RedBedlam Boss Says Gold Farming “Inevitable”

By Jim Rossignol on January 21st, 2009 at 9:29 am.


The boss of virtual world tech company RedBedlam, Kerry Fraser-Robinson, has said that companies must find a way to bring virtual currency trading into their games. The must, he argued, accept that virtual currency trading will take place in games that have an economy. “Trying to stop that happening is literally like telling the tide not to come in – you will fail.”

The comments were part of a wide-ranging interview over at GI.biz, in which Fraser-Robinson slammed the idea that gold trading could be forced out of virtual worlds. More thoughts on this issue after the jump.

“It’s going to happen whether you like it or not. People will always find the path of least resistance, if you stop them buying your gold then they’ll buy that gold from somebody else who is gold farming,” said the RedBedlam CEO. “I strongly recommend that people at least allow for purchase and sale of gold within their game, otherwise third parties will and that will ruin their game. Even if it’s not their central revenue model they’ll still need to do that, if it’s a subscription game, they’ll still need to have at least the awareness and preferably the capacity for people to buy and sell currency in their virtual world.”

I’m rather torn on this issue. On the one hand, I’ve certainly encountered gold farmers in WoW, and ISK farmers in Eve, and been annoyed by them. Eve’s ISK farmers less so, perhaps, as they represented an interesting PvP challenge during dull times, but the truth is these folks tend to hog resources and get in the way of normal play. Then there’s the “dishonorable” matter of getting ahead via your credit card, rather than by playing the damned game. Should that be okay? I’m fairly certain Eve’s capital-ship over-abundance has been funded as much by real world money as it has by the hard work of gamers, and I don’t think that’s healthy. Likewise, when you can buy mounts, or much of the best weapons and armour in WoW, doesn’t that devalue them, and make that aspirational target of having the best stuff just a little less interesting? You can see why Blizzard fought against it.

That said, I do agree with Fraser-Robinson, in that I don’t believe this activity can be expunged, especially when games are so leaky, and allow their assets to be so easily traded with the real world. If it was an upfront part of games then the developers could benefit even more than they do from subscriptions, and it might ultimately make these expensive games cheaper to run and develop.

Then, as a final note, I have to admit that I’m kind of awed by the Asian entrepreneurs who figured out that gold farming sweatshops were actually a reasonable way to make money within their economies. It’s one of those incredible niches that makes the world a really strange place to live in.

What do you think, readers?

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50 Comments »

  1. Larington says:

    Slight flaw in the tide coming in analogy – You build a tall enough wall across the front of a beach and unless the tide is really really high, you can stop it.

    In any case, gold farming is an inevitable consequence of games that use item sales as a significant part of gameplay (Auction houses, player to player trading etc) and I’m honestly not convinced that making a game loot dependent is the best way to proceed with an economy based MMO.

  2. weegosan says:

    Wow is certainly changing. We went into naxx in blue gear with 2 or 3 people having spent a lot of gold on epic crafted gear and it was all replaced within 2 weeks, much to their annoyance. Engineering hats which were top 3 for every class in TBC are now replaced in 1 trip through Naxx 10 or 25. Blizzard have worked quite hard to subtly reduce the importance of gold for the every day player it seems, with the only real goal being the pricey mammoth and the bikes which have no impact to the overall balance of the game.

    I would tentatively agree that while currency is important, currency farming is inevitable. It’s self-fulfilling; regardless of how much currency is needed to get on in a game it exists because people buy currency and people buy currency because the services exist.

    There are lots of ‘fixed’ ideas in games that will get shaken up at some point. Leveling already so in EVE, I always approved of the fluid nature of skills and trades in UO: you can cut wood or mine, but if you aren’t used to the work then you will yield poor results. The more you do something (and the frequency at which you use it) the better you become at it. It will be interesting to see if or how someone manages to shake up the concept of currency. Star Trek Online is of interest because, of course, in TNG there is no money due to replicator technology making it obsolete. Is this something they will tackle or step around?

  3. VPeric says:

    IIRC, trading ISK for gamecards in supported in Eve, which is pretty much gold selling (albeit in a somewhat roundabout way), and I’m personally fine with that. We all agree gold farming is bad, but we also all know it can’t be avoided, so why not just pour it into something constructive. Eve is doubly blessed in that it relies on skills as much as, if not more, than on money/equipment.

