Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Almighty Buck Entertainment Games

Game Developers On Gold Selling 424

Posted by Soulskill
from the ni-hao dept.
Eurogamer has an article which takes a look at how various game companies deal with gold spammers in their games. Some, like Mythic, take a hard stance, literally telling farmers and sellers to "go to hell." Others engage in an arms race to block such behavior, sometimes to the detriment of normal users. "In fact, a former Jagex source tells me that when Jagex banned all IPs connected to gold selling, 'they lost 10 per cent of their membership, and still haven't recovered in terms of numbers since they did it two years ago. Even though they have almost stopped gold selling in RuneScape, it has cost them two million active accounts; i.e. there were four million players, there are now two million players, of which less than one million actually subscribe.'" Still more companies are experimenting with real money trading (RMT) to at least establish some control and security over the situation.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Game Developers On Gold Selling

Comments Filter:
  • by cliffski (65094) on Monday April 13, 2009 @03:20AM (#27553785) Homepage

    Because when I see that people are actually PAYING someone else to play the boring parts of a game for them, it's easy for me to deduce that what we have is not a fun game, but a tedious grindfest designed to keep bored teenagers playing forever and ever.

    The solution to goldfarming should be to find out why earning gold in the game is so bloody tedious and focus your design efforts on making the game fun to play. Games are supposed to be fun, not a second job.

    • by Alarindris (1253418) on Monday April 13, 2009 @03:27AM (#27553807)

      Because when I see that people are actually PAYING someone else to play the boring parts of a game for them, it's easy for me to deduce that what we have is not a fun game, but a tedious grindfest designed to keep bored teenagers playing forever and ever. The solution to goldfarming should be to find out why earning gold in the game is so bloody tedious and focus your design efforts on making the game fun to play. Games are supposed to be fun, not a second job.

      I couldn't disagree more. The fact that people are paying money in addition to their subscription means that the game is fun or has value to the player.

      Personally, I never 'grind' gold. I play the auction house and can then do whatever I want.

      "Oh, but see you are avoiding playing the game!"

      No, I AM playing the game. I'm sorry you couldn't figure out a way to do it too.

      • by AuMatar (183847) on Monday April 13, 2009 @03:36AM (#27553833)

        I play games to have fun. If most of a game is fun but a portion of it (grinding gold) is not, I have no problem paying to skip it, if the part I do enjoy is fun enough. Just like in real life- I enjoy throwing a party, but hire a maid to clean up before it. I enjoy driving my car, but pay someone else to change the oil.

        I could use alternate ways to make money, but I don't find playing the auction house fun. In fact, I find it highly unethical. You're taking advantage of people who don't know what things really should cost. That's flat out wrong. And anti-gold farmers complain about my ethics?

        • by Alarindris (1253418) on Monday April 13, 2009 @03:55AM (#27553905)

          I could use alternate ways to make money, but I don't find playing the auction house fun. In fact, I find it highly unethical. You're taking advantage of people who don't know what things really should cost. That's flat out wrong. And anti-gold farmers complain about my ethics?

          I agree with the first part of your post, but ummm what? I'm unethical for buying peoples under-priced stuff and selling it for what it's worth, but it's OK to violate the TOS and buy from farmers?

          You may want to rethink that.

          • by painandgreed (692585) on Monday April 13, 2009 @05:06PM (#27563057)

            I agree with the first part of your post, but ummm what? I'm unethical for buying peoples under-priced stuff and selling it for what it's worth,...?

            YES! It's called 'war profiteering'. The Horde and Alliance are at war with each other and you are profiting off the desire by others to bring the war to its rightful conclusion. You are not only not doing your part to support the war but actually hurting it while making money off of it to fuel your own greed. Noobs are priced out of decent gear by people like you and are conistantly getting ganked because of it. Their blood is on your hands!"

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Razalhague (1497249)

          You're taking advantage of people who don't know what things really should cost.

          Different things are of different value to different people.

        • by Talderas (1212466) on Monday April 13, 2009 @07:28AM (#27554701)

          I could use alternate ways to make money, but I don't find playing the auction house fun. In fact, I find it highly unethical. You're taking advantage of people who don't know what things really should cost. That's flat out wrong. And anti-gold farmers complain about my ethics?

          Gold farmers -rarely- just straight up farm gold off of monsters. They use auction houses, they don't just take advantage of people not knowing how much something should cost, but they also have a tendency to inflate prices.

          Take Final Fantasy XI. You don't get much gil from monsters, or from selling items (which makes me wonder how the gil is generated in the first place), but rather you make your money from selling goods on the auction house. In FFXI, gil sellers would camp NMs to get their loot to sell on the auction house for ludicrous prices. They essentially jacked up the prices for most rare loot items. The money they made from selling the items is then sold to players, which is used to buy the aforementioned up-priced item. If the player tries to farm the mob on his own, then he has to compete with the gil sellers (who were good at camping NMs) and other players looking for the mob. When Square finally put their foot down on gil sellers you saw a marked deflation in prices.

        • by bahstid (927038) on Monday April 13, 2009 @08:18AM (#27554987)

          I enjoy throwing a party, but hire a maid to clean up before it.

          Not coming to one of your parties mate, I prefer the kind that needs cleaning after!

      • by Majik Sheff (930627) on Monday April 13, 2009 @03:39AM (#27553841) Journal

        Sounds like you fit the mindset of EvE players. The game can be a relentless grindfest or a fantastic exercise in playing the market. It's all in how you choose to play the game.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by MozzleyOne (1431919)

        That's fine, if playing the market is the "game" you're after.

