A self-confessed botter and industry insider sheds light on why selling Guild Wars 2 Karma is not as profitable as it is in other MMOs.
In a controversial botting and hacking post on Guild Wars 2 Reddit, user bot_mod claims that he made "literally thousands of dollars over six months" while botting and selling Gold, and working for a company that developed a World of Warcraft bot.
bot_mod said that he ran support for roughly 130,000 active users, which he described as using a bot "so undetectable suing us was the only way to remove us from the game."
"There was talk about creating a separate Guild Wars 2 bot after our last one was finally shut down by Blizzard. However, the non-disclosure agreement I signed doesn't allow me to say anything more," he said.
However even if bot_mod did not explicitly admit that his company ran and maintained a Guild Wars 2 bot, the activity is proliferating in-game. ArenaNet has been banning scores of botters which suggests that bot programs have been developed for Guild Wars 2.
Gem Store Competition
Despite the obvious interest by botters and gold sellers in the newly launched MMO, bot_mod said the Guild Wars 2 Gold market is not as lucrative as it is in, say, World of Warcraft because ArenaNet is competing with gold sellers by selling Gems, which can be bartered for Gold.
ArenaNet's Gem store "drives down the price that gold sellers can charge. ArenaNet is in much more control over the gold supply than other games, therefore the price of the gold as well. It might take longer for gold sellers to really see a profit from it," he said.
"I made over 1k a month selling gold in WoW on a personal level. GW2 has whack prices, and a weird market right now. You'd probably only make 600-700 a month with that same level of commitment," he estimated.
The gold selling community - which bot_mod describes as an intricately layered network that began with level 1 spammers and climbed up to the level 4 website companies - currently has a "solid 5-10% stake overall" of the Guild Wars 2 gold which is "stockpiled across hundreds of accounts and guild vaults with various degrees of leadership and activity."
"That way if one account string is banned, you don't lose everything. Legitimate players and accounts will be a part of these as a back up," he added. But this notable hoard of Guild Wars 2 Gold is nothing compared to the "vast" supply kept in normal player inventories and by ArenaNet via the Gem store and gold sinks.
Can ArenaNet Squeeze Out the Gold Sellers?
One reader asked bot_mod if he thinks ArenaNet will get more aggressive and try to match the value offered by Gold sellers to try to squeeze them out of the market.
Currently, gold sellers still offer a relatively better bang for the buck in strictly Gold per dollar spent. Guild Wars 2 Gold is now selling at around 3 Gold per $9 on average across RMT shops, according to the latest September 24 data gathered by MMOBUX. Meanwhile, ArenaNet is selling $50 for 4000 gems, which when the Gems are traded for Gold, translates to 3 Gold per $15.
"If ArenaNet matched their prices [the gold sellers] would either find a way to create way more supply to offload, so the price would drop. If it got bad enough [the gold sellers] would give up on it. By that point, gold and items would have to be stupid easy to get though," which would not be an ideal scenario for developers.
Such rampant inflation has the potential to cripple entire in-game economies, as what happened for a time in Final Fantasy XIdue to rampant Gil selling. In a similar scenario, Gems and Gold alike would lose their purchasing value and could hurt ArenaNet as much as the gold sellers it is trying to drive out.
In fact, maintaining a healthy economy is so important for ArenaNet that it has a full-time economist that keeps track of the Guild Wars 2 virtual economy, from how gold is earned, to the currency exchange, down to the wealth distribution among players.
Botter Bares All on Guild Wars 2 RMT
By Frank Lewis, Sep 26, 2012