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Blizzard Drops the Hammer on Gold Farmers

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the indescriminate-justice dept.

Role Playing (Games) 245

evviva writes "Blizzard has kept its word and finally closed over one thousand accounts related to gold-farming and character sales. It was about time!" The post reads: "Over the recent weeks we have been investigating the activities of certain individuals who have been farming gold in order to sell it in exchange for real world currency. After researching the situation, we have issued permanent suspensions to over one thousand accounts that have been engaging in this practice. We do not condone such actions and will take decisive action as they are against our policy and damage the game economy as a whole.""

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A to the muthafuckin K homeboy (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11924662)

F to the muthafuckin P

Even Playing Field (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11924679)

That makes it interesting, as they'll be one of the first MMORPG's to truly enforce an even playing field. While many companies do not condone the sale of in-game items, most allow for the sale of an individual's "time and effort" put into recieving those items. Seems like a fine line, and I'm glad Blizzard chose not to cross it.

Re:Even Playing Field (3, Insightful)

interiot (50685) | more than 9 years ago | (#11924734)

There's a huge difference between someone selling a major item or two, every once in a while, or even selling their character once they stop playing the game... and people who SET UP ENTIRE COMPANIES and employee lots of people who PLAY ACCOUNTS 24/7 and whose sole purposes is to sell in-game currency for US dollars, and who do it on an industrial scale. People who pay chinese people to do absolutely mindless boring repetitive tasks, on an industrial scale, force games to move in the direction of mindless/repetitive/boring. This is a GAME. It should be ENTERTAINING. In-game economies should not merge with the real-life economy.

Re:Even Playing Field (5, Insightful)

saurik (37804) | more than 9 years ago | (#11925306)

Does that make any sense at all? "People who pay chinese people to do absolutely mindless boring repetitive tasks, on an industrial scale, force games to move in the direction of mindless/repetitive/boring." It should do the exact opposite! There is no point in playing a game that involves doing mindless/repetitive/boring things. If the people who make games don't like this, they should _remove the mindless/repetitive/boring things from their games_. Don't try to outlaw the market: make it irrelevant. Banning the accounts of people who take advantage of what is really an insightful opportunity simply to maintain the status quo of crappy games is about as stupid as putting into effect a law that states that people can't talk about exploits in software because noone wants to fix them.

Re:Even Playing Field (2, Insightful)

edgedmurasame (633861) | more than 9 years ago | (#11928982)

Also, the more likely one will get banned for it, the more likely it will get scammed - see Lineage II.

Re:Even Playing Field (5, Insightful)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 9 years ago | (#11929006)

Don't try to outlaw the market: make it irrelevant.

Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way.

Star Wars Galaxies, for example, originally tried to make the route to becoming a Jedi so incredibly difficult and unpalatable that few would go through with the task. (You had to master several professions which were selected by the game, whether you were actually interested in those professions or not.) The idea was that when the task was made so difficult that nobody would intentionally *try* to complete it, the result would be that only the few who happened to pick their combination by accident would succeed.

Of course, this didn't work. People were so enamored with becoming uber leet Jedi that they would suffer through the intense boredom to crank out professions on a character they would never play again after they opened their Jedi character slot.

Now, I realize that you're saying that without the mindless/boring tasks in the first place, this would never develop. But the problem is that there will always be the *possibility* of undertaking even a fun task in the most boring way possible. I honestly don't believe that it's possible to design a game that makes the fun way equal to the most time-efficient way while maintaining persistence.

So, people who don't play the game for the journey but rather "for teh win" will always take the quickest, most boring route. If they can make it even quicker by spending money on it, they will. The best way to stem this problem is to take care of it on the supply-side.

Re:Even Playing Field (3, Interesting)

grumpygrodyguy (603716) | more than 9 years ago | (#11929097)

There is no point in playing a game that involves doing mindless/repetitive/boring things. If the people who make games don't like this, they should _remove the mindless/repetitive/boring things from their games_.

This is a very very very hard problem. You don't see people making comments like "coal is inefficient, so why aren't you jokers using cold fusion?!?"

Re:Even Playing Field (5, Insightful)

Minna Kirai (624281) | more than 9 years ago | (#11929965)

Don't try to outlaw the market: make it irrelevant.

You have a partial point. From a naive, short-term perspective, it would be easy for Blizzard to make those businesses irrelevant. The administrators of a game server can always undercut a 3rd party seller. Whatever price is offered for gold on ige.com (currently $0.21 each), Blizz can beat with no effort (and, they have untouchable advertising positioning and established billing arrangements with the customers).

But in the longer term, legitimizing the sale of gold (or other in-game resources) will devastate the MMORPG business model. Players are attracted by 3 factors:
1. Artwork. An initial attraction that doesn't last long.
2. Achievement. The virtual Skinner-box model.
3. Association. The 3d-accelerated chat window.

Each stage feeds into the next. If the "Achievement" of step 2 were available on the open market, players will do one of two things depending on their personal wealth: Rich players will pay the money, get the ultimate stuff, and then be bored with the game 2 weeks later. Poor players will look at the effort they're spending, see that rich people can buy past it for a few bucks, get discouraged, and quit the game.

Either way, putting a visible price tag on the results of playtime makes it seem less like entertainment and more like a job. Customers don't pay to work at a job.

In a way, this is just revealing the game for what it is: a non-fun level grind. One might say that the optimal solution would be for Blizzard to publish a better game, that will be enjoyable for the journey itself, and not just the tantalizing destination. But it would take major leaps of artistry and technology to accomplish that, and the development cost would likely appear prohibitive.

Re:Even Playing Field (4, Funny)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 9 years ago | (#11926213)

>do absolutely mindless boring repetitive tasks,

Isn't this a description of the RPG gameplay?

Has to be said ... (1, Funny)

arhar (773548) | more than 9 years ago | (#11926306)

Dey took our jabs!!

Re:Even Playing Field (4, Funny)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 9 years ago | (#11927959)

Obligatory Penny Arcade link here. [penny-arcade.com]

Re:Even Playing Field (1)

zoips (576749) | more than 9 years ago | (#11928536)

That's interesting...except:

SE already did this [slashdot.org] . Granted, they missed some of the commonly known gilsellers on my server (one of the Angles got it, but the rest escaped somehow >_<). Though it wasn't just gilsellers that got the boot, they banned some people for repeated MPKing (though the majority of the people doing that is gilsellers...)

Re:Even Playing Field (4, Insightful)

egarland (120202) | more than 9 years ago | (#11929642)

If by "even playing field" you mean one where kids who can play 95 hours/week can pwn me because they're level 72 and I'm only level 25 because I have a job and can't, then yes... they are making things more "even".

The fact is, as long as you put barriors in place that can only be overcome with the investment of time, there will be people who pay someone else to overcome them. A game built around skill instead of time investment doesn't have this problem. You don't see this issue in any of the UT's or Quakes do you?

Economies (2, Interesting)

Markavian (867505) | more than 9 years ago | (#11930070)

I think the whole idea of buying extra cash for an online game just plain sucks. You should play these sort of games for fun. I played the demo of WoW for 2 weeks and did find it utterly boring - addictive, but boring.

They really do need to think about the economies - the better characters all have the best gear / weapons, and they basically hand it down to lower levels. You never see any low level people making stuff for high level creatures. Its all based around what gear you've got, your actual level is pretty pointless... I certainly felt no sense of acheivement leveling up.

