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Role Playing (Games)

Bad Press For Gold Farmers Affects Chinese Players 640

Posted by Zonk
from the pick-your-battles dept.
Next Generation is running a piece entitled Why PC Gamer Kicked Out Gold Farmers. Editor-in-chief Greg Vederman talks about why they decided to no longer accept advertising from 'Gold Farming' services for Massively Multiplayer games like World of Warcraft. Though there are moral grounds for this decision, it contrasts with a Eurogamer piece on the negative reactions Chinese players recieve on English-speaking servers. From that article:"Apparently there is a common belief among English speaking players that most non-English speakers are gold farmers and are only playing for commercial gain. As a result, players are asking anyone who wants to join a group to type one or two sentences in English. If the sentences contain spelling or grammar mistakes, the player is rejected. Since you have to join groups to complete certain quests in WOW, this is presenting many Chinese players with a serious problem. "
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Bad Press For Gold Farmers Affects Chinese Players

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  • by KingSkippus (799657) * on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @07:22PM (#14495182) Homepage Journal

    So if you're a gold farmer, hanging around with your gold farming buddies at the gold farming office, wouldn't you just team up with them instead of trying to solicit groups with American players, who are likely to just slow you down?

    And if you are a non-gold farming player, and someone wants to team up with you to help accomplish missions, what difference does it make what their motive is? Given that gold (or influence or whatever) is required to get stuff, to some extent, aren't we all gold farmers? For your practical gaming purposes, what makes a player who is accruing it to sell different from a player who is accruing it to buy a neat new sword (or new enhancements or whatever)?

    If someone doesn't want to team up with foreigners, I'm guessing that there's something going on other than not wanting to support gold farming. It's probably because either a) for roleplaying purposes, you need to be able to communicate with your teammates (optimism), b) the farmer is not playing they way the group leader wishes and puts high pressure on him or her to rush through the missions (neutral), or c) they just don't like foreigners (pessimism).

    • by Krach42 (227798) on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @07:35PM (#14495297) Homepage Journal
      If someone doesn't want to team up with foreigners, I'm guessing that there's something going on other than not wanting to support gold farming.

      I use the German client, just to get practice on my German. Every item I link is in German on the text bar. One day someone asked me why everything I linked on the chat was in German, and I said 'cause I'm using the German client, and he said.

      "Sorry, I just can't support those who didn't support us during the war." Then left the Guild.

      Now, be entirely aware that I am: a.) american, and b.) support the war.
    • The motive does matter. A gold farmer would be more likely to choose need over greed for any high level item, making it less likely that someone who actually needs the item would get it. While we are all gold farmers in a sense, non-gold farmers realize that they need to play fair in order to stay in the good graces of other players.

      Further, someone who does not speak the language or who understands it poorly is unable to comprehend complex directions in the short period of time you have to give those di
    • by Jason1729 (561790) on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @07:43PM (#14495377)
      So if you're a gold farmer, hanging around with your gold farming buddies at the gold farming office, wouldn't you just team up with them instead of trying to solicit groups with American players, who are likely to just slow you down?

      Gold farmers often join groups with regular players to "ninja" the loot drops. Basically the whole group works to get a good item, then the farmer grabs it and runs. Not only does that mean they steal the item, they leave the group shorthanded and angry, so the group usually gives up and disbands right away.
      • Farmers don't run end game instances, there's no point. They ninja a BOP armour that sells for to vendor for what? 5g? 5g in a 1 to 2 hour instance run is quite low considering anyone can solo run SM and make 10g in a hour. More than likely it was someone who doesn't speak english and there was miscommunication and they rolled on a bop while everyone else passed. Of course i don't get why people pass on BOPs when there's already looting system built into the game. Use the buit in looting system or mas
  • by Winlin (42941) on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @07:25PM (#14495199)
    but I can after 5 years on EQ1, I can pretty much predict that anyone who will only group with people who can type 2 complete sentences without mistakes is doomed to a lifetime of soloing.
    • but I can after 5 years on EQ1, I can pretty much predict that anyone who will only group with people who can type 2 complete sentences without mistakes is doomed to a lifetime of soloing.

      You are dead wrong. Up til I quit WoW last june, (we downed Onyxia and Domo) I was in a guild where everyone could type more than 2 sentences. Smart people and nice people. Oh and I never ever looked or had to look for a random pickup group.

      Plenty of good guilds/clans exist with smart people who type more elaborate sentenc
    • but I can after 5 years on EQ1, I can pretty much predict that anyone who will only group with people who can type 2 complete sentences without mistakes is doomed to a lifetime of soloing.

      Class: Grammar Nazi.

