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Blizard Sues Virtual Gold Seller 242

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the long-time-coming dept.
DaphneDiane writes "Blizzard announced that they are suing one of the heavily spamming gold sellers, Peons4hire. Peons4hire had recently been spamming players in World of Warcraft with multi-line messages advertising their power leveling and gold selling business. With the advent of the recently released 2.1.0 patch Blizzard made it easier to report and block these spammers. I've noticed a large decrease in spam while playing since the patch. It used to be that I would get nearly a dozen spams a night but I barely have seen any since."
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Blizard Sues Virtual Gold Seller

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  • Anti-spam (Score:5, Informative)

    by nekozid (1100169) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @09:36AM (#19282321)
    For those of you who don't know what measures they took, there is now a report spam button and the servers filter out most of the messages.
    • Re:Anti-spam (Score:5, Informative)

      by Broken Bottle (84695) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @09:39AM (#19282337)
      they also blocked trial accounts from being able to send whispers to people who haven't sent them a whisper first or have the trail account name on their friends list. Also, they throttled the rate at which people can send whispers and te amount of text that can be sent per whisper.

      A lot of stuff that will make a spammer's life more difficult.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by ajanp (1083247)
        I would think blocking the ability of trial accounts to initiate tells is what had the largest impact (so far). Most of the spam came in the form of mass whispers from companies like peons4hire that would contain a couple of lines about the gold/price/website and it was sent to everybody in the entire zone.

        The person who originally sent the whisper would generally have a trial account, create a character with a random name (often including accents and ascii symbols), log in, send the mass number of tells,

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Sandman1971 (516283)
          That's incorrect. I'll try to find the link to the WoW forum post regarding this, but a Blue (Community Manager) confirmed that most of the reported spam came from paid accounts and not trial accounts. They were a combination of gold sellers purchased accounts and hacked accounts. Trial accounts have had whisper limitations for months.
    • Re:Anti-spam (Score:5, Informative)

      by LocoMan (744414) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @10:45AM (#19282687) Homepage
      And when you report a spammer, it ignores all messages coming from the entire account until you log off. That prevents a spammer from creating an alt, spamwhisper everyone, delete it, create another alt, repeat.
    • Also it seems if you try and type 'peons4hire' in any communication, the server just drops your message. Fiance was trying to tell guildmates about the lawsuit and was confused why none of her messages were getting through...
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by NickCatal (865805)
        That is "client side" It appears

        Click the "Disable spam filter" and they will get through
  • Result (Score:4, Interesting)

    by milo_a_wagner (1002274) <milo@yiannopoulos.net> on Saturday May 26, 2007 @09:37AM (#19282325) Homepage
    From the comments under TF'A', it seems as though this has had a massive impact. With the filing of a Federal lawsuit, perhaps we'll be sending another, louder message that these nuisances are no more acceptable in virtual universes than they are in ours.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Poltras (680608)
      And maybe then, two years from now, SPAM will not exist anymore. Oh wait...
    • by aliquis (678370)
      Yeah because in RL everyone sues those bastards who drops pizza ads in your mailbox. (I hate them thought, usually throws them out in the stairs.)
  • by timeOday (582209) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @09:44AM (#19282357)
    You create this new online world, and pretty soon it's just as crappy as the real one - full of cheaters using money instead of skill to win, ads everywhere constantly nagging you to buy stuff, and anonymity being stripped away in hopes of curbing irresponsible behavior. Whatever happened to cyberspace as a virtual utopia?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by AlephNot (177467)
      There's no such thing as a utopia--real or virtual. Suffering is the kick in the pants that forces us to become better people. A utopia is a world where no one has any incentive to become a better person (since there's no suffering), in which case, I'm glad no utopia can exist.