        My experience is WoW, and the problem is that the majority of people play MMOs for the PvP and the raids, and farming gold is just a necessary evil to do that. Accept that not everyone likes playing the market - I personally loathe it and find it intensely boring.

        It's weird - I want to log on after work, go into a dungeon for 3-4 hours and want to just have fun killing things but I can't do that. For some reason, MMO's have a requirement to grind

        • by Alarindris (1253418) on Monday April 13, 2009 @04:02AM (#27553935)

          Why is partaking in the game's economy so necessary? Why can't I just go about my own game without having to go repeatedly kill things to earn money?

          Because if you could do that, anyone could have anything they wanted whenever they want it, and that's what makes a game shitty. Reward needs to be proportional to the effort put in. Remove effort and the reward becomes pointless/worthless.

          PS - Get auctioneer and put in 10 minutes when you log on, you'll have plenty of money in no time. It's not like it takes any real effort.

          • by MozzleyOne (1431919) on Monday April 13, 2009 @04:26AM (#27554005)

            Because if you could do that, anyone could have anything they wanted whenever they want it, and that's what makes a game shitty.

            But gold doesn't get you everything you want, even now. MMO's almost never let you just buy the best items from gear. The only 2 avenues to getting the best gear in WoW are raiding and PvP - there are really no good items you can just buy. If you dumped 500,000 gold on my WoW character now, the only thing that would change is I would stop having to farm gold. My character wouldn't be better, no-one else would be affected - I'd just have more fun. Imagine if no-one needed to farm gold - you could just log on and start doing what you wanted to do.

            PS - Get auctioneer and put in 10 minutes when you log on, you'll have plenty of money in no time. It's not like it takes any real effort.

            I don't want to put in 10 unfun minutes when I log in. I don't want to NOT have fun when I play a GAME. I want to log in, have fun and then log off. Why do we need to do unfun things before fun things in MMO's? I do things I don't like in order to get things I do like in my everyday job. There's no boring, unfun grind in FPS or RTS games before you can start having fun.

            • by Tridus (79566) on Monday April 13, 2009 @06:52AM (#27554541) Homepage

              In other words, you want to play a game that has no economy whatsoever.

              That's fine. It means WoW isn't actually aimed at you. Instead of cheating, go play a game that plays the way you actually want it to.

            • by Alarindris (1253418) on Monday April 13, 2009 @07:04AM (#27554599)

              But gold doesn't get you everything you want, even now. MMO's almost never let you just buy the best items from gear. The only 2 avenues to getting the best gear in WoW are raiding and PvP - there are really no good items you can just buy.

              Thank god for that.

              If you dumped 500,000 gold on my WoW character now, the only thing that would change is I would stop having to farm gold. My character wouldn't be better, no-one else would be affected - I'd just have more fun.

              Problem is, you are able to then spend less time than everyone else to get X piece of gear from X boss. You could say that the only real MMO currency is time spent playing. A certain amount of effort needs to be put in to achieve any goal.

              Why don't they get rid of health and death? I don't think that's fun at all! I want to have 100% fun all of the time! Get rid of quests, why can't I just start at 80? I don't think leveling is fun either!

              "Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty... I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led diffcult lives and led them well."

              -Theodore Roosevelt

              • by Rich0 (548339) on Monday April 13, 2009 @10:25AM (#27556199) Homepage

                You could say that the only real MMO currency is time spent playing. A certain amount of effort needs to be put in to achieve any goal.

                You've hit the nail on the head exactly, but I disagree with your conclusions.

                In my experience people who hate trading of real-world cash for in-game gold tend to be people who have lots of time to play, and not lots of real-world cash to spend. People who like to buy in-game gold tend ot have little time to play, and lots of real-world cash to spend.

                Obviously self-interest dictates that people who have lots of time to kill should want the game to reward time spent above all else. People who have lots of money to spend want the game to value real-world money above all else.

                There really is no "right" and "wrong" way to design a game. Thus, there is no end to arguing between these parties and a huge arms race as people willing to take real-world money will do whatever they can to create in-game advantages for their customers to stay in business.

                I think there needs to be a balance. Games should not be designed so that new players can't expect to enjoy the majority of the game until they've spent 300,000 hours playing it. New content needs to be available at all levels of play. On the other hand, it isn't good for gameplay when some newbie can walk around killing people left and right with an uber-sword-of-destruction that they bought for $19.95 on ebay.

                I think that if you make the game fun and have rewards both for people who have leveled for 18 hours a day and also for those who play an hour a week and don't level at all, then you'll get rid of much of the incentive for farmers.

                • There's actually a logical solution to the issue of those with lots of time but little money, and those with lots of money but little time, in the same game. In EVE Online, players can purchase game time (PLEX - Pilot License EXtensions) for real-world money, for about the cost of the standard subscription. They can then sell these in game on an open market - monitored by CCP to prevent abuse, but with pricing based on supply and demand - to other pilots (i.e. the ones with the time to make in game cash). Everybody wins - if you like playing a lot, you never have to pay for your subscription. If you want to be able to sign on at any time, buy a battleship, get into a huge fight, log off at the end, and do it again whenever you get the chance... well, you can do that too, and the game sanctions it.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by master_p (608214)

            But in most games reward comes from achieving the game's goals. I haven't played any MMORG, but it seems like those games don't have so much content and therefore reply on a monetary/gold system for rewarding players.

