Blizzard bans pay-to-win GDKP runs in Season of Discovery Phase 2 cover image

Blizzard bans pay-to-win GDKP runs in Season of Discovery Phase 2

Blizzard announced a blanket policy on WoW Classic GDKP runs today, a pay-to-win way for players to buy gear. What’s the new law? Let’s look.

I don't like to brag and gloat, but: I called it. Last month I wrote that one of the biggest issues facing World of Warcraft is the incentive to buy gold and the symptoms that stem from that. One of the biggest was the rise of "GDKP" raid runs in WoW Classic--The auctioning of raid gear drops instead of it going to the highest roller. Well, Blizzard is listening. They announced today with its Season of Discovery Phase 2 info drop that WoW Classic GDKP runs are banned on SoD servers.

"We are experimenting with a new policy which will no longer allow GDKP runs in Season of Discovery," said Blizzard. "While we understand that there are some benefits for those who find this a convenient way to gain gear, we also recognize that there are concerns surrounding the erosion of traditional guild and social structures that are a part of the spirit of Season of Discovery."

How, exactly, is Blizzard planning on banning GDKP runs from WoW Classic? We have some ideas.

Editor's note, 2:19 p.m. EST, 1/30/24: Blizzard posted a FAQ on what type of punishment comes along with their new policy, seen below.

WoW Classic a GDKP runs-free zone

"Given the experimental nature of Season of Discovery, we want to try things without this type of transaction taking place in this game mode. With the launch on February 8, we will be restricting this activity. We will have more information to share on our official channels and will be monitoring feedback closely." While the statement from Blizzard appears cut and dry, it leaves one question up in the air.

How, exactly, do you ban players from collecting an entry fee to raid and from bidding on raid drops? Blizzard has two tools available with which to keep the practice from happening. The first is a simple and obvious blanket policy on any reported actions. Reported for doing a GDKP run? You could be looking at any number of manual punishments, such as loss of gold, items, bans, or more.

The second may take a nod from Retail WoW, with an implementation of loot management systems that automatically handle the disbursement of gear. Obviously, this comes with some issues. This could keep guilds from properly gearing up and getting loot to raid members that most need it. However, this could be an automated system that doesn't trigger if everyone--or a majority--are all in the same guild.

Regardless, banning WoW Classic GDKP runs is a step in the right direction. MMORPG economies are a fragile thing and this shows that Blizzard is taking any attempts to uber-inflate its currency as a serious matter.

We'll have more information on how Blizzard plans to implement this when Season of Discovery Phase 2 launches on Feb. 8.

Stay tuned to for esports news and WoW Classic information.