The developers of Guild Wars 2 felt that, in order to combat third party gold sales (for real money), they would cut them out by offering the same service – in game. This is short sighted, for two reasons:
1. Those who make money selling gold for real cash aren’t going to shut down their operations on what is expected to be a hugely popular game. Instead, the easiest option is simply to work in the same manner that in-game human traders, like myself, do. This is to simply front-run the merchants and collectors – offer what they do for less, and pay more than they do to acquire it. It’s straight up commerce and drives the huge economic system of Guild Wars 1. Go to Istan or Pre-Searing Ascalon and see it in action.
“Buy Gems from us for less than Arenanet!” or even “Buy Gold from us and skip the conversion process!”
2. With gold “buying” legitimized by its offering in the game, the developer is telling the players that it’s okay to shortcut their way to success with a credit card. No more does the player need to work hard, they can simply buy their way through the game. Those with the most space free on their card have the opportunity to get the furthest ahead.
But that’s not really the second point. The problem is about the ethics/morality of gold purchases. When one is digging through low-budget, seedy looking websites and hiding in dark digital alleys to ensure that they aren’t busted and lose their characters, or that they are just outright ripped off, increases the risk factor and drives the average user away from this unseemly act.
Now that Guild Wars 2 will have it built in, that “fear” will be gone, so purchasing gold in this manner, I feel, will skyrocket as it is legitimized.
And for what? Hyperinflation.
The end result of this is that those who don’t buy more gold will be up the creek by the rapidly increasing prices of products to balance out the influx of gold.
If a company plans to make a game that simulates a real world ecosystem and includes financial transactions, the first thing they need to do is hire an economics expert to consider the ramifications of their decisions on a world (GW2 world) scale!