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Role Playing (Games) The Almighty Buck

World of Warcraft Gold Limit Reached, It's 2^31 479

Mitch writes "Blizzard apparently used signed integers for their World of Warcraft gold values as some people have recently hit the limit of 2^31. "Apparently that amount is 214,748 gold, 36 silver, 48 copper. After you reach that lofty sum, you'll no longer be able to receive money from any source in the game. While some responses to the original posts claim that this exact limit had previously been theorized to exist, there have been no reports of anyone in the game actually achieving this amount via legal means." I guess Blizzard didn't expect anyone to ever get close to that much gold in game."
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World of Warcraft Gold Limit Reached, It's 2^31

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  • Duh (Score:5, Funny)

    by hcdejong ( 561314 ) <hobbes AT xmsnet DOT nl> on Saturday January 19, 2008 @10:30AM (#22108264)
    2^31 should be enough for anyone...
    • Re:Duh (Score:4, Informative)

      by ZeroFactorial ( 1025676 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @11:41AM (#22108810)
      The range for a signed integer is 2,147,483,648 to +2,147,483,64_7_ (not 8).

      The negative range always extends one higher, since zero uses the first "positive" value.

      I call fabrication. And I call O.o for slashdotters not realizing this sooner.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Jim Hall ( 2985 )

      Using a signed int for the score isn't a new thing - I know that gamers have experimented with this limit on other games. On one of their podcasts, Insomniac Games mentioned a gamer who had succeeded in rolling the number of bolts in 'Ratchet & Clank' to be negative, and then none of the vendors would sell him anything.

      Here's a video of someone doing just that [] in 'Going Commando'.

    • by labnet ( 457441 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @04:45PM (#22111704)
      In my day a signed int only went to 2^15, and 2^31 was a signed long.... and you better had a good excuse for using one of those.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by gad_zuki! ( 70830 )
      >2^31 should be enough for anyone...

      Ironically, the player has 0 gold in retirement, 0 gold in savings, and 0 income since he's been fired from calling in sick from the 'wow virus' a few too many times. Here's hoping he can sell that gold for a tidy sum.

      Hmm, whats the exchange rate for tht? After a little googling for bulk rates and a little messy math I'd say this guy is sitting on anything between 12 to 18,000 dollars. Not bad if can actually turn into dollars with all this competition for WoW gold sa
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by LoverOfJoy ( 820058 )
      It'd be funny if it reset to zero after reached that amount.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 19, 2008 @10:32AM (#22108284)
    Somehow I think only 'News for nerds' apply for this one.
  • by Eggplant62 ( 120514 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @10:33AM (#22108286)
    On three level 70s and one level 61, I still have trouble breaking 3,000 gold between them. How does one get that much gold together in the first place?
    • by ArcticCelt ( 660351 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @10:49AM (#22108414)
      I know, I consider myself has good at playing the auction house because I can make 100-300G per day just buying and selling stuff but to reach that amount I would need to play every day for three years at an average of 200G per day!!!! o_O That guy is pretty much hard core.
    • by calibanDNS ( 32250 ) <brad_staton&hotmail,com> on Saturday January 19, 2008 @10:56AM (#22108478)
      Do you have any gathering professions? I can make 100+ just buy selling a few stacks of adamantite ore (plus the eternium and gems) that I get from mining in a short amount of time. When my first (and only) toon hit 70, he already had about 3000g mostly from the quests going from 60 to 70. On top of that, factor in daily quests which give you ~12g per quest, which you can do up to 10 of per day; 12g * 10 = another 120g per day per character.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      How do you defeat he who has no life? And I can see it happening with the new guild banks.
    • by -noefordeg- ( 697342 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @11:35AM (#22108748)
      At level 8, my char, Lardbutt, had around 3500 gold -and- almost all the Epics/Rares you could trade. This would probably amount to 10.000+ in total gold value.
      I played him until I got to Ironforge, after that he NEVER left the auction house. Just bought up things I thought were cheap and put them back in with a more expensive price. Most people don't check the market price for an item and when they found a rare/epic item they didn't need, would just sell it to the highest bidder at their first attempt to sell it. The ignorance of a weapons true worth was also something to take advantage of. Like the value of Julie's Dagger and Hanzo Sword, which on paper didn't really have über stats, but were perfect weapons for some types of warrior and rogue classes. Buying them for 10-20gold was quite possible, earning a profit of 50+ gold whenever you sold them to someone who "knew" their real price.