        • by sarahbau (692647)

          I never farm gold and I always have enough money for whatever I need (key word here is 'need'). You can make a couple hundred gold in a clear of Naxx, and 50g easily in a heroic. That's not even counting any easily sellable items you might pick up like Frozen Orbs. The only things in the game that really cost a lot are items you don't need - mammoth mounts, crafting professions (the mats for any crafted item always sell for more than the item itself), BoE items you'll replace on your first heroic run, etc.

      • I can only take the example of WOW where I start playing recently. For established MMO (aka : not the first weeks or evemn few first month) the target of opportunity for new player is lost to game the auction house. On WOW this is exarcerbed as everybody and their grandma have a twink or half a dozen on the realm where they most play, often with multiple profession. And if they do not, they have huge amount of gold. The NET effect is inflation on all goods. So, for example, some low level (15) items go off
        • by fractoid (1076465) on Monday April 13, 2009 @05:59AM (#27554327) Homepage

          The net result is that you need to "farm" for hours some stuff to get the money, or jsut give up on it. Don't get me started on some of the superfluous stuff like mount (with 45 gold 100 to 200% the real money of a newbie at level 30 unless you never had to buy anything at all) or bags.

          No, the net result is that you can sell a level 15 green-quality sword for 2-3 gold instead of for 20 silver. People with high level characters think nothing of paying a few gold to kit out their latest alt, which means that it's very easy to make gold fast as a lowbie. Hell, stacks of copper ore sell for 20-30g on some servers. My wife recently started her first Alliance-side character, it's now level 23 and has well over 50 gold.

          • by Canazza (1428553)

            Works out that way for alot of people.
            the only problem is that after about level 30 the value of items sharply drops, as Twink items have their biggest values in the level 10-19 and 20-29 Battlegrounds bracket. After that the next big twink level is 50-59, where people are buying up the Outland gear to play in the last bracket of Vanilla WoW, but the value of those items is sometimes less than a level 29 item.
            So for new people, making money at low level isn't the problem.

            It's when you get to max level that

      • by AmiMoJo (196126)

        Personally, I never 'grind' gold. I play the auction house and can then do whatever I want.

        In other words, the grandparent is right, large parts of the game are so boring you prefer to spend real money buying gold so you can avoid playing them.

        • No.

          In other words:

          1. I don't buy gold.
          2. I don't farm gold.
          3. I have enough gold to play the game.
          4. You don't have to farm gold either.
          5. Profit?
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by aurispector (530273)

            The mere existence of an aftermarket for game gold is clear indication of the desire among many (and perhaps most players) to avoid the entire gold-making portion of the game. Raiding is fun, grinding and auctioneering are not - for a significant percentage of players. The amount of daily effort required to grind out gold for basic raiding necessities certainly killed it for me.

            Blizzard, etc., fail to acknowledge this and people simply take matters into their own hands via the black market. Real world go

            • by mabhatter654 (561290) on Monday April 13, 2009 @09:41AM (#27555739)

              the problem is that paying for things in an MMORPG is a legal mess right now. Right now the rules are strict.. your character and items are just "score points" as far as Blizzard and the lawyers are concerned, they have no "value" beyond your fun. Once they start taking real money for Gold it becomes "property" and the things you buy become "property" as well. Second Life has problems with these suits and the courts are pretty fickle right now as the case law is constantly shifting.

              After the property rights issues then they would have to deal with gambling, and taxes, not to mention reporting stolen accounts to law enforcement... see how this gets nasty.

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by SJ2000 (1128057)

                Second Life has problems with these suits and the courts...

                "Problems" as in "Frivolous litigation"... it's stated in the Terms of Service what the Linden Dollar is meant to be and I don't see how text of the terms can be considered illegal, unless you know of some court precedent or piece of legislation I don't.

                1.4 Second Life "currency" is a limited license right available for purchase or free distribution at Linden Lab's discretion, and is not redeemable for monetary value from Linden Lab.

                http://secondlife.com/corporate/tos.php [secondlife.com]
                I believe you are probably referring to the Bragg v. Linden Lab case in which forced arbitration was ruled out (Also featured on Slashdot [slashdot.org]). It had more to do with "land ownership" rather than the "limited license rig

      • by mwvdlee (775178)

        "Oh, but see you are avoiding playing the game!"

        No, I AM playing the game. I'm sorry you couldn't figure out a way to do it too.

        No, you're only playing a part of the game and avoiding playing the boring part.
        The game isn't 100% boring, but parts are boring enough for you to pay in order to avoid playing it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by vertinox (846076)

        I couldn't disagree more. The fact that people are paying money in addition to their subscription means that the game is fun or has value to the player.

        Umm... I really disagree.

        Mythic has really shown how you get rid of gold farmers in Warhammer online.

        By making gold (or currency) a moot point in the economy.

        The majority of the game revolves around rewards for either PvP or quests which result in no-drop bound loot which cannot be traded.

        I mean money is still worth some things (like buying mounts and non-es

    • by guyminuslife (1349809) on Monday April 13, 2009 @04:38AM (#27554043)

      I actually think one of the reasons why WoW is popular is precisely because it's mostly boring.

      Imagine if the game were all about instances and non-stop PvP. You sign in and it's like, oh, Unreal Tournament. That's the fun stuff, right?

      There's enough of that to "reward" you for playing. But of course, that's all spaced out over a lot of tedium. Most people playing WoW are bored most of the time they're on it.

