How Blizzard Made Taxes Cool

You gotta admit that Blizzard has one hell of a PR department. Over the years they have gotten away with stuff other game companies wouldn’t dream of pulling off – delayed releases, scrapped features or indeed whole games, nerfs and buffs that have sent many many players into rages, hissy fits and flame wars. But recently I think Blizzard outdid themselves in a way that surely deserves a mention in the book “How To Deceive Public And Keep Being Awesome”.

Cash Flow – Each time you loot money from an enemy, an extra 5/10% money is generated and deposited directly into your guild bank.

There have been 2 reactions to this particular Guild Perk so far. The first, and the most popular one, is that this is just one of many awesome perks that Blizzard is providing for active guilds, that this will help guild management to cover the cost of mandatory consumables and may cover raider repair costs and in best case scenario – even enchant, gem and glyph costs.

The second opinion is that Blizzard caved in and chickened out of the long ago proposed guild tax idea. I think TotalBiscuit expressed this opinion the best in his usual cynical way:
“They couldn’t bring themselves to put in a guild tax system because people would cry so they put in a “How about we just generate 5% extra gold for the economy and cause random inflation” “.

Well they didn’t. Blizzard didn’t chicken out of the guild tax system, instead they did something much better for the game. They disguised it in a way that would make players want to have a tax, that would make getting taxed an achievement.

Consider this – who determines how much gold will a raid boss drop? Who decides how much gold will a 25 player raid put into the game economy? Blizzard game designers. So why can’t they just balance the gold drops around the assumption that most guilds will only get 90% of gold dropped.

A tax? Nah man, it's a "perk", honest.

To illustrate what I’m talking about here, lets imagine a raid boss that drops 500g normally. Every player in the raid would receive an equal share of 20g once it was killed. However now Blizzard has decided that they want for some of that gold, say 10%, to go into guild bank. Now the boss still drops 500g but 50g go into guild bank and every raider receives only 18g. Now 2g isn’t a big difference but in the long run it makes the players feel cheated and start questioning how the gold from guild bank is distributed. Questions like “Are the officers trying to hog the gold earned by hard working Raider Joe?” are bound to pop up and cause guild drama.

On other hand lets imagine a scenario where Blizzard has purposefully reduced the base gold drops of each boss by 10% or to 450g in our example. Every raider receives 18g by default and they are happy because there is just no way they could earn 20g. And then Blizzard adds a way to increase gold dropped by a boss by 10% to 495g – sure it will go into the guild bank but it’s just bonus gold that the guild wouldn’t receive otherwise and everyone in the guild can potentially use.

Lets just look at the differences in these 2 approaches – instead of taking gold away from players by implementing a feature that is much despised in real life already, Blizzard has masked this whole thing as awarding dedicated guilds with more gold thus making players want the taxation system to be in place. And one the main points is that the base numbers remain virtually the same – in both cases guild receives 10% of gold dropped and the other 90% is distributed equally among raiders. Now that is one of the best PR moves I’ve seen – even guys in charge of making Tom Cruise look sane could learn a thing or two from Blizzard.

Say what you will about Blizzard catering to casuals, carebears and whiners but this is not one of those cases. This a case where Blizzard manipulates our perception to implement an unpopular feature.


~ by Shale on July 28, 2010.

3 Responses to “How Blizzard Made Taxes Cool”

  1. one part, it says EXTRA 5-10%. if it works as the tooltip states, group members still get the same gold, while game “makes ‘an extra 5-10% gold that goes into guild bank account

    • and if it doesnt, and its slid in like that, make a mod that will keep tabs on all gold going to guild bank, and withdraw accordingly

  2. That’s the beauty of it – the EXTRA gold is just a different wording. Instead of taking gold away from players, they are adding gold to guild banks…but numbers are exactly the same in both cases.

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