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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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  • 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 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.
  • 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 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$. []
  • Re:Civilization I (Score:5, Interesting)

    by funfail ( 970288 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @10:48AM (#22108410) Homepage
    Well, you could as well write a TSR [] loader [] that refreshed the same memory location 60 times a second. I don't think you could spend faster than that.
  • 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.
  • 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").
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 19, 2008 @10:58AM (#22108486)
    There are gold sinks in the game that help to moderate inflation. Generally these are expensive or regularly needed items that can only be purchased from a vendor. For example, many high level buffs require a reagent that can only be purchased from a vendor, they aren't expensive but this drains a steady stream of gold from the player base. More significantly, riding and flying mounts are quite expensive and after they've been used once cannot be resold to another player. A single character will typically end up buying several of these for prestige or increased speed at higher levels. I expect that each expansion pack will include a "better" and more expensive mount (or some other essential item) to keep inflation in check.
  • 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).
  • 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 LordSnooty ( 853791 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @11:28AM (#22108696)
    You've not heard of the Chinese WoW player-farms then? An account being used every day for three years (though not necessarily the same person) is not implausible.
  • 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
  • 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.

  • by djdavetrouble ( 442175 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @12:54PM (#22109518) Homepage
    I remember the guy that rolled over Defender : Stargate......
    That used to be the supreme badge of honor, turning a
    coin-op over.
    Steve was a total legend at the local 7-11 for being able
    to turn games over. I think it had something to do with
    his talent for "stringing" machines (tape fishing line to a quarter
    and collect credits while someone distracted the clerk)...


  • by ildon ( 413912 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @01:06PM (#22109660)
    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.
  • Re:Get a life (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 19, 2008 @01:33PM (#22109960)
    Heed much of what the parent poster is saying. I received a Ph.D., got married (this isn't as easy as it sounds for a slashdotter and does actually involving "having a life"), got a job as a professor at a university, received an NSF grant to do interesting research, traveled around the world, and wrote a couple research papers too. However, I also play a lot of computer games and, in particularly, I have played a fair amount of WoW (in moderation) and can honestly say that it has HELPED me keep my sanity while I've been "getting a life." People shouldn't judge others on how they choose to decompress. Ironically, this also technically applies to people who choose to decompress by telling other people to "get a life" while paradoxically trolling on slashdot. However, if you aren't doing it for entertainment purposes and actually think you are making a meaningful statement, you might want to rethink that.
  • by billcopc ( 196330 ) <> on Saturday January 19, 2008 @03:13PM (#22110880) Homepage
    Actually there is some degree on inflation on rare items. If an epic drops only once per day, but an ever-increasing number of players want to buy it, the price skyrockets.

    Also (and this is why I quit WoW), the younger and dumber the players, the sloppier their concept of value is, leading to exaggerated price swings (both ways). Seriously, if WoW were 18+, or even 16+, I probably would still be playing it instead of LoTRO. The stupid kids are what drove me away, it was like a grade-school courtyard pissing match every tardmas when kids would get a WoW subscription as a present.
  • Re:Get a life (Score:3, Interesting)

    by masterzora ( 871343 ) <masterzora@gmail ... inus threevowels> on Saturday January 19, 2008 @04:30PM (#22111568) Homepage

    Disclaimer: I cannot stand playing any MMO, WoW included, for any period of time worth the initial investment.

    I have a friend who plays WoW. He tends to be the group leader when he participates in raids and instances (no, I also don't know what either of those refer to in the context of WoW, I just know that they involve groups and he leads the groups). Talking to him, I find that he has learned a lot about leadership by playing WoW and, IMO, that knowledge is far more important than physical endurance or seeing new things in the world.

  • 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:Get a life (Score:3, Interesting)

    by zippthorne ( 748122 ) on Sunday January 20, 2008 @01:42AM (#22115064) Journal
    Ah, so evolution is okay as long as it kills God and lets us give in to hedonism without consequences, but it's not okay if becomes the part of the basis of the replacement ethical system, since the whole point of the exercise is to justify epicurean pursuits. Got it.

Variables don't; constants aren't.