Botters, Gold Sellers and the Gold Grind

Ok so time to be a little controversial which I just soooo hate to be so strap yourselves in for a short story of a man who bought gold, illegally from botters with hearts so cold. To avoid the grind and enjoy content his way but some people say that is not how you play. But onward now to ramblings of mechanical things stirred from a story about items that ring.
haha lol.. I amuse myself too much sometimes.. aaahaheemm ok .. onward

There was a short post over at Guild Wars 2 Hub featuring quite a few prominent mmo writers who wanted to discuss the recent outcry of a person specifically buying gold so as to purchase an unbreakable choir bell. I have to admit that I would have liked one of those but spending real world money for it wasn’t going to happen. But right now I can’t say I would chastise his decision to purchase from a third-party site, in fact I think it is a very valid choice considering. OMG! what that can’t be, gold farmers are the devil and are the reason behind the decline of mmo’s, they feast on our souls and juicy credit cards.. You can’t possible support them.

Yes and no, I think there impact is often highly exaggerated, in this talk especially so. I think people tend to have a little too much blind faith in what developers and as such really don’t try to pick the issues apart and think about the underlining cause, the why people would purchase gold, and cheap gold at that. Sure the ones that want to steal your details are inherently evil but they’re not all like that and there are ways to minimise the risk.

I think this round table are nowhere near critical enough of Arenanet and their design principles. The fault is viewed on others like these gold sellers and the people supporting when the blame actually lies more with the developers. There were many conscious design choices in this game that add up to people like the person in question wanting to purchase gold, which they probably would do legitimately if it wasn’t priced so high and taxed so highly.

Tobold recently had a post called The Problem with Botting and it highlights well why people would want to skip these certain activities and opt for better ways to enjoy the content they want. Many activities in mmo’s need to be repeated excessively. It is the grind people do not like, grind comes in all shapes and sizes and is very subjective, mostly it is attached to things we don’t want to do. The overarching thought is that games are for entertainment and are there to be fun and be enjoyed, a reward at the end of an activity should merely be to highlight and enhance that enjoyment. Everyone has their own variation on enjoyable content but doing the same simplistic things like farming the same mobs over and over for gold and worthwhile items isn’t great design

Inconsequential items such as this, the cosmetic and novelties really don’t belong in a design of repeating content, sure it is good at times to gate certain things but only so the player feels achievement at gaining them, what achievement is there in receiving a novelty item from doing repetitive rather mindless tasks. Not much I think and this is why Anet really needs to complete rework how they go about adding such items, people want options on attaining them, REASONABLE options. The funny thing is while I don’t engage in dungeon running much I actually approved of it’s principle, your running a certain type of content to attain better items for that content.. it just makes sense but here it just doesn’t.

Time is an important resource more so then money at times, it isn’t limitless and wasting it is where people start to really resent gameplay, the funny thing is that buying gold to circumvent this aspect I think would enhance a persons enjoyment of the game and create an overall better experience. The person who bought that bell obviously didn’t have the gold but wanted it enough to spend quite a bit of money, I’m guessing he actually would be quite happy now considering how much he wanted it. I also think that having great items and sought after collectibles, regardless of whether they are bought or earned can increase investment in a character or the game. Having cool stuff makes it a lot harder to leave.. I still miss my artifact collection and armoured rhino in rift.

So is skipping the stuff we hate and getting things we want really that bad? .. I think not.

Even before the ascended gear debacle and subsequent player fury the grind was alive and well in guild Wars 2, many just didn’t recognise it. We are so used to vertical progression being the bringer of evil grind but instead of the search for better stats it was something that encompasses the entire game world and rules our play far more.. Gold.

The progression in Guild Wars is mostly apart from better gear and more follows a design of customisation and options. The issue here is that the money grind is attached to it. The rarity of many items including needed crafting materials, decent gear, coin purses, and special items is remarkably rare which obviously inflates the price. Then add to the fact that for crafting the many options available the quantity of rare materials needed combined with constant demand places a huge value on them, more so then their worth in my opinion.

