Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A Server Transfer Cost Me $285

I've earned a million gold in World of Warcraft. Twice. That doesn't mean I got up to two million. It means I got to a million, had to walk away from half of it, and earn that 500k again. A couple of years ago Blizzard had a "sale" on character severs. Faction, race, and server changes were all 50% for one week. This was amazingly timed with the end of my long time guild disbanding, and many of us were already in conversations about moving to a bigger server. All of sudden we had a week to decide on a destination, organize our bags, and transfer for a more reasonable price. As a player of two characters, it was essentially a two for one deal. Not bad. So I spent a day or two liquidating assets I didn't want to transfer and getting all my various heirlooms to the characters I was going to move. There was probably another day or so spent researching destination realms and comparing notes with my comrades. So with decisions made and things in order I logged into battle net to move my characters to their new realm. And then I got this error message. The gold cap for transferring servers is 50k per character. I was stunned. 50k? But I have 900k that I worked damn hard to accrue! I'm sure 50k seemed reasonable when server transfers were first implemented. But we are now in an era with mounts between 40 and 100k. I spent 70k on a single Darkmoon trinket at the beginning of MoP. 50k?! Seriously? I was in disbelief. And running out of time.
So I frantically raided the auction house. I was looking for anything of higher value that would stack in my bags for the transfer. Primal Diamonds were good. I bought a few choppers (I know they don't stack, but still a decent way to convert some gold). It was working. I had fairly quickly turned more than 300k into things in my bags that I knew I could sell on the new server. Even if some of it sold at a loss, that was better than leaving gold on the table. But my old server was small. The same factors that let me corner the jewelcrafting market and earn a million gold were limiting my supply of available goods to "smuggle" across servers. I had to laugh when someone in trade asked why the price of Living Steel had quadrupled overnight. Because I bought literally all of it. And would have bought more if it had been there. I quickly realized that my little server's economy wasn't going to allow me to get all that gold converted. At least not while the sale on transfers was still happening. A friend and I looked into splitting a guild transfer, but details I can't remember now (guild level?) made that a non-option. And guild transfers weren't half-off anyway. I was starting to get pretty upset with the transfer gold cap. Having a degree in economics, I understood why one exists. I just couldn't/can't fathom why it is still so damn low. 50k was a lot in TBC. It really was. But today? Epic flying is 10% of that! I wasn't happy about it, but I couldn't see any solution. I kept telling myself Earth money is more valuable than Azeroth money. Over and over. Then I dropped 400k into my guild's bank and transferred immediately. My way of just ripping off the Band Aid. Eventually I got over it. I sold all that stuff in my bags, got my production system in TSM going again, and got back to making gold. I eventually peaked at 1.3 million before I started spending. While I was never ok with the transfer cap, I just kept telling myself it wasn't real money.

But now it IS real money. Now I could be using that gold to pay my subscription. And I'm kind of pissed about it. Beside the fact that I had to forfeit a major component of my personal character progression, the reason I had to do it is no longer valid, if it ever was. The only reason to have a cap at all is so somebody like me can't move to a server like my old one and disrupt the whole economy with their deep pockets. I understood that at the time even if I thought 50k was way low. But the WoW token is being sold region-wide. Large amounts of gold are now moving between server economies in 20-30k chunks. In a sense, there is only one economy for the entire region now. The AH is no longer faction specific, and we have been able to move battle pets across servers for years now. The old definition of a server economy has broken down. It's time for the transfer cap to disappear as well. Or at the VERY least be raised into the millions. Because of the 50k cap, I essentially paid $285 for a server change. And at the time I thought $25 was bad! My gold is gone, but maybe we can get the cap raised or removed now that gold is literally worth real money.

Update: The transfer cap is now 150k. That probably would have been enough before garrisons..

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