      The tedium is essential because it means you start getting attached to menial stuff. You go into guild chat and have SUPER-DRAMA over who gets which raid spot and why did that hunter roll on that shaman gear. The tedium is necessary, of course, as a step in the direction of uber-ness, to get your quest or your experience or your crafting materials or whatever. And so at first you tolerate it. And then you get used to it. And eventually you depend on it.

      Like playing the slot machines; most of the time you lose, but you win often enough that you just have to keep putting in quarters.

      • by smallfries (601545) on Monday April 13, 2009 @05:39AM (#27554253) Homepage

        That's a really good description of an optimal reward-schedule for addiction. Of course, most (all?) people can't distinguish between addiction and fun, hence the huge popularity.

        I tried to find a decent description of this on the web (I remember reading an old analysis of how to optimise the payback in slot machines that went into reward schedules) but failed. This [google.ie] is the closest that I could find. The main point it makes is that tedium is essential to addiction. It serves to highlight the non-tedious bits and space out the rewards randomly. Nice to hear a personal, non-clinical, description of it for a change.

      • by fractoid (1076465)
        Hm... I'd argue that tedium (or rather, significant time investment required to achieve certain things) is important because that's the only way to really give real-world value to items. If an item is too easy to obtain, then it becomes worthless.

        Witness the honour PvP gear during Burning Crusade - it was pretty easy to build up a full set of gear as good as anything you could get from 5 or 10 man raids, so *everyone* had it. For most roles the gear was so good that it made most of non-raid PvE gear comple
      • by mwvdlee (775178)

        Like playing slot machines, it probably appeals mostly to a certain type of addictive personality.

        I got bored playing WoW about 3 or 4 days into my 7 day trial, and uninstalled it before the trial ended.
        Similarly, slot machines are completely boring to me; you might as well throw a bunch of coins in the air and declare whatever falls back in your hands "winning".
        Everthing you describe as being attractive to the WoW gameplay model is exactly what I don't want in a game.

      • There's enough of that to "reward" you for playing. But of course, that's all spaced out over a lot of tedium. Most people playing WoW are bored most of the time they're on it.

        That's an interesting notion, but I think it is only a small part of the puzzle. Different people play MMOs for different reasons, but one important element is the social aspect, don't overlook that.

        Sitting in a bar knocking back beers by yourself is boring. Weeding the garden is boring. But do it together with a friend or two

      • by sherriw (794536) on Monday April 13, 2009 @08:53AM (#27555221)

        I'm suddenly glad I never tried WoW. Your description sounds like some kind of virtual hell.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Wildclaw (15718)

      No. It is just proof that a good percentage of the population have no moral objections to cheating.

      Since the beginning of multiplayer gaming, maphacks, bots and other cheating devices have been created to serve weak minded losers. It has nothing to do with wether the game is fun or not.

      If there is a way to gain an advantage by cheating, a certain percentage of the population will do so. How large of a percentage depends on the type of people in question, but I would wager that it is largely dependent on the

    • by Chris_Jefferson (581445) on Monday April 13, 2009 @06:15AM (#27554381) Homepage
      How many people do you think would pay extra money to get an extra queen in chess? How many people would pay to get some more "e"s in Scrabble, even when just playing with friends, if they wouldn't get caught? People like to be the best, and lots of people want to do it without skill or work.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by TheRaven64 (641858)

        How many people do you think would pay extra money to get an extra queen in chess?

        And yet, you can't. The rules of chess are designed in such a way that it is not possible, for example, to swap your queen for the other player's pawn. You can't go to a competition, play against a queen farmer, swapping all of your pawns for his queens, then go on to play against a normal player with nine queens (I assume; it's some years since I played chess at a competition - or at all, in fact). You can play a handicap game, where one person starts with fewer pieces, but only by consent of both play

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Admiral Ag (829695)

      MMORPGs are in a large part a form of status competition. Being a high ranked player on COD4 matters to some people, but you can't really get there without grinding it. Gold selling allows people to increase their status without personally working for it.

      Competitive games work because you are supposed to be ranked according to a combination of skill and the time you have put in to the game. WoW doesn't really work that way, because even a lot of high level guilds who have really good players have to buy gol

  • Wait what? (Score:2, Funny)

    by KeX3 (963046)

    After all, barbershops and even paid-for sex changes have come about due to player demand in World of Warcraft.

    Uhm. Paying for sex in WoW?
    Exactly how deeply entrenched in your parents basement would you have to be to do that?

    • "sex change" != sex

      however what your suggest would not surprise me.

      if your bored and search around for free mmo's, eventually you come across all the adult themed ones, there's lots of em, but none of em are free.

  • Seriously, why?

    Players obviously want to do it.

    Is it just a matter of developers wanting to be cocks to the people who are already /paying them money/ to play their game?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by NonSequor (230139)

      Some players want it. In my experience, most hate it.

    • Re:Why oppose it? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Thanshin (1188877) on Monday April 13, 2009 @03:47AM (#27553875)

      I suppose it's for the same reason they can't sell the gold themselves.

      Players who don't want to buy gold feel at a disadvantage and quit.

      And when the majority quits, the game dies.

    • In extreme cases, it totally screws up the economy. The very best armor becomes so expensive that a new player will never afford it without resorting the some measure that violates the TOS/rules of the game.

      In other cases, the developers are just being dicks. They have a narrow view of how the game should be played, and anyone who sees beyond that view is guilty of "exploiting" the game.