    On the other hand, microtransactions are also a popular business model for MMO’s (I’ve got experience with Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates, which I believe was among the first). They are usually cleverly designed enough to require some money (or exorbitant amounts of time) to acomplish something big, while also allowing you to get a real feel of the game for free – certainly beats a two week trial.

    In the end, I prefer Eve’s model: selling is possible, if a bit convulated. With microtransactions, there’s a whole culture based around playing free, and saving up maximally, and it just doesn’t make for an enjoyable experience, while in Eve, there’s at least a good chance the person you just met didn’t in fact purchase anything.

  4. Lorc says:

    Personally I’m more concerned by the activities of goldfarmers in-game spoiling the fun of everyone else than any balance problems with RMT. The latter is something that can be designed around, while the former impinges upon the entertainment value of the game itself.

    Guild wars had the right idea I think, annihilating the gold farmer problem by undercutting them. Gold farmers can’t compete with anyone who can instantly magic arbitrary amounts of currency (or in guild wars case, fully-skilled characters) into existence.

    And if real-to-virtual currency exchange means MMOs are forced to abandon the timesink as a significant method for progress, nothing of value will have been lost.

  5. Babs says:

    I wonder if there are legal issues with the maintainers of MMOs selling gold. Surely it would be uncompetitive to continue to ban gold farmering accounts whilst profitting from the same trade?

  6. DarthS says:

    I disagree that buying gold is ‘dishonourable’.

    When advancing in a game like WoW boils down to how much free time your willing to invest (and not how good you are at the game), why not allow people to use shortcuts if they want too?

    Well, why can’t it also be about how much money your willing too invest? Why can’t we let those people with jobs (and little free time) compete directly with those without (and lots of free time)?

    The argument against this is almost always “because it cheapens the experience of those whom invest unhealthy proportions of their lives in these games”, but I’m really not sure it does.

  7. Heliocentric says:

    Personally, I’ll never play an mmo with a true economy it would become a second job. But even the WoW transient economy makes me uncomfortable. Because in all honestly, its a method to milk the players, slow them down and have them pay their fee’s for longer by restricting them from content.

    Joyfully planetside skipped the economy problem by saying “whatever you can equip or carry is yours”. You can load up your quadbike with repair fuel and drive off. Hell, even a plane or tank can be a glorified suitcase. Yet its value is nothing beyond what you can achieve with it.

    I think games with magic get caught in this trap by the ever temping +1 sword trap. Guild wars made efforts to escape the economy trap but in some ways it failed terribly, mainly crafting, which either requires your total attention as you play “oh, a dead dog FREE LEATHER!”or masses of money when you come to get the armor you’ll inevitably need, unless you are a healer and cowardly (still wearing the 2nd tier armor at level 20 on my monk/mes).

  8. Mungrul says:

    There’s an interesting article over on Wired about the largest gold farming company, IGE:
    http://www.wired.com/gaming/virtualworlds/magazine/16-12/ff_ige

  9. BKG says:

    I think the gold selling issue is primarily a design problem and not a business one, and it’s interesting because where a game design problem may normally cause you to wear your patience down this one creates a fairly despicable grey market.

    From my point of view addressing the horror stories of gold farming sweat shops take priority, but even that is complex.

    The problem at the minute is that the market is grey; game designers need to either eliminate it by preventing “earned” assets being transferable as much as possible, which can decay the interest in a game for some players as the sense of economy is gone, or acknowledge and take the responsibility of presiding over it in order to regulate things.

    It’s kind of interesting that an MMO can create jobs as it has done, and as spurious as the whole thing is I don’t think we should eliminate a livelihood when we can attempt to regulate it first.

    If the companies start conjuring gold for cash, that’s more profit for them, fair enough, but I think that’d be potentially more damaging to inflation than having some kind of play time bottleneck.

    From a personal stand point, insurmountable barriers in WoW always tempted me to spend around them, but the ludicrous prices of gold never seemed worth it back in the day. As those prices go down and barriers get sillier though, well, I think it’s rational come a point.

