The Value of a Copper

If you’ve played World of Warcraft for any length of time, you are familiar with both the changing value of gold over the past several expansions and the fact that someone is always going to bring it up in Trade Chat eventually. Until recently, I mostly stayed out of Trade, but there are always a few things that entice me out into the open, and this conversation usually works:

Random Monk #472: WTS [Pretty Cool Pet] 5k PST
Random Warlock #829: That’s not worth 5k, it’s like 2k.
Random Warlock #829: On my other server, it’s 500g or less.
Random Monk #472: It’s going for 7k on the AH.
Random Warlock #829: That’s stupid, it’s not worth that.

SoapboxGive me a sec to grab my soapbox…okay.

Value is not a static principle. At best, the value of anything is circumstantial, constantly in flux based on what is occurring around the assignment of value to a particular item or service.

It’s like this, K: The value of any item or service in WoW is whatever people are willing to pay for it at a given point in time. This system fluctuates and is self-regulating.

Here’s an example: If Random Monk #472 up there lists his [Pretty Cool Pet] for 5k and someone buys it, then good for him, he’s made some gold! If, however, he lists [Pretty Cool Pet] for 3 weeks at 5k and it never sells, then he has two options: keep the pet or lower the price. Self-regulating, see?

Then you throw in variables like competitive sellers–Random Paladin #386 undercut the monk and offered the pet for 3k, now the monk has to decide if he’s willing to sell the pet for less than that or if he should keep it–and you’ll see that prices really are continually in flux.

Each time one of these decisions is made, buyers and sellers are determining the worth of an item for themselves. In the above scenario, the monk has to ask himself: is the pet worth more than 3k to me? If it is, then he’ll keep it, and if not, then he’ll sell it for the lower price. Easy peasy.

When you say to someone, “It’s not worth that,” what you’re actually saying is, “It’s not worth that to me,” which is perfectly fine as long as you don’t claim to speak for the entirety of the server population. If [Pretty Cool Pet] isn’t worth 5k to you, then you have the option to go farm/capture the pet for yourself, and that’s a value-determining question in itself: what’s worth more to me right now, my time or my gold?

Next time you’re tempted to piss on someone’s gold-making Cheerios in Trade Chat, just don’t. Whether it’s a [Pretty Cool Pet] or a Heroic Garrosh kill, determine its value for yourself and let everyone else do likewise.

And to the Random Warlock #829’s of the world, I say:

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5 Comments

Filed under Opinion

5 responses to “The Value of a Copper

  1. Well said Ambermist 🙂

  2. Ahhh basic economics. If it’s one thing MMO economies do well, it’s teach the basics of supply, demand, cost, value, and time. Well said. 🙂

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