People should be doing better things with their time then playing computer games for that long, to make money out of other people playing computer games. Blizzard are right putting a stop to that kinda thing, and I'm sure they'll make plenty of cash out of the game regardless of the money farmers.

Stupid Gold Farmers! (5, Funny)

chrislees (791927) | more than 9 years ago | (#11924696)

Ruin my economy.THEY'RE the reason my gnome has been out of work for the past 6 months...

Re:Stupid Gold Farmers! (3, Funny)

TykeClone (668449) | more than 9 years ago | (#11926079)

Nah - his job was outsourced to the dwarves.

Re:Stupid Gold Farmers! (2, Funny)

PedanticSpellingTrol (746300) | more than 9 years ago | (#11927473)

Dey took arr jobs!

Re:Stupid Gold Farmers! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11929023)

Notice how it kept getting more and more incoherent every time somebody said it? I wonder how you spell "Derr ducker durrr!"

Oh, wait....

Re:Stupid Gold Farmers! (3, Funny)

Megane (129182) | more than 9 years ago | (#11928576)

Sheesh, now even our entertainment is being outsourced to Asia!

But without them (5, Funny)

dtfinch (661405) | more than 9 years ago | (#11924705)

How can people with no skill ever hope to buy their way to the top? This is insane!

Re:But without them (4, Funny)

fm6 (162816) | more than 9 years ago | (#11924740)

Yeah, money can't buy success, everybody knows that!

In other news... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11924708)

It's nice that they're cracking down on gold farmers, but a more pressing issue seems to be the login server for the forums, which has been down for two days and counting. Isn't it about time Blizzard got their act together and fixed their game that's been broken since launch?

Re:In other news... (1)

satoshi1 (794000) | more than 9 years ago | (#11926281)

Broken forums != broken game. From what I can tell, the game is running just fine.

A losing battle? (2, Insightful)

Prien715 (251944) | more than 9 years ago | (#11924725)

If one sits down and thinks what real-world money represents, it means time and effort owed. The one and only thing each of us truly own is our time; money allows us to trade our time for someone else's time (that they spend making games, growing food, running the gov't, etc for us). It's only natural to expect that people will want to trade the time they spend in game for other people's time in the form of money (I'll beat the level 6 boss for you if you'll wash my car).

Gold mining has been around since Ultima Online (AFAIK) and no one's ever been able to stop it. What makes Blizzard so sure they can? Perhaps an even better question, what makes the virtual property in WoW unlike other virtual property we trade for (like the fees to allow use of a movie or game)? What good or bad comes from allowing players to buy and sell virtual property in this way?

And lastly: if the business is so lucrative, why haven't any of the companies themselves decided to sell "special" accounts to people and cash in on the money?

Re:A losing battle? (3, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 9 years ago | (#11924747)

Because it makes the game shit which results in everyone leaving your game. To make a stupid analogy, what you're asking is similar to asking why golf clubs don't offer a for-pay service to knock your ball closer to the hole before your competitors get close to the green.

Re:A losing battle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11925071)

why golf clubs don't offer a for-pay service to knock your ball closer to the hole before your competitors get close to the green

Because they're inanimate objects?

Re:A losing battle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11925084)

Hint: It's not called a clubhouse because that's where the golfbags sit.

Re:A losing battle? (4, Funny)

djdavetrouble (442175) | more than 9 years ago | (#11925943)

+1 Wierdest analogy EVER

Re:A losing battle? (1)

Hatte (862605) | more than 9 years ago | (#11924754)

Since level, powerful equipment, or ammount of gold is akin to skill in MMORPG's, buying anyof these is like wallhacking in a FPS, it gives an unfair, and undeserved advantage. If you can't play the game as it's ment to be played, you shouldn't be playing at all.

I'm glad Blizzard is taking such steps to stop this behavior, hopefully this will start a trend in all online games. Any true gamer will love Blizzard for doing this, for they play the game for the fun of playing the game.

Re:A losing battle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11924867)

"And lastly: if the business is so lucrative, why haven't any of the companies themselves decided to sell "special" accounts to people and cash in on the money?"

Ultima Online sells special characters that start with certain skills at higher levels than normal.. Project Entropy (don't know what ever happened to it) was supposed to be a MMORPG without a monthly fee where you could purchase in-game cash with real money from the company running it. I think you could also exchange in-game money for real money. The idea was that it was really hard to get in-game money through playing the game, so people would rather just buy the in-game money from the company. I could only imagine what would happen when the eventual dupe bug was discovered >:o I was in the beta for a bit, but at the time it was boring and buggy so I stopped playing after a couple days. A Google search on "project entropy" comes up with nothing, so I can only assume the game flopped :>

Re:A losing battle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11924885)

Er.. I was thinking of Project Entropia [project-entropia.com] . Apparently it's still going.

Game definition. (5, Insightful)

Inoshiro (71693) | more than 9 years ago | (#11924906)

"And lastly: if the business is so lucrative, why haven't any of the companies themselves decided to sell "special" accounts to people and cash in on the money?"

When the game has it so that it takes time and effort to get ahead, getting ahead is valued. Once you can just spend a few shillings to become a grandmaster in some skill, it's not worth your time because you could just pay to be there. You'd never be exposed to the content, and most people would follow a path of lesser resistance and just pay to have higher level chars.

Entertainment on this scale isn't open to everyone; it's open to the people it targets. If people beyond that target also enjoy it, more the better. Enjoying it isn't a right, and people shouldn't destroy parts of the in-game balance just so they can enforce their own ideas of how the game should unfold on it.

Re:Game definition. (1)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 9 years ago | (#11928916)

"most people would follow a path of lesser resistance and just pay to have higher level chars"

Seeing as about the only reason to get to the higher levels is to experience the high level content once you have completed the low levels, it always struck me as odd that there are people who would want to just jump to the late game.
I can understand someone who has already grinded a character up to high level wanting a shortcut for a second character.

Re:A losing battle? (1)

cipher uk (783998) | more than 9 years ago | (#11924912)

And lastly: if the business is so lucrative, why haven't any of the companies themselves decided to sell "special" accounts to people and cash in on the money?
http://search.ebay.co.uk/WoW-gold_PC-Video-Gaming_ W0QQcatrefZC12QQfromZR40QQfsooZ1QQfsopZ1QQsacatZ12 49QQsojsZ1/ [ebay.co.uk] Just click one and look what else they are selling. Yeah, quite a few of them.

Re:A losing battle? (5, Insightful)

DingerX (847589) | more than 9 years ago | (#11924971)

Well, shucks. If you design a game where being logged in and doing something mindless generates value, and where social status is determined by a simplicistic system of fancy items and levels, then yeah, you're going to have a market of people willing to do the mindless things to sell to the rest of the world.

It's a basic problem with this design, especially in an open economy were cash and value are just spawned in game. I don't think you can effectively police it; and I doubt you can social-engineer the problem. But you could consider bringing economists in on your next game design session, and figure out how to make hoarding and transfer of resources unprofitable. For example, have a large closed economy where hoarded wealth beyond a certain quantity has to be stored in a PvP-friendly area of the game. Got a lot of cash? Well, it's gonna cost you security to store it. Suddenly cash farming, while still possible, costs three times as much (one person to collect, one person to guard, plus losses), and its value to the average player decreases considerably. But what do I know?

Intresting idea but reqiuires a rethink for design (3, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 9 years ago | (#11925205)

The idea is pretty good. Some people can spend an awfull lot of time in a game and worse they can stand to do all the time doing just 1 thing over and over to rake in the cash.