      Description: A sage, specialized in the subtleties of language.
      Common jobs: Deciphering ancient runes, translator for diplomacy
      Bonuses: Intelligence +5, +5 bonus against chaotic enemies.
      Penalties: Charisma -10, they don't use to get along with characters of age Alignment: Good, neutral or evil, but always lawful.
      Common phrases: "Grammar tip of the day". Very annoying.

      • Class: Grammar Nazi. ...
        Penalties: Charisma -10, they don't use to get along with characters of age Alignment: Good, neutral or evil, but always lawful.

        don't 'use' to get along with characters of 'age' alignment???

        Dude, in a Grammar-Nazi definition, you write this? =)

    • after 5 years on EQ1, I can pretty much predict that anyone who will only group with people who can type 2 complete sentences without mistakes is doomed to a lifetime of soloing.

      And I can pretty much predict that anyone who has been playing EverQuest for 5 years is also doomed to a lifetime of "solo-ing." :)

  • Serious Problem? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Steendor (917855) on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @07:25PM (#14495207)
    In other serious news today, some WoW gamers cannot complete their quests...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @07:26PM (#14495209)
    ...who cannut be countid on, to submit a coupel of errorfree sentences of proper correct and tpyofree English themselves.
  • IF some Chinese dude was willing to give a certain amount of gold to the group... He is in! Unless, of course being chinese, he decided to play on the chinese language servers so that he wouldnt be confused and feel rejected by the language differences.

    Of course I know plenty of english speaking people, myself included, who sometimes cant type or write correctly.

  • by biocute (936687) on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @07:27PM (#14495217) Homepage
    If the sentences contain spelling or grammar mistakes, the player is rejected

    Are you always playing WOW alone?
  • by falcon5768 (629591) <Falcon5768 AT comcast DOT net> on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @07:27PM (#14495218) Journal
    Playing FFXI unlike WoW everyone is on the same server. Even here despite some of the rivalry that exists between the NAs and JPs BOTH along with the EU gamers are pretty much in agreement that all chinese players are gilfarmers. Even with there being a few HK LSs.

    I think the underlyiing factor is that no matter ow many legit players there are, way too many ARE infact there for the selling reason. Its unfortunate that such descrimination exists now, and I can tell you at first it didnt to this extent. But way too many people ruined it for the few.

    On the oposite side of the coin, many NA are accused of buying gil by the JP for the exact same reasons.

  • Isn't there a whole other set of Warcraft servers for the asian market?

    Are they referring to Chinese players living in North America or Australia? Those versions of the game are in English, how are they differentiating Chinese players at all? Or is it that so-called "Chinese Gold Farmers" have US accounts as well? Perhaps that is necessary for transacting with NA players, I've never engaged their services so I'm not sure how it works.

  • by Pantero Blanco (792776) on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @07:28PM (#14495233)
    The "one or two sentences in English" thing doesn't sound like a bad idea. I'm not so sure that's the result of gold farmer paranoia.
  • ...this is presenting many Chinese players with a serious problem

    How about most of the American players, how will they do?

    "lol u wan me 2 tyep u n00b ur gay anywy"

    That is the way a huge lot of native english speakers actually type.

    Punctuation and sentences are unknown concepts to them. They routinely replace you with u, you're and your with ur, to with 2. And the most advanced ones even subconsciously type in cuss-filter speak too: sh1t, $hit and f*ck are in their natural vocabulary.

  • Why should it have anything to do with anti-goldfarming sentiment?

    Seems to me that one good reason to have an English test would be to keep illiterate asshats from ruining your group...

    And as already been mentioned, surely if there are so many Chinese players, what's stopping them from forming their own groups, where English competence isn't a requirement, and English incompetence isn't a communication barrier?
  • by Aziel777 (927534) on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @07:30PM (#14495251) Homepage
    As a result, players are asking anyone who wants to join a group to type one or two sentences in English.


    Just because they are asking people to pass a literacy test doesn't mean that they are descriminating because they dont like gold farmers. It might actually be beneficial to be able to talk to the people you are playing with, if just to be able to set up strategy. Nobody wants someone on their team who cannot communicate because that person might get the whole group killed for not paying attention to directions.
  • Laughably false (Score:5, Insightful)

    by beavis88 (25983) on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @07:30PM (#14495254)
    As a result, players are asking anyone who wants to join a group to type one or two sentences in English. If the sentences contain spelling or grammar mistakes, the player is rejected.

    If this were the standard WoW players were held to, there would be very, very few groups indeed!

    However, I do know plenty of people who have kicked group members for not being able to type well enough to communicate with the group. I have grouped with people like that (Chinese or otherwise, I have no idea), and I must say it sucks. The whole point of grouping is cooperation after all, which is pretty damn difficult without communication. I have a pretty high tolerance for all manner of bad grammar and spelling in MMORPGs, but if I flat out cannot make heads nor tails of what another character is saying? Some multiplayer quests in WoW take several hours -- if my hours are wasted because a party member can't understand an instruction, I'm going to be understandably pissed off and reticent to group with such people in the future.

