Musings on the recent account selling post
Strap in kids, this is feeling like a long post…
I’ve had a week or so to reflect on the recent paid post on this blog. While the comments were not as plentiful as I had anticipated, they reflected current player feelings on the issue pretty well. The great thing about human interaction, even including a blog, is that hearing other people’s direct thoughts and responses help develop and advance your own thinking.
So, let’s talk a little bit about the comments that were left:
Athryn and Mikhail– I’m sorry this post bothered you so dramatically, that was not my intent. I’m assuming you also don’t read or use WoWhead, Allakazham or Thotbott since last I read all of them are owned by a gold selling company.
Lady Jess and Slipslappy – you two mirror my thoughts on the issue of account buying/selling. Interesting concept, but even if I could get myself to the point of believing it was legal (because it is a different animal than straight out gold selling), I would be too paranoid to buy or sell.
Taur– Amen, brother. If you can’t have fun actually playing WoW and saving the gold or leveling your character yourself, then you need to find another game. Sure, I might have been tempted given the 5,000G price tag for the flying skill I need for epic flight form, but actually spending real, hard-earned cash to buy it? I’m too cheap and something about that transaction, in addition to being illegal, feels like crossing a line where WoW is no longer a game.
Big Bear Butt– Yours are the comments I want to respond to most, as I find that “grumpy ole’ bears” are more likely not to mince their words. Plus, after reading your blog for a while now, you seem to have a “see both sides of the argument” mentality even while leaving no doubt how you personally feel. So, as much as once can from just a couple blog posts, I’ve come to respect you. First of all, let me respond to your comments about money. I too, do not make a dime from this blog. The paid post was absolutely the first time I got any money out of this site and frankly I was considering it an experiment. Other than that – you will see no adsense ads, no paid links, nada. Have I been tempted? Sure – who couldn’t use a couple extra bucks every month?
Second of all – your comment that “in a subtle way” I mocked those that feel a need to buy an account or gold. I certainly didn’t intend to mock anyone. What I was trying to do was draw a distinction between gold and accounts and what the official EULA we all agreed to means to the topic. I have never bought gold or an account, nor do I intend to sell my account. But there are so many harsh comments on both sides of this issue it almost feels like a religious war. I was simply trying to bring the discussion down to some factual basis.
Lastly – your summation of the post as a simple, paid “shout out” is exactly on target, and is a good way to represent my intent. Someone contacted me with cash in hand for some exposure to their site; nothing more, nothing less. In fact, I explicitly made the decision to say in the post that I was paid for the post. I could have just kept my mouth shut and no one would have been the wiser, but that didn’t feel right. I tried hard to set the stage for the issue, present the site and what it was all about, and leave it to you readers to decide if it was right for you or not.
That all being said, here’s where I’m at a week after the post and mulling over all your responses:
- I don’t know that I feel much differently on the two topics. As far as I read the agreement, selling your account is within the intent of the EULA as long as you also uninstall the game and transfer the media along with the account. I agree that I’d rather play the game than buy an account, but if we’re talking legalities here, as I read the agreement it’s okay. Gold selling is obviously against the EULA no matter what.
- I’m still in the dark as to why this is such an inflammatory topic. You would think we’re talking about animal cruelty or racial persecution here. I’m tempted to say that the answer lies somewhere close to the reason the forums are virtually unusable (with this Penny Arcade cartoon summing it up perfectly – warning, NSFW). I’m not denying there aren’t some negative human and societal outcomes that can be traced to gold and account selling. I haven’t done a ton of research into the topic, but it doesn’t take too long to realize that there are people being taken advantage of to support this secondary industry, and the more I read the more I am starting to be against it. However, you don’t hear people saying “I’m totally against gold-farming because of the conditions under which underage Chinese kids are forced to work.” No, you hear something more like “buying gold is wrong and anyone who does it is a prick.” People – if you’re going to take a stand, take it for a reason, and passive aggression is not a reason. It is after all a game, and if anyone that doesn’t see things your way in a simple game is a prick, then you’ve got a lot of growing up to do.
- No one came out and said it, but something that was kind of implied in a couple of the comments was that the real reason the post seemed inappropriate was not the post itself, but rather the fact that I was paid to write it. This is where I had some good reflecting over the last week or so. Whereas I took the middle of the road, “no hard opinion” so-it-shouldn’t-matter justification for accepting the payment, I fooled myself into believing that would be acceptable to those folks that do have a hard opinion. More importantly, whereas I felt I was being paid for my writing skills, I think my readership just felt taken advantage of.
So where am I after all this reflection and rambling?
Long story short – the only observation that has stuck with me over the last week is the issue of the money and the perception it has created in some reader’s minds. I’m not above trying to make money via this blog, and if that ever happens I’m sure my readership will be split on the issue; however when/if that happens I don’t want it to be a surprise. Even though I was trying to err on the side of “full disclosure”, I think this one came as a surprise.
So here’s what I’m going to do.
The good folks over at The Bronze Kettle periodically run charity auctions. They get an artist to donate the time to draw a custom avatar and us World of Warcraft players bid on it. They run the auctions on eBay and they don’t have a current auction going at the moment or I’d link to it. Anyway, the charity benefited is Child’s Play, “a community based charity grown and nurtured from the game culture and industry. Over two million dollars in donations of toys, games, books and cash for sick kids in children’s hospitals across North America and the world have been collected since our inception.”
Even though there is no current charity auction, you can follow the link to the Child’s Play website and donate to the charity. You can donate cash directly via PayPal, or click the controller in your area on the map and buy gifts for a local children’s hospital. If you click the controller corresponding to a particular hospital, an Amazon.com page comes up listing all the gaming products/titles that particular hospital needs for kids.
(Update: I just made my purchases. If you click a controller to donate to a particular hospital, PayPal is not an option on the Amazon checkout screen. I just transferred the money from PayPal directly into my checking account and used a credit card on Amazon. Same difference from a cash flow perspective, but if you’re looking for the easiest way to donate, then PayPal right on the website is probably your best bet.)
It just so happens there is a hospital that is part of the Child’s Play network right in my backyard. So I plan on taking all the money I received as payment for the post in question, and using it to buy gaming presents listed until I run out of money. While the payment I received wasn’t huge, it should be enough to buy a good number of presents. I’ll get to prove to my readership there was no evil intent on my part by accepting payment for a “shout out” AND I’ll get to give some sick kids a present they might not have otherwise received during this holiday season.
As far as I’m concerned, that’s a win/win. I am now officially done talking about this subject.