World of Warcraft, Preparation for Cataclysm
Great WoW Gathering Rush Gains Pace in Preparation for Cataclysm
By Tom Murray from www.gnews.com
Across the lands of Azeroth (but not Outland, tis’ deserted now) players prepare for the cataclysm that will be dropped on the World of Warcraft on 7 December.
Preparations for the latest and largest of Blizzard’s expansions to its phenomenally well-crafted MMO have taken many forms. Some players are desperately grabbing the required Justice points (currency which brings item rewards for killing bosses) in order to get their hands on the series of WoW‘s magical items known as heirlooms.
As well as being useful in that they become more powerful as the owner levels up, the critical bonus of these heirlooms is that some of them grant the wearer an extra 10 per cent experience for killing monsters and completing quests.
With the fresh draft of new characters that players will want to create in order to experience WoW‘s new content right from Level 1, heirlooms have become absolute must-have items as they allow a character to level up that much quicker. The lure of the two new races that will be introduced in Cataclysm – Goblins and Worgen – means that the wave of new Level 1s that will flood out of the various Alliance and Horde starting areas will be vast.
Heirlooms can only be earned though, not bought. The most interesting change in player behavior in the run-up to Cataclysm has been taking place on the market trends of the auction houses across each WoW server.
The ability to trade items in WoW was always slightly more sophisticated than your average RPG affair. Not only can players sell to each other for whatever price they agree is fair between themselves, but every race’s capital city has an auction house. It is there that a fascinating fantasy global market is played out every moment of every day (except when the servers are down for midweek maintenance).
Much like real-life trade markets, the WoW auction houses are governed by market forces. Players with experience and sophisticated mercantile skills can subtly undercut their competitors when offering goods to trade. Others, those with the necessary buying power, often buy out whole stocks of a certain item, simply so they can control the supply, and thus the price.
No force is more powerful on the WoW market than the age-old rule of supply and demand. No price for any item in the game is ever set on the auction houses, players may choose how much they believe their hard-earned possessions will sell for. The market, with its price fluctuations, supply issues and susceptibility to influence by outside events (such as upcoming game expansions) will decide if they are right or wrong.
The coming of Cataclysm, with its wave of Level 1s ready to spill out into Azeroth, has already set a market trend that will only get stronger as 7 December nears. Cheap crafting goods (things such as linen cloth, copper ore and low level herbs) have already begun to rocket in value as players prepare to hoard these items for their new character additions to their WoW family.
The saying that you can sometimes get “money for old rope” applies here. Items that are easy but time-consuming to acquire are now commanding prices on auction houses that are many times greater than they were even a matter of weeks ago.
In the rush to get out and explore the brave and lava-scorched new world, time will become far more precious to many players than their gold. They would much rather take their shiny new Worgen warrior or Goblin rogue out killing things than spend that time hunting for herbs.
What remains to be seen is when will the price ceiling rein in the skyrocketing prices? How much gold is too much to pay for a stack of silverleaf?
By Tom Murray
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