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Author Topic: Could WoW switch it's currency to just 5 bitcoins per server?  (Read 3074 times)
notig
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February 09, 2013, 05:29:41 AM
 #21

i for one think its a brilliant idea (admittedly one ive thought of before). The naysayers here simply arnt imaginative enough. Sure mmos would have to adapt the way things dropped and the stats on items and the fees for withdrawing btc from the server... ect....

It will require incredable forsight for the first serious mmo with good gameplay to incorporate something like this but that company will make an unbelievable fortune.

also loots from mobs would be relatively inconsequential. Most of the serious bitcoins you got from playing would be from acquiring rare weapons and selling them to people who imported bitcoins from outside of the game. The came could fund its self entirely by charging a serious fee for withdrawing bitcoin out of the game economy (prob something like 10-15%)

Loot from mobs might be inconsequential in amount. But that's okay. If mobs dropped a satoshi here... a satoshi there. The point of that....... would simply be to enable those who played the game to trade their items for items with bitcoins without having to bring outside bitcoins in. To get the ball rolling so to speak.
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notig
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February 09, 2013, 05:37:38 AM
 #22

I think some of these ideas are worthy of consideration.

I would just like to add this though.. as another possibility. I know that most people don't like monthly fees... but lets say a game that intertwined itself with bitcoin somehow... did charge a monthly (dollar or bitcoin) fee.  They could funnel a portion of that fee itself back into the game in creative ways. These ways would simply create awesomeness.

I'll give an example. Suppose everyone pays 15 dollars a month. 1 dollar a month from that goes to buying bitcoins. (note that they are actually buying bitcoins with a credit card in this situation essentialy. That's cool and I think this is one reasonable way you could do so without fraud being a big issue).

Now you take that sliver of the monthly fee... you have random sucky mobs drop a satoshi or two maybe. But what if you sent a good portion of that fund to some super mob? Now not only would people be wanting to get that mob for the challenge of it... but the loot itself would become something of real value. People might even form a super star guild of a few expert people and make a living off of just playing the game.

I really like the idea of pvp and loot dropping though as well lol.
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February 09, 2013, 05:59:25 AM
 #23

I have been researching codebases for years looking for ways to do this kind of thing, but most free open source games either are not useable for lots and lots of players or are broken code, or even, such as in the case of a Travian clone I looked at, are actually pirated stuff. (The Travian clones all seem to steal the real Travian's graphics even if the actual code is new, and I think they maybe also steal all the code they can too such as .js and .css files.)

If you can point to some graphical game code that actually works and that includes free open source graphics to go with it not just the code like phase spae or crystal space or whatever its called does I'd love to take a look at it.

Meanwhile I figure we might as well go ahead with what we do have, such as text mode games and barely-illustrated web-based games. If the economic models can actually make profits they can buy graphic artists and musicians and all that later if they actually work, if they don't actually work all that bells and whistles are just a waste of money as well as a waste of bandwidth and processing power for both the server and the clients.

One thing I have been looking into is to not only throw out the "no buying and selling stuff for real money" rules but also the "no using of bots/scripts" rules: make it more like CPU-mining, where people are ideally running their characters or villages or nations or planets or whatever 24/7 thus obviously cannot be expected to be at the keyboard all the time thus are encouraged to automate as much as possible. That could even create a market for automation tools. We have already seen with bitcoins and the many altcoins that the idea of running something 24/7 that makes money even while you sleep is appealing to people, and running chracters in games might even be something CPUs can do better than GPUs or ASICs can do thus also serve the demographic that keep clamouring for ways to revive CPU mining.

I agree that monthly fees might not be ideal, for one thing I would prefer not to have to deal with such rapid recurrence of billing nor such short duration of subscriptions, also I think that if you do it by the year there could be a greater chance of more people wimping out before they hit their breakeven spot, for example if expected ROI timing is such that you expect it to take 9 months to recover the cost of creating a character a lot of people might nit stick it out long enough to reap the profits of continuing on after that for the three remaining months of a one year subscription. (In an business you usually don't expect to make money the first few years so even this 9 months initial time needed to hope to break even is very good compared to normal businesses, and of course you could make business the major focus of the game itself.)

You maybe also should consider whether you want vast numbers of players most of whom are just a waste of bandwidth or less players but all of them paying players. That might depend a lot on who your target players are, there are players who actually are even suggesting using auctions to price the creation of new characters because they are confident they can run characters better than most other players thus that the more money players are putting in the more money they themselves, as the best players, will be able to take out...