      In the case of Runescape, they CLAIM that all the gold making drones were located in China, and that the drones were emp

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I have to say, I'm incredibly dubious of that bit about Runescape in the summary.

        In fact, a former Jagex source tells me that when Jagex banned all IPs connected to gold selling, 'they lost 10 per cent of their membership, and still haven't recovered in terms of numbers since they did it two years ago. Even though they have almost stopped gold selling in RuneScape, it has cost them two million active accounts; i.e. there were four million players, there are now two million players, of which less than one mi

    • by jandersen (462034)

      Why? Well, a game should be - a game. That is what most people expect, I think, that it is simply a game, something fun to do for a while instead of watching tv or going outside on a rainy day.

      I find it highly dubious that "players obviously want it" - gold farming is similar to cheat sheets and drop stealing (in games where you fight monsters, they drop something and then somebody else steals it). If you are playing alone and don't have the patience or talent to do well in the game, perhaps it is OK to che

    • Re:Why oppose it? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Morlark (814687) on Monday April 13, 2009 @04:59AM (#27554119) Homepage

      Developers being cocks? Sorry, I actually facepalmed when I read that. I take it you've never played an MMO? Gold selling thrives in MMOs because, at the end of the day, there is one fundamental truth that applies both in and out of game: (some) people are stupid. Gold selling has a noticeable and significant negative effect on the game. Sometimes this means they've got their bots out keeping a given zone completely barren of mobs, so that any actual players who want to do anything in the zone are unable to do so. Sometimes it means that the gold sellers flood the auction house with the items they have farmed up, meaning that any legitimate player who wants to sell some items for a bit of gold can't do so because the going rate for those items is so low that they can't turn a profit. On the flip side, the people who have bought gold now have so much money that the market price for other (non-farmable) items goes through the roof, meaning that honest players can't afford the things they want. Gold selling absolutely ruins the in-game economy, which makes the game a lot less fun for everybody, and that means the developers lose subscribers. That is why.

      In fact, in recent years, things have got even worse. As the developers get better at spotting the behaviour of the gold sellers' farming bots, the gold sellers change tactics. Instead of targeting the game, they target the players - through various trojans and keyloggers and whatnot, they compromise a players account, strip it bare of gold and items, and then sell the proceeds on to other players. Of course when the player discovers this, they immediately go crying to the devs demanding that their items and gold be restored. The dev company then has to spend god knows how much on employing extra customer support staff to deal the player's own lax account security. That is a direct cost to the dev company caused by gold sellers. The claim that the developers are being cocks by protecting the interests of both themselves and the players is laughably ignorant.

      Allow me to finish up with a little personal anecdote. An acquaintance of mine in WoW once had his account compromised by gold-sellers. I don't know how, since he's usually a fairly tech-savvy person, but everyone slips up once in a while. The gold sellers stripped his character completely clean, took everything he had, and passed it on. When he finally got his account back, and was waiting for his items to be restored, you know what his first response was? He went straight to the gold sellers and bought some gold, to cover what he had lost. Yup, he went to the very people who had stolen his (imaginary) gold, and paid them real money to get it back. And he never once made the logical connection that the people who had taken his stuff were the same people he was dealing with. The average person really is that stupid.

      It's only a minority that actually does buy gold, so you can't even claim that "players want it". But when the developers have to fight an uphill battle against both the gold sellers and that stupid minority, so that they can improve the game for those very same players, you do have to have a bit of respect for what they do.

      • Re:Why oppose it? (Score:4, Informative)

        by plasmacutter (901737) on Monday April 13, 2009 @05:32AM (#27554239)

        I'm sorry but most of the market destruction on my realm is from no-lives who farm up everything then undercut with auctioneer until crafteds pull in less than 1/4 of their mat costs.

        • No. People that play the auction house don't make money by undercutting. They make money by buying undercut items and selling them at the market value. The undercutters are the people who are actually grinding things and have no patience to sell stuff for what it's actually worth.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AmiMoJo (196126)

      The problem is it creates an uneven playing field. Players who can afford to spend real money buying gold get ahead of those who cannot, until it creates a situation where you pretty much have to pay for gold to keep up with the other people in your guild or spend many, many hours grinding. At that point you realise that either you are spending far too much money on the game or far too much time grinding the game and cancel your subscription.

    • Well think about it - gold farmers are using bots to farm this money 24-7 - its an artificial money supply injected into the game (because no one player actually earned it).

      Which causes the money to be worth less.

      WoW already has a pretty terrible economy where nothing sold is actually worth the effort to farm it. I honestly think its cheaper just to buy materials/potions etc from someone than to put the effort into getting the stuff yourself.

  • MMORPGs as a whole are designed to spread content through the level range, where equipment is relatively scaled to what you need at the time. In WoW, you can easily survive till level 50 by just using the loot that you find on enemies you defeat. If you stick with the quests that are given, you get great level specific hand outs. Unfortunately, once through in the existence of a higher level, players will not care about the content that they are already in. It is this style of player that is prayed upon by
    • In WoW, you can easily survive till level 50 by just using the loot that you find on enemies you defeat. If you stick with the quests that are given, you get great level specific hand outs.

      Works till 80.

      Unfortunately, once through in the existence of a higher level, players will not care about the content that they are already in. It is this style of player that is prayed upon by the Gold/gear sellers. They want to experience the high end of a game, and don't care at all about the low end. They do no care about the quality of the level 10 quests, or anything else that doesn't gratify them instantly.