      After a while I could by everything of some specific item and control the price. I often did this with the better types of bags :)

      It took me about 3 months of regular playing to get there. This was the three first months after the release. I don't think you can pull it off that easily now, because most items are no Bind of Pickup, instead of Bind on Equip as they were earlier and the economy for items more or less crashed after 5-6 months.

      I stopped playing after about 3-4 months.
        Then I had probably a 100 complains posted against me, because people was 100% sure that I cheated and every time I logged on I got 15+ tells from people talking trash about how I cheated them/the system/the auction house/etc. Almost wish I kept on playing a little longer. =P
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ildon ( 413912 )
        You still can do this, and people still do do it. In fact, due to the twinking market and general inflation, the value of low level boe items has skyrocketed, in addition to the introduction of a lot of high level crafting components and recipes that are easily resold for profit.
  • by Metasquares ( 555685 ) <> on Saturday January 19, 2008 @10:33AM (#22108290) Homepage
    It could have rolled over :)
    • Or triggered wealth sur-tax.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 19, 2008 @10:34AM (#22108304)
    if there's nothing to spend it on! That's the reason why the cap was hit, there's no large mansions, yachts, or expensive prostitutes.

    Seriously though, since all the beset equipment is earned, not bought (and usually bind on pickup/equip), there's little point in money in WoW in the late game.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      They should let people transfer it over to Second Life or something.
  • by dada21 ( 163177 ) <> on Saturday January 19, 2008 @10:35AM (#22108310) Homepage Journal
    Since the money is fiat, i.e. not backed by a fixed standard in the game, have people seen monetary inflation causing price increases in the game, or has the population of players offset any growth in money?

    I don't play WoW (played it a few times and have watched some addicts^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hfriends play it), so I'm not familiar with how pricing works.

    I would assume, though, that if money growth exceeds population/player growth, prices would tend to rise. Is this the case?

    Are there any online games that have a relatively fixed amount of money in the game?
    • by unbug ( 1188963 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @10:51AM (#22108434)

      Are there any online games that have a relatively fixed amount of money in the game?
      The stock market?
      • by Tango42 ( 662363 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @11:05AM (#22108542)
        The stock market is far from a zero-sum game... otherwise the indexes wouldn't change.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by billcopc ( 196330 )
          That's precisely why it's flawed.

          There's only so much wealth in the world. Wealth is not "created", it merely exchanges hands. Sure, the dollar amount increases, that's called inflation. We don't have more resources just because some redneck is selling more weapons, or some trendy douche is making thinner laptops. They have more and we have less - the net result is zero. Not zero dollars, zero global gain.
          • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @05:12PM (#22111932) Journal

            There's only so much wealth in the world. Wealth is not "created", it merely exchanges hands
            Okay, I'll bite. If wealth is not created what happens when:
            • I discover a previously-unknown deposit of gold/oil/uranium and start exploiting it?
            • I invent a more efficient solar panel that allows me to generate cheap energy from my previously-worthless land?
            • I build a tractor that allows a farmer to increase the yield from his fields without hiring more employees?
            • I learn something new and gain new skills?
            • I create a piece of software?
            I don't know how you define wealth, but it doesn't seem to be according to the same definition anyone else uses.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Tango42 ( 662363 )
            I buy a piece of wood for £1, carve a statue out of it and sell it for £10. Before I carved it, I owned a piece of wood worth £1 and the purchaser owned money worth £10, that's a total of £11. After selling it, I own money worth £10 and the purchaser owns a statue worth £10, that's a total of £20. That extra £9 is new wealth. It didn't previously exist.
    • Since the money is fiat, i.e. not backed by a fixed standard in the game, have people seen monetary inflation causing price increases in the game, or has the population of players offset any growth in money?
      Surely, within the context of the game, gold is about as fixed to the gold standard as can be?
      • by Tango42 ( 662363 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @11:08AM (#22108558)
        Gold only works as a store of value in the real world because the amount of gold being mined is such a tiny proportion of the total gold in circulation - there is pretty much a fixed amount of gold in existence. That's not the case in a game like WoW. A gold standard in WoW is meaningless, you would need a standard based on something fixed (is there any such thing? Land maybe? I'm not sure how Wow handles land, or how often new areas are opened).
    • by Merkuri22 ( 708225 ) <> on Saturday January 19, 2008 @10:53AM (#22108454)
      There's not a real economy in WoW, per say. You get most of your money from quests and kills, which is pretty well-regulated (in the sense that lower level mobs and quests give lower amounts of money, and there's a limit to what you can kill and loot), and you spend most of it in NPC shops. The only semblance of an economy is the auction house and trade channels.