      Cold-hearted? Sure. But so is reality.
      • by gilroy (155262) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @11:21AM (#19282929) Homepage Journal
        Just to be clear: You're saying something like: People are rotten. Because people are rotten, real life is harsh. Because real life is harsh, we need to become better people (to reduce the harshness, I suppose). Utopias would imply an existence without that motivation, so we'd all stay rotten people. Hence, it's good that no utopias do or can exist.

        But... the point of a utopia is exactly that people aren't rotten (in the utopia). It's not about easy living -- natural disasters can still occur, people still die, etc. It's about everyone working together for the net greater good. It's about people not competing in a life that's nasty, brutish, and short. So if a utopia did exist, its inhabitants wouldn't need to better themselves.

        I agree that utopias don't exist in the Universe we inhabit. But I'm not sure I buy the idea that the impossibility of a utopia is a good thing. It sounds a lot like rationalization to me.

        Side snark: Of course "There's no such thing as a utopia--real or virtual". The name was chosen by Sir Thomas More specifically from the Greek that means "no place" or "place that cannot exist". :)
        • by AlephNot (177467)
          Let us remember that people have free will, and that forcing people to "choose" to work together for the "greater good" is antithetical to free will. To deprive a person of his free will is to destroy that person (for that person would then become a mindless automaton); let us hope that no one ever attempts to create a utopia by depriving people of their free will, by forcing them to serve the greater good (as has been attempted many, many times in the past).

          But then we are faced with the question, What if
          • by mikael_j (106439)
            I'm not sure I understand your logic, are you saying that if people choose to cooperate and help each other then that would be bad because somehow them choosing to cooperate is the same thing as someone forcing them?

            /Mikael

            • by yndrd1984 (730475)
              He's saying that forcing them to cooperate isn't the same as them choosing to do so, and that one is fine but the other isn't. That's why "choose" was in quotes.
          • by kubalaa (47998)

            What if people chose to help each other, including themselves? I agree that such a society would be heavenly, but in order to create it, we would have to force people to act accordingly, thus depriving them of their free will, thus destroying them, etc.

            What constitutes force which deprives free will? For example, the need for oxygen forces people to breathe, depriving them of the free will to choose not to breathe. So free will in this sense is impossible. But free will could mean free from imposition by

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          He's essentially a Matrix philosopher; pay him no mind.
      • by xero314 (722674) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @01:14PM (#19283733)

        A utopia is a world where no one has any incentive to become a better person (since there's no suffering), in which case, I'm glad no utopia can exist.
        What is really sad is that there are people that believe they have to suffer to find incentive to improve. Personally I find that to be complete rubbish. There is little if any suffering in my life, and yes I worked hard to get to this point, but I still try to improve myself and the world around me. I could sit back and just live a normal suffering free life, but that would be both boring and denying maximum potential. I'll have to put the "you need to suffer to have incentive" right next to the "you need commerce to have incentive" argument. It's nearly universal that those that make these claims never read More, and have no clue of the origins of the term utopia.
        • Except for what mother nature offers us, we Humans INVENT our own problems. While it may not be our conscious intention, it's true none the less.
    • by ari_j (90255)

      Whatever happened to cyberspace as a virtual utopia?

      It works exactly the same as real utopiae, as you pointed out. So far, it's working perfectly.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It was perfect. Then people showed up and started using it.
    • Whatever happened to cyberspace as a virtual utopia?
      The idealists failed to take account of human nature. [wikipedia.org]

       
    • by Dunbal (464142)
      Whatever happened to cyberspace as a virtual utopia?

      You know - way back when cyberspace was $6 or $12 an hour (or more!) in the days of GEnie and CompuServe, this sort of thing really wasn't a problem. You could play a multiplayer game with your friends and enjoy yourself. The beggars and spammers were kept to a minimum and most of them were encouraged to actually play the game.

      Then the internet happened. Prices came down - WAY down. Playing a game that would cost
    • Oh, it was a veritable utopia. We came together, enjoyed a good time, cooperated on projects...