      Sounds like you've never raided. I'd hardly call working on a single boss 3-4 hours a night, 4 nights a week for a month instant gratification.

  • by Thanshin (1188877) on Monday April 13, 2009 @03:59AM (#27553927)

    How much people would play chess if players could pay 20$ to change one of his pieces into a queen?

    Chess is an extreme example but the point is, some people play to compete. Maybe not in a direct confrontational way but they like getting some kind of advantage by playing "better".

    Having people who directly buys advantages in the game makes it less interesting for the competitive players.

    Usually, there are more competitive players than players willing to spend money for an advantage, and the game creators try to keep the bigger group.

    If the spending players weren't heavily outnumbered they'd be a better marketing target and more games would be based on the "Buy the better gun" model.

    • by Boronx (228853)

      I don't understand this attitude if any amount of gold can by had simply by spending enough time to gather it. What possible difference does it make to any competition between you and someone else if instead of spending a year mindlessly grinding for gold, he paid someone a hundred bucks for it?

      • by Thanshin (1188877)

        What possible difference does it make to any competition between you and someone else if instead of spending a year mindlessly grinding for gold, he paid someone a hundred bucks for it?

        The differece is that some people consider time as one of the optimizable factors. So, if they do the same in less time it's as valuable as doing it better. For example, being the first to reach a certain point.

        Aparently, unlike the world outside, being the richest in the server is considered less of an achievement.

      • Not exactly (Score:3, Insightful)

        by wantedman (577548)
        The gold farmer often hack other players and use game exploits to obtain their gold. They obtain gold outside of the game's mechanics. They are an outside force in the game between monster drops and marketing for gold.

        Gold farmers increase the supply of money and therefore increase the price of everything. I've seen games where farmers have gone nuts and drove the price where it was impossible to earn enough gold through legitimate means to play fairly with people who have enough gold.

        Worse, is th
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Andy_R (114137)

        In Runescape, the difference was that gold seller controlled bots made it almost impossible for human players to compete for certain resources.

        If you chose to ignore the fun parts of the game and did the boring grind through 60 levels of woodcutting in the free version of Runescape, you could eventually unlock the highly profitable ability to chop yew logs... but you'd find that every yew tree in the game was surrounded by dozens of bots, meaning you had little chance of actually getting any logs.

    • by jamesh (87723)

      Chess is an extreme example but the point is, some people play to compete. Maybe not in a direct confrontational way but they like getting some kind of advantage by playing "better".

      Where's BadAnalogyGuy?

      The best I can come up with is that your analogy sucks and it's more like paying someone to set up the chess pieces for you before a game and pack them up for you afterwards so that you can spend your time playing the game without mucking around with the fiddly stuff.

      The solution, as someone else pointed ou

  • Economics. the allocation of scarce resource. If it is not limited, then there is no ecomomics.
    In these games, time is the scarce resource, and maybe patience!
    People sell their time (collecting gold or whatever) to people who want it.
    The problem for the Game developer is that they do not have a real economy. (hey, just like the real world!) that is, the money created just appears and floats upward, whereas in a real economy it circulates, and is never "used up" (present circumstances excepted). Unles
  • TFA:

    when Jagex banned all IPs connected to gold selling, "they lost 10 per cent of their membership...there were four million players, there are now two million players, of which less than one million actually subscribe."

    Lost 10%...went from four million to two million players. Maybe someone should have spent less time playing WoW and more time doing their school work...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Andy_R (114137)

      To parse that very badly written sentence, you need to know that Jagex calls subscribers 'members' and free players 'non-members'. What the article is trying to say is that is that they lost about 10% of their paying customers and 50% of their non-paying ones.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Quothz (683368)

      TFA:

      when Jagex banned all IPs connected to gold selling, "they lost 10 per cent of their membership...there were four million players, there are now two million players, of which less than one million actually subscribe."

      Lost 10%...went from four million to two million players. Maybe someone should have spent less time playing WoW and more time doing their school work...

      That's not what TFA says at all. I should report you for ellipses abuse.

      What the article actually said was that once instance of banning gold buyers and sellers bumped 10% of their users; since then, their efforts have further reduced their player base to about half of what it once was.

  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Monday April 13, 2009 @04:47AM (#27554075)

    Which is fair..

    A lawyer working 60 hours a week, buys a 600 hour character and a million gold for 5 hours of income.
    or
    A student, retired, or independently wealthy person who plays 60 hours a week? Always gets the best non-instanced content first (sometimes blocking it for over a year to other users).

    ---

    The game company sells levels, gear, experience for money.
    or
    The game company sets up quests so you if you can be logged on continuously for 14 to 24 hours you have a 100% chance of success.
    If you can log on 24 hours in 2 hour chunks, there is a good chance you will *never* finish the quest (25 to 30%)

    ---

    Who is more skillful
    The person who can log on at 1pm, get the best camps, play for 12 hours straight, and reach the new level cap in a week?
    The person who uses a cheating macro program that lets them see what loot the monsters are carrying and where the monsters are even when their characters are "blind"?

    ---

    None of these are fair. I applaud the efforts by the game companies to make a game fair.

    But morality is such that mmorg gamers would feel it was fair to be able to buy extra cards in poker or to get the best hands because they could show up earlier than the other players, or win merely by virtue of being able to stay at the table for 18 hours straight.

