By blog on Jan. 4, 2010.
It seems that our gaming is no longer something done in anonymity from everyone save the billing team.
So, I’ll give a brief run down of what is in this news story here that I found via a link on the Penny Arcade news section. Basically, there was once a little drug dealer from America, who was arrested on dealing many types of drugs. This little drug dealer decided that, when the arrest warrant went out for him in 2007, he’d rather not go to court and maybe prison, so decided to skip the country.
This little drug dealer had had friends in his home town, somewhere in Howard County, and he had told them that he liked to play WoW. When the sheriff from that good ol’ county started asking those friends about the little drug dealer, they informed him of his predilection for that stupid game, well, they thought why not send a missive from the king – read, a subpoena – to the caretakers of the land of Warcraft. The sheriff waited and waited, for three or four months, before a wad of scrolls was sent back to him. A package of information about that little drug dealer, what his billing address was, his favourite server, and his character’s names. Funnily enough, he played as a Shaman, not terribly dissimilar from is apothecarish tendencies in real life.
Okay now I’ll drop that pathetically fractured story-teller style and deal with the rest of it. So, after they got all this information from Blizzard, sheriffs at the Howard County used the information to figure out that their quarry had gone to Canada and then enlisted the aid of the Canadian Mounted Police, who picked up the dealer and shipped him back to the states.
This is something that’s not been done before, but it’s very interesting. Personally, I think that everything that was done was completely above board, completely reasonable, and if some scum bag drug dealer get to go to prison as a result, then booyah!
By blog on May. 16, 2009.
Now that I have clearly outlined what Gold Farming is, I will go into my own personal opinion on the matter.
Firstly, an anecdote. When I was new to the world of MMOs, I tried Everquest II. I got into it, for a while, and was a member of a guild. I saw advertisements for buying gold, and being new to the whole thing, had no idea that this was an illegal in-game practice. So I paid to have 10 gold sent to me in game. With my new pile of gold burning a hole in my pocket, I bought a rather awesome set of armor off the Auction House.
One evening, I sat with my Guild members at a meeting. We sat, laughing, chatting, exchanging jokes and humorous anecdotes, when suddenly, my awesome armour started disappearing, piece by piece. A person sitting near me uttered the words “Oh no! You’ve been hacked!” and before I could log off, all my armour was gone. That same person from the guild gave me some spare armour, but it wasn’t nearly as good as my previous set.
A few hours later I received a letter in the in-game post. It was from one of the game moderators, in it they told me that I had been caught in the illegal practice of gold buying, and that everything that I had purchased with the illegal gold had been removed from my account. I was warned that if I did it again, I would face further, more serious, action.
This stunned me, I couldn’t believe that I didn’t know that buying gold was illegal, I couldn’t believe that the website I had purchased the gold from didn’t mention anywhere that this was an illegal practice. I felt as if I had done something wrong, but I had had no idea.
As I said, I was new to MMOs then, and now know much better. Some say that the effect to the in-game economy is exaggerated by game developers to try to deter the general game populace from buying gold, but I don’t particularly care for that argument. I believe that if this practice has any ill effects on the game, then I don’t want it going on. I feel that you are missing something of the game when you are buy gold. What do you play for if not to build up your character? If you find this too boring, then maybe you should alter your play style? Maybe you should alter your mental approach to the game?
As for the Gold Farmers themselves, I feel a minor sense of irritation when bombarded with their spamming advertisements, but little more than that. It is so easy in LOTRO to report and ignore them, so they don’t bother me all that much. I don’t want them to be there, I don’t encourage their illegal practice, but they don’t aggravate me most of the time.
By blog on May. 16, 2009.
Anyone who has played an MMO for longer than ten minutes will be familiar with getting messages – either in the form of tells or across public channels – advertising the purchasing of gold. In any MMO, there are going to be a few ways to make your own gold, or whatever the in-game currency is, which you use to purchase any item. In LOTRO, for instance, your main expenses will be your horse, your house, and any armour or weaponry you might purchase off the Auction House.
Turbine, the makers of LOTRO, are strongly against this practice, as it can severely effect the in-game economy. Gold Farming is against the user agreement that all LOTRO players have to agree to, and as such, many accounts that have proven to be held by those just farming gold have been deleted.
Gold Spammers are those who try to sell you their gold in-game, they stand about advertising their website where you can make the transaction, but Turbine have included a function in-game where it is very easy to report the offending character as a Gold Spammer, at which point they end up on your ignore list and you never see another message from them again.
Gold Farming has become an actual industry, current estimates for employed Gold Farmer range between 400,000 to 1 million, in China alone, with the revenues generated coming out somewhere between US$1billion and US$10billion. These are huge figures for something that is illegal in nearly all MMOs. World of Warcraft is the largest MMO in the world, currently, with over 11million subscribers. They are against Gold Farming, having clearly stated in their rules of conduct that it can lead to accounts being banned and other actions. Yet they are accused by some of not really enforcing this rule, which is part of the reason that they Gold Farming economy has the chance to flourish.
I am somewhat astonished that this issue is being treated as an up and coming industry when it is based on an illegal premise. But more of my opinion later.