, as you can see, any suggestion that the Gold AH is an independent auction house is an illusion. This isn't to say that the prices between the two AHs will be in perfect lock-step. The fees charged by Blizzard and the less liquid nature of gold will cause some differences, but don't be surprised when they are fairly close most of the time. If WoW's AH has taught us anything, it has shown that there are a lot of very smart people who can work the system to make fake currency. Just think what will happen when people are motivated to make real currency.

Legitimizing a Shady Industry:

Another suggestion that seems to be popular is that is that this is a big blow to the shady business of Gold Selling. In his WoW Insider piece Mathew McCurley says "Blizzard could remove the profitability of gold farming by making everyone a gold farmer."

Yes, how could the gold farmers possibly be profitable when you can buy and sell gold and other things from anyone in game? Let me think. How could they survive?


This isn't a death blow to the gray market. This is just legitimizing it. Claiming this is any kind of weapon against the gray market is like a politician saying they won the war on drugs by legalizing them.

Some of you might then argue, that because all players are now allowed to participate in the market this will reduce the profitability and that gold farmer won't make enough money, and therefore leave the market. At first that point of view may sound logical, but it's missing a few key points. First, the gold sellers’ biggest problem currently is finding gold buyers. While legitimizing the market will increase the number of sellers, it will also increase the number of buyers, and may not change the profitability of the market at all. It may even increase the profitability of the market.

The other thing proponents of this argument are forgetting is that the gold sellers won't play fair. Gold Sellers are more then willing to bot and hack their way to create their product, and that's not going to change if Blizzard legitimizes their market. Botting will still be the most efficient way to gather trade goods. Since Blizzard tends to allow bots to operate for a few months and then ban them in waves even when the bot is obvious, the gold sellers are unlike to stop using bots. Hacking has a similar issue. It's obviously profitable for them now, and there's nothing about a Currency AH that would make hacking unprofitable on its own.

In short, anyone who thinks that a Currency AH is a silver bullet against the commercial gold sellers is just deluding themselves. It will definitely change their business model, but it's not going to prevent them from doing harmful things like Hacking. In fact, legitimizing the gold sellers could harm the casual player more then botting and hacking ever have. If the gold sellers are significantly more efficient with their gold farming than the average player, then that will push the price of gold extremely low and inflate gold prices on the AH, thus forcing players to play long hours to earn enough gold to buy an item or to buying gold.

The Social Hazard:

Finally, I want you to think about this situation if a Currency AH was introduced to WoW. Let’s say you are the GM of a moderately successful guild with 100,000g in the guild bank along with plenty of items. After a while you grow bored with the game or just want to go casual. What do you do?

Of course, there are a lot of GMs that would leave the guild bank intact and step down without issue. At the same time, I'm just as confident that there will be plenty of GMs that will take the money and run. Being the GM of a guild is hard work, and I assure you that fore some people it will be easy for them to justify taking the money by saying they earned over there time as GM in the Guild. I've heard that excuse several times in my 4.5 years of WoW without a Currency AH.

And guess what, you as members of the guild are powerless to stop them. Guild Masters have total control of their guild. They determine who has access to the guild bank and who can be in the guild. They could justify locking up the guild bank by saying they want to protect it from people who might take the items for themselves to sell them. Then the next thing you know, you log in one day with everyone kicked from the guild except the GM and his alts. I can't say how often this will happen, but I guarantee you it will, and you might be surprised what your friendly GM is capable of justifying when several hundred dollars of gold and stuff are on the line.


To be fair, I have very little experience with Diablo, and a real money AH may be perfect and helpful for that game. I also recognize that what Blizzard does with Diablo doesn't necessarily relate to WoW in any way. So, my concern for WoW at this announcement may be an overreaction. However, since they are willing to implement it for Diablo, it's reasonable to assume that they might conceder it for WoW as well. That is why I think it's important to lay out why I think a Currency AH is a bad idea for WoW.

While Blizzard can create and claim to have two separate AHs, it's impossible to have them operate independently. The Currency AH will set the prices for both AHs because gold will aways have a price. Some people are arguing that this is a damaging blow to the gray market businesses that deal in game items for real money, but it is no such thing. It just legitimizes them and makes their business easier in some respects. It also isn't going to prevent harmful activities like botting and hacking in any way shape or form. Finally, if this type of service was added in WoW it would create new hazards for players. Guild Masters and other players with access to community gold and items can easily take them and sell them for personal gain. And if that personal gain can have a real financial impacts expect that activity to become more common.