Confronted as I am, every single day that I play World of Warcraft, by strangely named toons hawking WoW Gold, makes a Gnome think.
Renei would never, personally, purchase World of Warcraft Gold, and I have never talked to anyone who admitted doing so. However, the simple law of economics dictates that someone, somewhere (certainly many ‘someones’) is buying WoW Gold. If you look around on this page, you will assuredly see ads promoting WoW Gold. These ads are paid for with real money, so there must be money to be made selling WoW Gold, meaning that someone is buying.
There are several moral and ethical dilemmas pertaining to the purchase of game currency (in this case, World of Warcraft Gold) with real money.
The most obvious one is personal. Will your enjoyment of the game be enhanced or decreased if your character was suddenly very rich?
Now, everyone is different. Personally, I enjoy leveling up and getting rewards for my efforts, such as gear, experience, skill upgrades, etc. That is pretty much the only reason I play the game. To be able to come back to Deadmines with a 60-something Mage and lay waste to a place that used to cause me so much trouble, knowing that my time investment is what made this possible. If I could buy the same character with all sorts of nice gear for real dollars, the excitement and fun of doing that would last maybe 5mn. Maybe.
I understand that some people get to 70, don’t like grinding, so they purchase WoW Gold to be able to afford nice equipment. I understand, but I don’t agree. Start a new character, do new quests, or go outside and toss the ol’ pig skin around.
My World of Warcraft experience, for me personally, is about leveling and discovering new abilities, new spells, new quests, new areas, new ways of doing things. Once I level one toon of each class and race to 70, I will probably cancel my account, because there will be nothing new to do. Unless, of course, Blizzard comes out with another expansion. Oh wait, they are?
On a game play level, buying WoW gold holds the same interest for me as buying air to breathe. It’s all around me, all I have to do is breathe, why should I pay someone for it?
But there is a serious ethical dilemma associated with purchasing WoW Gold. For example, on my server and for one Gold Vendor, the price of 1,000 WoW Gold is $46.59 US Dollars, or $0.047 per Gold. The price goes down to $0.040 per Gold for larger purchases. Seems cheap enough, a lousy 5 cents per WoW Gold? That’s the thing.
You see, Gold vendors don’t go to Blizzard and buy gold in bulk. Rather, I hope they don’t. Instead, they have to earn it, in-game, by farming, vendoring, and auctioning items. Just like you do.
Now think about the time it takes you to earn 1000 WoW Gold. My bet is that it takes you a while. The persons running the website need to make a profit. They need to pay for heating, computers, electricity, internet connections, and WoW fees, and a million other things. Then with whatever is left, they need to pay the people sitting at the computers doing the farming. I think that those people are not paid very much at all.
People talk about “Chinese Gold Farmers” for a good reason. China has a huge labor pool of extremely poor people, working a full day for the loose change that is in you pocket now. Probably much less. I am not saying that those people are not happy to have jobs, but for the same reason we insist that Nike and all other apparel companies be transparent in their production practices, especially regarding child labor, as customers we should insist on the same standards for WoW Gold farmers.
You may think there is a difference between making shoes for pennies an hour and playing WoW for pennies an hour… After all, it can’t be so bad! They’re playing WoW!
Yeah, right. How would you like to farm Ice Thistle Yetis 14 hours a day, every day, for a month or longer? My bet is that you would think it feels like work and not play.
For that reason alone I would only consider buying WoW gold from an ‘ethical’ dealer, i.e. one that also purchases Gold and not only sells it. If a vendor says he buys Gold for $20.00/1000g and sells it for $45.00/1000g, I won’t begrudge him his profit, even though it’s again the Terms of Service.
For good or ill, that ‘ethical’ WoW Gold vendor is providing a service. One that I will never use, because then I’d stop playing WoW altogether, but as I said earlier, every one is different and we all play for different reasons, and have different goals.
The bottom line: If you have to Buy WoW Gold, make sure you know where its coming from.