It is similar to the "exploits" in single player rpgs where a mob keeps respawning to give in theory infinite xp. If you got the patience to kill the same mob, go through the same conversation, clear the same dungeon again and again.

The problem is that most MMO designers are pretty clueless about basic economy (why do they insist on "repair" or whatever costs to get money out of the system instead of simple taxes?) but worse the few clever ones think that real world capatalism is the thing to emulate.

Small problem is that capatalism isn't much fun for the majority wage slaves. In real life the wage slaves ain't got much choice but in game they do. They can stop paying and find something else to do.

The problem is that unlike the real world it is very easy to calculate expenditure vs profit in an mmo. Weapon A costs so much but will allow me to gain that much profit in its lifetime that I make enough profit to buy a new one. In general the more powerfull a weapon the more costly but also the higher the return on investment. Result, in order to make a reasonable income you got to invest in good weapons meaning you have to do the money grind.

MMO's need to stop thinking they are single player games, they need to stop thinking that real world economics work in a fun enviroment.

Single player RPG economies are already screwed up enough. Or I am the only one swimming in unneeded and even unspendable money in games like Baldurs gate, Neverwinter Nights, Deus EX, Morrowind, etc etc. Add taxation and tax the high earners more. But at all costs avoid where a big enough group of superrich exists to ruin it for the rich. Or at least if you want this similarity of the real world add other things from the real world as well. REVOLUTION. Murderers and thiefs. Paternity suits and frivolous lawsuits.

But frankly there are so many problems to fix with the MMO scene. First they should figure out a way for a game to remain fun for month after month without betting on the "maybe I will have fun with just 1 more level" element.

But maybe a simple way of doing both is to decrease the reliance in combat on "super" weapons but instead make for a character depended weapon performance. Meaning that both a newbie and elite warrior use exactly the same weapon but the elite will just be better at it. No expensive gadgets needed then no need for gold to pay them. Focus on character development OVER gadget hoarding.

Hard? Well yes and no. Both EQ2 and WoW apparently have added more involved combat. Expand on this.

Re:Intresting idea but reqiuires a rethink for des (1, Troll)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 9 years ago | (#11925250)

Yep, the people who make MMORPGs for a living have no idea about online economies.. but you, random dude on Slashdot, has all the answers. Why do we even bother studying anything? All the answers are on Slashdot!

Re:Intresting idea but reqiuires a rethink for des (3, Interesting)

Danse (1026) | more than 9 years ago | (#11926678)

Yep, the people who make MMORPGs for a living have no idea about online economies.. but you, random dude on Slashdot, has all the answers. Why do we even bother studying anything? All the answers are on Slashdot!

He didn't offer an answer really. Merely some thoughts about the current systems and a few ideas for improvement. As for the professional MMORPG makers, name one that has done a better-than-mediocre job of creating an in-game economy. All of the games out there have very flawed systems, which is why we see so much of this stuff going on.

Re:Intresting idea but reqiuires a rethink for des (3, Insightful)

DingerX (847589) | more than 9 years ago | (#11925641)

Well, sure, it's easy as hell to sit back here and throw out ideas. Implementing them in a multimillion-dollar venture is a different story.
But you're dead on about capitalism, if you take it in the sense of providing a free market with unrestrained controls on wealth.
I'm not sure most gamers will want to play in a socialist worker's paradise either, though. There has to be the illusion of glory.

You can certainly have taxes though, especially ones that can be bypassed using an expenditure of time several times the cost of the tax (e.g., toll bridges), or where a valued service is being offered (such as a secure two-party financial transaction).

But there's more to economics than just free-market capitalism. Hell, you could create a game where any form of interest was considered illegal (since money is "dead"), and the official rules varied considerably from economics (they already do).
Or you could use the classic technique employed in many marginal economies (such as illegal ones in federal penitentiaries), of using multiple currencies and "flipping" the exchange rates periodically. With a couple of monopolistic organizations (=run by the company) aware of when the flips are going to occur, the company can eliminate or severely reduce concentrations of wealth that it does not control. Besides, imagine the chaos of an ebay auction during the periods of wild currency fluctuations.
What? My 400 quatloons are now worth peanuts?

Ultimately, the problem is in your comment about character development vs. gadget hoarding. I've always preferred games that rely on skill and ability rather than supertoys, but the problem is not everybody has an equal shot at skill and ability. Let's face it, at any game based on such things, most people suck. And people play games to escape their own mediocrity. The advantages of time-based levelling and gadget-driven gameplay are A) like gambling you get intermittent positive feedback that keeps players addicted, B) Nobody's excluded on the basis of incompetence. Play long enough, and you'll get where you need to go. and C) It's really, really easy to write. Experience points, levels and level-based narratives. the only downside is that some people will pay to enjoy the social benefits of higher-levels (including that of seeming a bad-ass in front of one's peers), and to avoid the tedium of playing the game.

Re:Intresting idea but reqiuires a rethink for des (2, Interesting)

cgenman (325138) | more than 9 years ago | (#11927609)

Most of the MMO designers I know are aware of basic economic principles. Heck, most companies have someone who is specifically tasked to make sure that the economy doesn't fall to pieces.

The problem with expanded-skill based combat is that you must account for lag, which while not as bad as it used to be is still a reality in most MMPORPG's. You can't rely upon the skill and timing of the player, because lag throws that totally off. You could do combat on the local machine, but then you have all sorts of security issues. So unless by skill you mean take the focus off of power leveling and gold hording and put it squarely on just power leveling, then this is unfortunately a no-go.

I do agree about the wage-slave problem, though. It isn't much fun. But if you take out leveling, gold/resource farming, then you can only progress through items and quests. And while quests can be nice, and do need to take an expanded role in games, there just isn't the resources to create enough quests for a group of people who may be playing 6 hours a day every day for a year. Player created quests would be better, but it seems like everyone who has done player-generated content over the years has gone seriously overboard with it (see 2nd life).

I'm not saying the current situation is ideal by any stretch of the imagination, I'm just saying that it is complicated.

Re:Intresting idea but reqiuires a rethink for des (4, Insightful)

Minna Kirai (624281) | more than 9 years ago | (#11930008)

You can't rely upon the skill and timing of the player, because lag throws that totally off.

I think there are more important obstacles than lag which prevent player skill and reaction time from factoring more into combat resolution.

1. There is the unfair distribution of "twitch gaming" skills in the customer population. MORPGs aim for the biggest possible market segment, and have partly succeeded with a old and more female user base than the average videogame. But if reaction time and mouse accuracy are required to do well, then the best players will be 14-year old males. Many of the other customers will lose interest.

2. There is truth to the saying that "MMORPGs are chatrooms with pictures". Longterm players enjoy chatting with their teammates equally or more than playing the game. (Players often comment that the only reason they maintain a subscription is to keep playing with their established online friends, and not because the game itself is compelling). The slow-paced combat in today's MMORPGs allows players to engage in chat or other distractions without endangering their prospects for combat success.

Re:A losing battle? (4, Insightful)

Malor (3658) | more than 9 years ago | (#11926285)

The only way to stop people buying commodities is to ensure they have no value. In other words, to prevent people from trading them, they have to be useless. If they're useless, why are they in the game at all?

When there are such enormous disparities in income in the real world, and all characters can generate resources at about the same rate, the 'cheap' people will sell things to the 'expensive' people. That is just how things work.

