Tag Archives: WoW Community News

All About the Gold Cap

First off, here are the answers to a few of the more regularly asked questions about the cap:

  • The in-game maximum amount of currency that a single toon can have is 214,748 Gold, 36 Silver and 46 Copper.
  • The gold cap is specific to one toon and not to an account. You can exceed the cap by spreading the currency amongst your alts.
  • Mail with gold attached, be it from other players or the AH, cannot be picked up. Attempts to do so will result in the warning message flashing on the screen “At Gold Limit.”
  • No more money, even a single copper, from any source including player-to-player trade or looting a corpse can be attained until some currency is removed from the player that has reached the cap. Most attempts to attain more money via these and other methods will result in the same “At Gold Limit” message.
  • There is no award, title, in-game achievement or special designation for reaching the gold cap. It is simply an achievement, in the most basic and personal sense of the word.
  • Items sold to vendors while at the gold cap do not yield any gold. The gold is lost although the item may be repurchased from the vendor, and you charged. Note: we didn’t test this one ourselves but it stands to reason.
  • The guild bank gold cap is higher than the personal gold cap. We didn’t decipher the exact limit but we presume it is the unsigned integer amount listed below.
  • Should you decide to share the news of having reached the cap with your server population, friends, guildmates or on the WoW forums you will be met with varying forms of only three basic categories of comments: A) “Grats!” B) “Grats! Can you give me/buy me/loan me ____” or C) “You must have no life and play all the time.” It is unwise to respond at all to comments of types B or C.

Now, here are a few facts about the WoW gold cap that you may not have known.

It’s Not Really a ‘Gold Cap’ That We’re Talking About…

Gold, in fact, is not the unit of measurement used in the game’s programming. Rather, the currency is measured by the game in its purest form, Copper. Thus, the term “Gold Cap” is not entirely accurate as it is, technically, a “Copper Cap”.

Why Such a Strange Number?

The existence of a maximum threshold at all is because of the way this aspect of the game is programmed. The most plausible explanation for the cap is that the initial developers of WoW declared the variable (that is, assigned it as an adaptable mathematical value) of copper as ‘int32’, a signed 32-bit integer. This type of assignment allows for a maximum of 31 mathematical characters with one space reserved for positive or negative designation. The designation of a variable as a signed int32 allows for a maximum value of negative or positive 2 to the power of 31 (subtracting one on the positive side of the scale). So int32 allows for a range of –2^31 to 2^31-1. 2^31 is 2,147,483,648-1 which is 2,147,483,647. Look familiar? That’s the actual Copper Cap. Translated back to ‘gold cap’ and allowing for understanding that a player must have less than the maximum it becomes 214,748.36.46. See how that works? So in computational terms, the gold cap is a < signed int32 or < 2^31-1. Complex? Maybe. But still entirely understandable.

Can It Be Fixed?

Can it? Will it? Is it even ‘broken’? Ultimately it is up the Blizzard developers to determine if they are interested in increasing the gold cap. The most plausible, albeit short-sighted, solution would be to make the number an unsigned integer thus allowing for a maximum gold amount of less than 2^32-1 or 4,294,967,295 copper (or 429,496 Gold, 72 Silver and 95 Copper) but, of course, we have no idea what impact this might have on the game’s programming or currency model. It seems like a reasonable solution because you can’t have a negative gold balance (although we know some players who sure try hard enough) so what’s the need for the extra character pos/neg designator anyway? Of course, perhaps the only reason you can’t have a negative gold amount is because of this designation so… who knows? The other possibility is that they assign the variable a different declaration, one with a longer character allowance, but again we can only theorize as to the impact of such a seemingly simple yet potentially drastic change.

In our opinion, we’d rather they didn’t attempt to tackle this problem since the work around is simply sending gold to alts or storing in a privately owned guild bank. Ever have problems on patch day? Notice odd bugs come up after the release of major content? Ever have issues with items or mail? We have. Therefore, we’re not very excited about the prospect of messing with a system that might have far reaching and unpredictable results. Particularly when it comes to results that might adversely impact our virtual wallets.

The Auction House Has its Own Gold Cap

Yes, the AH has its own, unique, gold cap. The maximum amounts for items listed in the AH are:

200,000 Gold for bid
429,496 Gold, 72 Silver, 95 Copper for buyout

However- and this is where it really gets strange- you can’t list both maximums on the same auction. That’s right. While you can list items for 200,000 bid OR items for 429,496.72.95 G buyout, you can’t do so at the same time. You have to lower one or the other or the game does it for you automatically. Also interesting is that where the bid level appears to be a hard, or fixed cap, the buyout is a bit more elusive. So any time you try to list an item above 200,000 G bid the Auction button will simply gray out. Easy enough. But listing items above the buyout max level will do things like automatically adjust your buyout level downwards to various, and mostly unpredictable, levels.

