On Boosting

Bellular recently published a large scale investigation into boosting. This is obviously an interesting to us goldmakers, as boosting is the biggest gold flow in the entire game, so let’s take a look.

Watch the video

I’d suggest watching the video first, as I will be referencing a lot of the points made. It’s a great video, and very well researched, so for anyone interested in gold, real money trading and the overall wow economy.

My thoughts

Bellular gives the theme a thorough treatment, at 37 minutes of run time for part 1, and then a part 2 coming out later. The key points in the video is focused on how boosting works, the business side of it, how RMT (Real money transactions) plays in, a defense of boosting and how Blizzard let it happen and how they can fix it.

Boosting is professional

I’ve bought boosts on a few occasions in SL in fact, for content I could get into on merit even. I bought a Sire HC kill and a Sylvanas HC kill, both times for a shot at loot. The one thing that really stands out is the extreme level of professionalism. The operation is incredibly smooth and works like a well oiled machine. Support staff, boostees and information flowed easily and quickly. This has been the case for a while, and is actually one of the reasons I have suspected that RMT is involved for a while. The level of effort required to setup a proper boosting community is quite high, much higher than running a raiding guild, and I’ve also thought it would mostly only make sense to bother if you made real money from it.

RMT at the edges

On of the points made in the video is that RMT most likely happens on the edges. The actual boosting is only paid with gold, but the advertisers might sell the boost for money and then pay the community with gold, or the buyers might buy the gold through third-party services. Since the token already exists RMT is essentially sanctioned as long as Blizzard profits, and you can convert it to money in a round-about way with gifts and game-reselling sites like G2A.

I suspect more communities have managers engaging in similar practices to Gallywix, where parts of the gold stockpile is converted to real money, but I have zero proof.

The communities do seem to have pretty rigorous practices for anything that goes on within the community itself, but when gold exits or enters the community I’m certain portions of it end up in the black market economy.

Just let them sell gear

Personally I’ve mostly thought gear should just be tradeable. If Blizzard let’s players sell raid gear by getting good enough to carry someone, why not just add back crafted gear from raids or even tradeable tokens from bosses. It would undercut a lot of the reason for buying boosts, but not all of them of course, as certain achievments like Curve or KSM are gateways to groups.

The bot link

One thing that was only briefly touched upon was the link to bots. The AH podcast had an interview with a botter, which had one very interesting tidbit relating to this. The guy claimed to know that certain boost communities had boosters that used rotational bots when boosting. The bot essentially executes your rotation for you, so just have to move around and stand still when appropriate. This was to ensure consistent boosts, even after hours of boosting. He also briefly mentioned the detrimental effects of botting on player purchasing power, so nice to see someone else mention that side of it. As I covered in my video on the topic I believe that is the main downside of botting and multiboxing.

The future of boosting

Boosting is here to stay for the foreseeable future. Through the token it’s actually great for Blizzard that players have ways to spend gold to get more powerful, and the more gold the better. We even saw how they designed legendaries in a way that would guarantee high prices for a while, giving further incentives for players flush with real life cash, but low on time to play the game to fork out for a token. It’s impossible to really ban the selling of services for gold, and nothing will ever beat boosting as the best way to speed up your character progression. I’m sad that this is the only thing that’s worth selling in trade chat, as it really works to make the game feel less personal, so hopefully they at least try to end that side of it.

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