Ultimately, it's not about commodities. Instead, it's about time. All of the MMORPGs are designed to be time sinks. That is, you spend a lot of time doing things that are 'less fun' (in theory at least) to gain the ability to do things that are 'more fun'. So people buy their way out of the 'less fun' time using real money.

The only way the Chinese people will not be able to find a way to sell their cheap time is if the game experience and items have no value. If time you have previously invested has no real bearing on time you spend later, there's nothing to trade for.

As long as the games continue to be designed as time sinks, then some method of selling the cheap Chinese time will be present. Even if you can't trade items, they could trade time helping you level up your characters. The only way to avoid it is to remove all value from time invested. Given the current design of MMORPGS, that means to make the game no fun.

Personally, I'll take a game that's fun and has gold farmers.

Re:A losing battle? (1)

grumpygrodyguy (603716) | more than 9 years ago | (#11930121)

The only way the Chinese people will not be able to find a way to sell their cheap time is if the game experience and items have no value.

Why are you so convinced of this? How difficult do you think it is to write a script that detects trades of say...50G for no items in return? Then you just create a graph and arbitrarily decide that anyone at the center of that graph, say someone who's given free money to more than 10 different persons is designated a farmer, and then just ban those accounts?

Blizzard's programmers could probably do this with one hand tied behind their chairs, after all it's their program and they probably designed it to show all kinds of data about players.

Re:A losing battle? (2, Informative)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 9 years ago | (#11927673)

The thing is, at least some of these games (including WoW) aren't mindlessly repetitive and boring. If you actually play the game with the intentions of enjoying it while you level up, you can have a lot of fun even if you aren't yet level 60 with tons of uber gear and a huge bank account.

Unfortunately, our on-demand society has trained people from childhood to expect something now if enough cash is thrown at it. The result is that a game that's fun to play is reduced to (a) a game that is, for the gold buyer, a fraction of the size of what's been designed for them; and (b) a mindlessly repetitive and boring chore for gold farmers (because while you can get plenty of gold just playing the game normally, the most efficient way involves mindless repetition).

Re:A losing battle? (1)

Dagmar d'Surreal (5939) | more than 9 years ago | (#11925352)

Thievery, murder, and child molestation have been around for time immemorial, but we still do everything we can to stop those activites, BECAUSE THEY ARE WRONG.

A moral compass is not just another shiny bauble to hang from your watch chain.

Re:A losing battle? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11926902)

Thievery, murder, and child molestation have been around for time immemorial, but we still do everything we can to stop those activites, BECAUSE THEY ARE WRONG.

So how do you account for the fact that the rich frequently AREN'T punished for thievery (and many companies get away with acts that many people consider thievery)? Maybe "thievery" isn't such a simple concept as all that.

How do you account for the fact that some people think euthanasia should be legal, while others think abortion is murder? And some people consider the death penalty murder while others think it's the only valid punishment FOR murder? Maybe "murder" isn't such a simple concept as all that.

How do you account for differing ages of consent around the world? In some countries it's child molestation if the younger party is below 18, while in others it's fine to marry a 12-year-old. (Historically that was the case in America, too, at one time.) Is it child molestation if two 13-year-olds have sex? Some say yes, some say no! Maybe "child molestation" isn't such a simple concept as all that.

Looks like morals aren't as black and white as you'd like to think, mister. Typing "THEY ARE WRONG" in capitals is not an adequate substitute for defining what you mean by the words you use. And any set of definitions you choose will inevitably be contested by at least a quarter of the world's population.

Re:A losing battle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11928801)

That was a truly excellent post!

Re:A losing battle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11928251)

There is no such thing as 'wrong'.

Disgust is simply the result of evolution; a sequence of physical chemical reactions firing in your brain; nothing more.

Not to say morality is not useful - it helps keep individuals in line, which is best for society as a whole. However, as stated, it has nothing to do with 'right or wrong' - these do not exist.

Re:A losing battle? (1)

Doctor Cat (676482) | more than 9 years ago | (#11929265)

BECAUSE THEY ARE WRONG

I think there's a bit more flexibility in game worlds than in real life about what can or cannot be "WRONG WRONG WRONG". In real life, there's no way to implement genuine thievery or murder without someone losing their property or their life. Someone who probably didn't want to. In games, we have all sorts of games where you can't steal or kill (tic tac toe, for one), and other games where you can do plenty of it (Grand Theft Auto, anyone?) In neither case does playing the game cause some real person to be dead or lose their real property. I don't think we have to say choose between which of those two, or a hundred other types of games is the "acceptable" way for a game to be, and call other games that don't match those rules "unacceptable". (Though if we did, World of Warcraft would fall into the category of "games where you kill and rob (from NPCs)", which some folks would like to ban or discourage. (Certainly a lot of people reacted that way to Grand Theft Auto).

If we can handle that kind of distinction (and I think most gamers are ok with games where you pretend to kill and steal - many gamers praised the Thief series for instance)... I think we ought to be sophisticated enough to handle the division between games where it's considered unacceptable to buy and sell game reources for real life money, and those where the game company explicitly says it's ok, encourages it, and/or even sells such resources themselves. Second Life, Project Entropia, or Achaea to name a few. Or my own Furcadia, to a small extent. I don't think we have to say "Warcraft is ok and Second life is WRONG" or "Second Life is ok and Warcraft is WRONG", any more than we have to say "hamburgers are right and hot dogs are wrong". They're just two different kinds of games (or two kinds of meat-encased-in-bread food products), let the players that prefer each type go to the one they like best.

Some people will even play both types at different times, depending on the mood they're in. Go figure!

Conspiracy: AGAIN (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 9 years ago | (#11928896)

"And lastly: if the business is so lucrative, why haven't any of the companies themselves decided to sell "special" accounts to people and cash in on the money?"

AO and DAOC employed a gold seller, making $100,000/month over a few months.

Everyone would be banned if they tried to sell something, but this guy with 3 pages of gold for every seller never got banned.

Let it be. (-1, Troll)

dauthur (828910) | more than 9 years ago | (#11924748)

I think that this battle they're fighting is along the same lines as the pro-marijuana/anti-marijuana arguements in the States. The government (Blizzard) can't make any of their own money off of the sale of bud (gold) and so they outlaw the sale. It's ridiculous if you ask me (I'm not a potsmoker nor a gold-dealer), but Blizzard should let it happen because it attracts people to the game.

Re:Let it be. (1, Offtopic)

Asmor (775910) | more than 9 years ago | (#11924768)

Dude, that's total BS. Of course the government could make money off of MJ if it was legalized, it would be taxed just like cigarettes or alcohol.

Re:Let it be. (0, Offtopic)

dauthur (828910) | more than 9 years ago | (#11925039)

But seeing how anyone can grow it, and how most people can sell and smoke under the radar as it is, there's no gauruntee that the government would still be able to keep a hand in on it.

Re:Let it be. (1)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 9 years ago | (#11925347)

But seeing how anyone can grow it, and how most people can sell and smoke under the radar as it is, there's no gauruntee that the government would still be able to keep a hand in on it.

Huh? It's not difficult to grow tobacco, or to make alcohol, but most people don't waste their time and effort since they can just buy it at the store for a nominal fee, and get a product with consistent, predictable quality.

If you could buy MJ at the 7-11 with regular cigarettes, it would be pretty rare for someone to go to all the trouble of growing and/or selling their own just to save the taxes.

Re:Let it be. (1)

joper90 (669321) | more than 9 years ago | (#11926780)

it takes far more skill to grow good bud, that it takes to make cider.

