I’ve seen more than a few complaints in the last couple of weeks over the cost of living in Azeroth. Specifically, I can see for myself just how expensive it currently is obtain flasks and food to raid, without watching people lament that they can’t afford the process. I think this particular Tweet sums the current situation up very well:
This is the fallout from Garrisons, like it or not: a small proportion of players with ridiculously large amounts of gold, with the rest of the player base either lamenting they never took full advantage of the situation when they could or simply not giving a fuck. Those people who didn’t think the Spider Mount for two million gold would be bought by anyone will now realise just who it was who made hay whilst the sun shone. If my Server cluster is any indicator, that’s probably more players than I thought… except, I realised in the week that’s not true. ANYBODY can buy anything on the AH, you don’t need to have been logging 36 alts on to do so. That’s why the WoW Token exists: ActiBlizz have provided the means to exchange real money for gold, therefore nothing effectively is beyond your reach. The bigger issue here now has become whether you do that to progress or not.
Then we end up falling into the moral pit of ‘what defines real progress’ and for many Guilds now that is the understanding that you can easily clear the content on Normal, possibly Heroic… but anything past that and suddenly you need everything and the kitchen sink to stand a chance. That means, as is the case in any real world economy, people can charge whatever the fuck they want when they know you cannot do without it. You could easily paint this as the equivalent of charlatan pharmaceutical companies charging what they like for medicine in countries where there is no state-owned healthcare, but you’d be wrong. You can do without it. There is really no need at all for all the extra damage on top of what you have already. You could still do the content without it, if everybody’s completely and utterly focused and operating as a cohesive unit. If the game is balanced and what matters more is negating mechanics and not simply killing stuff with stupid amounts of damage? Absolutely you don’t need the magic feather.
The problem, yet again in this equation, is people.
Anyone who knows about the ‘Herald of the Titans’ achievement in Ulduar will understand that gear and level can mean everything or are easily ignored/negated in pretty much all the content this game produces. Setting a benchmark for players to hit is an increasingly difficult task, especially (as has already been proven) this content is clearable in less than a day on Mythic difficulty, if your team is sufficiently ‘motivated.’ The problem for everyone who isn’t a World First raider is simple: yourself. Very few players are so confident in their belief or ability that they can predict exactly how much healing/damage they can do. Therefore, the game provides the ‘magic feathers’ of food buffs, augment runes and flasks to allow players with only a set level of gear an extra step ‘up’ that does not require farming or luck to gather. In this case, it requires money. However, if you’re unable to provide the cash to take advantage of these ‘improvements’, is complaining the answer, or should you simply not buy a bottle of alcohol or a packet of cigarettes in the Real World and instead use that cash to buy a token?
Opportunity cost in Warcraft’s always existed, but never really been as important as it is now.
What needs to be said at this point is that ‘blaming’ ActiBlizz for the cost of stuff’s not fair, or indeed accurate. Certainly, the changed professions mechanics of the game have been produced to place a notion of worth back into a portion of the game that lost most, if not all of its aesthetic value in Warlords. Now, people charging 1200g for a Flask when they know the people who really want progress will buy it? There’s no way to negate this without fundamentally destroying an Economy which has always operated on these basic principles of supply and demand. It now rewards those who use their Professions well and don’t sell raw materials, instead choosing to use them for themselves. It puts the business of making and crafting back to the point where it existed in Vanilla, and for that point alone this Expansion continues to be a runaway success. If you’re complaining it’s not fair you have to spend money to make progress?
What exactly are you playing this game for to begin with?
The real winners in all of this furore, as that is what it is, are the Guilds who have dedicated Potion Makers and Armour Crafters. They’re the teams who have always valued artisan ability over cash. They are the teams who know their collective will help each other and not complain that there’s too much to do, who will used their token money to buy mats that EVERYONE benefits from and not just themselves. Effectively, the groups who won’t ever buy an AH material unless they’re desperate and would far rather farm everything themselves are the real winners in this Expansion, because everything you need is lying on the ground in the Broken Isles, you just gotta find it. If it matters enough for the prestige of your raid team? YOU’LL DO IT. If progression in this game remains a goal you and your friends wish to push for, it will not matter a flying fuck how much effort is involved. Everyone pops a flask on progression to show you all value the benefit it offers, not to show you’ve got more money. You may not clear the content in a day, but it will be cleared, and without you moaning on Social Media about it.
I know why you did that, by the way. If enough people complain, maybe ActiBlizz will change something. After all, that’s what happened with flying. They admitted they’d made a mistake, so perhaps if enough of us stand up and make a fuss…?
This is always the way it has been. If you want it badly enough?
Just get on with it.