    Keep an open mind? Absolutely.

    Put up with people who do all manner of stupid shit AND we can't communicate with each other? I don't think so.
  • "As a result, players are asking anyone who wants to join a group to type one or two sentences in English. If the sentences contain spelling or grammar mistakes, the player is rejected."

    Anyone who has ever played an online game knows that this cannot be true, because most American players do not have a good enough grasp of written english to pass the test!
  • It's not racism or anything if you only group with those who you feel will help you most.

    If you feel they'll snatch items, you won't group with them.
    If you feel communication will be a problem and so cause you to lose battles, you won't group with them.

    It's just acting in one's own self-interest. I find that people do this all the time, and the insulating effect of sitting along in a room with "society" on the other end of an ethernet cable only increases it.

    It's just tough luck here.

    If I played on Chinese
  • Yes wow is racist. There are many times when people will be ostracised because they are percieved to be a farmer. These people are called names, insulted and eventually ignored by the server populations.

    I believe that there is a good reason behind this however.

    I have been in plenty of pickup groups where people cant speak english. it is VERY HARD to communicate with people if they dont speak your language. I've seen people pull and whipe whole instance groups because we cannot communicate to them that they
  • Gold Farming? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mullen (14656) on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @07:34PM (#14495281)
    Can someone fill me in on what Gold Farming is?
    • Re:Gold Farming? (Score:5, Informative)

      by beavis88 (25983) on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @07:43PM (#14495376)
      Gold Farming:

      Large numbers of very poorly paid people play WoW for hours with the sole purpose of collecting (in-game) gold. Said gold is then resold to players who dont mind putting $70 worth of WoW gold on their Visa cards. Since the "farmers" are so poorly paid, there is plenty of money left to pay the workers and give the middleman a hefty cut.

      The New York Times had an article about this [nytimes.com] a few months back. I don't remember it being interesting enough to pay for, but you never know :)
    • Re:Gold Farming? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dc29A (636871)
      Can someone fill me in on what Gold Farming is?

      In these online games the currency is gold, platinum or some rare magical rings (Stone of Jordan, D2). Some people repeatedly kill the same bunch of monsters (who respawn and have treasure some amount of gold) and amass a big quantity of currency. These same people sell this ingame currency to other players for real world currency, $$. It has become a plague in some games, like WoW, where people hire many people to "play" and gather gold. Boss sells this gold f
    • Re:Gold Farming? (Score:4, Informative)

      by nacturation (646836) <nacturation @ g m ail.com> on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @07:51PM (#14495439) Journal
      Try the first result. ;-)

      http://www.google.com/search?q=gold+farming [google.com]
       
    • OK, you know those commercials where they plant some Skittles in the ground, and after a little while a rainbow bursts forth and it rains Skittles? It's kind of like that, except with gold. But it's online. And there's no rainbow. And the gold's on monsters, not in the ground. And then you sell the gold to people in first world contries.

      Excuse me, I need to go to the vending machine.
    • by Megane (129182)
      Can someone fill me in on what Gold Farming is?

      I think you need to read this Penny Arcade strip to get the full idea of what a gold farmer is:

      (http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2005/02/16 [penny-arcade.com])

      (click on the "news" button at the bottom for the commentary on that strip)

  • ...isn't a piece at all. They're just reprinting a press release [pressbox.co.uk] from one of the gold seller groups out there.

    I guess they got tired of always getting turned in by players and generally harrassed for what they do. Why would Chinese players be playing on the US servers and *not* the Chinese servers? It's not like FFXI where everyone cohabitates the same servers.
  • by Xzzy (111297) <sether.tru7h@org> on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @07:35PM (#14495296) Homepage
    Though the issue wasn't as loudly protested in FFXI as it is WoW, there was quite a bit of segregation between American and Japanese players as well. Japanese would refuse to group with Americans for reasons I never precisely found out, but the common sentiment was that Japanese felt Americans were too stupid to group with.

    Americans would refuse to group with Japanese for the same reason.

    The game didn't really require much communication to be able to function in a group, and any communication that did need to happen could be done by building comments with pre-translated keywords. And yet the two sides almost exclusively played in their own little world, despite sharing servers with others. Only the bilingual folks were able to exist in both worlds.

    Based on my experiences with FFXI, I think the anti-Chinese sentiment in WoW is simply a human's innate tendency towards racism. Don't get me wrong, a lot of gold farmers are in fact Chinese, but a lot of them are European and American as well. Yet, everyone "knows" that all the farmers ruining the game are Chinese.
    • by Guppy06 (410832)
      "Japanese would refuse to group with Americans for reasons I never precisely found out, but the common sentiment was that Japanese felt Americans were too stupid to group with."

