wotlk-classic Wrath Classic Phase 2 Launching on January 17th
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Blizzard have posted an extensive response to the community reaction to the addition of the WoW Token in Wrath Classic. They delve into the significance and impact of Real Money Transactions, the amount of bans related to it, the value of gold itself, and more.
WoW Token in Classic (Source)
We want to take a moment to talk about WoW Token in Wrath of the Lich King Classic.
The best way to start is to simply say that this wasn’t something we arrived at lightly. For the entirety of Classic so far, the WoW Classic team has been very resistant to the idea of adding WoW Token to any form of Classic in the Western regions (NA and EU). When WoW Classic started in 2019, adding something like token felt unimaginable to us, and that continued to be true for us–even late into Burning Crusade Classic–for a few reasons:
In Vanilla WoW, the scarcity of gold is a major factor in how you approach your journey in Azeroth. From saving to get your first mount at 40, to picking and choosing which skills you wanted to learn while leveling so you could afford a new weapon or piece of armor. Later on at level 60, some form of time investment is needed to “maintain” a character in an ecosystem where flasks, resistance potions, and elixirs are such a major part of the game, and resources are scarce and highly contested. This was true all the way through Burning Crusade, where potions and flasks could represent a significant weekly expense and the resources required to make them were still quite difficult to obtain. It just didn’t feel “Classic”. It felt jarring, out of place, and was antithetical to what most of us wanted to relive about those early years of WoW. However, what we want to do from a design perspective and what we need to do for the good of the community aren’t always aligned, and this is one of the more difficult things about maintaining a large online game like Wrath Classic. When we really looked at the state of things in Wrath Classic, and how different players approach the game, we saw that we cannot cause the demand for gold to be lower. The impact of illicit RMT is beyond just buying gold; it’s the entire black market that revolves around gold sales. The concept of bots gets thrown around a lot, but it’s not just “bots” that fuel this, it’s compromised accounts, credit card fraud, scams, hacked clients, and the tools that illicit third parties use to fuel the engine that is the RMT trade.
We hear folks say things like “just ban the bots” a lot. We ban tens of thousands of bots a week. It’s not visible to you just how much we do, and that is absolutely another problem in itself; we need to be better at surfacing these actions (more on this later). The truth is we’ve never been better and more effective at identifying and actioning malicious accounts, and our Game Security Operations (GSO) team that handle these actions are iterating and innovating on a nearly daily basis.
Unfortunately, in the history of WoW, the people perpetrating this illicit trade have also never been better at coming up with new methods, schemes, farms, and exploits to work around our efforts. As much engineering and analytics effort as we put into this, illicit RMT “workshops” put the same amount in, or more, and there are hundreds, if not thousands of these workshops out there all working around the clock to develop new technologies and techniques to counter our new technologies and techniques. It’s an arms race, and it never, ever ends.
We will never completely beat “bots” or illicit RMT. It’s an unwinnable war as long as there is money to be made by third parties. The ubiquitous nature of this type of thing in online games is an objective fact. It has always been a part of WoW, and every other popular online game for the past 25 years, and it will always be a part of online games going forward. It’s frustrating to fight this fight, but we will not stop fighting it.
While we can’t completely “win” the war, what we can do is mitigate the impact it has on the game. Is WoW Token the be-all and end-all to solve this? No, but it is a tool. It’s just one tool, though, among many. There is clearly a demand for gold for certain types of players, and that demand is only increasing. So, we are engaging a tool that we’ve used before to help mitigate the impact that illicit RMT has on the game. The more tools we employ, and the less lucrative we can make it for third parties to do what they do to make a profit, the less likely it is that new malicious actors enter the illicit RMT scene, and the more likely that existing malicious actors will exit the business. Ultimately, it’s taking incremental steps and using a multitude of tools that will reduce how impactful those third parties will be in Wrath Classic and beyond.
