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WoW Classic Season of Discovery devs are banning gear-for-gold raids and players rejoice - here's why

Players have been relying of GDKP runs for years. But their upcoming ban is going down swell. Here's the breakdown.

Gnomergan in WoW Classic
Image credit: VG247

Earlier this week, the team working on World of Warcraft: Classic's Season of Discovery announced that GDKP (gold dragon kill point) runs - raid groups that exchange loot drops for player gold - will be banned in the upcoming phase later this month. This announcement has gone down a treat throughout community hubs like Reddit and Twitter, but why?

It's a complicated issue, and one folks have been fiendishly fighting over for years. The Season of Discovery team felt it was worth experimenting this phase, and have opted to outright ban it in phase 2, providing the following explanation in a blog post.

"It’s fair to say that GDKP has some benefits to individuals who don’t want to be tied to a guild or set raid schedule. GDKP raids are, while mostly transactional in nature, another social activity in the game, and we’re hesitant to discourage anything that gets people into groups to play together. However, we’ve been concerned that GDKP erodes traditional guild and social structures that are in many cases the basis of our most fond memories of early versions of World of Warcraft. It’s also undeniable that GDKP contributes to and drives a lot of illicit activity, such as real-money trading (RMT) and botting, as it creates a demand for in-game gold that would not otherwise exist. GDKP can create an “arms race” effect that encourages participating players to purchase gold to be able to compete for the best items."

GDKP runs are a style of raid run as old as the game itself, and while it fell out of fashion in World of Warcraft's past when personal loot became the norm, it's often a popular avenue for gaining gear whenever they're possible to do. The reason is simple: it's incredibly conveiniant for players to be able to buy a piece of valuable loot for gold - especially when you're only a piece or two away from being fully geared-out.

While GDKP runs have always been popular, it's not a practice that is totally good or bad. Yes, it's conveniant for those with money. It also is one hell of a time saver. If you're not running a gold-for-gear run you need to roll for loot against other players in the raid. So if you have the excess gold - why run the same raid for weeks-upon-weeks for one piece of gear that another player could snatch out of your hands?

It's also worth noting that later on in a patch, GDKP runs can be great gold generators. Money spent on loot drops is typically given to the raid leader, who then ditributes the gold spent between those who participated in the raid (taking a cut for themselves too, of course). This means that, even if you don't get a piece of gear from a GDKP, you'll likely walk away with some extra money in your pocket. Sounds good, right?

There are, of course, negatives to GDKP culture too. The nature of GDKP runs obviously entices those with a lot of money and a lot of raid gear already. While anyone can benefit from a GDKP, those with heaps of cash of course have an advantage which can result in a lot of the less-geared characters walking away with gold-only. That's not a total loss, but the point of running the raid for such a character is getting loot right?

Water boss in Classic Wow Season of Discovery
It took me 3 weeks to get the cloak from this wanker. Don't get me started on the epic staff, I'm convinced it's not real. | Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment

The answer to this is often: "Well, if you don't like joining GDKPs, then form your own group!" This on the surface is a sensible suggestion, although it ignores the fact that the abundance of GDKP groups has an impact on the make-up of all raid groups. If those with great gear are inclined to do GDKPs to finish up their character, this leads to regular groups having a greater saturation of lesser-geared players. This makes loot more contested across the board, and can make raids more challenging than they typically would be.

One could argue that those up in arms about GDKP just want to be carried. They want to have two or three DPS chained to their raids like dogs, making it easy to DPS check encounters so they can vibe out and listen to podcasts while they themselves contribute p**s damage. Anyone who has played Classic know that these people are - tragically - real human beings that exist.

We should all keep in mind that the desire to tackle raid content the way it's intended - with a decent mix of players at various stages of gearing their character - isn't a sin. Also, attaching price tags to loot isn't exactly a boon to players who are geared but aren't too keen on playing the auction house. This all doesn't even touch on the fact that a rich GDKP culture feeds into a market of gold sellers and buyers - a practice that exists even if Blizzard tries it's hardest to stomp it out (often so it can sell you gold instead).

If you GDKP, you can be suspended or banned from the game! That's a big deal! Already folks are announcing their intention of snitching on the shady folks who we can only assume will be trying to sell GDKP runs on Stormwind street corners. While snitches do get stiches - that's a fact folks - the eagerness for Redditors to out themselves as cops perfectly encapsualtes the level of excitement among 'traditionalist' WoW Classic players. They may never be able to recapture the original Classic WoW experience, but with heaps of nostalgia and Blizzard's help, they can get damn close.

Mine in World of Warcraft Classic
Without GDKP, the need to farm gold falls dramatically. Why even enter a mine ever again?

I personally have made use of a GDKP run in Classic Wow, and cannot disregard how handy it was. I have spent my hard-earned gold to snatch up a gear, and have myself had a sick bit of armour ripped from my hands by a disgusting mage who I can only assume was played by a now-dead Russian Oligarch judging by how much gold he was flexxing in Molten Core.

I can see the appeal of at least trying out a GDKP ban and seeing how it affects later months of a phase, even if I doubt the threat of bans will scare of dodgy dealers. GDKPs may be banned, but nothing is stopping me from hidding my helmet in the options, taking off said sexy cloth helmet, rolling for the very same helmet that just dropped in-raid, and trading it to my friend afterwards. The typical WoW Classic player who doesn't rat themselves out in an article on the internet can still do this, and Blizzard cannot stop them.

I'm keen to see how this plays out, as I'm sure the Season of Discovery team are as well. But what about you? What do you think of all this? Is this Blizzard going too far and getting in the way of the glorious hand of the free market, or is it time for government intervention comrade? For the proletariat class, the working parents and common man? Give us your thoughts below.

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