    ---

    Games have rules. The rules for chess, checkers, acquire, dominion, hell even D&D, are not based on "the person with the most money or time wins".
    When people try to play MTG and other CCG's like a money game, they quickly lose the ability to play with ordinary players and get stuck in their own brackets even at tournaments.

    It's pretty disgusting.

  • My friend was once banned for buying gold while his computer was away for repair.

    They held his account hostage for 4 weeks until a copy of his service receipt finally filtered up the chain of command.

    If people are buying gold it's indicative the game has costs which are out of proportion with the rest of the gameplay experience.

    They made a poor game design choice, and it's given rise to a third party market to correct it.

    When will game designers learn to stop penalizing their customers and start listening t

    • by Tridus (79566)

      No. If people are buying gold, it means that they want to feel like they won the game without actually doing anything to get there. It's no different then people using cheats in other types of games.

  • by Andy_R (114137) on Monday April 13, 2009 @05:40AM (#27554263) Homepage Journal

    This has nothing to do with Jagex IP-banning gold sellers, they always did that. The reason so many players left Runescape is that when IP-banning wasn't working, Jagex made a massively unpopular decision to remove a huge portion of the gameplay in order to stop the gold sellers.

    Overnight, it became impossible to kill other players and take their items, to give gifts of any substantial value, to sell items for prices more than 5% away from a value assigned by Jagex, to have duels for worthwhile stakes, and to do a lot of other things that would take a lot explaining such as the World 66 Laws company.

    Basically, they threw so much of the game away that a large portion of their playerbase quit (I'm guessing much more that the 10% of paying members mentionied in the article), overnight it went from being a Massive Multiplayer Online Game to being a Massive Singleplayer Online Game with chat features. Even if (like me) you didn't enjoy the player vs player part of the game, the changes were very bad news, as much of the economy was based around making supplies for player vs player combat.

  • by bigmacd24 (1168847) on Monday April 13, 2009 @06:01AM (#27554331) Homepage
    Hey, I like CCP's solution to this, in EVE, you can buy extra months of subscription, and sell them to other players, on the market, for Gold (ISK). I play the game for free, because I have enough isk to sell to folks who want more of it. Eve's economy actually works pretty decently, dudes get alot of use out of having extra isk, they can fly bigger ships, gamble more, pay folks for whatever they want. I always suggest to my friends that they buy three months of game time when they start playing, 1 month for themselves, and 2 months to sell to the market. Everyone gets on a nice, even playing field pretty quick that way, (and it's still cheaper than starting alot of MMO's). To ramble off topic for a while, market manipulation is incredibly easy in eve, I play for free because I spend about 3 hours a week looking over trades in three regional markets. I had to put in a bit of work to get enough money to afford it, but the cash I have is still chicken scratch (barely floating a billion isk, and most of it's tied up in one thing or another)
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Thaelon (250687)

      And I am a complementary example to parent of this post.

      I buy GTCs and sell them to people like the above. I have a full time job, I go to the gym regularly, and have a girlfriend. (I know, blowing two stereotypes!) So my time is at more of a premium than my money. Also, I used to do a lot of grinding for in game money (ISK) and got sick of it.

      So now I buy my ISK from players with game time cards purchased directly from CCP (EVE's developer company). Some poor college student gets to play without real w

  • by Aladrin (926209) on Monday April 13, 2009 @06:56AM (#27554563)

    I played MMOs like 12-15 years ago. They were as addictive back then as they are today. Eventually, I managed to shake that addiction naturally, and not it has no hold on me.

    Don't get me wrong, I -want- to like it... I just can't sit there for hours straight doing the same mindless crap over and over.

    Anyone who is in my position and has tried a 'high rate' pirate WoW server can tell you that it's a LOT more fun. (Less addictive, but more fun.)

    Eventually, we'll get through the current group of addictees and everyone will be looking for fun instead of addiction. At that point, there's going to be a HUGE market for fun MMOs. In fact, there's probably already a pretty nice market as it is.

  • It took until page 4 for TFA to get to the real point:

    "that the only reason that this problem exists is that people purchase the gold, items, accounts or services from these [gold selling] companies. If no-one did it they would not be in business. If you purchase an item or service from one of these companies, you are as guilty as those that are 'botting', 'farming' or 'spamming'."

    As long as people want to cheat and buy gold, someone else will find a way to sell it. The buyers often don't care that the mone

  • "Some, like Mythic, take a hard stance, literally telling farmers and sellers to "go to hell." Others engage in an arms race to block such behavior, sometimes to the detriment of normal users." ...still others (*cough* *cough* BLIZZARD *cough* *cough*) engage in mild disingenuity when they claim that they are against gold selling, but only engage in banning methods when the gold grinders are clearly using bots. (And even then, the response is so slow it's hard to recognize.)

    Perhaps I'm ignorant, but when "

  • by weave (48069) * on Monday April 13, 2009 @08:58AM (#27555271) Journal

    I bought 20k gold in WoW from a real-life friend so I could get a tundra mount.

    The guy is under-employed yet has loads of time to play WoW. I'm in a well-playing job that saps a lot of my allegedly off time. So we both have what the other needs. An ideal situation. He needed real-life money to pay his car insurance. I got to help a guy out without the person feeling the shame of begging for a handout, and I got a cool mount that says I'm in-game rich (or in-game foolish)

    What I find interesting is Second Life. In that "game" real-life to linden dollar exchanges happen all the time and it's sanctioned -- and there's not a lot of rich people in that world. Most people are still in-world poor because they don't want to spend real-life money on it. I'm amazed at how many people will camp in a place for one linden dollar for 15 minutes. My wife has a "job" as a night-club hostess that pays $75 linden an hour. The current exchange rate is around $260 lindens to a real US dollar!

