World of Warcraft: the temptation to cash out

Years ago when I quit my corporate job I tried a number of schemes to make money. One of them was playing the MMORPG Everquest and trying to pawn off the virtual stuff I gathered for cash. I abandoned it after a month or so – it was one of the worst, lowest paying jobs I ever had, and this is coming from someone who loves playing games. Anyone who camped endlessly for the Speed of Wolf boots (I think I’m remembering their name right) in the original EQ can empathize. Since then I’ve come across many instances of folks making money farming the virtual worlds, and in fact it’s a viable career path in some third world countries these days, but the numbers don’t work for a westerner. Generally you’re talking sub-$1/hour wages. I ran across a discussion about this in regards to WoW the other day on one of my favorite gaming message boards – Quarter to Three. Turns out folks are doing ok selling off their accounts or just the assets from their characters. There’s a risk if you’re just selling off assets because this is a bannable offense and if Blizzard gets wind of it you’re gone, but some quick back of envelope math led me to conclude my account is worth north of $500 on ebay, and probably closer to $900.

!!!

That’s temptation folks. To be clear, I’m not doing it, not now anyway – I’m enjoying the expansion pak, several of my friends still play with me regularly, and more generally WoW is the best MMORPG to date. But to have the abstract turn into a real and compelling number was a surprise to me. I need a car and I’m going to buy a very expensive bike for my 40th birthday present for myself and that $900 or so would come in handy towards either of those purchases.

I’m also not going to go the ‘sell assets for cash’ route, even though I could easily clear a couple of hundred that way, because I don’t want to be banned. After all, I might want to sell this account someday 🙂

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