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February 09, 2013, 10:26:35 AM
 #24

A different aspect:

Is 5 BTC per sever enough?

Let's see:
5 BTC = 500 000 000 Satoshi.
1 piece of gold in WoW = 10 000 copper pieces (the "satoshi" of WoW) (http://www.wowwiki.com/Money)

Total economy for 1 server: 500 million/10k = 50k gold pieces.

Sorry, but that's NOT enough by a fair amount I fear. Even if 1 WoW copper is worth just 1 satoshi (just a quick check: 10k Gold is ~10-15 USD. Let's say 0.5 BTC at current prices... if 100 000 000 copper = ~50 000 000 satoshi --> 1 copper is worth ~2 satoshis at current prices) there is a LOT of BTC needed just to cover 1 server.

I guess gold farmers have enough competition to have competetive prices, so the work to acquire that gold is somehow well reflected in the price. This means that Blizzard would need to buy probably a couple dozen millions of USD worth of BTC (maybe over time from players wishing to exchange BTC <--> WoW gold or from exchanges if more are withdrawing gold).

What might be intersting would be to take Open Source games and integrate Bitcoin there, can also be in the form of an item auction house for example.

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February 09, 2013, 10:33:09 AM
 #25

Use DeVCoin or BBQcoin or whatever for copper, bitcoin only for gold?

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February 09, 2013, 11:48:16 AM
 #26

...then 5 BTC can cover 50k * 10k = 500 million gold
The current gold cap per character is at 1 million - 1copper

I don't think Blizzard releases stats on how much gold is in circulation on each server but it might be possible to scan auction houses for bids and successful buyouts for example as a minimum baseline. I believe however that on one server there is FAR more than 500 million gold distributed between characters.

Let's assume that there are 5 billion gold coins stored in player accounts on an older, big server, these could be 1:1 mapped to 50 BTC.

According to http://www.warcraftrealms.com/dbstats.php there are ~500 servers with about 100 million total chars (who on average would own just 50 gold each)
Just to 1:1 map all their gold to satoshis, Blizzard needs to own 25k BTC.

This does still not solve the issue that in this model 1 gold would be worth 1 satoshi then, while currently it is worth 20k satoshi --> if you open a market where players can buy and sell their gold for BTC (or even exchange at a fixed rate) you either promote selling gold for USD still (you get 20000 times more money if you sell 10k gold for 11 USD) or crash the economy (it is 20000 times cheaper to buy gold for BTC than to farm it yourself using the cheapest slave labour/bots possible).

All in all my points are:

1) 5 BTC are probably NOT enough to 1:1 map all the gold on one WoW server.
2) If Blizzard wants players to be able to exchange gold to BTC and vice versa at fair prices and be a market maker in this, they need 25k*20k BTC - far more than ever will exist.
3) If Blizzard just wants players to get a token amount of BTC as a gold sink(?) they still need half a million USD to give away to players(!) at current prices for this little project. It's far easier and cheaper to invent something else as gold sink.
4) Transaction fees... "I want to sell gold for 20000 times under market price for these Bitcoins and then above THAT I have to pay transaction fees that can buy me half a continent ingame?!"

Sorry, this just doesn't work out. Neither for the players, nor the gold farmers nor for Blizzard.
There is a minecraft server though for example, where you deposit 0.1 BTC for signup and then can earn some Bitcoin back by playing (50 satoshi per block or so).

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February 09, 2013, 12:56:45 PM
 #27

A different aspect:

Is 5 BTC per sever enough?

Let's see:
5 BTC = 500 000 000 Satoshi.
1 piece of gold in WoW = 10 000 copper pieces (the "satoshi" of WoW) (http://www.wowwiki.com/Money)

Total economy for 1 server: 500 million/10k = 50k gold pieces.

Sorry, but that's NOT enough by a fair amount I fear. Even if 1 WoW copper is worth just 1 satoshi (just a quick check: 10k Gold is ~10-15 USD. Let's say 0.5 BTC at current prices... if 100 000 000 copper = ~50 000 000 satoshi --> 1 copper is worth ~2 satoshis at current prices) there is a LOT of BTC needed just to cover 1 server.