      It ended when we let the masses in.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Yeah those cheaters using money instead of skill to win in... WoW? Wait a second what the hell did skill ever get anyone in WoW? Oh I see they're using money instead of TIME to win... Well that's just wrong! Exchanging money for things which take time to do yourself shouldn't be allowed!

      I'll agree that constant nagging is annoying, but bitching about someone paying for things that you'd rather do yourself is kind of pathetic.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kjella (173770)
      Utopia doesn't exist, it's litterally the meaning of the word: Greek ou, not, no; + Greek topos, place.

      Every society can be put somewhere on the line between absolute lack of individual freedom = totalitarianism and absolute lack of societal control = anarchy. None of those are without troubles, and it would be foolish to think any point inbetween is. Even the best examples of democracy and rule of law are flawed and imperfect. Utopia can only exist where all the inhabitants act in an utopian way, with the
    • by Dhalka226 (559740)

      Meh. You're really making too much of it in this case.

      I don't understand cheating in games such as, say, Counterstrike or America's Army. The whole point of the game there is: how good are you? Can you beat the other guy? I simply can't understand what the fun is in using aimbots or firing cheats or whatever.

      For the most part, WOW isn't that. If people enjoy playing more if they don't have to worry so much about gold, I really don't care that much. It may have a minor effect on prices in the aucti

    • WOW does not require skill to advance. Sure there are skilled players but the main asset a player needs is time (or to put it another way, stamina).

      So what gold buyers are actually doing is paying cash instead of time to obtain their epic sword of leetness. Perfectly reasonable imo and the only people whom 've heard whinge about it are the adolescents supported by their parents who can afford to spend their lives in WoW.

      So don't mistake stamina for skill. The latter is more than just playing 24x7 and being
    • Its matter of design.WoW is materialistic and dependant on grinding which can be reduced by buying stuff or automating the process by a bot.
      If your 'virtual utopia' depends on skills only,
      and those skills cannot be automated or assisted by computer,then you're safe.(e.g. virtual servers of Second Life and skill based games like Go)

      Blizzard is fighting what is essentially
      exploitation of game design.Its profitable and going to be a problem as long as the game exists.
  • by DogDude (805747) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @09:45AM (#19282371) Homepage
    Hang on here... People PAY to play this game online, and they get spam? Spam comes via email because nobody owns the SMTP/POP system, per se. But this is a closed environment. One company owns the infrastructure here. There should be *zero* spam.

    What kind of idiots put up with that? Could it be that it's a subset of the millions of people pay to watch commercials on cable TV, too? I can't really wrap my head around this one.
    • by mikkelm (1000451) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @09:55AM (#19282423)
      The game needs a way for the player to communicate with other players.

      Spam is unsolicited communication.

      If you can't wrap your head around that.. well.. yeah.
    • by xpccx (247431) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @10:00AM (#19282459)
      It's not spam, as in unsolicited email. The game has a built in chat system for people to communicate and quest together. What they do is create a character with the 30-day free trial offers (my guess is they can't be tracked since there is no credit card). They then use macros/addons to harvest who's playing (character names) and send chat messages to all of them, advertising their website. They then delete the character and get another 30-day free trial offer and start again. What Blizzard has done is put in limitations so they can't do this anymore.
      • by LocoMan (744414)
        I do remember I had to put my credit card details when I signed up for the trial, but that's on the euro side. Maybe it's different on the US side.

        Of course, nothing stop them from using fake/stolen credit card info, AFAIK credit card info is mostly used to prevent the same people from signing over and over to trial... but in any case if they did that, it might give Blizzard some more legal ammo, since IIRC using fake or stolen credit card information is actually illegal and could be used as a criminal case
        • by flosofl (626809)

          I do remember I had to put my credit card details when I signed up for the trial, but that's on the euro side. Maybe it's different on the US side.
          Weird, I just signed up for a trial account about 15 mins ago (never played before, thought I'd give it a try) and It completely skipped over the CC pages. The account creation gauge at the top had a big green EXEMPT over the grayed out section dealing with payment info. I am in the US, so I guess it is different.
      • by Mashiki (184564)
        I'd have to go hunting for it, there was a post done by blizz awhile ago. Might be on a blue tracker or something, but the GM dept. was saying that ~95% of the spam was done from full paid accounts that trial accounts were not used. In other words, the idiots who are using the power leveling, and the unfortunate ones who've gotten their accounts stolen and/or sold.