    Wrath’s approach of making professions able to roll out entry-level gear for every slot has transformed an arduous time-sink for a single good soulbound epic into an industry of peggle-like micro-achievments. “2 more bars and I have my trousers…. 12 bars and one of those for the helmet, that’s x ore and so many motes…”. As Terry Pratchett wrote once, to paraphrase, the magnificence of the universe seems more manageable when you apply fractions to break it down into small, 5 minute tasks.

    In MMO terms, I think it makes you more likely to do them yourself.

  10. Ian says:

    I wonder how many people who buy WoW gold are doing it so they can twink their other character(s) rather than going through the early level stuff?

    If there was any evidence there was a lot of that going on Blizzard may consider, if they’re not already, allowing people to jump into other classes further in somehow in the same way you do with Death Knights. Though I’m not sure how viable that that would be as the DKs get properly kitted out and given missions to earn their talent points. And they won’t want the early zones to be abandoned either.

  11. Butler` says:

    Babs, unless I’ve misread, the vast majority of accounts used to farm and advertise gold are stolen/hacked — at least in WoW.

  12. Larington says:

    I’ve been advised by one of my online buddies that after Codies mass ip blocked parts of the far east for Lord of the Rings Online, the end result was that prices for various goods in the auction house tended to be considerably cheaper. Translation, the gold sellers were causing an increased scarcity of valuable commodities by buying them up and reselling them for a higher amount, when they went poof, so did part of the price for stuff from the auction house.

  13. Larington says:

    @Babs: I don’t know if the problem has lessened in the past year or two, but MMOs have been having problems with chargebacks, where a stolen credit card is used to buy time in WoW, the items are inevitably traded away (Or whatever) and when the chargeback comes in the illegal trader has basically farmed gold for free.
    http://www.strategyinformer.com/news/358/british-bank-halifax-blocks-wow-subscriptions-amid-fraud-concerns

  14. mpk says:

    I’ve been known to buy GTCs and trade them for ISK so that I can buy sweets and shiny things, and we’ve had this argument before in corp: one of our members has earned every penny he has in the game, and he’s by far the richest of us all. I’m more superficial – I’ve never got to grips with the market in EVE; never really done more than dabble in the industrial side and I get bored quite easily by NPCing. I play the game for PvP and sometimes that precludes any chance to make money to replace the ships, fittings and – most importantly – clones that you’re losing.

    It’s a weak argument, I know, a self justification that works for me but basically boils down to laziness. I think I’m condemning myself and should just shut up now.

    Damn.

  15. BKG says:

    @Ian

    I think you’re probably right to some degree, they’ve made mounts cheaper and earlier to get, but with the low-end economy as aggressive and professions being all but useless you’re often reliant on boosts or playing a class that can fight in their skivvies until you can do the one revamped zone in the mid-30s and try to wing it until Outland.

    If they broadly re-itemized quests or professions that’d help tons without killing the old world content, which they maintain they want to keep alive but presently aren’t putting in dev time to do.

    @Larington

    From my experience I’d say the vast majority of the profit is still being done using hacked accounts. In the last week or two I’ve been leveling a character in some of the more tranquil (read: deserted) areas only to see several naked high level characters appearing at vendors before strangely zipping off at high speed by some kind of telehack.

  16. Larington says:

    Heh, wonder if the developers of these MMOs could do a check for characters that only tend to have little/no equipment and start monitoring those specifically, especially if at a high level.

  17. unwise says:

    LotRO was plagued with gold farmers and spammers in the early days, but I haven’t seen anything of the kind in well over 6 months. Turbine/Codemasters must be doing something right when it comes to combating them.

    Obviously, the mass-blocking of Asian IPs helped, but think they deserve credit for making a game where the accumulation of wealth gives only minor advantages. If all players have enough gold to get by and enjoy the game without feeling penalised for not grinding several hours a day, then the real money market pretty much ceases to exist.

    So essentially, RMT is a consequence of game design. If you create a game where in-game wealth gives significant advantages, and where time spent playing is the main variable determining the accumulation of that wealth, then you will have people willing to swap their real money for someone else’s time.

  18. teo says:

    play eve instead

  19. Ginger Yellow says:

    If you create a game where in-game wealth gives significant advantages, and where time spent playing is the main variable determining the accumulation of that wealth, then you will have people willing to swap their real money for someone else’s time.

