Wrong. It costs the farmers time. It costs Blizzard nothing. The whole point is that Blizzard is not a government under the watchful eye of it's inhabitants. In a way, they can do whatever they please (like either decrease or increase the in-game value of gold) without themselves being affected (well, ok, aside from the fact they might lose users). Because they do not get payed for the gold. It's not their economy. It's the economy of the farmers and the users. That is in essense very different from a local governemt IRL. Also, it is unrealistic to think that WoW will go on forever. In time there will be better mmorpgs out there, so the support for WoW will stop eventually. You can't really say that for a real government.
Blizzard gets raging critique for making unpopular changes in the gold system, resulting in people cancelling their subscriptions. That's real money. So rest assured, Blizzard is a lot more like a government under watchful eyes than you think. And just like any government Blizzard would be mad to press big red buttons, for its own sake, its own economy.
And I don't think it's unrealistic for WoW to go on for quite a while. They actively create new content and patch the graphics and gameplay regularly to keep things exciting. So if they can keep doing that and keep the value of WoW gold intact (some fluctuation is expected) there's no reason for it to dissapear.
I'm not saying that gold and only gold has no value. I'm saying that that what the gold represents has no value itself. Thusly the items you can buy with it. IRL, this is not true. Sure, we agree upon the value of money, but the point is that with that money I can buy things that are not simply "up for grabs" and created out of nothing. If something can be created out of nothing, the value of that thing (and thus the value of money) is severely reduced.
Ok, I think I see what you're getting at, but you're viewing things differently. What bothers you is that Blizzard can create new items, making existing items less valuable, and making certain people want to buy WoW gold with real money to obtain these items. Correct? I can see why that appears wrong at first but there are two sides here and they are in balance:
The gamer gets new excitement from obtaining the item. Some find the quests the most exiting, putting time into reaching achievements and making gold. Others just want the item for bragging rights. Competition and bragging is present in every human in certain amounts and it gives them pleasure. And we pay for it every day in real life. Personally I would never buy jewelry for myself; a diamond is about as precious to me as a pretty shard of glass I found on the street. I would also never pay money to collect used stamps. I might however consider paying extra for matching shiny black computer parts even though mauve ones probably work just as well. :ninja: > :cool2:
From Blizzard's side of view it might look like they create items out of nothing. But let's not forget that they have to pay real artists, real programmers, real IT specialists, etc. All this adds a lot more real value to these virtual items. And the paying subscribers expect nothing less from them than to keep creating new content and excite them. So it's a complete circle.
Also, note that the value of the items is actually mainly determined by the gamers. I've seen medium rare items that lower your stats sell for hundreds of gold, extremely rare items that sell for silver because somehow nobody wants it (this can change overnight if you create some sort of hype around it), etc. Although I don't participate at that level I can certainly see how it's all pretty exciting for the big gamers (not so different from competition and hype surrounding competitive sports). But it doesn't help Blizzard to create an item so rare that nobody can afford it in an honest way, or items that are abundant and valuable at first but drop in value real quickly (both leading to frustration and critique). So there's a fine balance that needs to be respected which is no different from real world economy.
I guess my whole point relies on the fact that I think it's naïve to think that Blizzard will continue to treat WoW's economy as a real economy. Now I'm not a wow player myself, but I thought the EULA said something about not being allowed to sell items, but I could be wrong on that. But if that is true, it's not unrealistic to think that they ever find a way to stop that. Also, you can simply run a bot that farms gold for you at no cost (well maybe like \\$30 for the bot). Of course that is also not allowed, but hey, worst thing that can happen is that you are kicked from the game. Which is another big difference from a true government - there are no severe punishments that scares people from not breaking the rules.
Since you're Dutch: Jongeren veroordeeld tot werkstraffen wegens diefstal virtuele goederen.
You're partially right though, legislation and criminal justice is seriously lagging behind on this front. For Blizzard it's a full time job to prevent and stop foul play, within the limits of their powers. But when looking at football or cycling or other sports people pay real money for to watch I don't think the problem is that much worse in the electronic entertainment.
Anyhow, all my above arguments assumed buying WoW gold with real money from an honest farmer. And I think that in the future we'll see a lot tighter control of trading virtual goods.
Well paper bills are a bit outdated. There's more virtual money on bank accounts around than there are goods to back that up. Not that this is a counter-argument btw, it makes it even more like wow gold than actual paper money .
See, you're starting to flip that switch in your head that sais it's not real money. :happy: After all, value is all in your head, no matter if we talk about real or virtual goods. Percentage-wise a lot of people consider virtual goods of very low value, but for a select group it's as real as it gets. But no matter to what group you belong there are always things you value more than others and things you value less. All you need is a bit of understanding why some people find certain things valuable, irrespective of how you value them.