Trading Balance in WoW Classic Hardcore: Blizzard’s Response

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Trading Balance in WoW Classic Hardcore: Blizzard's Response

WoW Classic Hardcore server’s imminent arrival has undoubtedly sky-rocketed the community’s excitement. However, controversy arises about the trading system. And Blizzard has responded.

Trading and Game Balance Concerns

Recently, player Azelon expressed worries about trading potent weapons within WoW. Their insightful observations shed light on the potential disruption this could cause to the delicate balance of the gaming experience. After all, high-level players might collect these items to trade with lower-level gamers. This greatly heightens the chance of survival for the latter, especially in Hardcore mode. In addition, they also brought attention to “chain trading,” where items are passed down among players of different levels, from high to low.

The player had also thought of some solutions. They suggested putting restrictions on the amount of gold that can be traded. Other than that, implementing penalties such as cooldowns on exchanged items may also prove a great practice. 

Blizzard’s Response

Trading Balance in WoW Classic Hardcore: Blizzard's Response

The post has gained Blizzard’s attention. And so, Senior Game Producer Josh Greenfield has responded. 

He acknowledged the feedback. However, he also emphasized the company’s commitment to giving players the freedom to make their own decisions. A mandatory no-trade mode for all players is not currently being considered. But Blizzard is looking into the idea of a ‘self-found’ gameplay option. Of course, it won’t be arriving right away. But rather, in future updates.

Thanks for the post Azelon. Let’s see if we can dig in with some answers:

We can start earning trophies for “String of Ears” at level 10. But 2 friends can level many alts to 10 to increase the stack count of each other’s mains. Leveling a character to 10 is easy and fast so they are “disposable”. What I think is more appropriate for the minimum level to be increased to at least 40. Once you reach that far, players won’t be engaging in Duel to the Death readily and very few people would want to loose a 40+ character just to increase someone else’s trophies. I think 40 is an important milestone in Classic because it’s then when you get your 1st mount.


We’ve actually already made a quick adjustment here and raised the minimum level to earn or grant stacks of String of Ears to level 19. This should be reflected in our next PTR build sometime next week. That’s a bit more of a time investment needed than 10, so we are hoping that deters some shenanigans. We’ll watch this closely and if it becomes something that’s majorly exploited, we can make more adjustments. We have a few more ideas for future iterations already.

Trading should be restricted to few levels below and above the character’s level. Otherwise high level characters will easily farm gear for low levels. Classic Hardcore should be about the journey from level 1 when you start with nothing and survive through all the difficulties. Later after release when there are characters from all levels chain trading should also be prevented. This way a character level 60 could trade it with 57 who could trade it with 54 and so on all the way down to the desired level. To prevent this an item, once traded, should have a cool down period during which further trading will not be possible. I think a cool down period of 1 week is good but would like to hear other opinions what this cool down period should be. Similar restrictions should be applied to the amount of gold that can be traded between players. For example, depending on the character’s level, there should be maximum amount of gold that can be sent or received for a day or for a week. This should also limit the amount of RMT which shouldn’t have a place in Classic.


Probably not going to be able to give a super satisfying answer here today, but we are hearing feedback about this and are considering some ideas around adding an opt-in option for no-trade or “self-found” gameplay in the future. There’s a few ways to potentially approach this but all of them are out of scope for our initial patch 1.14.4 launch and will need to come with a future Classic Era Hardcore update.

Regardless of what we do, we think player agency here is the most important thing and a no-trade mode is not something we are looking at enforcing for all players baseline, with no ability to opt-out of. Generally speaking, we’re uncomfortable with taking player agency away or restricting options unless we absolutely must.

As far as I am aware, the current tools and addons that the community utilizes to enforce these challenges will continue to be maintained and function, and that is still an option that is totally available to those who want to pursue additional challenges. We fully expect player communities to pop up around these opt-in restrictions as well which we are super excited to see.

Thanks again for the post!

— Blizzard

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As WoW Classic Hardcore prepares for its launch, players eagerly await further updates. Not only on the trading system, but also on various other aspects of the game. The idea of an opt-in feature to address the trading issue has surely brought relief to players who share the same concerns with Azelon. 

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