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The QueueJul 2, 2018 12:00 pm CT

The Queue: Goblins, the real money auction house, and confusion in Silthus

Someone commented in the Queue last Friday that they were glad to see Diablo questions get answered. I am too. I wish that I could to any extent right now — so I’d definitely save them for Matt. Diablo is such a hot/cold game for me. Who knows what I’ll think in a few months, but right now it’s definitely on the cold streak for me.

Anyways, let us Queue.



Finally did the Silithus quests on my Worgen, only Alliance char at 110. Well, the necessary ones.

On Horde, you only have to do the quest to ‘motivate’ the Goblin peons to progress towards the later quests, which then take you away from the Azerite quarry anyway.

But on Alliance, you have to not just steal Azerite ore, but loot it from the corpses of Goblins you’ve just slain.

I noticed this as well, and is one of the things that I love about WoW — you’re seeing the story from all sides. Someone ordered the goblins to go do the work, and because they’re doing such a good job, the recourse of the Alliance is to take it from them by force. Trapped in the middle is the worker, being attacked from both sides, left alone with his fate sealed without him even knowing it.

That is tragic. When you start to consider the issue from all sides, you begin to realize that the line between right and wrong is not always clear. Morality, just as truth, is in the eye of the beholder.

Killing in WoW happens too frequently without much thought put behind it; but that’s video games to a large extent. You defeat the bad guys. This doesn’t mirror real life where you kill for ore (or rather, it should not).

It’s in this reflection on the goblins trapped between two opposing forces, equal yet opposite in their strength and regard, lies the true story. Does the means justify the end? The story of WoW, when viewed from all sides and points of conflict, asks questions like that constantly, and hopefully gets you, as the person listening to the story by the campfire, to think about things a tad deeper. Go under the surface. Maybe the next decision that you make will take that into consideration.

That’s the power of story, of learning, of art. That’s why I am such a fan of these games.


Remember the Real Money Auction House? How might Blizzard’s games be different if that had worked?

I think the RMAH failed because the tie to real money was too obvious. Items had a value, that value was clear, and you bought according to your thoughts on the utilization of that item and its prescribed value. A very clear microeconomic framework that works (or not, one could argue, but let’s not) for the rest of humanity; however it failed substantially in a game system.

The real world is not a game and prescribed value has a different decision calculus in the world of the real: is this new $100 mouse more important than a $100 mattress to sleep on? Of course the mattress is more important because there is a clear need; the mouse can wait until you have the mattress and assorted items.

The same decision calculus is harder, if not hidden, in a game economy. The piece of armor is listed for $10, but is it really worth $2 more than the armor listed for $8? The answer to that question is solvable, and can depend on the utility you place on having the “perfect” gear set, but at base the tradeoff is much much harder and not clear.

Further complications are added in when you ask yourself if that piece of armor is worth $10 when you could spend that money on lunch instead. The decisions and mental capacity for the decisions start to get overwhelming for anyone, leading to poor choices — which is what causes economies to fail.

Now, enter the gold economy. There are many ways to earn gold; enough such that you can spend a fair amount of time and earn a fair amount of gold (if you have the farming skills to do so, aka reading blogs, which is in an economic sense ok). If you want to buy gold because you don’t want to spend the time in game earning it, then you can do so easily enough. With a bit of math you can work out your hourly rate of income vs the cost of gold against the amount of gold earned per-hour in game or through semi-passive activities like the auction house.

I’ve actually worked this out for myself (although I’m not going to share the numbers because someone will reverse engineer too much about my life); it’s a much much better use of my time to just buy gold from the WoW Token than to farm it. Thus, I mostly buy gold these days.

Now the difference between that and the RMAH isn’t because there is not a real world value attached to the item; if a WoW Token is selling for 200k on the AH, then I know that the 100k legendary is going to cost me half the token’s price. However I also know that through some active and passive activities I’ll earn that back, and the cost of the gold I’m spending eventually will be recouped. I also know that I’m using the gold not as a direct item buying resource, but as a time saving resource. I could spend 20 hours farming to make the legendary, but I know the utility from those 20 hours is better spent working in the real world.

This gets to answer your question directly now: how would Blizzard games be different if it worked? It wouldn’t have from the beginning; and I think a lot of people saw that. There are games that do this now, and their economies are a disaster. What would, and does work, is having an intermediary currency that is able to be earned at substantial rates in game, as well as be bought as a time saver for those that cannot put the hours into the game they want.


this is a PSA that despite what information seems to be going around, you don’t actually have to have done any of the magni quests to do the artifact retirement quest chain, you can do it as soon as you’ve completed the other silithus content

I just did this yesterday on a fresh 110.

To get your artifact to max level, you need to:

  1. Do the quests in Silthus
  2. Do the single Magni quest that pops up after all the Silthus quests are done.

That single quest is the prelude to the artifact destruction.

There is no need to do the chain in Artorus or raids or anything else. A metric ton of misinformation is going around about this. I think Blizzard needs to do a blog post and put some clarity behind this right away, because despite all the fansites saying this the community is just rampant with wrong info.

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