Of course, the strangest part of this revelation is that auctions can be set at levels higher than the maximum amount of gold a player can have. Thus, you could theoretically set an auction for a price that no player could possibly pay and, even if they could, you couldn’t receive. Take a moment and just imagine the pain of selling a 400,000 gold auction and not being able to receive it. Which brings us to our next point…

…did seeing the buyout maximum set off a sense of mathematical déjà vu? It should. The limit mentioned above could also be described as less than 4,294,967,296 which is, as stated earlier, 2 to the 32nd power. 2^32-1 is an unsigned int32 declaration. So Blizzard used a signed integer declaration for the gold cap, but not so for the AH limit. Strange. Does this mean, theoretically at least, that it is possible to have a negative gold amount somehow in the game? We don’t think so but it does raise some legitimate questions.

There may also be an in-game mailbox gold cap but, to be absolutely honest, none of us had the balls to test it out.

Capping the Gold Cap Discussion

So that’s the basics of the gold cap logic. Will the gold cap always remain at this level? Hard to say. It seems reasonable that if players are becoming more and more wealthy with each expansion pack, and items and gold sinks costing more, Blizzard would raise the limit if, indeed, they intend the game to go on for a long time. But seeing as how honor is still capped at 75,000 it may not be something that the development team is too worried about.

Hopefully we’ve not bored anyone to sleep just yet. But if reaching the gold cap is a goal you’re striving to meet it certainly can’t hurt to know more about it. Good luck in your own efforts of reaching it.

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AH Issues Resolved

It would appear that the ongoing AH issues we reported on yesterday have been resolved. While scattered reports of AH instability and missing items remain, our own investigations have found nothing conclusive. The items that were ‘missing’ were returned to the AH if they had time left on their auctions or to player’s mail boxes if the auctions expired during the outage. This includes items that were lost in both ‘waves’ of disappearing goods in the AH resulting in some fairly skewed market pricing data due to wide price ranges for many items.

Compensation

We do not expect to be compensated for the lost deposit fees in any form. While it would be a nice gesture, we suspect that it would be a significant drain of resources for Blizzard and therefore not worth the effort to the company.

Cause of Issues and Ongoing Concerns

We also do not have any information as to the cause of the issue or the likelihood of it happening again. This is the most concerning aspect of the ordeal to us as having a stable, functioning and, most importantly, reliable Auction House is a cornerstone to successful MMO trade. Our GM ticket was answered (after a 20 hour wait) with a form message prompting us to check our in-game mail. The in-game mail message was a generic form letter apology and statement of the issue’s successful resolution.

Further Problems

If you have further issues with the AH the people at Blizzard would like you to use this forum post to make them aware. Please note, that this thread is not the forum to vent your frustration or ask questions but rather the best place to make the developers aware of ongoing issues. There are plenty of other places to rant over on the official forums.

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Breaking News- Some Servers Experiencing Missing AH Items

Ongoing updates are listed at the bottom of this post.

Every realm we surveyed this morning reported experiencing rolling restarts. Most reported this happening more than once. Several, however, also reported experiencing ‘missing AH items’ after the latest restart.

It appears that, for a few select realms, the AH was cleared of ALL items. New auctions can be listed, but the old goods were not returned to players, nor are they relisted in the AH- They’ve simply gone… missing. We’ve logged into one of these realms and have put in a ticket to speak with a GM about the issue. WoWenomics would like to know where the items went, if they will be relisted or simply returned to the user and if the deposits on these items will be refunded. Naturally, the GM’s are experiencing ‘high ticket volume’ on these servers so responses are delayed. Stay tuned for an update on this issue, hopefully some insight into the cause and how the ‘missing items’ issue has been resolved.

UPDATE #1: The issue remains unsolved. Auction Houses were back up for a few hours on most realms but missing items were not returned or relisted in the AH. New items could be listed, but old ones are still in WoW limbo. A forum thread was started and a blue left a few comments concerning the issue but gave up somewhere around post #190 (it was over 300 last we checked). The TL;DR version of Blizzard’s stance is the predictable “we are aware of the issue and working…” Of note, the blue poster responds that all items will show up again in the AH or mailbox but, so far, this has not been the case. Further, many of the AH’s that were back up are now, again, unavailable. This time no items can be seen or posted and the message returned is the ambiguous, “Internal auction error” we’ve become so familiar with. For what it is worth, we’ve had a toon on one of these servers with a GM ticket open for over 8 hours. No response yet. We will continue to investigate.

UPDATE #2: 12 hours since our ticket was opened, still no response from Blizzard GMs concerning the issue. Also no more blue posts in the forums. There was, however, the following message was recently posted on the Status Alert page:

“SERVERALERT:
October 24, 2009 8:50 PM PDT

We are aware that players across several realms are having trouble accessing the Auction House or viewing their characters’ posted auctions. These items have not gone missing, however we are actively working to restore the Auction House to its intended functionality. In the mean time we do appreciate your patience and will keep you apprised of any updates we are able to provide.”