You could farm the materials in certain areas which would take an extensive time and brings us back to the point made by Tobold and how boring that certain activity is or you can farm up the money which can get you anything you need. In this aspect though some areas are far better than others for making gold. What the bots can do is but a fraction of the market and funnily enough farming mobs actually pays quite little. The ease of combat and minimal earnings for this activity actually make it rather suited to botting.

Quoting Tobolod: Bots play tedious games for you, thus saving you the bother of playing the games yourself. What does it say about our games if we need labour-saving devices to do those tedious, repetitive, and trivial game activities for us?

And that is exactly it, I am sure no actual player wants to spend hours upon hours, day after day killing the same mob type for little reward, it is a tedious part of the game and one which actually ruins people’s enjoyment. The bots really aren’t that bad in this regard as they do the things we don’t want to and this way us pleebs without cash whom probably make the majority can actually purchase needed items at a reasonable cost and buy gold at a better exchange. Bring the drop rate up to make it worthwhile farming yourself, give a better exchange and then I will support your crusade against bots.

Dungeons are where it’s at apparently, and where the average players is able to gain the majority of their wealth. It is amusing though that some dungeons and paths are far better than others for making money which then incentivises people to grind the same ones on increasingly faster speed runs. Rather pointless if you ask me and really needs to all be viable in every path or in other areas of the game.

Then there are those with the know how and have the mental acumen to make vast fortunes from the trading post. Involving pouring over spreadsheets and price listings, flipping materials and just generally involving yourself in numbers rather than actually playing. It kind of irks me in a way that knowing the loopholes in the system (yes there are still some and no I have never used them) is the best way of making money. It isn’t crafting, or finding rare ingredients, or running the hardest dungeons that require a coordinated group getting wealth. And it is the easiest and quickest method of obtaining the top-tier gear including legendaries… Kind of stupid.

Then there are areas which I enjoy such as WvW that earn next to nothing or sometimes is a complete money sink. I am kind of told looking at the mechanics of this area that I need gold, upgrading camps, towers and keeps, keeping a bag full of siege for all occasions, and the repair bills require a constant source. I can honestly say I have thought about buying gold to get more out of Wuv Wuv and to support the guild and the server. I would get a lot more out of the game and feel a greater sense of enjoyment having a little nest egg for war and not having to worry about farming places or doing things I don’t like to support my play. And guess what, I probably wouldn’t buy from Anet as the value for money just isn’t there.

The issue as well is that most items perceived value is far different then their actual price. The discussion focused a little on this in that they recognised the ludicrous cost of the unbreakable choir bell. These things shouldn’t just be for the wealthy or those with no life who can open 100s of thousands of bags just because they want to find the drop rate. It should be meaningful reward in game for a manageable amount of investment, or as the group suggested these items could be placed in the rather barren cash shop in order to a) allow another avenue of acquisition and b) to attach a price better aligned with its value. Because seriously, if I had wanted to buy gems then convert this item would have cost around $60 and that is atrocious… Yep he definitely got the better deal there.

For an average player or even someone like me who plays a lot but enjoys less affluent game types then there is no reasonable time frame to acquire such things and that is bad design. Design of the money grind was a conscious choice by Anet either to extend play or entice people to buy gems, but it is better value elsewhere. I cannot fault the person getting an item he desired at a more reasonable price nor am I going to be outraged over gold sellers who limit needless grind in other areas and increase enjoyment of the content you do enjoy.

And let’s be honest here, their impact on the economy is minimal. Prices wavered what..around 10 silver for higher tier materials during the big bannings. They actually made crafting far better especially because of the influx of mid tier items. The Trading post barons have a much much larger effect than the botters ever could, they control complete areas at will, manipulating prices for their own benefit. Oh well, everybody needs a crusade against some sort of evil to take the critical eye away from their own inherent flaws or mistakes.

*oh and I’m just going to post this from the phone now and work on spelling and such later.. enjoy*

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2 thoughts on “Botters, Gold Sellers and the Gold Grind

  1. Pingback: This week in Guild Wars 2 | Guild Wars 2 Editorials, Magazine, Media & Podcast | GuildMag
  2. Pingback: A Game of Grind | Healing the masses

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