      YMMV. Among English-speakers, I tend to see admiration of Japanese players, with people speaking in hushed tones of the times they found themselves in a Japanese party and got mad (in their words) experience points.

      Personally, I think the main cause of the segregation (other than time zones, they're 14 hours ahead of EST) is problem
  • Racial Harmony (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mrobin604 (70201)
    MacKay doesn't have an instant solution to the problem, but says that English-speaking WOW players should "Keep a more open mind and trust people a little more.

    "This would go a long way to bringing some racial harmony to World of Warcraft and the world in general."


    It's ironic to talk about racial harmony in WoW, since the game is completely setup along the lines of race war. You can't even talk to players in the other faction; it's prevented by the server code and if you try to circumvent it you get banned
  • Wrong reasons (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AuMatar (183847) on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @07:36PM (#14495306)
    I don't group with people who can't speak english because they fall into 1 of 2 camps:

    1)Foreigners who will have limited ability to communicate strategy with them. They may be decent players, but if we can't talk we can't team well.
    2)US morons. I won't team with them because morons get you killed.

    Gold farming has nothing to do with it. Hell, I like gold farmers- they save games with horribly broken implementations that require you to grind for gold. Without gold farmers MMOs would be unplayable. Using them minimizes the boring, pointless parts of the game and lets you get on with the fun parts.
  • by erik umenhofer (782) on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @07:37PM (#14495318) Homepage
    I can't be trying to do a quest and have people who can't understand "Ok, sap that guy." or "Please don't break that sheep"

    Most end game raids require CTRaid, Ventrillo, Decursive....So non-english speaking players set this up with ease? and then communicate on vent easily? No...it's a matter of "is this guy gonna wipe us..." the answer is usually yes.

    Unless you are Boccd.
  • As an english speaker, the main problem I have in grouping with non-english speakers is that it's hard to coordinate what the group is doing. So there is confusion on loot rules, who attacks what and when, etc. It's just a lot more fun to play with people you can communicate with easily. I would expect that Chinese players that don't speak english wouldn't want me in their group for the same reasons. At least half of the time I've been in a group where there was a problem with loot distribution it was b
  • Without foreigners making English spelling and grammar mistakes, we'd never be able to tell them apart from us native speakers on the internet. Don't learn Esperanto, it evilly equalizes us all!
  • by Jason1729 (561790)
    First, communication is essential to every group in an MMO. People don't form a group to go off and do their own thing at a task, they from a group to work together. If it's an English speaking group and someone does not speak and understand English, they'll be unable to do what they're supposed to in the group, and it will cause the whole group to fail. Making sure everyone speaks the same language is only common sense when forming a group.

    Second, Warcraft has servers in most of the world including C
  • After RTFAing, I found myself with the impression that the magazine was quite happy to take money for ads until their subscribers started threatening to cancel their subscriptions. Yes, I know ad revenue is bigger than subscriptions, but if enough people cancel, you don't have a magazine any more.
  • by slavemowgli (585321) on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @07:41PM (#14495352) Homepage
    OK, I don't know much about WoW, so maybe the answer to this is obvious, but... if Chinese players aren't accepted into English-speaking groups, why don't they just form their own groups? I'd think that that's what farmers would do, anyway - work together in groups to maximise "profits" without having to wait for/rely on "regular" players.

    Or am I missing something?
  • Bogus (Score:4, Insightful)

    by HunterZ (20035) on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @07:42PM (#14495361) Journal
    I can't belive that both /. and Eurogamer fell for this! It's obviously a bogus article POSTED BY A GOLD SELLER to get hits on his site.

    The idea that people are using English typing skill tests is ludicrous. Anyone who has played an online game (such as many of the people who have posted comments here already) will tell you that the average level of writing skill on such games is abysmal.
  • ...I just see average Americans with there spelling writing about something they could care less... ;)

    Robert
  • by putko (753330) on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @07:54PM (#14495455) Homepage Journal
    Are there any organized, professional griefers in these games?

    I would figure that if a professional Chinese-mafia would have no problem profiting from the ruination of the barbarians.

    Your perception of it would be that Chinese characters were teaming up on you, robbing, you, etc.

    You'd expect some typical "social identity" processes to kick in: white people would organize against the Chinese, figure out how to spot them, etc. That seems to be exactly what is happening (e.g. "type two lines in English").
  • "My grammer is definately very good, i swear i live in teh US!"

    BUZZZ - REJECTED!
  • by Millenniumman (924859) on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @08:07PM (#14495550)
    I think it's fine to only allow in people who use good English, considering how annoying "leet speak" and its derivatives can be. Now, I recognize the difference between someone trying to learn English and someone who cnt b bthred 2 typ out ntir wrds n sntnces or someone \/\/ho 7h1|\|ks 73hy @r3 1337 b3(@us3 73hy (@|\| 7y|>3 1|\| symbols.