    Exactly. While I understand people’s frustrations with goldfarmers, at the end of the day it’s the system that’s at fault. If you don’t want currency trading, don’t build or participate in economies where things of value can be bought with currency. If you don’t want people spamming ads, don’t build communications systems that allow spamming, or don’t listen to the general channels. I’ve got a lot more respect for MMOs that either abandon the standard game economy altogether or embrace its implications (EVE comes close to the latter).

  20. alexis.kennedy says:

    IMO it’s at least three problems being treated as one problem. They need different solutions.

    Problem 1 is Jim’s point that these people tend to ‘hog resources and get in the way of normal play.’ This is a resource bottleneck issue that’s exacerbated, not created, by gold farmers: players find the most efficient areas for scarce resources and grind. There are ways to deal with this – instancing is a big one, and I’m sure Bliz can and should tweak this stuff in high-level subtle algorithmic ways.

    Problem 2 is that gold distributors misbehave in other ways: they spam, they distort the market. MMO companies can deal with this through, effectively, legalisation and state regulation. If players can buy legal gold, the company can always undercut the farmer, and then the spam evaporates. Or they can license gold farming: charge them a fee, ban them for misbehaviour, keeping the Chinese jobs and making good behaviour a competitive advantage. There are tricky economic problems that I can only hazily imagine, but MMO companies have access to godlike powers that would be incredibly valuable in RL economies. But, ultimately, this is the argument for legalisation of drugs, if drugs were proven to have no long-term health implications at all.

    Problem 3 is the sense of value: “I spent five hundred hours getting a slightly paler blue virtual tiger – how is it fair that this guy bought one?”Thing is, it’s arguably not fair *already* that the first player had to spend five hundred hours grinding. MMO companies are, effectively, engaged in a huge unspoken conspiracy with the implicit consent of their players to maintain the illusion that these things have any intrinsic value. That blue tiger is a row in a database table. Bliz can create another one more trivially than drawing breath.

    A possible solution to problem 3 is to tie the reward more meaningfully to the achievement: make it explicitly ‘I did this.’ I wonder if Bliz are experimenting with this, and if it’s part of the reason for the Achievements system. You can of course just buy a level 80 character with all the Achievements filled in, but it seems to me that it would feel much more hollow, and be much less popular, than buying a level 80 character with a big pile of gold.

    You could personalise the achievements more too. Tie them to the individual: it’s not a box ticked saying ‘Climbed Dreadmist Peak’, it’s a brag saying ‘Fribble climbed Dreadmist Peak at 5:00 am on 19/01/09. He came very close to death [mouseover: 10% of hit points]. He defeated 15 Snotnose Kobolds en route.’ – and when you’ve climbed Dreadmist Peak, you get asked ‘Save screenshot of this moment in your Achievements album’?

  21. Owen says:

    ‘Telling’ the tide – that’s the key to the analogy though Larington. Telling it will never work.

  22. qrter says:

    Regardless of telling it to stop – whether you build a wall or not, the tide will still come in anyway.

    It’s a bit like making the sun stop shining by sitting under a parasol – it might not bother you anymore but it’s still there, all shining ‘n shit.

  23. Hmm-hmm says:

    Huh. It sounds a bit like ‘roll with it..or roll over and wait for the inevitable’ to me. Although I’m not sure whether the piece is more opportunist or defeatist in essence. Not that it matters much.

    I mean, if someone opposes something and it proves hard to fight off, yeah, you could join ‘em. But still, fighting ‘em will often have some effect even if it doesn’t weed out most or all of them.

  24. MrFake says:

    I always believed that the majority of players didn’t want RMT around. And not just that they wouldn’t use the service, but that they also despised other players that did.

    The only MMO I’ve played regularly, FFXI, felt crippled because of RMT (in truth, people were just whiny). It was so bad that players stopped griping about the sellers and started griping about the buyers: the player’s with credit cards worth of gear and purchased accounts. Gold was difficult to farm, but items were easy, and the bots hogged the few spawns in the entire game world that dropped anything profitable. Most people just bitched that they couldn’t get their precious drops, but others were genuinely pissed because some of those monsters were challenging and quite fun to take on. It had the community on edge for a while, both because the RMTs had taken over and because Square Enix was dragging their feet to do anything about it.

