A Question of Ethics
One of the downsides to a small-pop server is that there are fewer things to spend your gold on. More people equals more AH competition, of course, but it also means more volume of BoE epics and other goodies. Having already hit my goal, I am more interested in perhaps seeing another Fury of Angerforge or basically new BoE epics instead of the tired 353 and boring 359 crafted pieces. After another day with nothing new, I lamented in Trade chat one night “WTB more interesting BoE epics” in an effort to shake something out of the tree.
The problem with shaking the tree is that sometimes hairy things actually fall out.
Vitreous Beak of Julak-Doom is a BoE epic drop from an elite mob in Twilight Highlands, and basically requires a raid group to kill unless you want to fight for half an hour. As you can see from Trade Chat however, the item itself is allegidly hot, e.g. the result of a “ninja.” The question then becomes: do you care?
Scenario 1: You find Virteous Beak on the AH for 7500g buyout.
Scenario 2: You haggle someone selling Virteous Beak in Trade Chat down to 7500g.
Scenario 3: You win Virteous Beak in a raid, but don’t equip it right away because you lack the enchanting mats to put Hurricane/Power Torrent on it. Two weeks later, your raid team collapses. You sell the Beak for 17,000g on the AH.
Scenario 4: You low-ball someone selling Virteous Beak on Trade Chat in spite of a random person going on about how the seller is a ninja (in a non-Master Looter situation).
Scenario 5: You buy 105 stacks of Elementium Ore for 24g/stack from someone who is clearly a bot.
Among the five scenarios, which ones are ethical and which ones are unethical? I think we could all agree that Scenario 1 is pretty straight-forward ethically… but does the difference between 1 & 4 really come down to ignorance? As long as you do not know the sweat shop conditions of the Malyasian plant that manufactured the shirt you are wearing, it is ethical to purchase said shirt? And what does it say to us as AH barons to flagrantly purchase bot-gathered Ore off the AH (or even barter directly with said botters!) when our actions directly affect the gold-selling trade?
Would you have bought the Vitreous Beak from the guy for 7500g (assuming you had a caster who could use it)? Would you have bought it and then resold it for, say, 17500g? Does any of this sort of thing phase you in-game when it comes up vis-a-vis ninja/bot-farmed goods? How goblin is goblin?
Let me know in the comments below.