Blizzard is the only legitimate source of gold, through the WoW token, and tokens cannot be bought in Classic. If you buy gold, you are buying it through third parties, and you are breaking the terms of service, risk banning, and are a terrible person. When you buy gold, you are not just screwing over a big business who doesn’t care. The way gold sellers get gold is through illegitimate means that destroy the game for the actual players.
One of the sources is botting. This ruins the game and economy for those on the servers where the botting is occurring. It keeps actual players from being able to access nodes. It depreciates the value of items farmed up by actual players. Plus various changes get made to the game that make it fundamentally worse to combat botting (for example, exploits used in things like botting have made it so that Blizzard has added an anti-collision detection system to the game that disconnects players that are doing things the system finds questionable. This system frequently activates upon the regular use of player abilities like disengage.).
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The main source of gold for gold sellers is even worse-compromised accounts. Gold sellers compromise accounts, primarily through phishing and malware, log on, sell everything possible on the account and send all the gold to one controlled by the gold sellers (often another compromised account). They do this over and over to accumulate the gold in order to sell it. So someone loses access to their account and loses all their stuff. It’s a horrible feeling, like being robbed. Blizzard is really good about restoring everything these days, which is good customer service, but even that has its problems. While they’ll remove things that are stolen like that from the accounts receiving it, the amounts of laundering that goes on, with passing the gold from account to account, makes it difficult to track. While I’m sure they’re capable of doing so, with the sheer amount of time and effort involved, my understanding is that they don’t dig through everything to remove every bit of stolen gold from the game. That means that the economy inflates faster than it should, because the stolen gold is remaining in circulation while more is generated for the player who got compromised. That also affects the economy in a negative way.
Don’t buy gold. Just don’t. If you want to buy gold, play Battle for Azeroth and buy a token from Blizzard directly. If you buy gold, you are supporting Chinese companies that directly make the game worse for everyone who’s actually playing it. You’re funding people getting their accounts stolen from them. You’re giving money to people who spam annoying whispers, shouts, and community invites. Anyone who buys gold should be ashamed of themselves. Asan added reminder, be very careful about any links you click in emails. Make sure to use an adblocker. If you’re concerned about supporting WoW related sites you use, many or most of them have ad-free memberships. The various websites don’t generate the ads themselves and those ads, particularly on Wowhead, are a key source of malware related to account compromises. This is only sensible from the point of view of those trying to steal accounts. If they inject a malware-laden ad onto a mainstream website, like a news site, the likelihood of anyone who gets that malware having an active WoW account is very slim. Someone who is accessing WoW-related fansites most likely does have an active account. Finally, make sure to get the authenticator app. Unfortunately, they appear to have discontinued the physical authenticator, but most people do have smart phones these days. The authenticator app from Blizzard is free and can be accessed immediately. It’s much more difficult, and generally very rare, for accounts to get compromised with an authenticator attached. It was well worth it for the $8 or so the physical authenticators cost, so now that the only option is free, there’s no excuse for not having one as long as you have a smart phone.