    Then there’s the negative perception of nickle-and-diming customers. For subscription-based games, people usually get up in arms that there are extra services offered if you just pay a little more. For free games, everyone feels cheated by those few players that do pay for upgrades.

    Maybe RMT can’t be beaten, but I don’t agree with the “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” attitude. It’s just like forum spam. Bots will find a way in, but you can always find clever ways to knock them right back out.

  25. Heliocentric says:

    “Trying to stop that happening is literally like telling the tide not to come in – you will fail.”

    I’m not at peace with this phrase because “telling” would be hard to fail unless your mouth is filled with water.

    But “making” the sea stop is always an option.

    What about, move inland or get a dingy.

    Land already beats the sea, i like to think of this as the intrinsic solution, such as planetside’s no economy, or ease of accmulation of wealth.

    But if you game must force people to grind for cash you’ll be needing a boat(either blocking sellers or being your own sellers) but the boat that comes with simply blocking sellers has holes in it, and the boat which sells its own gold is full if stinking crap.

    I’d rather move inland.

  26. Larington says:

    Heh, to clarify, if the wall is there, then you don’t need to tell the tide not to come in, it just can’t (Excepting circumstances such as ridulously high tides caused by storm/tsunami surge).

  27. hahaha says:

    Has anyone read a articel on inflation / deflation due to gold farming yet? Since these resources are gathered and the amount indirectly controlled by (eg.) blizzard, blizzard must adjust the respawn times of the resources, hence create more supply which should force the prices down, as demand is fixed — at least in theory. However, the gold is transfered to the buyers of the gold, thus increasing demand as well…

    Does the average player who doesn’t buy gold benefit from this (in case the wouldn’t ever notice or be bothered by goldfarmers) ?

  28. Jocho says:

    In my opinion, those who have money have little time and vice versa. Most MMO:s demand a high input of time, allowing those with a lot of time but no money to advance ahead of a group with little time but with money. What the gold-sellers do is basically selling time, as your amount of gold is a function of time put into the game (and efficiency). So if we see it that way, gold-selling is just good as it makes all people play.

    On the other hand. The games of today are build in a way where gold-selling is not supposed to happen, and the gold-sellers have a reputation of poor worker conditions and connections to other criminal activities, which makes today’s act of buying gold cheating and semi-criminal (or just criminal, as you break the EULA).

    If gold-sellers had a reputation as anything else and the game was build to support it, there wouldn’t be any problem.

  29. Heliocentric says:

    Tsunamis! Rain! Analogies!

  30. Ian says:

    Coastal towns don’t get ruined by analogies, silly. =)

  31. SteveHatesYou says:

    I think that anybody who’s spending money on virtual gold in this economy could use a slap.

    With that said – I think the fact that people feel the need to pay to keep up with their friends reveals a fundamental flaw with the experience treadmill model of the MMO. There’s no good, surefire way to stop gold farmers except to make them unnecessary.

  32. Acosta says:

    I would love to make money selling stuff in a MMO, but it should be legal and supported. Companies could ask for a “tax” over transactions and people with enough time could exchange that time for their money. I think it would be fascinating from a social viewpoint and will offer some intense opportunities (imagine players fighting to control a zone of resources that would transtalte in a real boos of benefits, it would be exactly like many wars, but virtual).

  33. EyeMessiah says:

    Lorc:”And if real-to-virtual currency exchange means MMOs are forced to abandon the timesink as a significant method for progress, nothing of value will have been lost.”

    Tell it to the mountain brother! These sorts of problems are woven into the design of the current iteration of MMPORGS. In the future people will play MMPORGS because they are awesome fun, not because they know they have to put x amount of work in to make it to some arbitrary milestone, and less people will feel the need to buy gold, or items either because the game is so much fun you would be playing it even if there wasn’t a pot of rusty metal bucklers at the end of the rainbow or because incremental itemisation & levelling will be swept aside in the name of accessibility by forward thinking developers.

  34. EyeMessiah says:

    Larington:”Heh, wonder if the developers of these MMOs could do a check for characters that only tend to have little/no equipment and start monitoring those specifically, especially if at a high level.”