I guess gold farmers have enough competition to have competetive prices, so the work to acquire that gold is somehow well reflected in the price. This means that Blizzard would need to buy probably a couple dozen millions of USD worth of BTC (maybe over time from players wishing to exchange BTC <--> WoW gold or from exchanges if more are withdrawing gold).

What might be intersting would be to take Open Source games and integrate Bitcoin there, can also be in the form of an item auction house for example.

they wouldnt actually be using bitcoin, that would make no sense at all. Wow servers are already centralized so the decentralized nature of bitcoin isnt an asset to the games mechanics (imagine waiting for a conformation to loot gold from a mob). They would be using a self issued currency that was pegged to the price of bitcoin and 100% reserve backed by bitcoin and transferable into bitcoin. This would allow them to tack on as much resolution as was necessary. They could in theory have 16 or 100 decimal places of precision if they wished.

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February 09, 2013, 05:03:59 PM
 #28

They would be using a self issued currency that was pegged to the price of bitcoin and 100% reserve backed by bitcoin and transferable into bitcoin. This would allow them to tack on as much resolution as was necessary. They could in theory have 16 or 100 decimal places of precision if they wished.
They would be using a third (Gold, BTC + transfer currency) currency that is both 100% pegged to both sides of BTC and WoW gold?

Also - what would be the benefit for Blizzard to do something like that (handing out money to players for things they themselves have 100% control over?) besides creating a money sink in-game that costs them actually money outside of the game?

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February 09, 2013, 06:13:38 PM
 #29

They would be using a self issued currency that was pegged to the price of bitcoin and 100% reserve backed by bitcoin and transferable into bitcoin. This would allow them to tack on as much resolution as was necessary. They could in theory have 16 or 100 decimal places of precision if they wished.
They would be using a third (Gold, BTC + transfer currency) currency that is both 100% pegged to both sides of BTC and WoW gold?

Also - what would be the benefit for Blizzard to do something like that (handing out money to players for things they themselves have 100% control over?) besides creating a money sink in-game that costs them actually money outside of the game?

maybe im going at this from the wrong angle. say you click on a thing in the game window that says deposit bitcoins into game wallet. when you click on the button it would generate a custom address for you. You would then deposit bitcoins into that address and after x confirmations they would show up in the bottom right corner of your screen just like wow gold does now. Now what you dont see is that behind the scenes this number you see in the bottom right corner of your game window is just a credit that has been attached to your account. or a nother way of looking at it is an outstanding liability that the company has to you that is denominated in bitcoin. Now when you make a trade with currency in the game actual bitcoins dont move around on the actual bitcoin network, just the balances of these ious that are maintained on a centralized server.

There are a lot of ways bliz could do this i will just explain the way that i would do it. I would allow the economy to be seeded by the existing gold that was in players accounts. I would decide how much of the companies money would be dedicated to seeding the bitcoins into the game economy. then i would divide the amount of bitcoins used to seed the game economy by the total amount of gold in the game economy. So heres an example, if the company invested in 1000btc and there were 10 million gold in the wow economy than the exchange rate would be pegged at 0.0001btc/gold. (1000/10million=0.0001)

Blizard would generate revenue by making rare game items marketable inside of the game and charging a rather steep premium to anyone who withdrew bitcoins out of the game economy. The entire game could be funded in this manner. Lots of people would want to bring btc in to make up for the fact that they are bad and yet lots of other people would love the idea of earning spendable money for playing a game and it wouldnt ever be spendable money unless bliz got their cut.

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February 09, 2013, 11:32:50 PM
 #30

You're kinda describing the way Guild Wars 2 is working - WoW was never and probably will never be built around an item shop and gold buyable with fiat money/BTC.

In GW2 you can buy "gems" via PayPal, credit card (and maybe in the distant future BTC too?!). These can however only be spent, not cashed out again.

Again, you're underestimating the amount of gold that already exists in a game with close to 10 million active players and probably a lot more ex-players that could reactivate their accounts. Also Blizzard alone has higher revenues in Quarter 4 2012 (http://investor.activision.com/results.cfm) than the current (record high) market cap of whole Bitcoin at the moment and probably exclusive contracts with PayPal. Why should they even care?

Yes, it's probably possible to come up with something to fund ingame currencies (just like it's already possible to do so via PayPal and co) and maybe even to get money back (see Diablo III) in BTC - BUT this game will not and probably never be World of Warcraft.

