Bots, and what is a high price anyway?

| Saturday, June 5, 2010
Any time the subject of bots comes up, someone insists and claiming that bots keep prices low, supplies abundant, and liberate us from the horrible grinding of materials. How kind of them!


Bots undercut actual people out of the market. Sure, this means lower prices for the buyers of the mats. It also means the sellers are no longer humans. Oh you say people run bots? No. Only scum run bots. Lazy greedy worthless scum who insist on something for nothing, who refuse to play the game, who join the game with the implicit contract of what is expected, that not every moment is pure happyfungreatbosskilltime, and just reject it, breaking the ToS in the process. If you don't like the grind, don't expect the benefits. Complain about it, demand that the grind be reduced, that's just fine; but don't bot and claim "oh but they made such a horrible grind!" Fucking jackasses. Where was I?

Okay, so bots get mats, then we buy mats and gold is lost to humanity except when it is purchased by those barely-human beings who buy gold. God dammit, this post isn't supposed to be about how some people are scum. You can read Gevlon for sociopathic ranting. Let's try this again.

Bot gets mats. People buy mats. Where did our gold go?

We're not liberated from any grind at all. We just do a different one. rather than farm materials, we run dailies to give gold to bots. I'm all for different content for different people, but when bots drive people out of the market, that's not adding options, that reducing them. Personally I prefer farming to dailies. It's just as trivial and mindless, but it gives me a dull high, whereas dailies are just boring as shit.

What is a low price anyway? Is 5g low? 10g? 1g? Once upon a time 10g would have been huge. Well not huge huge, but not like these days when it's less than a single daily quest and essentially trivial. To just call a number low is ridiculous. It must have context. I once thought 15g per ore was cheap for titanium. Now I think 7g is cheap and 10g is ridiculously overpriced. Within an expansion that's clearly due to changes in material supplies, crafting demand, and so on. But looking between expansions we can see that gold itself has changed in value. Dailies have caused massive inflation, meaning that 10g is no longer 10g.

By driving players to dailies and away from farming, bots have indeed lowered the price of mats, through inflation. But we once got the mats ourselves, and while that doesn't make them free, it does put them under our control, and that has value. The mats are not any cheaper. We just do a different grind and think they're cheaper because of inflation.

Do bots increase the supply of materials? Yes, but much less than apologists pretend. Obviously a bot can farm for longer than a player. They don't get bored or tired and a bot can even be a bit more efficient than a player due to planned routes rather than the semi-willy-nilly method used by many players. However, materials have limited respawn times. This means that players who would be farming are less efficient due to the bots taking their spawns. Two players are not going to clash as much as two bots or a bot and a player.

Without bots we would be farming rather than questing. The number of farmers would increase while the gold supply would decrease. Now imagine that: the price increase due to lower supply could be offset by reduced inflation. The real price would have still gone up (since as I said before, inflation isn't exactly price), but... actually it would go down, because reduced inflation would also mean fewer dailies needed for a set number of mats. Just as more dailies drive inflation, encouraging more dailies, so the reverse is true, and as prices are no longer inflated we can run fewer dailies. There are of course ceilings and floors, so it cannot be extrapolated endlessly to conclude that we will eventually have every player running 25 dailies and paying 300g for a single titanium ore, or that without dailies material prices would go to 5 copper per ore.

Bots have not made the situation much better for players overall. Pure crafters have benefited due to lower prices, but farmers are driven out of 'work' and consumers are pushed into dailies. Bots aren't doing us any favors. Let's not fall for their lies, their attempts to trick us into being part of their black market.


Anonymous said...

Every time someone comments that your blog is just a lame forum to flame Gevlon's ideas while deleting posts that shoot you down properly, you're like "No, Gevlon and I have good discussions often." Then, you issue another post like this, a long emotional rant which ignores all of the actual logical points and in which you straight up call him a sociopathic ranter.

Your main point is that dailies are boring, while herbing and mining are actually somewhat fun on occasion, and that botting drives people to do the former, so it hurts people. I agree that dailies are more boring than herbing/farming, but there exist other bots than herb/mining bots, and also your analysis on how people are driven to do dailies instead of mining/herbing is incomplete. Also, since it's soooo easy to make tens of thousands of golds using the AH in very little time, the people who are still doing dailies kinda...deserve it for being incapable. It sounds like you are one of these people? Too bad for you.