    I know that Blizz do this kind of profiling in WOW (or used to at any rate). Its just one of a number of factors that may make it more likely that you will be “tagged” and probably investigated (to some degree) by a GM. Most bannings in wow though were from repeated player complaints (usually from other botters competing for good “spots”) or periodic surges in software detection (basically the 24 hours every now and then where WOW is better at detecting bots than the bots are at hiding from WOW.)

  35. Larington says:

    @hahaha: Don’t remember reading any online articles about MMO economies but one of my game design books (That I own, not wrote, obviously) does talk quite extensively about the subject as its devoted to online games, its uhh, [Looks at shelf] Designing Virtual Worlds, Richard A Bartle.

  36. Arnulf says:

    CCP have by the way found the best way to sell gold (in their case ISK) to players for real money. Those with too much time on their hands can convert it too in-game currencies and sell these to other players with more money but much less time to play. Works perfectly. I believe Lum the Mad made a post on his blog where he outlines a general technique that could be implemented into most MMOs with an in-game auction house.

  37. Swift Voyager says:

    You can’t really allow third parties to buy/sell in-game items for RL currency. As soon as you say it’s allowed, it becomes a customer service problem. Even if you say that people can do it “at their own risk”, anyone who owns a business knows that there’s no such thing. As long as you say it’s not permitted, you can ignore or enforce the rule at your own discression.

    As a game designer, you don’t need to make your game immune to gold farmers. You only have to make your game significantly more immune than other games. The gold farmers will do business mainly where it’s most profitable for them. If you can do what Eve has done, and make it hard on them, they go away on their own.

    I hardly ever see mining bots in Eve any more. Two years ago they were everywhere. The amount of chat spam from isk farmers has also gone down from what I can see.

  38. Shiznit says:

    It’s a functions of time spent. As long as people can make a lot more money in mmo terms buy having a real job instead of grinding, gold buying will never stop. Why should someone farm for a month to buy an epic flying mount when one day’s salary is enough?

    It’s really not that complicated.

    Make your damn MMOs less dependent on being a fucking drone.

  39. Shiznit says:

    sorry about the typos, what happened to the edit option?

  40. WarpRattler says:

    This is part of why I’m able to continue to enjoy Kingdom of Loathing (and potentially other browser-based MMOs with similar economies, though I’m not interested in any after Forumwarz basically being shareware and not being able to get into Twilight Heroes) without Asymmetric saying stuff like this. Mr. Accessories, not Meat, are the game’s real currency, and though you can buy them from other players (either in-game, which is a normal activity engaged in by many players, or through things such as buying characters holding them on eBay, which is a great way to get shunned from the community and potentially get scammed), the only way they’re actually generated is with a $10 donation directly to Asymmetric (barring hacking, of course, which is rare and results in characters being disabled if seriously exploited). Farming just gets you Meat, which doesn’t take any money away from Asymmetric, and buying Meat from other players is just plain dumb – why not give your money to Asymmetric when you’re going to get the same amount of Meat from selling your Mr. A than you’re going to get from someone else?

    Man, I wish there was a preview button on comments. Maybe I’m just spoiled by forums.

  41. fodigg says:

    I have no problem with paying to save time as long as there’s no way to purchase a “win button”. That goes for in-game currency as well.

  42. BoltingTurtle says:

    Oh, KFR. I’m glad he hasn’t dropped off the face of the earth. I used to play his little mmo. A great Idea that simply lacked some real-industry experience, even if it did have some eye-catching names behind it. They needed more (and cleaner) coders, and some in-house testers.

    The Game was Roma Victor, and I think you can still play it. It was revolutionary in several ways, possesing a twitch-based combat system that added personal skill to your stats. Matter of fact I dropped Kerry in our first encounter, but that was due to the fact that skills weren’t registering due to a bug.

    The whole game worked on the principles talked about above, or were rather a playground for them. They had a system where the game was free to play, but you could buy in-game currency. What wound up happening was that one guy bought up all the NPC shopkeepers (you could do that) and drove prices sky-high. In theory we should have just killed him and his little NPCs. But theory didn’t account for the amount of gold that would have cost us.

