Jonn is out today, and demanding more posts, so here you go. Even for the bulk of you have no idea what I am talking about, this will have some relevance.
As all who have goofed on me know, I play a lot of World of Warcraft. I stopped playing everyday a few months ago and went to my once a week schedule where I just play with Claymore and his wife and son, and a few of my friends from upstate NY. Anyway, about 2 weeks ago I realized that I never had any money in the game (ie. Gold) and decided I would take a few minutes each day to check out the price of commodities in the Auction House. Specifically I wanted to see if prices fluctuated from the week to the weekend.
OK, so some backdrop info. In the game you quest around to get gold or gear, with a goal of getting more gold to buy better gear, to go into rougher areas to get more gold to get better gear, and so on. You spend the most of your time alternating between questing, where you go and do a mission for a set amount of gold, or going into dungeons and running around with 4 other folks killing shit and taking their gold and clothes. Anyway, if you are a mage, and you get a crossbow you can’t use, then the Auction House allows you to go in and sell it to another player for whatever cost they will pay. But you can also sell commodities, mostly ore & metal (to craft stuff), gems (to go into your crafted stuff), cloth, leather, and a bunch of similar things.
So, I started watching the prices of commodities in the Auction House. When something was selling low, I would buy it up, and wait until the price would go up and resell it. Sometimes I would buy larger quantities of something (like titanium bars) and then break it up into smaller amounts and sell at a profit. Anyway, through this speculating I managed to go from 1000 gold 2 weeks ago to a little over 5000 gold now, and I have a bunch of commodities squirreled away for when the changes come in the game. See, every now and again they add new stuff, and the price of the stuff fluctuates with the flood of new equipment. Sometimes stuff goes up, sometimes it goes down. So, I took the time and researched, and figured out that some commodities (high level cloth, Titansteel bars, and Abyss Crystals) would all likely increase in cost. So, I bought them up.
Anyway, I started thinking today that I could only pull this off in Azeroth. Can you imagine the amount of shit I would take from Congress if I bought stuff up at the cost offered, and sold it to people that wanted it, and still managed to make 500% profit? I’d be dragged off to Congress before I could even think straight.
Thankfully, there is no communism, socialism, progressivism or any other -ism but Capitalism in Warcraft. The only direct means that the Government seems to have for raising money is from the 5% surcharge on all sales at the Auction House. (If your product does not sell you also owe a small amount of gold.) Not only that, but as you do jobs for the Gov’t, they pay you. Some players speculate that there may be hidden taxes in the stuff you buy in the cities, ie. Food and water and some sales you make to vendors. But, if that is the case, then they are exclusively sales taxes. And you could avoid them entirely by just going out and hunting and getting the stuff on your own if you wanted to. No one forces you to spend money.
Anyway, I started looking at what the Warcraft Government actually does, and doesn’t do, how it affects you in game, and how that is different from our real government.
First off, you pay for your own education. The more education you get, the more expensive it becomes. Everyone starts with no money, but when one character becomes rich and starts another, he is free to give all of it to the new character. In other words, your kids get your estate with no taxes. Is it unfair? I mean, one guy joins and gets 0 gold. And some other dude who already has a level 80 character starts a new one and sends himself 1000g. Not fair right? Tough shit.
The Government does pay for common defense. And it blows. You are safe inside major cities, but even then sometimes you get overrun and everyone gets killed. If you go about 200 yards from the Human City, you’ll run into bandits.
The Government also pays for transit in some areas. For instance, there is a tram from Ironforge (the Dwarven city) to Stormwind (the human one) that is free. Also, if you want to change continents you can take boats. Those are free.
The Government also throws some bitching parties every now and again, but not only do they not charge you to go to them, they will pay you. The most recent one was some Jackass Pilgrim thing where you had to kill chickens, get in a food fight and do a bunch of stuff I refused to do on account of it being ghey.
The government does provide 2 things that require money. The mail, and intra-continent traffic via (essentially) flying taxis. The mail takes like ½ hour to get anywhere, even if you dump it in the same mailbox that the person is picking the stuff up at. And the Taxi’s are basically if you are too lazy to run, ride or fly to wherever it is you are going for free.
So, in short, there’s not enough defense spending, the mail takes too damn long, the public transport is just for lazy folks or the rich, and they throw great parties. Now, while that *sounds* like the Dems, the reality is that they don’t seem to charge for any of those things. The Government has never once looked into my finances, I never pay any taxes (at least knowingly), and I have no health insurance. I don’t pay money to folks who won’t quest (work) for their own, and I am free to hang out with whoever I want. In point of fact, we all join up in “Guilds” of folks, pick our own leaders, set our own criteria etc. When someone acts like an ass, we toss them from the Guild. No one from the Azerothian Civil Liberties Union ever once jumped our Guild Leader for kicking a Gnome out of the guild. Not once.
Here is me talking to Dwarven King Magni Bronzebeard.
Now, Magni wants me to find his daughter. It turns out that she’s gone over to the bad guys, but either way, not pertinent here. Magni wants you to go in there with 4 other dudes, and kill everything standing, and find his girl and bring her back. He’s not trying to apply “Soft Power” buying them soccer balls, bowing before their leaders, promising to limit civilian casualties. He wants you to go in there and kick their ass.
Anyway, I just wonder if there are any WoW players out there what they think an Azeroth under Dem Control would look like.