Another thing to note is: If it is even remotely possible to get a net+ for playing a game, you'll have quite a few intelligent people coming up wiuth any way possible to hack, cheat and bot the hell out of it. Just think for example of a page where you can play chess against another human - both players pay 0.1 BTC, the winner then gets 0.19 BTC (0.01 for the house). Whoever plays without a strong chess computer doing the moves for them will have a VERY bad time on that page. For this to work either it needs to be impossible to get a plus (e.g. you can't withdraw) or the game needs to be only solvable by humans (very hard to do and still be fun) or the loss needs to be calculated in (e.g. you have far higher ad revenue and paying 5% of that to players is better as it draws in more players) or you need a hobbyist community that won't work on large scale and can handle disputes themselves (e.g. a private server on a LAN party where the server operator can enable the "Bitcoin tournament plugin" where everybody pays into a pot and then gets returns and you get 1% of the money wagered there for providing the service).

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February 10, 2013, 02:32:48 AM
 #31

I see the opportunity for a nize Ponzi scheme here. The players deposit some bitcoins, play around and gain some more bitcoins. They can cash out...only as long as new players deposit more. In the mean time, the game company takes out money on in game transaction cuts, selling of merchandise etc. When the music stops, most people loose.
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February 10, 2013, 03:47:16 AM
 #32

I guess poker is a ponzi scheme then, also roulette, blackjack, slot machines and so on.

Any game in which some players could take out more than they put in is likely to find at least some jurisdictions trying to categorise them as gambling, bit with a lot of games such as World of Warcraft there apparently are people who put money in "just for fun" or "for entertainment" with no plan or expectation of ever taking any out at all let alone taking out more than they put in. I guess you could call that an entertaining ponzi, a ponzi that manages to convince some people to put in money without expecting to take any out. All businesses maybe work that way too though in a sense. Some theories of behavior seem to claim pretty much all behavior is motivated by some kind of perceived gain, known as positive feedback, so maybe it is mostly by pretending positive feedback that is not itself directly a negotiable financial instrument does not count as a profit or gain.

What I would like to do is separate out superfluous fripperies such as images and sound, so that for example bline people need not bother with the "extra" (to them) bandwidth cost of images, deaf people need not bother with the "extra" (to them) cost of music, we get the fundamental mechanics and economics down and people who consider such "extras" to be worth buying can create a market for such add-ons if they truly believe, as evidenced by their willingness to pay for such "extras", that such "extras" are necessary or desirable for themselves (without forcing them on others whose bandwidth constraints or processing power might differ).

If you are looking to try to play for profit rather than for eye-candy or sound-effects you might well prefer to run ten thousand characters or units or vehicles or whatever abstractly using minimal-bandwidth interfaces than to spend so much of your bandwidth and processing power on eye-candy t you end up not running as many such things thus not harvesting as much of whatever potentially profitable things they could be busily harvesting for you.

For example anyone who considers it essential to be able to invite friends into a three-dimensional castle could use something like OpenSimulator to draw such things in as much glorious detail as they wish, or pay OpenSimulator artists to create such representations for them, while people who are more interested in the actual defense bonusses a castle could provide might prefer to spend more on actual defense points than on pretty pictures of objects they like to think of as being what their defense points, when deployed or in action, might look like...

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February 10, 2013, 08:14:17 PM
 #33

Ponzi schemes mean paying interst on deposited/invested money not out of profits that you generated with that money, but from that money itself.
I doubt you'd get interest just for depositing BTC at a gaming company, everything you'd get out would be "earned" somehow - hopefully with transparent rules (even though they can cause you to loose in the long run, like every casino game).

All in all:
If it is possible to get ingame currency out of a game (be it "officially", via PayPal, via BTC or even against ToS by selling it on eBay) you promote botting/cheating/exploiting. If you only allow payments into the game but no payouts, you go down a dangerous route of enabling a "pay to win" playstyle or not having anything attractive to offer in the first place.


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February 11, 2013, 05:15:18 AM
 #34

So maybe make a botting / cheating / exploiting game?

Rumour seems to indicate EVE Online is a cheating/exploiting game but do they also allow/encourage botting?

After all we expect players to have computers so it seems kind of silly to try to tell them not to use their computers to play for them. On the contrary we should be able to expect their computers will be playing 24/7, either following strategies set out by the player or running some off the shelf strategies the player hopes will turn out to be competitive.