  • Can't fix it... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cyberjock1980 (1131059) on Monday April 13, 2009 @09:18AM (#27555497)

    There is always a demand for currency, both in the real world and the games.

    I have a respectable 60kg total over 3 servers in WoW. I can buy almost any item I want, but I can't buy the levels or the raid experience.

    Think of it like this. If tomorrow Blizzard said that all mobs in the game will now suddenly drop 100x the amount of gold they have before guess what the prices of merchandise on the AH will do? I'd say about 100x increase. Anyone could suddenly go kill a mob and get 50g to buy a stack of potions or whatever at the old AH price.

    People take the path of least resistance. In the world of MMORPGs, they buy Gold. In the real world, there's 2 choices.

    1. For those that need instant gratification, they work at WalMart making $9/hour forever at a job.
    2. For those that plan ahead they go to college, get a degree, and then make $30+/hour in a career.

    MMORPGs are built almost entirely on instant gratification. You don't start a quest on level 2 and are still working on it at lvl 80. Instant gratification falls into the 'buy gold online' persona.

    Why are people surprised/disgusted that MMORPGs attract the 'instant gratification' personalities, and then deliberately scold them for having those traits?

  • Here is some reality (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kenp2002 (545495) on Monday April 13, 2009 @10:42AM (#27556459) Homepage Journal

    Ok, I work for a bank in full disclousure.

    First off Gold Farming is really what we call "Foreign Trade". What you have in an MMO is a system where people manufacture goods and services at various costs.

    You have an intrinsic value on your time. Looking at the US lets say your game time is worth $5 an hour (e.g. Given a choice of making $4.50 an hour working a second job you would instead play a game but given the opportunity to make $6 an hour you would work the second job.)

    So lets say you can make 100 GP in an hour. Your manufactured good is $5 for 100 GPs.
    Now the gold farmer comes in and his time is $0.35 and hour and can make the 100 GPs.

    Right off the bat we can see you can go work the $6 an hour job AND get the 100 GP you normally would have, coming out ahead. This is the basis for what the real problem is, a system of Foreign Exchange Inport\Export.

    Now you can make 100 GP an hour at $5 each hour (production cost) but the gold farmer can do it for $0.35 for 100 gold.) THE ARGUMENT YOU ARE ALL MAKING IS NO DIFFERENT THEN NIKE SHOES BEING MADE FOR .38 A DAY IN THAILAND VERUS MINIMUM WAGE IN THE US!

    This is simply a problem (if at all) of cheap labor. The same problem we find in cheap "Made in China" products and the issues with that (Melemine, Lead, etc.) are reflected in the game world (Hacked accounts, bots, etc.). P.S. Accounts were getting hacked and stripped long before gold farmers so that point is moot.

    I don't see anyone boycotting cheap "Made in China" goods, the cost is too good to pass up on. The same goes for time. The only people that protest "Made in China" are overpaid union types using a air ratchet putting on a bolt for $45 an hour and we can see how well their fantasy played out in the auto industry can't we?

    Whenever you have an economy it will always gravitate towards "Better, Faster, Cheaper" where better usually = Faster and Cheaper. Time and time again we wax over the whole gold farming issue but most of us are hypocrites in this discussion.

    If Gold is really nothing more then Time then effectively gold farmers are selling time... cheap. I once hired my neighbor's son to farming gold for me. $10 for $1000 gold. If he was in China you'd be pissed, my neighbor, not an issue.

    Gold farming is nothing but a reflection of xenphobic hate and resistance to normal economics. I have bad news, most of us have an inflated view of our worth. A Mc. Donalds clerk isn't worth minimum wage. Period. Nothing more then an unsustainable goverment mandate that created a MASSIVE DEMAND for sub-minimum wage labor across the globe.

    The very fact you have cheap gold also means the market is flooded with goods that would normally be scarce. Gold Farming causes inflation but the influx of goods far outpaces the inflation. When WoW first came out there were few purples in the AH. When the farmers came, I've never NOT found a piece of gear I wanted to buy. The inflation is kept in check that no matter how hard they try there are still only 24 hours a day and only X number of people farming. Productivity will platue and create a fixed exchange of time\gold\dollars. The only way to push productivity\better margin is through shady shit but that is a small % of the workforce. DAOC had it right with diminishing returns on camping locations (albiet in exp). If you can script something in a game, your doing something wrong in your game. Period.

    Unlike the real world there is not a central bank or governments that can shape the inflation and control deflation of currency. What MMOs need is to legitimize the RMTs and tax them to all hell. TECHNICALLY SPEAKING PER THE IRS: BARTERED TRANSACTIONS ARE TAXABLE. Literally when you buy gold you are trading money for service (some states do not tax services) but if MMO currency is considered an asset with a value then it is a taxable transaction. Keep that in mind when you think about the rights to your digital "assets". I'll trade you the "Sword of Doom" for 400 Gold + 22 GP in tax. The IRS

  • Model Robbery Better (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MarkvW (1037596) on Monday April 13, 2009 @11:53AM (#27557557)

    Model the game to make it easier to rob people who suddenly get lots of money.

2000 pounds of chinese soup = 1 Won Ton

Working...