But, who makes cider when you can buy it?

What has Michael Jackson to do with it (1)

Zentac (804805) | more than 9 years ago | (#11925374)

no really!
And how would the government make money off of child abuse? by taxing it? dude, you are seriously wasted!

Re:Let it be. (2, Insightful)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 9 years ago | (#11925051)

This is rubbish. Blizzard could make money off gold sales if they wanted. After all, WoW gold is nothing more than an insubstantial product that exists on servers that Blizzard themselves run. If Blizzard wanted, it would be an absolute doddle for them to set up a "buy some gold" button on each player's subscription page. Players give money to Blizzard and Blizzard creates some gold out of thin air to give to the player. I'm pretty sure one of the MMORPGs out there (sorry, can't remember which) is already moving in this direction.

Sorry to burst your little bubble, but this almost certainly about Blizzard wanting to enforce a level playing field.

Re:Let it be. (1)

dauthur (828910) | more than 9 years ago | (#11925102)

But then you'd have a Diablo II type problem where people would start duping the gold, and the game would start having D2 type problems where people get banned all day long. I'm only being practical.

Re:Let it be. (1)

satoshi1 (794000) | more than 9 years ago | (#11926310)

Duping items was a D2 bug that existed when players logged out of a game and quickly logged back into the game before it closed, or something. I don't remember the exact details. It had a lot to do with timing. I don't see how this could be done on a persistant world, such as that of WoW. Besides, do you really think they would have neglected this? They probably coded the game with these kind of bugs and exploits IN MIND. It's only practical.

Re:Let it be. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11925110)

Blizzard has long realized that they could ban Diablo CDKeys and monkeys would run to the stores to buy new copies.

Banning gold farmers makes the create new accounts which makes Blizzard happy.

Re:Let it be. (1)

space_jake (687452) | more than 9 years ago | (#11926217)

That would destroy the economy so fast. I wish my government would print us all a million dollars so that I could pay $10,000 for a soda. Thats what would happen if Blizzard made a buy some money button.

Re:Let it be. (3, Interesting)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 9 years ago | (#11926340)

"If Blizzard wanted, it would be an absolute doddle for them to set up a "buy some gold" button on each player's subscription page."

It would be even nicer if they did this in lieu of monthly subscription rates.

Re:Let it be. (3, Informative)

mowph (642278) | more than 9 years ago | (#11927479)

It would be even nicer if they did this in lieu of monthly subscription rates.

This has been seen before, and seems to be working rather well for the makers of Gunbound [gunbound.net] . You can play (for free) for hours and hours to accumulate "gold" wealth, or pay a nominal fee directly to the company to receive an injection of "cash". "cash" could be thought of as a service which increases the enjoyment (and thus has "value", considering that games are a vehicle for selling fun) of an otherwise free game.

The interesting thing about Gunbound's model is that "cash" and normal "gold" are not the same, nor are they directly interchangeable, as I recall. I haven't played for so long that I can't remember, but I believe you aren't able to directly transfer "cash" in Gunbound. "cash", which can only be bought, generally has (IIRC) 10 times the value of "gold", which is earned by playing matches.

This reminds me of the old, old days when BBS sysops would sell Trade Wars [eisonline.com] credits for real cash. That never seemed fair at all, however, since Trade Wars is a long-term strategy game which generally has an eventual "winner". Giving one player money would unbalance the game terribly. Note that Gunbound, however, is a simple shooting game that revolves around matches, and not an RPG or long-term strategy game. Items gained by long-term players give them a slight advantage in matches on high-ranked servers, but it is possible to play the game without worrying about economics at all.

The choice is left up to the user -- live in "high society", where (real) money and (virtual) possessions are quite important, or just play the game on the casual servers, where items are simply status symbols of cosmetic value.

Considering that the game still seems to be alive and kicking, I would say that this is a viable model for "legalizing" and regulating the currency trade in online gaming.

Perhaps an expert player of Gunbound could give an estimate of the real world value of cash, in terms of roughly how much grinding time worth of wealth one US dollar buys.

Re:Let it be. (1)

ameoba (173803) | more than 9 years ago | (#11928410)

One of the things about gunbound is that the -only- advancement in the game results from buying better gear and that it's strictly PvP - there is no concept of characters becoming stronger over time. This means that a total noob willing to spend money on the best gear, while not completely unstoppable, will be able to defeat significantly more skilled players.

Granted, they're only really hurting themselves in the long run since players with 'low-level' gear are unlikely to play with overdeveloped chars, leaving the only opponents available to be other characters with that type of gear. Meaning they're going to be either playing people who actually worked their chars up, meaning they'll be completely destroyed, or other similarly rich noobs, in which case they might as well have not purchased the gear & just played with the gear they 'rightfully' own.

Re:Let it be. (1)

mowph (642278) | more than 9 years ago | (#11929632)

Haven't really played it deeply enough to see the long term effects of character "development". Thanks for the insight on that one. In my experience, most of the items only tip the odds very slightly. But I can see they could create a virtual goliath when stacked up by a big enough budget.

amoeba wrote:

[Rich noobs are] going to be either playing people who actually worked their chars up, meaning they'll be completely destroyed, or other similarly rich noobs, in which case they might as well have not purchased the gear...

Hmm... that would mean that the hardworking are rewarded by the rich and foolish. Overall, I like the sounds of that economic model! If only the real world were so just.

Re:Let it be. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11926376)

These games are already prone to massive inflation as it is. If they did that with a game of this size the economy would collapse in weeks and people would leave the game.

Re:Let it be. (3, Insightful)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 9 years ago | (#11927747)

but Blizzard should let it happen because it attracts people to the game.

I doubt the correctness of this statement.

First of all, in a market that's increasingly competitive, people will jump ship for the next new game if they think the company running their current game isn't running it properly. That's a ton of people who don't want their game ruined by gold farmers like they ruined FFXI/Lineage 2. Keeping them happy by doing something to stop gold farming is a good business decision.

And second, there are two big obstacles that stand in the way of growing the MMOG market further: an uninformed populace and the cost of playing the game. Both of these indicate that gold farming will do nothing to increase customer base. If people don't know about a game - even if the game permits or encourages third-party gold farmers - they won't buy it. And if people are already reluctant to pay the monthly subscription costs for a game, they're certainly not going to fork over extra cash to buy gold in that same game.

Re:Let it be. (4, Insightful)

zoips (576749) | more than 9 years ago | (#11928643)

I fail to see how it could possibly attract people to the game to allow gold farmers. The single biggest annoyance in FFXI are the gilsellers. They have no decency (steal logging, mining, and harvesting points), they'll MPK (violation of the ToS by the way) you without a second thought if you try to camp the same NM as them. They work in teams to monopolize NM spawns, which gives them a monopoly on the drop, which in turn damages the economy (granted, on Ramuh most of the gilsellers that camp NMs quite frankly suck at claiming them, so it's a moot point).

Allowing gold farmers to continue doesn't help the game. It ruins it for everyone that wants to play the game as it is meant. Average people will not monopolize some monster spawn, or do the same repetative task and monopolize a certain kind of item drop, day in and day out for months at a time like a gold farmer would (of course, since I've never played WoW, I'm trying to imagine what it would be like based on my experience with gilsellers in FFXI).

It's really an either-or situation. Either the company itself sells in-game money for a fee to their players, and that's really the only worthile way to get the money (which puts everyone on the same level field), or the company does not allow anyone to buy in-game money and makes sure that there are plenty of ways to earn decent money in-game (again, putting everyone on a level field, except WHMs, who can't farm for crap =P). You can't have both without totally hosing the economy.