Wrath Design and the “Value” of Gold
Circling back to what was mentioned earlier about why WoW Token feels like a tool we should deploy now, we have to look at the base design of Wrath of the Lich King. Ultimately, this is what convinced us to reconsider WoW Token after resisting and refusing this path for so long. In Wrath Classic, your normal weekly activities are, for the most part, self-sustaining. Buying potions, flasks, reagents, and other normal necessities of endgame can be subsidized entirely by mostly just playing the game normally. Doing your usual weekly raid, a few dungeons, or a few dailies a week will net even the most fervent and well-prepared characters more gold than they would need to maintain themselves. Simply put, gold is more plentiful, and the base design of Wrath minimized the focus on needing to “farm” to support normal play.
When we considered that, we realized that the introduction of token wouldn’t be a temptation for most regular players to buy to help support their usual everyday gameplay. It’s simply not impactful to the average player who logs in, raids a few days a week with their guild, does a few dungeons and dailies, and then plays other games in between those activities. There’s no friction in that player’s experience that would tempt them to buy a token just to keep themselves afloat.
Better Visibility into Exploitative Account Actions
As mentioned earlier, we need to improve the visibility around what we do. We posted some weeks ago that we banned over 120,000 malicious accounts in World of Warcraft alone in a large wave, but those large waves that we talk about are actually a very small portion of the overall actions we take on a week over week basis. Using just the past two weeks as an example, here are the actions our GSO team have taken:
Total Exploitative Battle.net Account Closures: 248,105 Total Exploitative World of Warcraft Account Closures: 73,057 This is just the last two weeks, and this is what our efforts look like very regularly, week-in and week-out. It’s an enormous effort and it’s many, many individuals’ full-time jobs to do this. This is an issue of sheer, staggering scale. We have the tools, and those tools are effective, but the malicious actors come right back with new and different methods every time. All that being said, we need to post these things more, and that’s something that our team wants to be able to surface more often.
Thanks you for reading, and thank you for your feedback.
– The WoW Classic Team
Blizzard have introduced the WoW Token to Wrath Classic with this week's reset. You can access it by going to the in-game shop (in the escape menu).
WoW Token (Source)
The WoW Token is now available in Wrath of the Lich King Classic™. This in-game item is a great way to exchange gold for game time in a convenient and secure way.
Please keep in mind that WoW Tokens cannot be transferred between World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Classic* and World of Warcraft. Certain restrictions apply. Visit our Support article for more details.
* Not available in World of Warcraft® Classic Era.
Blizzard have announced the return of the XP buff, as Wrath Classic players will be receiving a 50% buff starting today!
XP Buff (Source)
The roads in Northrend are icy and fraught with danger. To help you prepare for the Call of the Crusade content update, players will get the benefit of the Joyous Journeys experience buff*, which will increase experience gains by 50% for all players through level 80! It’s a great time to finish leveling a character, create a new one, or invite friends to join you in your adventures.
Players can also visit any innkeeper in the capital cities and Dalaran to turn the experience buff off or on. The Joyous Journey’s experience buff will be available from 23 May through 19 June 2023.
*Experience buff not available in modern World of Warcraft® or World of Warcraft® Classic Era.
A new build went live on the Wrath Classic PTR with changes made to the acquisition rate of Emblems of Triumph and Trophy of the Crusade, Trial of the Grand Crusader fixes, and more.
The Wrath of the Lich King Public Test Realm has been updated with a new build. Below you’ll find this week’s testing focus and information on additional bug fixes and adjustments.
