Gold sellers would steal players’ account information using keylogging malware and phishing scams, so they could strip characters and harvest everything of value. They used stolen accounts and the accounts of players who had paid for “power leveling” services to “bot” for resources, using automated cheat programs to harvest resources that they could quickly liquidate on the in-game auction house. This caused the price for traded goods to crash, which impacted the entire economy.
“We are seeing the same sort of discrepancies that folks in this thread and others have pointed out,” said Hazzikostas. “But we still have yet to pinpoint the exact aspect of scaling that we failed to account for. We want to understand why the numbers are off and fix the underlying cause: Were stats on gear reduced too much? Some aspect of creature armor or other combat calculations? Are our baseline values accurate, but the shape of the scaling curve wrong such that it’s particularly far off the mark in the 60-80 range?
There are various upsides to this imbalance. Max level players are able to complete lower level content with ease, allowing them to swiftly complete missed quests and achievements in earlier zones, and can travel through zones without being constantly attacked, since mobs will only attack players several levels higher than them if walked directly into. Max level also makes it possible to solo earlier group content such as dungeons and even raids, making farming loot such as mounts far easier, and for those interested in a challenge opening up a new subtype of play at slightly higher levels.
There are several reasons why this may have happened. First, only a fraction of the players who interact with the auction house buy or sell WoW Tokens. While the value of both gold and commodities plunged relative to real money, the value of gold and commodities remained steady relative to each other. Players who didn’t interact with the Token market could buy the same number of flasks by doing the same amount of world quests, or selling the same number of gems or enchantments, so these sellers saw no reason to raise their prices.
Something to keep in mind as well is that this will make enchanting materials more valuable, since it is likely most players will now simply scrap their boe greens instead of getting them disenchanted. Also redundant dungeon/raid gear can be scrapped rather than traded to the (guild) enchanter in the run. Less stuff gets disenchanted, meaning there will be less ecnhanting materials, meaning their value will rise. All the more reason to DE rather than scrap as an ecnhanter.