I signed up for the 7 day trial of Second Life (1, Offtopic)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 9 years ago | (#11924794)

After running (and flying) around the various zones I came to a simple conclusion: it's one big shopping mall. There's absolutely no gameplay. Of course, there are properties you can go to and play slot machines. There may even be some "really interesting stuff" somewhere but no-one has a chance of finding it in 7 days. In a way it's kinda funny. The best way people could make money in Second Life would be to show people on their 7 day trial around the world. Of course, no-one does that.

Re:I signed up for the 7 day trial of Second Life (4, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 9 years ago | (#11925112)

Oh, for the people who can't join the dots and see why this is relevant: Second Life is the supposed MMOG which "encourages" real world exchange for virtual world currency. The result is that no-one actually does anything in Second Life except try to figure out some way to make a buck. If games like WoW were to take a lenient stance against gold farming, WoW would become just as bad.

Re:I signed up for the 7 day trial of Second Life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11928243)

The result is that no-one actually does anything in Second Life except try to figure out some way to make a buck.

That, or produce porn in-game.

Re:I signed up for the 7 day trial of Second Life (1)

Drantin (569921) | more than 9 years ago | (#11929859)

There's also Project Entropia...

Re:I signed up for the 7 day trial of Second Life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11926166)

One word:

Whores.

They can take my gold when they pry it from my.... (0, Offtopic)

infonography (566403) | more than 9 years ago | (#11924804)

Cold Electronic fingers.

On a serious note, I never like playing Monty Hall/Haul Dungeons [what prize is behind door number.....]. Those were games where the DM/GM would rain wealth and items down on players in a twisted attempt to gain popularity. I quit role playing games in 1982, but the rule still applies.

Reasons to dislike money-farming in MMORPGs (4, Informative)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 9 years ago | (#11925087)

It's good to see Blizzard taking real action on this. Hopefully, WoW hasn't been around long enough for there to have been serious damage to the economy already.

Most of what I'm about to say is based on my experiences in FFXI, where there have also been well-publicised problems with money-selling and recent attempts by the GMs to crack down on it (yes, I tried WoW, but I didn't like it, so I went straight back). However, it should hold true for any MMORPG where you have to "farm" (be it by killing monsters, crafting items, fishing or whatever) to make in-game cash. Basically, the selling of in-game cash is one of the biggest cons I've ever encountered. Two basic reasons for this:

First of all, as many posters have remarked in previous threads on this subject, all the gold/gil-sellers are selling you is a quantity of a virtual resource which has no independant physical or legal status. If Blizzard or Square-Enix go broke, the money you spent is lost. Ok, this isn't very likely. However... let's just say that the GMs decide to "evaporate" all the large sums of money that were transferred out of the characters who were suspended for selling money. This is one of the perfectly plausible responses they may choose to make. It'd be perfectly legal for them to do this, as it wouldn't be "real" money they were taking away and the player who bought the in-game money wouldn't have a leg to stand on, as he would have been in violation of the Terms of Service by buying the game-cash to begin with.

The second reason why it's a huge con is more subtle. As many FFXI players have noticed, gil-sellers attempt monopolise some of the scarcer (yet still essential) items in the game. By doing so, they drive up inflation across the game. Chances are that a lot of the people who buy money from gil-sellers are people who feel (wrongly) that they need to buy the money in order to not get left behind this inflationary trend. In other words, gil-sellers often have to create a problem before they can milk it. If they didn't exist, the "need" for them would be greatly reduced. If you're wondering about the effect that gil-seller driven inflation has had on FFXI, it's instructive to keep an eye on the prices at www.ige.com (link provided for instructional purposes only, please don't buy anything and support them), who are the largest of the MMORPG-cash-and-items traders. I started watching these in October (and yes, I admit that this was largely due to wanting to gloat over how much my legitimately-obtained gear would sell for in real life). At that time, 1 million gil cost around $160 dollars. Today, you could buy 1 million gil for £36. The irony here is that the people who bought gil back in October essentially wasted their money and, if the trend continues, the same goes for people who buy it today.

In short, the game-cash-for-real-money trade sucks. Don't do it and don't support it. Please.

Re:Reasons to dislike money-farming in MMORPGs (3, Insightful)

The-Bus (138060) | more than 9 years ago | (#11925651)

At that time, 1 million gil cost around $160 dollars. Today, you could buy 1 million gil for £36. The irony here is that the people who bought gil back in October essentially wasted their money and, if the trend continues, the same goes for people who buy it today.


That, to me, doesn't make any sense. That's like saying today you are wasting your time spending $40,000 on a brand new BMW when you could've gotten one for $10,000 many years ago.

Also, what you've described is actually currency deflation, as now each real US dollar buys MORE gil. If you mean items in-game are now more expensive, then yes, that is inflation (compared to gil). However, you didn't really mention that.

The whole argument boils down to this:

1. "I don't have the money to just buy a mansion with five Wherecats and +6 Pantaloons of Obedience."
2. "I don't have the time to be unemployed and play the game for eight hours each day."

The only way to combat this is to make the game fun at every level. Have being a Level 1 character be just as fun as being a Level 40 character. There will still be some people who, no matter what, still want to be a high level character to show off how cool they are but this works about as well as the idiot driving around in a yellow Hummer who thinks he's the cat's imported Chinese silk Neiman Marcus pajamas.

But, ultimately, in your example, the people who spent $160 for 1M gil in October presumably could buy more with that 1M gil than the people who spent $68* for 1M gil today.

* Honestly, why switch around currencies to make your point? It just muddles up the post.

Re:Reasons to dislike money-farming in MMORPGs (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11926662)

Yes, it is inflation - The in-game items are becoming more expensive due to (flawed) measures put in by Square to try to thin out the gil supply.

The problem in XI is that there were multiple ways of milking the cash cow - bot fishing and gil buying are the two most prevalent. While gil buying doesn't directly affect the economy (all of its effects are indirect - the theory being that if the gilsellers weren't camping the monsters, someone else would), bot fishing does, because the bot fishers will catch fish, and then, to save time, sell those fish to an NPC shop for pure profit. Instantly, there's more gil in the economy, so the value of gil is deflated.

Inflation comes in because the gilsellers are increasing the prices on their loot to help counter the effects of the deflation from bot fishers. Inflation also comes in because Square instituted a new auction tax which works differently from the old method - AH fees are now determined as a fixed percentage of the item's value. While this was intended to be a pricing control (it costs you more to list for me), people started just including the AH fee in their listing prices, and so the prices just kept creeping up. Others with plenty of money in their pockets would buy out the supply of rare items on the market and then relist them for a higher price.

I stopped leveling my Thief at Lv. 46 because the next piece of armor I needed would have cost me 650K, and so I needed to spend a while either earning money for it or learning crafts so that I could make it myself. This was about two months ago. I checked on the price Friday night, and it was running 1.5M. And from what I hear, this is not uncommon. One of the most in-demand armor pieces for heavy melee classes at Lv. 60 used to run 2M (because making it involved using a rare item dropped from a rare monster that takes a large party to beat). It's now 4M.