    (Note, the last sentence was made using a "l33t translator" and reads as: who thinks they are elite because they can type in symbols.)

  • by l33tlamer (916010) on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @08:10PM (#14495568)
    Whoever you are, Chinese gold farmer, PvP addict, PvE carebear, if you join a good guild in WoW, you end up having a great time and not having to worry about group with "randoms". Just make some friends in the game, or find people you know that play on your server, and join or make a guild. Thats half the fun of WoW, seriously.

    I used to play WoW religiously (clocked in 55 days of play) before I quit a few months ago. For around 3 to 4 weeks, I was a guild leader on the Blackrock realm for the Guild NoMaam on a character called "Ruins". The guild had around 100 or so people, all with max level (60) characters. We did all the high end content, including Molten Core, 40 man PvP, raiding enemy towns and the obligatory 40-man fishing squads that kill players with fishing poles in between catches. It was very entertaining, especially since we used voice chat software whenever we did things in a group. Nothing is funnier than secretly bribing a friend to wipe the entire 40-man raid out as a joke, and hearing the mixture of laughter and angry screams when a tiny gnome leads a train of 10-story tall giants towards the group.

    Back on topic, I personally did not like people that only farmed gold, as it is only a small part of the game. Playing on a PvP server, which allows you to kill opposing faction players, the unspoken rule of repeatedly killing farmers is pretty much a given for most guilds. The only farming that gets done is when you are in a group, which led to the formation of farming guilds. I am not joking. I once killed a few farmers solo, and in 15 minutes, a group of 40 arrived, all from the same guild. Then, my guild arrived. Ah... good times. WoW: Gang Warfare.

    I was born in Hong Kong and lived there until I was 10. I have friends in the guild that are Chinese international students, with heavy accents and poor English. I had real trouble understanding one of them when he spoke in English, typed or vocal. We always joked about their poor English, but as they are in the guild, everyone got along, especially since the higher level content demanded group work. Sometimes, we had a guy translate raid instructions to Chinese for a few of the players, which always had a lot more swearing in it for some reason. "If you get the "Living Bomb" curse, run the fuck away from your group" translates to something a Chinese sailor wouldn't say at a Bachelor Party lol.

    Personally, if people play on a PvE server that is inherently based on conquering the environment, farming is inevitable. Whether the player sells what they farm on Ebay is up to them, and the punishment should be dealt by Blizzard. On a PvP server, I usually kill any opposing faction player I see unless I know them on IRC or IRL. Most PvP-oriented guilds like us had farmer-killing runs where we visit every popular farming spot and get some PvP points off farmers for our guild members. Farmers have a tough time in general, and if they want to suffer to earn money, its up to Blizzard to ban them.

    The idea of using grammar and spelling levels as a filter has its good points, to allow for easier communication for giving raid instructions, loot disputes and friendly chat like "ROFL we have 3 healers not healing, a tank not tanking and me, the mage, dying in 2 seconds..." It will likely reject the following people:
    1) Foreign players
    2) Kids in general, of all ages (up to 30 years old at times...)
    3) Most members of my Guild, including me
    4) Anyone on a WoW binge, going for a full 24 hours or more
    5) People that find it stupid and offensive to be tested and leave the party
  • by davevr (29843) on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @08:12PM (#14495595) Homepage
    First off, Blizzard should just recognize that the reason farmers exist is due to their game design. If I am paying $15/month to play some game and I find parts of it to be boring, why should Blizzard care if I want to pay someone else to play that part? It is no different from real life, where I pay someone else to grow (and sometimes cook) my food, kill cows for me, etc. If someone is hacking their system, they should crack down on that, but most farmers have real paid accounts. You can say it causes inflation, but I would counter that this is just normal economics - market forces bringing down an artificial economy.

    Second - no chinese farmers want to group with non-farmers. I actually know some farmers in China. They have about 40 people working there, each playing several characters at a time in different windows. The pay is OK and the work is easy, but the hours are long (10 hours per day, seven days a week, plus the next day off if you work the night shift). They employ a few english speakers who handle the case where someone tries to talk to them, so the idea that asking a few English questions will identify a farmer is just wrong. They are very polite and don't use bots, etc., because they don't want to be caught. Most of the problem farmers are not the chinese companies but the western college students trying to make beer money on eBay.

    I think a larger part of this is racism. Look at the ads for gold on eBay. People actually say "not chinese gold" in their ads - as if the fact that a chinese person farmed it instead of a Westerner makes a difference!