        Stolen accounts are a easier way to make money for companies, even faster then farming all it takes is a couple of key loggers.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Mahler (171064)
      Any system where you allow people to interact with eachother though electronic message can be used to send spam. When there are more users to a system, spam will be an attractive marketing method. Unless every message goes though an administrator who has to approve them, you can't stop ALL of it. But you can stop most of it, which is what they did with the latest patch... and automated administrator checking messages based on keywords and spam-reports.
  • Peons upset by the harsh treatment of "Peons For Hire" decided to stage a work stoppage and form a labor union. Officials at Blizzard had threaten to send the boys from South Park in to crush the union.
  • My Own Research (Score:5, Interesting)

    by The Living Fractal (162153) <banantarr&hotmail,com> on Saturday May 26, 2007 @10:48AM (#19282703) Homepage
    I've been playing WoW since beta.

    Up until now, since the release of WoW, gold spam has followed a nearly expontential curve. At first it was almost zero. Slowly over time it built up. Recently it exploded and you couldn't go five minutes without getting a whisper from some character named something like "Fahzhizdaj" asking you to go to their website and buy gold or powerleveling etc. After patch 2.1.0 spam has not disappeared. It has morphed into different forms. Instead of receiving private messages from spammers they have resorted to different means. Now you cannot run through the major cities without getting bombarded with local messages from the "say" or "yell" channels.

    This means that the gold spammer literally had to run a character from the starting town, at low level, to the major city. While not difficult, it certainly added an extra step to the spammers' setup. And once that person spams in a major city they will be reported much faster than if a million players all got individual private messages. People in the game in a common area will communicate with each other about stuff like this. The spammers can't possibly last long.

    So you might be wondering, where does a spammer get an account? Most people think they use trial accounts, or they buy accounts. Of course, both are usable. Trial accounts are locked down for many things, but they aren't locked down to the local 'say' channel. So camping a trial account spammer at the auction house in a major city will net a pretty big payoff in terms of impact vs. time spent, especially since the trial account is free.

    Spammers also get accounts in other ways too. People who purchase power-leveling services, for example, are at risk of allowing their account to be compromised to a spammer. People who go to websites claiming they have WoW exploits/cheats are at risk of using a keylogger and compromising their account. Then there's stolen credit cards and false account numbers. The actual numbers on all of these are impossible to determine for me. But nevertheless, these are some ways the spammers do it.

    The real crux of the issue though is that spammers, and more generally, gold selling, wouldn't even exist if people didn't buy the services! Because demand is so high it is not reasonable to expect in-game ads to disappear completely. But what Blizzard has done is definitely a giant step in the right direction -- IF you aren't one of the large minority of people who have actually purchased gold. If you are, you probably liked the spam sometimes, because usually it provides up-to-the-minute price info and increases competition between the sellers.

    You might be wondering: does one run the risk of getting scammed purchasing gold from these people?

    I didn't know the answer to that, so, I looked into it deeper. I went to their sites. There were numerous ones advertised but, after getting deeper into each site, eventually I was taken to a specific site almost every time: gold4power.com Of the eight or so websites I visited, every one of them led me to this one site. And it wouldn't amaze me if Peons4Hire was actually behind this one.

    I have no idea who runs this site, but I wanted to see how legit they were. So I sent them a small amount of money through paypal and, lo and behold, 30 minutes later, the gold was in my mailbox. I figure at least they aren't just scamming people completely.

    Anyway, spam is bad, yada yada. Get used to it, or download a mod like SpamSentry and put a stop to it.