In the most recent patch, Square changed the fishing system to attempt to combat botters, but from what I've seen with my own eyes, the bot builders have already circumvented it. They recently banned 800 accounts claiming that part of them were for violations of the Real Money Trade clause of the AUP, but those accounts were of people who were MPKing other players who were interfering with their gilfarming activities. IGE has large groups of people on each server that are *plainly* identifiable as gilsellers (IE - a group of players all named Jerry* that sit 24 hours a day in one zone with a monster that drops an item worth around 1M), but Square does nothing. The fact that Blizzard's game has only been running for a few months and they've already nuked 50% more accounts is very telling to me.

I have to be honest - I never cared for botters at all, but the way the economy is going, I may have to start using a bot to survive.

Re:Reasons to dislike money-farming in MMORPGs (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11926733)

Or, you could quit FFXI.

Square-Enix is never going to do anything to fix their game. You've noticed this. They finally took a small, token action nearly three years after the game launched. And as you pointed out, it didn't solve a damned thing.

Stop giving them money.

They don't deserve your money. Stop playing the game. If you don't enjoy the game, stop playing it.

Re:Reasons to dislike money-farming in MMORPGs (2, Insightful)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 9 years ago | (#11927663)

Well... I could, but...

The simple fact is that for the relatively serious MMORPG player who's willing to put a good bit of time into a game over months/years, there still isn't a better game than FFXI.

I tried World of Warcraft. I played it fairly heavily for a few weeks. I enjoyed most of this time quite a lot. Then I stopped. I was bored. I'd basically exhausted most of the possibilities of the game after just under a month of (admittedly fairly heavy) play. I'd played around with quite a few of the classes, on both Alliance and Horde sides. I'd experimented with the PvP, which left me cold. I'd gotten to a high enough level that I could see that there was just a complete void where the high level content should be. World of Warcraft is very "front loaded". The initial stages of the game feel very fast and exciting; there are a vast number of fairly varid quests to do, which mean you barely need to grind at all. Your character gets a lot of new abilities very quickly. You're exploring a lot of new areas. Then the new stuff just stops coming. By contrast, a lot of FFXI players say that the game doesn't even start properly until you hit level 70 and start doing dynamis, sky raids and HNM hunts. I've also experimented with SW: Galaxies and Everquest 2. Both seemed competent in their own ways, but neither had anything particularly interesting to do. In the mean-time, every single one of my friends in FFXI who quit for WoW has now returned to FFXI, mostly cancelling their WoW subs.

It's not as if Square-Enix have been sitting on their arses since FFXI was released. They've created a vast amount of new content for the game, both in and out of the paid-for expansions. We've had a new PvP system, new missions, boss fights and a whole slew of top-level content. I hadn't noticed gil-selling as a real problem until mid 2004, so while Square's response is a little on the slow side, it's not catastrophic. If Blizzard can maintain their player-base anything like as well as Square-Enix have maintained theirs, in the long run, I'll be very surprised and impressed indeed.

Re:Reasons to dislike money-farming in MMORPGs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11926720)

WoW's economy is not as fucked up as FFXI's, so the comparison is mostly moot. FFXI has many ultra-rare items that are basically essential for playing most of the job classes.

To add insult to injury (a Square-Enix specialty) they often need a high-level crafter to turn them into something truely useful.

High-level crafting requires tons of time and tons of in-game money to buy materials.

The end result: high level crafters either have to play massive amounts of time or just buy thier gil online.

If I were to still play FFXI, I'd be buying gil just to avoid farming, something that I absolutely hate in FFXI. (Curiously enough, I actually don't mind it in WoW - probably because the pace is much faster.)

The ultimate difference between FFXI's messed up economy and WoW's is that WoW actually removes money from the system via Soulbound items. Once you equip a rare item, you can no longer trade it. It's removed from the economy. You can sell it to an NPC for gold, but you'll get far less money from the NPC for the item that you would if you could have sold it to another player. This creates a path for money to leave the economy that most people don't see.

Simply put, banning gold sellers in WoW isn't nearly as important as it is in FFXI. Of course, Blizzard has been actively discouraging gold sellers since day 1. Square-Enix has banned 800 accounts for MPK, almost three years after the game launched. FFXI at this point is totally messed up and unfixable. WoW is still going smoothly and does not look like it will ever get as messed up.

Take a hint from US ag department. (5, Funny)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 9 years ago | (#11925131)

No need to get all draconian about this. Just pay the farmers NOT to produce gold.

income taxes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11925739)

Simple solution: assume a (plausible, dynamic) average playing time for an account. If an account's playing time is well over the average, tax that account's income, to a point where farming degenerates in diminishing returns.

Hasn't fixed anything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11925789)

I thought I'd point out that while slashbots will congratulate Blizzard websites like IGE just raised their prices by a little and are still selling.

May I be the first to say... (0, Offtopic)

Luigi30 (656867) | more than 9 years ago | (#11926241)

"Flush that, you bitch."

30 points for the reference, 20 more for the next line.

Re:May I be the first to say... (1)

KevlarTheSleepinator (827583) | more than 9 years ago | (#11926743)

do you mean mod points?
Score!!

UBUYGOLDHERE (3, Informative)

TheGuano (851573) | more than 9 years ago | (#11926684)

Even gold farmers have to eat! Think about their families. Poor little gold children slaving away in the gold fields in a decreasingly gold-agrarian society...it brings a tear to my goldeneye...

http://www.penny-arcade.com/view.php3?date=2005-02 -16

Disabling accounts in an MMORPG? (2, Interesting)

IntergalacticWalrus (720648) | more than 9 years ago | (#11927181)

Just wondering, all those people who got their accounts closed, do they just lose all their characters or lose their full rights to play the game? Since it's an MMORPG, losing online rights would basically make you lose everything you bought (with your real money, that is). I hope Blizzard won't make any mistakes...

Re:Disabling accounts in an MMORPG? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11927743)

It seems to say that they closed the accounts of gold FARMERS, not their clients.

I hope this is the case.

Re:Disabling accounts in an MMORPG? (4, Interesting)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 9 years ago | (#11927885)

Presumably, the accounts are banned permanently, which means the characters, and all the cash stored on them, is permanently inaccessible. But, as it turns out, there's no downside here.

The way these gold-farming rings work, the people who own the vast bulk of the accounts which were closed were not really playing the game.

For a given gold-farming ring, you have a number of accounts which are shared by several people. These people log in, farm gold for several hours, and then give all of the gold and items they received to a boss. The boss tabulates how much they received from a person on their shift and sells the items in-game for more gold (in WoW, this happens in the Auction House). When a customer purchases gold, the boss transfers the gold to the customer (either by trading with the customer, or as happens in WoW, through in-game mail). If one of the grunt farmers doesn't meet a quota on their gold-farming shift, they don't get paid. The grunt farming accounts, being shared by several people, are generally logged in 24/7. Even the individual characters are shared. They are powerleveled up without doing any quests, meaning they have substandard gear and make inferior opponents to regular players' characters; however, they are tailor-designed for farming whatever monsters make for the best farming.

The vast majority - if not all - of the closed accounts were involved with these gold-farming rings. That means that, with the possible exception of the bosses, it's very unlikely that a particular account was ever used by just one person to *play* the game. Since most of these rings are based in China, it's also unlikely that Blizzard will ever have to worry about somebody trying to sue them for the account closures.

Re:Disabling accounts in an MMORPG? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11928947)

It's all in the terms of service.