Klepsacovic said...

Is the "someone" you?

Whether or not dailies are boring was not at all my main point, and I would have hoped normal people could recognize that as my opinion and not an attempt at a universal statement.

I am not one of "these people". I've bought what I want and have plenty in excess. Sometimes I craft a bit or farm if I think I will enjoy it. Sometimes I use the AH to get gold if I think I'll enjoy poking around in a market. But hey, why let facts get in the way of your baseless speculation on my financial situation?

nightgerbil said...

I am having difficulty following your arguement. In my experience ore has a respawn time, so if its constantly farmed by a bot, that ore will be farmed to the max. So if for example it spawns every 30 mins then it will be mined 48 times. Wheras if the crafters are forced to go out looking for it, running around in unefficent circles, then whole time periods will pass when it isnt farmed and in busy time periods 3-4 farmers will all be there desperately claim jumping each other to get the mats they need. Reduced supply raises ore prices and prices of crafted goods while stopping the farmers doing the dailies they need to pay for eveything from repair bills to there bold carinal rubies being cut for them, as they spend 3hrs instead of 5 minutes acquiring the mats they need. The result would make crafters poorer, more likely to "give up" and just forget their profession beyond its perk and relying on dailies completely for their gold.

I would predict that if the bots were all suddenly removed from the game and the price of gatherable materials rose to the point it was no longer profitable to craft, the result would be the end of the crafting professions not some kind of Utopia. The sensible way to deal with the bots would be to make gathering trivily easy so farming was a trivial task, somewhat on a par with doing dailies for gold. Idk how about making each node have a 3 minute spawn time? still boring if ya just gonna sit and watch it, but one decent lap of a zone and your swimming in mats. Wouldnt that be more likely to achieve the result you aspire to?

SlikRX said...

IMHO, higher priced mats would drive higher prices for crafted goods. I would guess the net profits (for crafting) would stay the roughly the same.

One group would take it in the shorts: the folks that just buy, but don't farm or craft.

One group would be able to make a good living again: "real" farmers.

"Farming" the AH takes as much time and as any other farming activity. Data aquisition, analysis and posting items takes a significant amount of time. Just because AH farmers sit in the AH all day, instead for seein the sights doesn't make it more valid.

Actually, I think there's a solution to the dailies, but I'm not 100% sure it's any better: increase the gold/value of drops in Heroics and other Northrend dungeons.

If it takes ~1 hour to do dailies, and get ~250 gold, well, make Naxx, or Ulduar give you 300 gold per hour.

Or something.

Klepsacovic said...

My expectation is that higher mat prices would be offset by lower inflation. As for the folks who just buy and don't farm or craft, well what should they expect? It's as absurd as claims that America has a "consumption economy", just another way to say "We're don't make anything and someday producers will realize what our currency is actually worth."

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Has someone invented another definition for inflation while I wasn't looking? Last I heard, inflation meant that prices rose because of an oversupply of currency. Thus, you would expect that prices for mats would continue to rise as more people are 'forced' into dailies by the bots and so have an excess of gold to spend. But what I have seen, and what you yourself gave as an example, was that prices were actually falling for most mats.

This is to do with an oversupply of farmed mats via bots, rather than inflation. If the bots all suddenly disappeared, the real farmers would be spending much more time out gathering stuff, and would therefore be listing their goods at higher prices since they weren't getting as much gold from dailies.

So what would this mean to the non-farmer? You're claiming that by some mystical offset, in actual fact the prices will go down, which I take to mean that the non-farmer will buy the same amount of mats, but he will end up with more cash at the end. This is clearly wrong. Higher mat prices from player farmers and no increase in gold income (since they don't farm for mats) for the buyers, means less cash in hand at the end for the buyer. These increased prices for mats will be passed on to buyers of crafted items.

While I'm not defending or apologising for botters (I hate them for several reasons) the claim that no more botters would mean lower prices for all is just insane.

Klepsacovic said...

Inflation (from dailies) drives the mat price up while botting drives the mat price down. I'm suggesting that the reduced inflation (from reduced dailies) would at least partially offset the reducef material supply.

I do think players would find themslves with less gold, but more materials.

One key assumption here is that bots and gold-buyers are douchebags and anything they have doesn't count (since ideally they'd be banned), so that is shifting gold and material supplies.

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