    The real mystery for me is why someone would pay someone else to play their character for them... THAT seems really strange... but I can imagine that it would be easier to pay $5 for an item that makes the game more fun for me than playing the same instance 100 times in a row hoping for a drop.
    • by Ibag (101144) on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @10:59PM (#14496424)
      If I am paying $15/month to play some game and I find parts of it to be boring, why should Blizzard care if I want to pay someone else to play that part? It is no different from real life, where I pay someone else to grow (and sometimes cook) my food, kill cows for me, etc.

      The short answer is that Blizzard minds because the players mind. The long answer is that the players mind for a reason. The problem is not inflation, because someone would probably be killing the monsters and causing the gold and items to drop anyway, even if in a slightly lesser quantity. The problem is rather that of influence and distribution. The external nature of the money that people buy the gold with means that the egalitarian nature of the game (that people start off equal and distinguish themselves via work and skill, with a small amount of luck). Additionally, since one in theory has to work hard in game to make something of oneself, it is a mockery of the dedication people put into the game to see what is in a sense a mark of distinction placed upon one who does not deserve it.

      To illustrate these points, I would like to offer some analogies. Suppose that you went to your friend's house to play monopoly, but because someone paid your friend $10 under the table, he started with triple the money of everybody else. The game would be more fun for that person, but less fun for everybody but the person who had the extra money: the shape of the game changed because of something which should not be affecting the game. Or if you spent all year preparing for a golf tournament and finished spectacularly, but the trophy were given to a man who did not do as well but had promised to donate a new clubhouse if he "won". Or what if legislation was passed to make it illegal to circumvent any encryption used as a means of copy protection because someone had enough congressmen on payroll? Money can buy things that make some things just less enjoyable for the majority of people.

      Just because certain actions can't be controlled by software does not mean that they should be allowed; just because one can do something does not mean one should. Rules exist for reasons. People disapprove of paying off players to throw sports games, and people disapprove of paying players to farm gold. Just because both still happen despite the rules does not mean that we should accept it and stop trying to fix the problem.
      • by Myrmidon (649) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @02:57AM (#14497416)
        MMORPGs favor people who have oodles of spare time. Time is money. Someone is paying for your rent, clothing, food, electricity, and broadband while you are online. And there's an opportunity cost -- every hour you spend online could have otherwise been spent doing something else, like working for money.

        You're welcome to spend your time and money however you like. If you prefer to play WoW for 20 hours a week, and you take great pride in having done everything for yourself, that's fine. I'm glad that having this hobby makes you happy. But don't pretend that you're somehow morally superior to the guy who pays for Chinese-farmed gold. Both of you are spending money to advance in WoW. The difference is that you are spending more money, because an hour of your time is worth more than an hour of a gold-farmer's time. (If this is not true, you should consider becoming a gold farmer!)

        If you find this disturbing, perhaps you need to switch to a game that places more emphasis on actual skill (obtained through hours of practice) and less emphasis on "skill points" (obtained through hours of work that could just as well be done by someone else). Try chess. Try poker. Try any of several hundred other online games.
        • Time might be money to an economist, and there may be an opportunity cost to playing WoW (which is not an actual cost, and to speak as it were is to confuse reality with an economic model), at least assuming that one has the opportunity to profit by working more hours elsewhere. However I don't think it is relevant to the argument. The question at hand is why should blizzard care enough to forbid gold selling in the ToS, and one reason is that many players dislike the game imbalance caused by such sales.
  • by FurryFeet (562847) <joudanx@y a h o o . c om> on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @08:24PM (#14495678)
    From the article:

    Mark MacKay, owner of the WOW Gold Price List website, has condemned this practice in a statement which reads: "Over over 1.5 million World of Warcraft players are from China alone, with the majority of these players being non-English. While their has been recent publicity about the gold farm factories in China, it by no means justifies thinking that every Chinese or non-English speaking player is a gold farmer."

    Now, Mark MacKay does not sound like a Chinese name, but I'm having trouble believing that he's an English speaker.
  • by geekee (591277) on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @08:25PM (#14495684)
    Assuming a Chinese player is more likely to be a gold farmer isn't much different than assuming a Middle Eastern looking person is more likely to be a terrorist. This is prejudice, and if your prejudice translates into denying goods or services solely because of the ethnicity of the person, it's racism. So even people who consider themselves rational become racist when convenient because it's easier to assume a Chinese person is a gold farmer and deny him access than to actually find a better way to screen.
  • by GMFTatsujin (239569) on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @08:27PM (#14495692) Homepage
    These so-called "gold farmers" are freelancers who get paid to play games, so naturally the PC Gamer editors are getting irate. It's unwelcome competition! The only difference is that the farmers don't then turn around and kiss up to the publishers of the games they play so that they get to sell ad space and scoop the screenshots for the next round of titles.