May 18th, 2023
Isle of Conquest
Please join the WoW Classic Dev team for a special Brawl with the Blues Playtest May 18th at 2pm PDT. You may queue for Isle of Conquest via your PvP menu by pressing “H” in-game or clicking on the PvP icon in the micro bar. We’ve updated the vendors outside of the Violet Citadel in Dalaran with item level 232 gear from Ulduar and Furious Gladiator PvP Gear to facilitate testing. Trial of the Grand Crusader
Testing will once again resume on May 19th 2023 at 11am PDT and will run until May 22nd at 11am PDT. Known Issues
You will receive a lua error message when adjusting a setting within the options menu while performing a search. Bug Fixes and Gameplay Adjustments
Adjustments have been made to the acquisition rate of both Emblems of Triumph and Trophy of the Crusade in Trial of the Crusader and Trial of the Grand Crusader: An additional Trophy of the Crusade will now drop from each boss in 25-player raids The number of Emblems of Triumph obtained from each boss in 25-player raids has increased by 2 The number of Emblems of Triumph obtained from each boss in 10-player raids have been increased by 1 Developer’s Note: With Normal and Heroic versions of the Trial of the Crusader sharing a lockout in Wrath Classic, the total number of Trophies of the Crusade and Emblems of Triumph available each week was decreased. These adjustments are meant to bring the acquisition rate of both resources on par to what it would have been in original Wrath of the Lich King. The number of emblems dropped was not increased to perfectly match what was possible to obtain from the raid on a weekly basis in 2009, as there are now other opportunities outside the raid to obtain these emblems, namely from the daily heroic satchel when the daily heroic dungeon is completed on Defense Protocol Beta difficulty. Fixed an issue causing threat generated by healing to not be correctly split between multiple enemy targets. Trial of the Grand Crusader
Fixed an issue in Trial of the Crusader and Trial of the Grand Crusader where the environment art outside of the coliseum playspace would disappear when the player camera was zoomed out. Fixed several “safe spots” where players could avoid the light and dark orbs during the Twin Valkyr encounter. Fixed an issue that caused raid cooldowns to inconsistently reset after the Beasts of Northrend encounter. Fixed an issue that caused Abun’arak’s Leeching Swarm ability to not consistently deal its full damage on heroic difficulty. Fixed an issue where enemies in Trial of the Grand Crusader would display incorrect health values in the UI after the difficulty was changed from normal to heroic. Fixed a display issue that prevented the message notifying players that they have been saved to Trial of the Crusader from appearing in the chat window. Fixed a visual bug where the minimap in Crusader’s Coliseum would sometimes appear bright green and the displayed level area would change to the Icy Depths. User Interface
Fixed various issues with the new Options Menu, including missing options or buttons. Fixed a crash caused by viewing Meeting Stone tooltips in a German language client.
Blizzard have announced the schedule for the next step in the Wrath Classic PTR, with the raid, Isle of Conquest and the new Titan Rune Dungeons coming over the next few weeks.
Very soon we will open up the Wrath Classic patch 3.4.2 PTR and we want to take a moment to lay out the testing schedule we have planned for the next few weeks.
Name of Test Begins Ends 3.4.2 PTR Goes Live May 4th N/A Trial of the Crusader Raid (Round 1) May 5th (11:00AM PDT) May 8th (11:00AM PDT) Isle of Conquest (Brawl with the Blues) May 11th (2:00PM PDT) May11th (4:00PM PDT) Titan Rune Dungeons May 12th N/A Trial of the Crusader Raid (Round 2) May 19th (11:00AM PDT) May 22nd (11:00AM PDT) We hope to have the PTR up and playable sometime in the early afternoon tomorrow (May 4th), and we will post a full list of update notes with specific areas of focus for this week’s testing as soon as the PTR goes live. We plan to post weekly updates to these notes as more content comes online to test and the testing focus changes week-to-week.
Before we leave you, we want to acknowledge that in previous PTR releases we expressed that we had hoped to be able to publish testing schedules–particularly raid testing schedules–as far ahead of time as possible. Unfortunately we had to make a last minute change to the testing schedule for 3.4.2 that forced us to move the timeline for raid testing forward from a later date to this coming weekend. We will be having a second round of raid testing per the schedule above, so if you can’t make it this weekend you will have at least one other opportunity to hop in and test Trial of the Crusader. Apologies for any inconvenience this might cause.
Thanks to everyone for their understanding and patience as we are putting the finishing touches in place to get 3.4.2 up and testable.