|Economics in Action. Excitement is everything.|
On the day I played the Lottery for the first time in forever (and won £2.80, go me!) this post seems particularly apposite. I've been watching the sale of Unclaimed Black Market Containers on the Black Market Auction House with increasing interest and, I must say amazement. Thus far, none that I've tracked have sold for less than 50,000g. I'm beginning to wonder if this is a gamble I'm simply unwilling to undertake.
If Blizzard were looking new sources for a gold sink, there were plenty of ways they could have made one. Certainly the Engineering and Jewelcrafting mounts already do a decent job of parting people with large piles of coin, but with them you at least know what you're getting. Dropping 50k on what might end up as a Cat Carrier [Siamese] might seem ridiculous to many, but there's a lot of VERY useful stuff on the BMAH to be had. This is the Wowhead link to possible contents, and the 535 items alone should be enough to get people excited: however, all of these items are BoP. The non-bind items all have the potential for resale (especially patterns and some of the more exotic mounts) but would you REALLY shell out 1/20th of the personal Gold Cap on the offchance you got lucky?
Supply and demand says you would.
I have seen the people buying these Containers, and they're players for whom money is not a problem any more. They're also more than comfortable with 'risking' the cost of earning the gold against the chance of picking up something useful. It might seem like high-stakes gambling, but that's not strictly true. Winning is no guarantee of a return of your money, or indeed of an increase in your 'stake.' I've seen a lot of people compare these guys to the Fortune Cards so popular during Cataclysm (where you had a chance of a 5000g card.) but this is an entirely different level of engagement. For most people 50k is enough of a sum to make a real difference to their quality of online 'life.' To watch the bidding on these items, to see sometimes more people in front of the BMAH than I'd see in the Dwarven District in Stormwind, makes me realise there really are a lot of different people playing this game, with greatly varying desires.
Without getting into a deep and (quite possibly) incendiary discussion about adrenaline highs, it is fair to say that excitement will play a part in the purchase of these items, as will boredom. If you're gold capped, what's next? Do you start all over again, and if so what better way to blow all that virtual money than with a punt on something that might gift you with one of the most sought-after items in game? If you have the money to burn, who's to say what you do with it? For those of us who thought these things might make for interesting ways to 'gamble' with smaller amounts, it looks like it is going to be a very long wait before there's a chance to pick up a container at all...