I have started this post several times and end up scrapping it or starting over.
More because unlike most of the time when I complain about something I usually have an idea/suggestion to post concerning the issue. This one I don’t have really have any such thoughts on the subject. I think the reason for my current dilemma comes from several conflicted points of view on the subject in general and what could be done about botting.
The reason why I am conflicted on this issue is simple, in all honestly there is a base level of botting needed to keep the in game market somewhat stable. The extent of botting that currently seems to be going on is well past this stabilization point and is now becoming problematic.
This is further compounded by the transition between the “black market” bot users and the “white market” normal AH activity, because there are usually 1 or more layers of players between them moving materials and gold around by trying to make a profit. This is because of how much trading actually can come out of trade chat.
If someone is trying to liquidate 10-100 stacks of some material most players could justify it as a fluke or good deal once, maybe even twice depending upon the time between transactions. However if you work out a supply arrangement with someone and they start to supply you with 100+ stacks a week on top of tons of volatiles you then start to wonder how they are farming so much. Here is where the dilemma begins, depending upon spawn rate, concentration of nodes and competition over said nodes it could be evaluated if the amount is reasonable given an almost exclusive farmer. The issue is we don’t know what is actually reasonable and what is not, we can guess but there has been no real definitive quantification on what the average player could be expected to farm in a unit of time.
So what you then have is a “grey market” of players who are out for profits as gold is the only true thing worth anything in WoW since everything else deflates to worthlessness over time.
Given that blizzard could have near perfect information on the various transactions that occur between players through many means if enough extensive data mining was done most botters should become relatively easy to identify. The dumb ones will just list their wares directly on the AH flooding the market and destructively devaluing everything for everyone. The intelligent ones, the ones I don’t have a problem with, bark their materials on trade chat and let several layers of player manipulation pad the effect on the market. This is preferred because you will have players with deep pockets or vast gold reserves hedging the market by stockpiling resources between patches based upon current price and demand.
Like I said I don’t really have any idea on what really should be done overall for this issue I have ideas on how to treat some of the effects but they fit better with a different post.