World of Warcraft gamers move 21B gold through the player economy every day

And other fun facts from Blizzard's Shawn Routhier's security talk

    
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how DARE you

IT-centric Splunk’s .conf is not generally an event we cover here on MOP, but the .conf20 edition held back in October had a presentation of note for us. Blizzard Senior Security Engineer Shawn Routhier gave a presentation on World of Warcraft’s economy – specifically, a data-minded look at trade and gold-making in the MMORPG, which happens to include several interesting tidbits about the MMO you might not have known.

Notably, Routhier’s talk suggests that the game sees over 10M “pseudo-financial transactions” every day, totaling 21B gold daily; in Retail WoW, 76% of that is through the auction hall, while in-person trade is slightly more popular than the AH in Classic. There’s also a brief realm breakdown, the top 10 items auctioned off, a neat graph relating to AH sales around the opening of the Gates of Ahn’Qiraj, and a chart showing auction volume across the regions, days, and hours. And then for game devs (this is coming from a security expert, after all!), there’s a handy visualization of methods to map out the biggest individual sellers – ergo, a tool for detecting likely goldsellers.

Heck, even if you don’t care about the numbers, the World of Warcraft jokes strung throughout the paper are fun.

You can watch the whole thing below, or just skim through the PDF. More stuff like this, game devs!

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Alyn
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Alyn

Money–as old as mankind,

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Dug From The Earth

“…and how blizzard knows you’re doing it”

… and yet… Bots run rampant every hour of every day makings millions of gold.

Sorry Blizzard “security” team… you either are lying, or simply dont care.

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Blake

Can tell Bree isn’t playing WoW right now. If she were it’d be 23.2B a day.

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Danny Smith

I wonder what the ratio of player to gold seller/bot account related activity it is.

Celestia
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Celestia

Time is money, friend.

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Utakata

According to my Goblin army though, 21B gold a day is only useful if it all gravitates to their pockets. <3

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Bruno Brito

Cool, but how much is that money really worth it? Because both Classic and Retail have several issues with inflation: Classic with theorycrafting for almost 16 years with gamers being way better at the game and being able to acrue gold by multiple goldfarms, and Retail with the game giving you tons of gold from thin air with quests and drops.

I wonder how much is 1 gold in retail worth in comparison to 1 gold in Classic.

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SmiteDoctor

The last time I sold a WoW token I got about 150k Gold for $20, doing some napkin math that’s roughly $267,000 being moved per day, $97,455,000 per year.

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Bruno Brito

150k gold = 20 dollars? For some reason, i thought you would be able to get way more money than that. I may be overplaying WoW’s inflation then.

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SmiteDoctor

That was during the expansion boom