      The fact that most of your money disappears into NPC shops with set prices keeps inflation from happening.
      • by Tango42 ( 662363 )
        The money might disappear, but the wealth doesn't, since a new item is created from nowhere. Money supply isn't the only thing that affects inflation - simple wealth creation also has an affect.
        • by andi75 ( 84413 )
          The wealth disappears when you replace the bought item with a better one (and throw away the old one or sell it for a tiny amount back to the NPC).
    • by Tango42 ( 662363 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @11:01AM (#22108502)
      I also don't play WoW, so I'm not sure how (or even if) they combat inflation, but I know other games get round it by removing wealth from the game in the form of wear and tear on equipment. Anything consumable would also allow wealth to be removed from the game, although if it's easily created (food growing on trees, say) it won't make much difference.

      There are all kinds of other ways you could remove wealth - NPC's charging tolls to cross bridges, say. Anything where something of value disappears from the came will compensate for the increase in money supply caused and equipment caused by new players and monsters.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Talla ( 95956 )

      Since the money is fiat, i.e. not backed by a fixed standard in the game, have people seen monetary inflation causing price increases in the game, or has the population of players offset any growth in money?

      My experience from the horde side of the server Aerie Peak is deflation on grinding items (particularly from mining and herbalism), and inflation on very rare (epic) items. Too many people have learned the auction house trick of buying to keep prices up. That kept the prices artificially high, and too many people took up herbalism and mining. Suddenly everyone was flooding the market, and prices more than halved in a month. Relatively little gold is taken out of the market by Blizzard, though, so when an

    • First, let me start by saying that there is only one place prices can rise in WoW and that's the auction house (or, I suppose, player-to-player sales). Vendor items are basically fixed price. You do get a discount based on how well the faction of people you're buying from like you, but it's always from a fixed base price.

      I would assume, though, that if money growth exceeds population/player growth, prices would tend to rise. Is this the case?

      The answer is... kind of. There are definite and noticeable

  • by ArcticCelt ( 660351 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @10:35AM (#22108314)
    At market value of 1000G for 31$ he can sell that amount for 6657.188$. []
  • by blind biker ( 1066130 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @10:38AM (#22108336) Journal
    Reminds me of when I was using a hex editor to "help myseslf" to some extra gold in Civilization I - I remember I could only up my gold to 3000 pieces, that was the Civ Is upper limit. Very off-putting, when you have to leave the game and start the hex editor just to replenish your reserves!

    How short-sighted of Sid ;o)
  • Programming error or intern. Maybe it's an internal flag that it's time to get the ball rolling on WOW II. But wait, with that much gold, and the current price of it, they could sell it, and actually move OUT of the mom's basement and get a place of their own. ...
  • by unbug ( 1188963 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @10:45AM (#22108378)
    At least it means there won't be a "Who wants to be a millionaire" in WOW.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      At least it means there won't be a "Who wants to be a millionaire" in WOW.

      Instead there will be "Who wants t be a 2^31aire". I am not sure which is worse.
  • Not really correct (Score:4, Informative)

    by pipatron ( 966506 ) <> on Saturday January 19, 2008 @10:45AM (#22108386) Homepage
    A signed 32-bit integer can not store 2^31, but 2^31-1, which would be 214,748 gold, 36 silver, 47 copper.
  • SIgned ints for cash (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ciggy ( 692030 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @10:52AM (#22108438)
    This isn't the first time a signed integer has been used to store the amount of money a player has (and I suspect it won't be the last, either) - years ago when I played MicroProse's Railroad Tycoon, I found an interesting bug (feature) with the way cash was stored:

    For the game, a negative cash made a small bit of sense (overdraft) and so a signed integer was used. If you just bought up >50% of the shares in your railroad company (to ensure that you couldn't be fired), and then ensured that you had lots of expenditure but no income every financial period, you would end each financial period with more negative cash until it eventually overflowed and became positive. Once positive, with lots of income, it refused to overflow back negative.