I have not ever played "The Sims" but from what little I saw over it over a child's shoulder once upon a time it already basically seemed to involve giving a bot some clues or instructions then just watching it act on them, I would think this many years later they ought to be able to operate with very little input from players, and that is with server-side bots in effect. I also saw some Korean or Japanese or some such place game in which you could set charcters in bot mode to automatically practice or hunt or whatever while you are offline, so again that was server-side botting.

I can understand that people who mostly use phones or for some other reason do not tend to have a machine online 24/7 preferring server-side bots but I am not sure which would be more expensive, the processing of running their bots for them on the server side or the bandwidth of keeping client-side bots aware of what is going on around them and of receiving their instructions as to what to do.

Overall I think allowing and even encouraging botting seems very interesting, and might well be a lot cheaper than trying to prevent botting.

Basically botting is going to happen so one might as well assume it and work with it.

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February 11, 2013, 08:26:23 AM
 #35

Then you have the problem that a bot is either very limited but easy to program (think "Sims") - with this you encourage people finding winning strategies and only playing by them - or that it is only doable by a programmer (check out "Antme" for example) meaning you limit your player base a LOT. You can look up optimal strategies for nearly every casino game for example (try Blackjack).

You could also try to find mathematical problems that are known to have no ideal solution or are VERY hard to do (check out "chomp" the chocolate game in a non-square configuration for example for a simple 2 player game with no known ideal strategy) but these might be a bit dull. Also it might be the case that someone actually does find a solution (but then hey, you found a solution!).

In the end, games of skill (e.g. super mario) fall out of line, as they can and will be botted/cheated. Games of luck don't care if they are botted/cheated (see satoshi's dice) but generally are not very hard to bot and then you either have a house edge or you loose money to your players. Games of strategy (chess etc.) can be botted, but it can be made as hard to do as you like.

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February 11, 2013, 11:17:14 AM
 #36

Then you have the problem that a bot is either very limited but easy to program (think "Sims") - with this you encourage people finding winning strategies and only playing by them - or that it is only doable by a programmer (check out "Antme" for example) meaning you limit your player base a LOT. You can look up optimal strategies for nearly every casino game for example (try Blackjack).

You could also try to find mathematical problems that are known to have no ideal solution or are VERY hard to do (check out "chomp" the chocolate game in a non-square configuration for example for a simple 2 player game with no known ideal strategy) but these might be a bit dull. Also it might be the case that someone actually does find a solution (but then hey, you found a solution!).

In the end, games of skill (e.g. super mario) fall out of line, as they can and will be botted/cheated. Games of luck don't care if they are botted/cheated (see satoshi's dice) but generally are not very hard to bot and then you either have a house edge or you loose money to your players. Games of strategy (chess etc.) can be botted, but it can be made as hard to do as you like.

ive had this idea of antme for years, i had no idea it actually existed! thanks.

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February 14, 2013, 01:08:59 AM
 #37

Supposedly ideal strategies run by scripts likely just become predictable prey for smarter predators, don't they?

Basically once you figure out how they are operating you should be able to come up with ways to exploit them.

Even a brute force strategy such as "pay to win" where you just throw more and more money at the problem until all the other players give up due to not being able to afford to keep up with your spending might not work so well if your paying means paying to other players, since whatever you pay can end up financing your enemies instead of your friends.

That of course leads to attemtping to find an optimal strategy for alliances, how to decide who your friends are, when or if to backstab them and so on.

If you pay to the game administration instead of to other players then yeah pay to win seems bad. But if you are paying to other players doesn't it just make the game more "interesting", and offer the potential to make you be basically a "fish" for the other players to prey upon until you realise your money inputs are helping others more than they help you?

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February 14, 2013, 02:30:45 PM
 #38

Supposedly ideal strategies run by scripts likely just become predictable prey for smarter predators, don't they?

Basically once you figure out how they are operating you should be able to come up with ways to exploit them.

Even a brute force strategy such as "pay to win" where you just throw more and more money at the problem until all the other players give up due to not being able to afford to keep up with your spending might not work so well if your paying means paying to other players, since whatever you pay can end up financing your enemies instead of your friends.

That of course leads to attemtping to find an optimal strategy for alliances, how to decide who your friends are, when or if to backstab them and so on.

If you pay to the game administration instead of to other players then yeah pay to win seems bad. But if you are paying to other players doesn't it just make the game more "interesting", and offer the potential to make you be basically a "fish" for the other players to prey upon until you realise your money inputs are helping others more than they help you?

-MarkM-


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