Sunday, 4 July 2010

Need lubricates World of Warcraft markets!

Intoxicatingly simple

Blizzards World of Warcraft is an on-line multi-player challenge appealing to young and old, educated and uneducated, smart, and not so smart. World of Warcraft has some players who defy the understanding of mere intelligent adults.

Within world of Warcraft, as a character progresses from level one and making their way to level 80, they will undergo many changes. Learning new skills and gaining intoxicatingly simple abilities, gaining interesting and exciting new experiences and working with others to gain ever better equipment, materials, weapons and armour.

New items come from either non playing characters as a ‘drop’, purchased from vendors or manufactured by players in the game. To manufacture items, raw materials need to be found, and they in turn, come from non playing characters a ‘drop’, purchased from vendors or made by other players.

Once a player has made a new item, they can elect to use it, sell it to a vendor for a few silver coins, or sell it to anyone else on the Auction House for gold coins.

The Auction House can be found in the few key cities within the game of World of Warcraft and functions like a short-lived clearing house. Sales can exist for up to forty eight hours and are then, if unsold, are returned to the person selling the item, less a small fee of course.

In truth, there is an entire internal economy, varying from server to server, all with the aim of people selling things to people. Simple!

Abused Economy

The game economy is an abused one, it is fragile and it is by and large, totally misunderstood. Sadly, a good many of the people using the Auction House to buy and sell, have no idea how it works and treat it rather like a shop. Two or more players can easily craft many of the items independently, say a cloak for example. No matter who makes the cloak, the cloak is identical to the same cloak made by any other person. Quality of goods does not enter into the equation. Availability is instant for the most part, therefore the only thing that will differentiate vendors, is the price.

The big thing in World of Warcraft is the vendor can fix the price. The vendor can choose to sell the cloak for any price that comes to mind, such as 1000 gold, 10 silver, or 10 copper and this is where the two rules of selling in a MMORPG come into play.

Rule 1. Any player, can sell anything, at any price.

For the seller of the 1000 gold cloak, he is speculating another player will ‘need to have’ the cloak and will be willing to pay anything to get it. The vendor pays a 15% deposit when he tries to sell it, and if no-one buys it, the vendor gets the cloak back, and loses a percentage of the deposit, as much as 150 gold.

Selling the cloak for 10 copper would lead to someone finding an incredible bargain, and that buyer, may well be tempted to put the cloak back on the market for 20 copper and double their money. This we find rule 2.

Rule 2. The customer will normally pay the lowest price.

No customer will pay 1000 gold for an item, if at that time, another vendor has the same item for sale at 10 silver.

Clever customers have skills in manufacturing something. For example, tailors can buy from the auction house, the materials used to manufacture bags. The tailor can then sell those manufactured bags for a great profit.
Blacksmiths can buy Iron and craft it into steel swords; alchemists can buy herbs and produce health giving drinks.

As many Clever Customers as there are using the auction house to realise good profits, so there are many more consumer customers who buy at whatever price simply to enable them to play their own version of the game.

For some players, the game is in manipulating the auction house and creating incredible wealth without raising a sword in anger, or attempting to defeat a single monster.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

What is World of Warcraft?

What is World of Warcraft

The coming together of two technologies, computer games and the Internet, paved the way for many people to play their games and adventures in concert with other players from all over the globe.

Properly identified as a massive Multi Player Online Role Playing Game, World of Warcraft is a platform that enables people to play in an environment shared by other players. That play style might be as individuals achieving their own goals, as part of a team going for a collective goal, as one player fighting the abilities of another player or even as a member of a team exploring a dungeon and killing monsters too big for the user to kill on their own. World of Warcraft is many things to many people.

I will offer a caution however, as the game is played through an avatar, the player has the ability to remain completely anonymous. They can be of either gender, of any age ranging from 12 to 92, and have any range of literacy or intelligence skills from none what-so-ever, to pretty smart.

Some people can play nicely with others, while many people seem to grasp the opportunity to play in a way that would not be tolerated in the regular world. Being rude to each other, abusive, homophobic, constant swearing, belittling, sarcastic and disrespectful to other people are a cross section of many things witnessed in any hour while connected to World of Warcraft.

The game offers the player the chance to take an avatar belonging to any one of six races, Human and Goblin being just two, through a sequence of progressively harder levels from level one, to level eighty five. The avatar will be equipped with a specific range of skills, from weapon use for the Warrior, to magical incantations for the Mage. The trick is to use these skills to earn Experience Points and progress to the next level in the game. Every other level for the most part, brings new skills and upgrades in abilities.

No two players seem to progress in an identical manner as many quests, when played as a group, will offer only one prize to the group, so some one will always fail to collect the booty, but, having said that, there is more or less no limit to the number of tries you might make to win a particular item you feel will benefit your character.

World of Warcraft is catchy, many of the tasks seem simple, seem easily achievable, and missing the simple goal will have the player trying again and again. Given the chance, many players will play until their clocks tell them they need sleep, school or to go to work. It is for countless tens of thousands, exceptionally addictive.

World of Warcraft is simple, with simple rules, but there belies its deceptive addiction. To play a character well takes hours of interplay, hours of work, hours of skill honing and countless hours of ‘giving it one more try’. World of Warcraft is addictive and for many, it will take over their lives completely.

World of Warcraft July 2010

It is going to be a remarkable exercise if I can blog about World of Warcraft without having a tantrum, venting or mindlessly castigating either Blizzards principles or the mindset of other players.

Blogging is easy, open your notepad and type away. Publish the good and the bad, the warts and the faux pas. A principle about as removed from journalism as is possible. I am hoping with my blog, to be at least a little constructive, to be reportive and to be aware of other peoples and other ideas. If I can be a little bit journo, then I will have accomplished something.

Typing World of Warcraft into for example, produces hundreds of posts from players of World of Warcraft all keen to express their view or showcase something that has happened to them. I hope that while they contribute in some way to the popularity of World of Warcraft, I can contribute in a thinking persons way and introduce a little humour and thought, a little constructive criticism and a little zany of-the-wall viewpoint in doing so.

This is post one, an introduction, and the most needed step; it starts my writing love affair with WoW without hopefully, losing non players in the process.