Some players are reporting there auctions have been successfully reposted in the AH and those that expired returned via in-game mail. Others are reporting that they’ve now lost items two or more times since the AH was wiped clear at least as many times on there servers. We still have no direct word from Blizzard concerning the issue or when all players will have their items returned. We continue to monitor.

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Another New WoW Gold Blog on the Scene

Today we announce the inclusion of yet another new WoW gold blog on our side bar list and Resources page. Enchant Yourself is a diary style gold blog with day-to-day reports on the author’s attempts at successful (and sometimes unsuccessful) gold grabbing. One very interesting feature is that the author has made the decision to start their gold making adventure without any seed funding so they are documenting their experience on going from literally zero gold to WoW riches and taking us along for the ride. They have also included a fairly comprehensive blog roll, frequent updates and posts on various subjects including AH manipulation and crafting-for-profit experiments. Stop by and welcome this new blog to the community.

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Undocumented Fix to AH Interface

A small fix was applied to the AH interface sometime during the past two weeks. The fix addresses the interface issue we described in a previous post, wherein new searches of the AH would retain the page index of previous searches thereby rendering occasionally inaccurate search results. This was only prevalent in the unmodified auction house and has since been fixed. New searches now revert to the first indexed page of AH searches.

You can, however, still dance your way to free honor at the blacksmith in Arathi Basin.

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How Much Should You Tip Other Players?

Okay, this one comes by way of our team’s mage. It would seem that I’ve offended him to a certain degree with my repeated references to his beloved class as vending machines and QQ dispensers. While I stand by my comments on the least threatening/most squishy of all DPS classes (but hey, they do portals right?), I will appease him with the post he has been bitching about humbly requesting that we post for so very long. So, this one’s for our resident jewelcrafter and favorite mage. We now proudly give you a guide to proper tipping in WoW.

First, a small disclaimer: This was hardly scientific. What we did to determine each tip level was to first take a poll amongst the WoWenomics team members, and then subsequently asked each member to take an informal poll amongst the population of their trade channels. Members were asked to continue polling the population, ideally at different times of day, until they reached fifty responses each. We dared not stay for much more than fifty as it is our understanding that too much WoW trade chat can make your brain fall out of your ear and your eyes bleed. We asked only four questions, and provide both the team’s opinions and the thoughts (if they can be called ‘thoughts’) of trade chat responders.

Without further ado, our recommended tipping levels for popular WoW services:

Mage Portals

WoWenomics Team Average: 8 gold
Trade Channel Average: 6 gold
Highest Amount Suggested: 20 gold
Craziest Response Received: “The amount of their reagent cost. Why should it cost more?”

Lock Boxes Opened

WoWenomics Team Average: 5 gold
Trade Channel Average: 2 gold
Highest Amount Suggested: 20 gold
Craziest Response Received: “Free.”

Epic Gem Cuts (petitioner’s materials)

WoWenomics Team Average: 25 gold
Trade Channel Average: 19 gold
Highest Amount Suggested: 60 gold
Craziest Response Received: “My balls. That’s how much.”

High End Enchantments/Crafting (petitioner’s materials)

WoWenomics Team Average: 90 gold
Trade Channel Average: 60 gold
Highest Amount Suggested: 500 gold
Craziest Response Received: “Can you please shut up with your stupid survey?”

So there you have it. Hardly scientific but we do hope it gives you some idea as to how you might want to tip. We also hope that it helps our mage get better tips (he apparently spends a lot of time ‘explaining’ how much his customers ‘should’ tip him). Now go make me some biscuits water boy!

What do you think? What are the fair amounts to tip for these (and other) services?

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Abyssal Shatter

The Enchanting ability, Abyssal Shatter, was hotfixed onto EU servers this morning.  This ability allows for conversion of Abyss Crystals into either Infinite Dust or Greater Cosmic Essence.  If the spell results are left unchanged, there will be significant economic impact.

Shattering crystals requires an enchanting skill of 445 and can reportedly yield as many as 18 dusts or 4 essences.

Prices are already starting to move on EU servers to reflect the above stated changes.  Players on US servers have somewhat of an advantage here in that, since they did not yet receive the hotfix, they have an early warning of the impending change.  US early adapters will be able to play a bit of insider trading and move the markets before they move themselves.

It is worth noting that there will also be some trickle down consequences on related enchantment materials markets such as enchanted vellums and other items that require these materials but this change may require more time to take effect. 

Over the long haul, it would be our expectation that the prices of Infinite Dust, Greater Cosmic Essence and Abyss Crystals will all normalize such that the price of 1 Abyss Crystal, 15-18 Infinite Dust, and 2-3 Greater Cosmic Essence all equal about the same amount.  Until this happens, however, there will be ample opportunity to take advantage of price disparity.

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