    TLF
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Bajskorv (1107701)

      I have no idea who runs this site, but I wanted to see how legit they were. So I sent them a small amount of money through paypal and, lo and behold, 30 minutes later, the gold was in my mailbox. I figure at least they aren't just scamming people completely.
      Pete Townshend, is that you?
      • I'll admit it, I had to wikipedia (if google can be a verb then so can wikipedia, although it's funny that I used google to find the wiki, lol) Pete to find what this meant.

        Still, having trouble making the connection. You're talking about his... ahh.. website visiting choices?

        Enlighten me.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by ptbarnett (159784)
          Pete Townsend claimed he was doing research into child pornography when he got ensnared by the law.

          I think the GP is questioning whether you were "doing research" or "shopping".

          On the MMO that I play occasionally, a new player admitted to buying game currency on the cash market. One of my friends told him that he was "buying from terrorists", and that the 9/11 attacks were funded by "gold farming". The poor guy was really upset until the rest of us couldn't stand it anymore and let him in on the joke.

    • So camping a trial account spammer at the auction house in a major city will net a pretty big payoff in terms of impact vs. time spent, especially since the trial account is free.

      This is why all of the servers on the game should be full PvP where anybody can kill anyone else at any time and for any reason whatsoever without warning. This does not necessarily result in the chaos that one might otherwise suspsect since factions and groups quickly emerge to keep the asshats and the spammers in line. That l
      • Ah but it wouldn't just be the gold spammers that get constantly killed by high level players it would be all new players. Therefore WoW would only be as successful as other MMORPGs that have that sort of thing in it - which with the exception of some of the MMORPGs in South Korea is not particularly.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by arivanov (12034)
        All that it will do will be the spammers to "hire" bodyguards to the more valuable yellers and raise prices. If the have enough gold to offer for sale and enough peons to farm it sparing some resources to develop some "security staff" is not going to even show up on their balance sheets. And there is little your level 50 orc lord can do if he is simultaneously backstabbed by multiple characters of similar level.
        • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @06:07PM (#19285803)
          It takes a good deal of time to get a character to level 70. Even for people who are good at it and spend lots of time on it, we aren't talking a one day thing, we are talking at least a couple weeks of really determined effort. Now to have any effect, you'd need a ton of body guards, like hundreds probably. It isn't hard for a single PvP guild to get 20-40 people on short notice to go after someone, and these people would be targets for everyone. Also, you don't need to kill all the guards, just keep them occupied while one person gets one spell off on the low level person. So this is all fine you say? Ok, except that Blizzard will no doubt ban the guards as readily as the spammer. Then you are again stuck needing to level up more characters. The people who attack you can do it at any time, each time it happens, you get all your characters banned and have to start over.

          Global PvP is problematic for other reasons, but gold sellers wouldn't be able to get around the problem by hiring body guards. Remember: Developers aren't the government, they are gods in the virtual world. While they aren't all seeing, all knowing gods like the Christan god, they are still extremely powerful gods like the Roman gods. The gold sellers can't hire defense against them, as they simply remove people from the world and shut down accounts permanently.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Hyperspite (980252)
      If demand for these services is so high, I'm guessing there might be something wrong with the game :P
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        I think it's evidence that something is right with the game. If people didn't want these thing so badly, they wouldn't pay real money for them. The game is good enough that it creates the desire to spend real money on its virtual items. If these items were easy for anyone to get they wouldn't be perceived as so valuable. I'm not savvy enough in macroeconomics to go deeply into it, but commoditization, saturation, supply and demand, and free market concepts seem to apply here. (they probably aren't even
    • Re:My Own Research (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Puff of Logic (895805) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @03:33PM (#19284751)

      Up until now, since the release of WoW, gold spam has followed a nearly expontential curve...

      So you might be wondering, where does a spammer get an account? Most people think they use trial accounts, or they buy accounts. Of course, both are usable. Trial accounts are locked down for many things, but they aren't locked down to the local 'say' channel.