Ban Asia (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11927828)

the only way to get rid of farmers is to IP ban all of Asia

Thank You Blizzard (2, Interesting)

cbuskirk (99904) | more than 9 years ago | (#11928016)

The best part about this whole scam is that you should never need to buy gold in WOW. It is so easy to come accross. However the primary means of sale in WOW is the Auction House. These same companies that farm gold have accounts that sit at the Auction Houses all day. They purchase any and all items of rare value and then relist them at 2x - 3x their normal price, causing artificial inflation. The person who wants that item now has to either play 3x as much to earn enough gold or purchase from a farmer, who sells 500 gold for a $100 and then gets that 500 gold back when the person buys the auction and then the sells it to the next sucker. And all the farmer had to do is farm 200 gold.

Great idea (1)

SteelV (839704) | more than 9 years ago | (#11928442)

Now they can slowly cut down on server load by banning accounts!

Then again, I don't play the game so maybe 'gold farming' is worse than it appears to be? (I'm sure it violates the TOS, but still...).

Too little too late (3, Insightful)

SamBeckett (96685) | more than 9 years ago | (#11928646)

I just canceled my account today, after (and this has been grating in my mind for sometime now) a young member of my guild asked a player who was level 60: "Wow, XxX, what is it like to be level 60?" To which he replied: "It's pretty cool. I just started a new undead toon." Granted this has nothing to do with gold farming--but I seriously don't see how there was a market for such things.

Compared to DAOC, at least, there is NOTHING to do in WoW after you reach the pinnacle. In other MMORPGs, you could buy a house, fight enemy realms for something tangible, etc. In WoW, you either continually raid the same dungeon or start a new toon. "But you can raid towns!" Sure, what's the fucking point? There is no penalty for death and no reward for taking over a town (for 5 minutes before the NPCs respawn).

"But the honor system will change this!" The honor system as currently outlined sucks ass. I don't have time to play forty-hours a week just to have the best items just so I can kill more players just so I can get more honor just so I can get better items.

Don't even get me started on the social aspect of the game--it just doesn't exist. There is no situation where concerted group effort is required as all fucktards can easily succeed in the grouping game.

Economics 101 (2, Interesting)

droleary (47999) | more than 9 years ago | (#11928859)

and damage the game economy as a whole

Really? Would anyone from Blizzard care to point to a healthy economy that is fueled by the lack of free trade? It's rather amusing to see how Blizzard's actions mirror the heavy handed use of power by those governments that are globally most despised. It'd be less far less funny if it weren't just a game (but, then, if it's just a game to them why are they being such dicks?).

Re:Economics 101 (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11929055)

These aren't real economies. Don't treat them as if they were real economies. Gold farming creates massive inflation which alienates the casual players (and even less casual players who just don't want to pay money for gold) and ultimately results in subscribers cancelling. Blizzard owns the servers and requires that players agree to certain terms in order to play the game. They are within their rights to try to control the "economy" so as to not lose subscribers and in fact I would estimate that 90% or more (based on my experience in another game) of the players of the game support banning gold sellers.

Re:Economics 101 (0)

droleary (47999) | more than 9 years ago | (#11929391)

These aren't real economies. Don't treat them as if they were real economies.

You are very much mistaken. When it come to economies, there is very little line (if any) between "real" and "virtual". All the game represents is another fabricated border with another currency and various import/export imbalances. It is entirely natural and should be expected to see trade happen, and Blizzard is acting like an iron-fisted dictator who purports to know what is best for their people, economics be damned.

Gold farming creates massive inflation which alienates the casual players (and even less casual players who just don't want to pay money for gold) and ultimately results in subscribers cancelling.

Firstly, I don't believe you have the stats to make such a statement. Secondly, so what? You're acting as if massive inflation doesn't happen outside the game. You're acting as if there have never been any devalued currencies in all of history. You're acting as if someone farming a resource in the real world should be allowed to suspend the laws of supply and demand simply because they want to keep asking the same price. No! If there is an unacceptable imbalance in the game, then Blizzard should fix their bloody game!

They are within their rights to try to control the "economy" so as to not lose subscribers and in fact I would estimate that 90% or more (based on my experience in another game) of the players of the game support banning gold sellers.

Then those players are idiots. By that kind of thinking, they demand nothing of value to show for their efforts. Sure, they're playing for entertainment but, like sports stars, that doesn't mean they should want to make it a complete black hole of their time and money. Blizzard naturally likes the idea of all the money flowing in to them, but the players should wise up. It is a real economy, and cutting off trade will eventually stagnate it to the point where the won't just lose subscribers, they'll lose all their subscribers and they won't understand why.

Re:Economics 101 (1)

guru42101 (851700) | more than 9 years ago | (#11929536)

It is more analogous to a mafia or cartel. The gold farmers will generally also farm some rare but highly needed item to the point that the only way to aquire it is thru them. They then charge outrageous prices where your only option to get the cash is to buy it from them.

In WoW, as previously mentioned, it works by them buying out all of the good items and reselling them at much higher prices. They haven't built up the capital to completely put a stranglehold on the economy but they're working their way up. The end result is that the entire economy will be run by them, IE not free trade. This would basically be equivalent to a bank buying every bit of quality habitable land in a city and then reselling it at largely marked up price as well as providing you the loan. You could argue that then the citizens could move, but that wouldnt' be good for the nation or local government. Just like it wouldn't be good for the game developer.

Re:Economics 101 (1)

zoips (576749) | more than 9 years ago | (#11930066)

No! If there is an unacceptable imbalance in the game, then Blizzard should fix their bloody game!

The obvious, and best solution to this specific problem is to ban the people who are causing the problem.

There is a specific set of people who are driving costs up. Okay, that sucks, no reason to ban them, we can all agree on that. The difference here is that same specific set of people is violating the ToS at the same time (selling gold for real-world money). Because of the nature of how the gold- sellers work in the game (they sell an item for gold, some Joe User with too much disposable income and not enough time purchases in-game gold with real world money, to buy an item that is being sold by the gold-seller, thereby giving them back their gold, which they resell for real-world money back to the same old Joe User), they over-inflate the economy at an extreme pace, eventually making it so the only way to actually get rare/wanted items is to buy the gold, which just feeds the inflation.

So with that in mind, what is the fix? Increase gold drop rates so that people who don't want to buy gold with real money can buy items in an over-inflated economy? Yeah, right, that'll work for maybe 10 minutes, tops. The only real, viable solution is to ban the gold sellers, which is well within Blizzards right, specifically because the ToS disallows selling in-game items for real-world currency. Who gets hurt by banning the gold sellers? The gold sellers (but who gives a flying fuck about them), and Joe User with too much disposable income and not enough time to play the game. Personally, I don't care about them either, but they certainly have every right to play the game, unlike the gold sellers, they deserve consideration in how to try to balance the game, but frankly, maybe the game just isn't for them if they don't want to invest the time in actually playing the stupid thing.

ragnarok online (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11929111)

Ragnarok Online (www.ragnarokonline.com)

anyone played this game? Basically there's no quests, to simply put it. Sure, a couple one or so, but not compared with other mmorpg's. So you live off killing monsters and praying for rare drops and then sell them!

I have to say this game has by far the most simple and entertaining economy i've seen. You can actually engange in a merchant profession and just place your character to sell your stuff with stores you make, which btw are intuitive and simple to use.

Then again, you can make money in a simple fashion way. Either sell rares or sell the loot to npc's. As for rares, prices vary. From 3 million to 12 million. You name it. Godly items, like this card that blocks magic can hit the 1 billion easy. That's right. 1 friggin billion zeny (game currency).

Shit, if you like business, this is the game folks. You can be a merchant. Buy items at discount price (24%), like potions and stuff, then resell to players. That simple.
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