    Keep the gold farming where it belongs: in the reviews where games get glowing reviews and turn out to suck ass!
  • by Raxxon (6291) on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @08:49PM (#14495845)
    (1) They have localized servers. If they are wanting to "play the game" why are they not playing there?

    (2) 9 times out of 10 the Gold Farmer (or as I refer to them "Foreign Language Virtual Asset Acquisition Agent") will screw things up in their greed-driven rush. Pull adds when we're not ready, have problems with Aggro Management, etc.

    (3) 9 times out of 10 the FLVAAA will attempt to lie/cheat/steal in order to obtain something sellable. This includes claiming to "need" an item (using it to upgrade their character) and then instantly trying to sell it, attempting to "ninja-loot" an item (call it a "Snatch-n-Grab" in meat-space), or piss/whine/moan until the group just hands them something to shut them up. If the above fails they will attempt (typically via badly mangled English) to destroy the reputation of the group by calling them "Ninja-Looters" or something similar in open chat in Ironforge or Orgrimmar (where most of the bored higher level people hang out looking for something to do)

    Why should I subject myself to this crap? If there is someone answering the LFM (Looking For More) call for a particular instance run and they can't say more than "me go" or "I want (insert Item name here). u give plz?" then I feel pretty justified in calling them a FLVAAA and adding them to my ignore list. If the person passes the "interview" but proves on the instance crawl that they're more interested in acquiring items, I'll boot them. I ran one instance crawl where the 3rd mob in dropped a decent "Bind On Equip" epic helm. 2 Hunters instantly voiced their desire for the helm and I explained that it would be dealt with at the end when we're deviding up the rest of the loot. It would be rolled for by Need basis and would have to be equipped on the spot. They both claimed the understood, but while Hunter 1 continued through the instance without further problems Hunter 2 was messaging me every 5 to 7 minutes asking for it to be rolled on *now*. After an hour of this I got sick and kicked Hunter 2 from the party. Hunter 2 was doing very little at all other than whining about the hat.

    They've taken up the tatic of selling loot using "disposable characters". I see a level 1 Gnome named Jlsdkfj selling [Uber Sword] for 1250g, I know that's a Gold Farmer. I see the crap in the Auction House. They come up to me and shove Eternium and Thorium Lockboxes in my face without ASKING if I would mind opening it. 3 days later Jlsdkfj is gone and in his place spamming up IF (and now thanks to 1.9 Stormwind and Darnassus as well) selling the same items because no one BUT someone who bought the gold online would pay the inflated price they're asking.
    • by RsG (809189)
      Just on your last point about level 1 auction house mules, those are not generally gold farmer related, at least not in WoW. I don't know why you made that assumption, but it's unfounded.

      First, it's easier to use an alt to buy and sell things on the AH while my actual characters are in some other part of the world. The in game mail system makes it simple to transfer items to that mule and sell them there. Same idea applies when it comes to buying items; just log the mule in and bid/buyout an upgrade item
  • by pclminion (145572) on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @09:18PM (#14495989)
    It seems the problem stems from a seemingly infinite supply of gold in the games. We all know what happens when governments start printing currency like mad. It leads to insane, spiralling inflation and eventual economic breakdown. Can you say, "Chile?"

    What these games need is a "Fed," an entity which controls and regulates the dispensation of large sums of gold. It doesn't need to be implemented in an even remotely similar way to in the real world, but some kind of control has to exist.

    When the real world price of Game Gold starts going up, the "Fed" should pump more gold into the game, somehow, in order to deflate its value relative to the dollar. I have no idea how to implement this in a way that's true to the character of the game -- somebody who actually plays these games a lot might get some creative ideas about it. It seems like you should also be able to "sell short" the game gold, and increase your game wealth, since the value of the gold is decreasing relative to some other currency. Converting between game gold and real dollars give you all sorts of opportunities.

    If I was a player in one of these games, and rumors got started that the game economy was about to be regulated, I would be overjoyed. I would purchase, with real dollars, huge quantities of gold, and wait until regulation caused the value of gold to rise. Then I'd auction it back off and walk away with real cash.

  • by Sir_Dill (218371) <slashdot@zachul[ ]om ['a.c' in gap]> on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @09:33PM (#14496058) Homepage
    Okay....heres the deal. MMO's force you to group to tackle quests and monsters that you can't handle alone. Some of these encounters are extremely complex requiring some form of gameplan in order to ensure survivability.

    Personally I don't care where you from or what language you speak or how old you are. I DO however care whether or not you can understand enough to be a contributing member of the group. If I can't count on you to follow instructions because you don't understand....I can't count on you to not steal someone elses item that they have been working for. With some items taking upwards of 50 runs through the same dungeon, thats just not a chance I am willing to take.