      Spammers also get accounts in other ways too. People who purchase power-leveling services, for example, are at risk of allowing their account to be compromised to a spammer. People who go to websites claiming they have WoW exploits/cheats are at risk of using a keylogger and compromising their account. Then there's stolen credit cards and false account numbers.
      Four words solve the problem: Ban. By. Credit. Card.

      This, coupled with the inability of trial accounts to send tells (or hell, segregating trial accounts onto trial servers), would provide a cheap, technical fix for an annoyingly organic problem. As far as people getting hit by keyloggers by trying to download cheat macros (such as automated mob farming or other activities barred by the EULA) or people whose accounts are compromised by "power-levelling services", I'm afraid I don't have much sympathy. A ban by credit card, necessitating a nice chat with a Blizzard rep to get the ban removed, would both heavily inconvenience farmers while providing an incentive for actual players to police the activity on their account ("Timmy, you got the entire damned family banned again because you were screaming 'shitcock' in Trade").

      Actually, I've always been curious as to how people justify buying gold or using power-levelling services. The argument I usually hear is that they are too busy with a job to level a character and "just want to play". Presumably these people wouldn't join a tennis league and then demand to use an oversize racquet because they're too busy with their job to learn to play skillfully. Would they think it acceptable to buy points in some sort of sports fantasy league from another player because they don't have the time to properly manage their team?

      If you're going to play a game with a lot of other people, why not play it on equal terms? And if you don't have as much time to devote to the game as others, then either accept that with good grace or move on to a different game for which you do have the time. I suppose that shortcuts, cheating, and griefing are an inevitable side-effect a large crowd of people playing, but it's really bloody annoying!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by shalla (642644)
      I have no idea who runs this site, but I wanted to see how legit they were. So I sent them a small amount of money through paypal and, lo and behold, 30 minutes later, the gold was in my mailbox. I figure at least they aren't just scamming people completely.

      Congratulations. You are now part of the problem.

      Where exactly do you think they're getting the gold? Do you think they are legitimately running characters to high levels and then shipping the gold around to characters whose players pay for it? That w
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        Congratulations. You are now part of the problem.

        An undercover detective who buys drugs from dealers is supplying said dealers with money to get more drugs. The detectives are part of the problem. But, in a larger sense, they are part of the solution. I'm not an undercover detective for anyone other than myself, and my only drive was curiousity.

        Last I knew, most of the gold came from hacking accounts and stealing it. It's a lot faster to shard and sell off the inventories of multiple characters than it


      • Where exactly do you think they're getting the gold? Do you think they are legitimately running characters to high levels and then shipping the gold around to characters whose players pay for it? That would take time and effort and would not be an efficient way to make money.


        hacking accounts would net you very little at great risk and it not sustainable since the number of idiots is a finite number and they only have so much time to remake alt hat gold. A average 70 might have a few thousand gold at most on
    • by waveclaw (43274)
      Anyway, spam is bad, yada yada. Get used to it, or download a mod like SpamSentry and put a stop to it.

      As long as the game lets random people join and chat, there will be UCE, XCP, and fraud. If you let absolutely new accounts get full access to communication when you release, everyone expects it from then on. So, unless Spam becomes game-breaking, you can't escape that design choice for your chat features. I'd prefer a three tiered system of (1) default no chat, (2) listen only and (3) full duplex with
  • by DaveG, the Quantum P (664195) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @10:49AM (#19282711)
    Surely though, Blizzard winning damages from this company means that Blizzard has directly gained money from the selling of in-game "Gold" which is against their own EULA. Ironic eh?
    • Yes, but Blizzard spends an amount of time fighting these sellers. That time costs the company money. If they use any proceeds from the lawsuit to spend development/support time to help shut down gold farmers / spammers, I would consider this money well spent.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Kineel (315046)
      Except I gave up my account because of all the gold spammers. So Blizzard is really trying to re-coop the money they are losing due to these sites.
  • by kabz (770151) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @11:03AM (#19282815) Homepage Journal
    NPR covered some of the human aspects of the gold farming story a while ago. Audio Link [npr.org] for your listening pleasure.