    I found it interesting, that although a positive overflow was checked a negative one wasn't. The assumption must be that the programmer never really expected the limit condition to be met and so only put a cursory check in - checking for a positive overflow to prevent sudden negative cash (in both games) and the problems that could cause the program and game play, but in MicroProse's case, not bothering with the negative overflow as it was an extreme case not expected - the game play was possibly meant to prevent it and I found the 1 in a whatever chance to get it to happen (I was trying to see how negative a rating I could achieve without being "fired").
  • 2^31 ??? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I am not great with signed integers, but wouldn't it make sense for blizzard to use a 32 bit integer, thus

    2 ^ 32 = 4,294,967,296 / 2 = 2,147,483,648 - 1 = 2,147,483,647

    It seems like the story and summary are wrong

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Cillian ( 1003268 )
      An unsigned integer would indeed be 32 bits, i.e. gold limit of 2^32-1, but they are using a signed one - one of the bits is a sign bit. Therefore half of the range of values is "lost" to negative values. I think.
  • Is it possible to have negative money? If not it would be a simple hack to double the limit by making the gold counter unsigned. Well... you' d have to change every variable that stores gold but it would be easier or at least as easy as changing it to a longlong or something.

    An alternative is to purposely let it roll over. Blizzard would be doing those players a FAVOR. ;)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Jack9 ( 11421 )
      A. This is not the "first time" the limit has been reached. The article is inaccurate.
      B. The reason it's a signed int is so that GMs/Developers can alter Gold amounts and either, not have to worry about setting or INTENTIONALLY set a player's Gold to a negative. If you have negative gold, you cannot gain any (gold effectively disappears, barring log analyzation). Simple logic there.
  • Presumably they didn't use a 64-bit integer to save on bandwidth costs.
  • Game Economics (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ajgeek ( 892406 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @11:21AM (#22108648)

    Warning: Geekish Post Ahead

    If you put a lot of emphasis in controlling inflation in your game then you can keep a game going with the ability to bring new players in cold and they have a better chance of staying. Economics of a game needs to have more of a priority than just killing mobs, crafting new items and completing the quest. Here's why.

    I've been an avid gamer for a long time and have always found that economics within the game are never up to par with any standard, let alone a true economic standard. While I understand that there would be too much work in maintaining a true economy in many cases, the fact that the developers of each game don't bother to put in enough money sinks to keep the flow of money in game vs. out of game in check is astounding, especially in the case of WoW with n million players.

    One exception to this rule is CCP Games "EVE Online". The game is fundamentally an economics simulator in a space setting. While this sounds about as fun as counting grains of sand on a beach on a windy day, don't knock the premise until you try it. The whole game revolves around the flow of money into and out of wallets via new ships, replacement equipment, massive costs for new skills and upkeep costs for space stations etc. CCP even has an economist on staff to give reports on how the game economics is doing.

    Again, this sounds like no fun at all, but EVE has been running for over 4 years, is still increasing in population (albeit slowly) and I still did not have trouble getting started in the game and buying new equipment without it being ungodly hard to make the money to buy it. Oh and it's a fun space simulator too.

  • by dominious ( 1077089 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @11:28AM (#22108698)
    Blizzard Exec #2: What kind of person would do this?
    Blizzard Exec #1: Only one kind... Whoever this person is, he has played world of warcraft nearly ever hour, of every day, for the past year and a half. Gentlemen we are dealing with someone here who has absolutely no life.
  • by bvimo ( 780026 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @11:30AM (#22108724)
    What is the War of Worldcraft thing? I've seen it mentioned here a few times, but nobody actually explains what it does.

    Is it a book?
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @11:50AM (#22108906) Homepage

    At least they handled overflow right. I'm impressed. If it wrapped around to zero, or went negative, some small number of users would be screaming.

    Back in the 1980s, the number of ticker symbols for stocks and funds passed 32767, and for a few days, no new companies could get on the exchanges.

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"