    In other words, KFR is a brilliant, perhaps eccentric man with alot of great ideas floating around his head, and the gumption to test them in a game that ate up his life. During the time his wife bore his first child, and for most of the development process none of the guys making the game saw a paycheck.

    RedBedlam isn’t just a game company, it’s a game company that uses its games to test new ideas and expand the horizons of virtual worlds. They may be crazy, and they may give more than necessary creedence to Ed Cassanova, the guy who first researched virtual world economies, but it’s this kind of experimentation and academic interest that we need. As Ed Cassanova pointed out, the world of Everquest had a higher GDP than several real world-nations. Imagine what kind of GDP WOW must have. These games have an economy, and people will exploit it. Increased regulation only makes it more lucrative to do so.

  43. luminosity says:

    It’s a functions of time spent. As long as people can make a lot more money in mmo terms buy having a real job instead of grinding, gold buying will never stop.

    The sad thing is, you don’t need a lot of time to make money in most MMOs, if you understand how the economy works. I have a job, work full time and could easily buy gold and justify it by not having as much time to spend in game — but I don’t need to. I’m actually one of the better off people in MMOs that I know, usually far better than people who do spend a lot of time. As per usual, in MMOs if you know what you’re doing you don’t need to spend a lot of time.

  44. Shiznit says:

    yes you can be very good at making gold in mmos but some people like me hate to grind or work the economy. when I played wow all I wanted to do was instances, raids, and pvp, basically kill stuff. I couldn’t have cared less for crafting, farming, auction house, etc.. Luckily I didn’t really need that much gold for what I did (guild covered repair costs you could pick the herbs i needed for potions in 30min), but if I had to actually make fake money consistently to play I would have quit much sooner than I did. When I get home from work (class at the time), I wanna have fun not start a second job.

  45. Kanakotka says:

    It is fairly easy to pick out and remove in a few simple measures, however. But due to some limitations, certain games cannot enforce this. Such ease as ; Flagging larger transactions of money from one player to another, and by flagging i mean allowing stealthy logging of actions, if actions seem legitimate, everything is just fine. Another thing is preventing trial accounts from speaking on general channels, or even using macros to begin with. Strict macrorule is easy to place on a trial client, and would be removed from the full client.

  46. Kanakotka says:

    @DarthS, no matter how much anyone ever tells you that WoW is about equipment and not skill, it is of humongous amounts of untrue garbage.

    It all boils down to skill, no matter what. Even if it were “just about equipment”, you’d still have to know which equipment to pick.

  47. Number 6 says:

    Perhaps there could be a certain time that a player needed to associate (adventure) with another player before they could trade gear/gold?

    I mean, who the hell would want to have to play for a couple of weeks with a typical gold farmer? No one. But if its a friend or would be friend, it should be no problem.

  48. kr8 says:

    The inflation argument doesn’t seem to have been correctly identified in the above comments. It’s pretty easy though, as the average amount of gold that drops from a single mob is fixed, killing more of those mobs will net you more money. RMT companies have the incentive to spend a lot more time on farming these resources than the average player, hence the gold supply is artifically inflated, gold buyers have more gold to spend and prices go up. For the average gamer just playing the game for fun, this makes the game harder, as now the wow auction house for instance has become completely useless since you can’t pay for anything on it.

    Also, games are supposed to be virtual. You start fresh, a new character, the same basic skills as everyone else. You can aspire to greatness, within the little rules of this virtual world, and earn a sense of accomplishment, a little escapism to brighten your day. In real life you might just be flipping burgers, but in this game you’re a slayer of dragons. Now with RMT though that annoying tard that nearly runs you off the road every day in his BMW just goes to some website, spends a couple of hundred bucks on gear and gets ahead of you, completely destroying this sense of accomplishment (which is partly based on your comparison to other players).

    Not to mention that people don’t buy gold to avoid the grind, they do it to appear better than other players. Humans all suffer from this peacock-like behaviour where they feel the need to show off their wealth, online games are no different.

  49. sampan says:

    I like prima-gold verymuch because it’s very beauty
    http://www.prima-gold.fusionthai.net

  50. Erlam says:

    That comment is gold.

    (get it? Eh?)

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