    12 hours a day playing Warcraft, getting beaten up by higher level players. It's sounds like a pretty ugly life.
    • NPR covered some of the human aspects of the gold farming story a while ago. Audio Link for your listening pleasure.

      12 hours a day playing Warcraft, getting beaten up by higher level players. It's sounds like a pretty ugly life.

      Compared to subsistance level agriculture, coal mining, or a million other jobs, it's pretty damned cushy. That's why people do it.

      I don't go and kill farmers. I understand why they are there.

      That said, I will never buy gold for WoW. I earn enough money to buy the 5000g I would need

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Stormie (708)

      12 hours a day playing Warcraft, getting beaten up by higher level players. It's sounds like a pretty ugly life.
      On the other hand, as one of the higher level players delivering the beatings to the goldfarmers, I can tell you that it's all kinds of awesome!
  • On the linked page there were 4 or 5 "First Page" comments.....
  • I'm sick to death of those assholes at peons4hire! Sometimes I'd be getting spam from them every five minutes! I hope Blizzard sues these assholes out of existence.
  • Imagine putting peons4hire on your resume as an employer.
  • Fixing the Economy (Score:2, Interesting)

    by paleo2002 (1079697)

    I play WoW for over a year until I no longer had the time and money to committ to the game. (I'm still not quite over the withdrawal symptoms.) I've recently been playing around with Puzzle Pirates as an interesting time-waster and they've come up with a really interesting solution to the problem of buying game currency.

    The problem with WoW is that you have people with time and skill, but not a lot of money. They hate people who buy gold because, to them, they're cheating. Then, you have people with m

  • by lullabud (679893) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @01:04PM (#19283679) Homepage
    It's a mix between a Bee, a Lizard and a Shark.
  • I use SpamSentry, and while Blizzard did hamstring the reporting function, the spam blocking parts still work fine. I get at least 4 spam messages each hour still, more if I'm in a city with a trade channel for any length of time. At least Blizzard has finally woken up and tried to do something, but it hasn't been effective by even the most generous stretch of the imagination.
  • Banishment (Score:3, Funny)

    by implowry (989364) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @02:01PM (#19284073)
    I think they should implement a vote for banishment. Something like if some number of characters report you as a spammer in a certain amount of time you are ported to the boss of the opposing factions highest level instance and are killed instantly by the big bad elite monster. By being in the opposing faction's area it would render all of the tells unintelligible and as a bonus the level one spammer would be immediately killed thus silencing him again.

    As an added punishment, if a spammer is killed by an NPC I think the spammer shouldn't be able to be resurrected or talk on any chat channel for > 10 minutes.
  • if we could get rid of "real world" email spam as easily. Bravo to Blizzard for getting this fixed with the recent patch.
  • by BlueParrot (965239) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @03:02PM (#19284489)
    It would be nice if they could also take measures tor educe the incentive for these spammers. Basically, WoW's economy rewards players for doing things they don't enjoy, farming herbs, ore, power levelling, grinding the same mob over and over... etc. That is why people will actually pay in order to not do so. If the economy instead made fun activities much more profitable than the boring ones it would reduce the amount of spammers ( thou probably not remove them completely ) and also make the game itself a lot more fun to play. Basically, running a bot program or paying someone to do the same thing over and over should not be rewarded by the game mechanics. Playing the game with other people, completing quests, winning PvP battles etc... should be the main source of wealth in the game. As long as Blizzard insists to have the economy based on "kill monster X 500 times and hope item Y drops" you will get problems with bots and spammers.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jjohnson (62583)
      This is the dilemma faced by MMORPG devs. If they make the grind more profitable (i.e., shorter), then everyone has tons of gold and epic drops, and the value of those things decrease proportionately. So they add back rarer items that either cost more or drop less frequently, and you're back to the long grind to get the *truly* epic gear.

