Boosting Communities Still in Operation Despite Blizzard Ban
officially banned in January
, it appears that third-party boosting communities are still alive and well, matching players willing to spend gold on dungeon or raid clears with groups able to carry them. A
Twitter post by Penkek
highlights several major European
boosting communities which are still in operation
, along with a video in which they are matched with current World Second guild Method for the sale.
In the video, Penkek purchases a Sepulcher raid sale from
and is then invited to join a Method raid group, seemingly in violation of Blizzard's ban on boosting communities.
and video lay out plenty of evidence that doesn't need to be repeated, but the bigger question is why Blizzard has allowed these tacitly banned communities to persist, along with why prominent guilds are still involved with them. Certainly the most obvious answer is for the money, though Method's involvement has sparked further conversation, with high profile individuals such as Echo raid leader Scripe bringing up additional points:
We can find some sympathy here, as it's easy to believe that guilds have no other way to keep up with the obscene amounts of gold required to participate in the Race to World First if not for these kind of organized sales. That's made more difficult with each passing tier too, as it's no secret that spending has been steadily increasing, although while part of that is due to normal inflation and some of it is circumstantial due to the relative power of things like corruptions or set bonuses from tier to tier, the amount of gold spent on those things isn't set by Blizzard so much as driven by what the guilds are willing to spend on them.
Undoubtedly, basic raid consumables alone make participating in the RWF an inordinately expensive venture for "normal" guilds, but those costs have been pushed to the obscene by things like PvP boosts and community gear trading. As recently analyzed in our article on the
Cost of World First
, Method is actually one of the smaller offenders this tier, "only" spending around
480 million gold
(about $41,000 USD in
prices at the time), compared to
Echo's 694 million
(~$59,000 USD), or
Liquid's 723 million gold
(an astounding $93,000 USD, accounting for regional price differences). It certainly isn't contained to those three though, as nearly early every competing guild is guilty of rampant inflated spending this tier... all in an effort to remain competitive with one another.
So who is really at fault here - Blizzard for adding powerful tier sets which take time to acquire, or guilds offering tens of millions of gold to acquire them faster? It's probably a little of both.
Method probably isn't the only well-known guild participating in these types of sales either, just the only one we know of using a third-party community in which to do so. Every guild involved in the race uses sales to recoup their debts and expenses, along with many more who aren't explicitly competing. It's also worth acknowledging that although other guilds may not be using a third-party community to set up their sales, organizations like Echo and Liquid are big enough that they don't need communities in the first place; they'd certainly benefit from them, but their reach is large enough to find enough buyers on their own, allowing them to reap all the benefits of sale-fueled spending without infringing on Blizzard's policy. The intent of the ban was to cut out the middleman and make sales more personally driven, but with huge Twitter advertising drives and many guilds employing "community liaisons" to arrange sales for their players instead of a "third-party organizer", the end result is hardly any different.
Unfortunately, there's no good answer to this growing problem - commenters repeatedly bring up the idea of a tournament realm, which may work to put players on an even footing, but it's a solution that few participants actually want. Blizzard doesn't want to regulate it, the players don't want to
regulated by it, it further fragments the player base, and introduces a host of other issues to contend with (such as those raiders now having to effectively progress twice through the tier, or giving up playing their actual main accounts). It also does a disservice to the fact that preparation actually
a competitive element, even if that idea being taken too far is what has led to this issue in the first place.
It's important to recognize that this isn't a new problem though; it's the result of a long running arms race stretching back as far as the game itself, from farming Blasted Lands consumables and dispelling World Buffs, to account sharing or raid stacking with mandatory alts. There are certainly things Blizzard could do to curtail specific pressure points - removing BoEs or making further adjustments to the way loot is allocated - but as long as these guilds can justify the time spent, either in preparation beforehand or paying off debt after the tier ends, they'll continue to find ways to spend their time and money on every advantage they can.
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