    I don't have hours and hours to play all the time so you can be damn sure that I am going to do a communication check at the beginning of a large run to make sure everyone understands thier part and the loot rules. Some people call this a farmer check and I can't say I don't disagree, but it is not designed to discriminate because they are chineese or french or mexican. If you can't communicate effectively then you are liability. I have knowingly grouped with people from Japan and while thier english was broken they could communicate enough to get the job done and they played an active part in our group.

    As far as dumping ads from gold selling services, I say good. Its kind of sketchy for a any publication to host ads for services which violate the terms of service for the games/services they review. They don't have banner ads for companies that will sell you a downloadable copy of autocad, windows xp or OfficeXP, how is gold selling any different?(yeah I guess theres the whole stolen and then sold vs bought and then sold, but if its not technically yours to sell in the first place....bah. I don't want to go down that road.)

  • Multiculturalism FTL (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ShakaUVM (157947) on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @10:28PM (#14496291) Homepage Journal
    About a week ago, I was by the AH in Org with my mage when a person (rather rudely) demanded, "Make me food." I was about to blow him off when I saw the character name was Chinese.

    I'm a white guy, living in California, but I've taken a year of Chinese, so I don't know enough to really talk to Chinese players in WOW, but I have faked it well enough to get into all-Chinese parties. =)

    [lai = come
    qu = go
    xia = down
    shang = up
    "qing lai" == please come (here), etc.]

    So I asked the person in Chinese if they wanted food, and, sure enough, in Chinese they were a lot more polite (using "qing", please, instead of the imperative form they used in English).

    Since then, whenever the player logs in, he asks for food in Chinese, and I make it for him. In exchange, I apparently get stacks of major healing and mana potions in the mail every day. =)

    So, the Chinese guy (who I later learned was a woman, living in Manchuria) has been asking me to take her to UBRS. So last night I put together a party, went to UBRS... and yeah.

    My Chinese friend accidentally clicked Need on an item she didn't need. So it pissed off the party, especially when they found out she was Chinese. But I smoothed it over. Then she Needed a loxbox. That just totally pissed off the party, so they wanted me to boot her. I puzzled out what she said, and apparently she just needed it for the lockpicking. So again, I got the item from her, and then lotted it to the party. After that, she passed on everything, and gave away all the other items she even legitimately won, because she was on the verge of tears after being yelled at by everyone. So yeah. I'd left some of the people in the party as assistant leaders, and at some point down the road, they booted her. So I reinvited...

    Anyhow, to make a long story short, it was a pretty crap experience. They all called her a Ninja Chinese Gold Farmer, she was desperately trying to explain that the 1st was a mistake and the 2nd was for her LP skill (and yeah, I agree she should have just greeded it and LPed it later), so she started the run happy (because she could never find a Chinese speaking UBRS party), and ended sad and hurt, and the Americans left with a further deepening of the stereotype that all Chinese people are Ninja Gold Farmers. And I was in the middle having to deal with both sides with only a year of Chinese under my belt.

    Sigh, multiculturalism for the loss.

    The ironic twist here, of course, is that I think she does sell gold. Or maybe she buys gold (without tone mai (buy) and mai (sell) are the same, or maybe she was just asking if all Americans buy gold. My Chinese really isn't that good. :p
    • It's at least as much the gold farming as that they don't know what you're doing. And you proved it perfectly. Everyone knows you don't roll need on a lockbox. You greed it, and the rogue is supposed to open up a trade window and pick it for you.

      It's quite annoying when what you just spent 2 hours in an instance for you lose to someone who rolled need "on accident". It doesn't matter if they're Chinese or not, but if they can't speak English and communicate (or you don't have someone who speaks Chinese), th
  • by jjohnson (62583) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @02:51AM (#14497392) Homepage
    Everyone hates the farmers as players because they're jerks in game. But they have a massively stabilizing influence on the economy of the world. They increase the size of the overall economy for the shard by maintaining a constant flow of gold and drops into the system, which is deflationary. The gold that other players buy from IGN and others gets dumped into the economy in lots for epic items, and trickles down to regular players selling hot drops; or is simply recirculated through the farmers, who are making more blue and purple drops available on auction than would otherwise be available (again, deflationary); or goes into a money sink like an epic mount which removes it from the game.

    The problem isn't that the farmers exist, it's that they're assholes. If they were smart, they'd be good, co-operative players, exerting a net benefit on their chosen shard.
  • Horsepucky (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Randar the Lava Liza (562063) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @07:39AM (#14498267) Homepage
    One author has a weird experience with a guy, then decides that it's a big trend. Most people playing on WoW are under 16 anyway and can barely form a sentence. This isn't happening. It's like the fake bluesnarfing or podjacking. Just something an author thinks he sees.

    It's true that people id'd as gold farmers will get worse treatment, but not true that people with poor language skills are treated like this. Honestly, have you seen the chat in any MMO lately? I call bullshit.

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