      The only way to let players avoid long, boring grinds is to offer many kinds of grinds so that a player doesn't have to kill 5,000 Xs; instead, they can kill 100 Xs, mine
  • by Phrogman (80473) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @03:34PM (#19284763) Homepage
    I am not litigious by nature. But as I am playing SWG heavily again right now - and it is massively plagued by Credit Spammers - I am hoping intensely that if Blizzard takes the lead the rest of the industry will follow suit (as they have in pretty much every other regard sadly, with some exceptions), and sue the living **** out of the gold sellers. I know I am casually condemning thousands of third world country workers to sudden unemployment, but I don't care. The ratbags that run these businesses are in direct violation of the TOS/ROC for MMORPGs, and I would dearly like to see them nailed to the wall - possibly literally.

    They systematically end up ruining games. Ok, so SWG has suffered an awful lot from the ravages of inept developers and designers over the past few years - its actually getting better now and approaching playable once more - but the area that has alwasy interested me was the player-driven economy. Most of my characters have been crafters. Over the past few years its been subject to gross inflation, and I suspect that the gold farmers that infest the planets like cockroaches are largely to blame. Its gotten to the point where players who are currently subscribed have lost all feel for how the economy ran in the past, and just post random prices for things (always high mind you) because the economy is so whacked out (a common item can vary from 100k credits to 12m credits easily. Mediocre quality resources are priced at 10-50 times what they used to sell for etc).

    I was mayor of 2 cities in SWG (on Tarquinnas server) and had to /cityban the gold farmers a few times. I still regularly report them to the CSRs. They come back like cockroaches.

    Now I have to report the AFK spammers that stand in front Mos Eisley Starport and spam an advertisement for their website literally every 5 seconds. Yes, you can turn off seeing AFK chat (a nice improvement), and you can /ignore the individual but since they will be back with a different name in an hour the later accomplishes nothing. Reporting them is useful enough, but I have a feeling the CSRs can't keep up with the reporting and I bet they are spending a lot of their time just banning trial accounts containing spammers. I hope they are forced to follow the lead of Blizzard again here and restrict the ability to broadcast, send, whisper etc.

    • by petrus4 (213815) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @05:20PM (#19285445) Homepage Journal
      I know I am casually condemning thousands of third world country workers to sudden unemployment, but I don't care.

      The Chinese (who are the main nationality in question here I think) need to be given a very strong incentive not to see gold farming as a legitimate form of employment...because it isn't. Civil lawsuits on their own are unlikely to be enough; what Blizzard should really do IMHO is petition the Chinese government to conduct enforcement within their own country.

      Gold farming isn't any more beneficial to the Chinese people themselves than it is to gamers. Apart from anything else, it sends a message to whichever businesspeople that are running these companies that Chinese employees are willing to be exploited; that they are willing to work long hours in poor conditions and be paid the absolute bare minimum required in order for them to have an incentive to do the work. The Chinese government isn't doing itself any favours by allowing the companies in question to exist, either. The companies in question are almost always owned by foreign nationals, and every last dollar of whatever revenue they make will leave China, if it ever enters the country at all. This does nothing for the Chinese economy.

      I can understand Chinese workers wanting to make a living for themselves and their families as much as any other people on the planet, but I also feel that they should look for ways in which they can have a genuinely beneficial employment opportunity, rather than something which is exploitative and harmful to them simply because the people running said companies are willing to exploit these workers' own beliefs that they do not deserve better jobs. They do deserve better, and we as gamers deserve better than what they are doing to the games we play.

      Gamers and the gold farmers are not actually on opposite sides here; the reality is that both groups are being screwed in this scenario by the usual plutocrats.
  • by Organic Brain Damage (863655) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @08:00AM (#19291045)
    will the spammers pay in in-game currency?

Take care of the luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves. -- Lazarus Long

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