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Gold Buying - Time Saver or Cheating?

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the money-money-money-money dept.

543

Sunday's online version of The Wichita Eagle has a piece on buying gold in a MMOG. The author of the piece examines what's involved, and ponders whether such an action is cheating, or just a shortcut. From the article: "Getting my gold was a snap. The smallest quantity for sale by IGE was 500 pieces for $60, about twice what I wanted to spend. I decided to go for it, however, as I simply could not abide the prospect of skinning even one more level-10 boar. Within 20 minutes, the gold appeared in my WoW character's mailbox." From a Cathode Tan post. What is your opinion: Cheating or Shortcut?

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543 comments

There is a third option (4, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 8 years ago | (#14858672)

Just plain stupid.

I vote for the third option (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14858760)

I agree. If you're sick of playing the game, stop playing. Otherwise its not a game anymore -- it's an addiction.

Re:There is a third option (4, Informative)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 8 years ago | (#14858780)

Just plain stupid.

I have to agree.

I bought "gold" for City of Heroes twice, both times spending like 20 or 30 USD. This was while I was in my fullblown addiction phase. I've since kicked the habit entirely.

Anyway, my reasons were mostly to correct pas mistakes. I would normally play characters I'd created since the game came out a while ago, and eventually wanted to fix a bunch of my newbie mistakes. Ie, designing a costume that didnt suck nd re-outfitting him with the correct enhancements.

Looking back at it, I can't believe how stupid it was. It wasn't a lot of money and did make things a little easier/nicer for a while. But it was stupid.

As for cheating... there's not a whole lot to get in CoH. I mean, if someone from WoW used bought gold to buy a rare mount or something I could sort of see it as cheating. But in CoH, where you're limited to costumes and enhancements, there's not much benefit.

Re:There is a third option (2, Informative)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 8 years ago | (#14858879)

I should mention.

In CoH:
  • there is no gold farming, just rewards for missions or helping NPCs. Or by selling enhancements
  • there are no "drops" in the normal sense. gold/influence and enhancements are automatically distributed to people in the group by the server, so you can't really steal.
The main methods of hoarding gold/influence in CoH is by herding large amount of mobs, or going on Task Forces (usually 4-6 hour quests that can't be "paused").

If you have an upper level character, the gold/influence pours in like rain in the Amazon, unfortunately enhancements cost a lot too. So if you can get a character up there you can gain a lot of influence quickly and sell it. The lower and mid level characters have a hard time getting it, so them buying it isn't unheard of.

The last method is costume contests, where upper level characters/supergroups have a costume contest and give the top x contestants some of their ungodly amounts of money. It sounds lame, but if you have some time to kill and have a good costume it's worth a shot (and 10 minutes of your life).

Re:There is a third option (5, Insightful)

Decado (207907) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859395)

Damn right he is stupid. This guy just sent $60 of his money to the same people who are responsible for his skins being worthless in AH. That is the problem with gold farming, it makes gathering skills worthless by having two seperate effects, first the raw materials are oversupplied so they sell very cheaply affecting people like this guy who can no longer earn any reasonable amount through skinning, secondly they artificially inflate the prices of items by giving plenty gold to clueless nabs who throw it around like theres no tomorrow. Pity this dude was too dumb to realise that he is basically rewarding the people who created his problem. Unfortunately for this guy once he gets to high level in WoW he will realise that he can not do ANYTHING without having a lot of time to invest, he has also missed the early warning signs that WoW as you go up in level becomes more and more about grinding. He should get out now if he can't afford that time. The final thing he has done is by having a glut of gold he has turned his questing into an utter waste of time, since he can now afford better items than the quest rewards he is truly just grinding them for the xp now. He has turned the part of the game he liked into the part of the game he hated. He really didn't think it through did he?

Re:There is a third option (1)

Mishotaki (957104) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859472)

wait... he did spend 60$ to buy gold?

if he works at 10$ an hour, he could have left the job 6 hours early to play all day long and get a few levels to get gold much more easily...

at least then he wouldn't sound like a dumbass who wasted 60$ on an economy that is inflating because of HIM

It's Pretty Simple (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14858684)

If it wasn't cheating, Blizzard would have sold the gold to you themselves.
It's clear buying gold is not within the spirit or the intent of the game.
Conclusion:it's cheating.

Re:It's Pretty Simple (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14858735)

Premise: It's impossible to stamp out. And policing it only removes the 30-year old businessman trying to get hip with a level 70 elven cleric. The leet script kiddies altering the server economy are usually far clever.

Conclusion: Shit happens.

Re:It's Pretty Simple (1)

CsiDano (807071) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859361)

Here's an idea, feel free to let me know if you guys think it would work or if it would turn people off the game. Why can't they change the game so the only way to get gold is by killing stuff, ie if you buy gold with real world cash the only way to get the gold is by killing the player selling? Sure the person selling can start over and gather more gold, but it means that each time he makes a sale, he has to be killed to give the gold away and until the person who bought the gold arranges to meet and kill the person they can't harvest anymore gold lest the buyer gets more gold than he paid for. It won't stop the trade but it will put a damper on it. Any counter, or suggestions?

Re:It's Pretty Simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14859476)

Wow, I can take someone's gold by killing them? Griefer paradise. Interesting concept though. Has a negative impact on crafting. Since assumedly, you couldn't sell any of your products for profit.

Re:It's Pretty Simple (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14858771)

Mr. Black, Ms. White, I'd like to introduce you to someone. His name is Gray.

Re:It's Pretty Simple (4, Insightful)

fruitbane (454488) | more than 8 years ago | (#14858983)

Hrm... I take issue with this conclusion. Is something that is "not within the spirit or the intent of the game" automatically cheating? I would argue the heavily abbreviated, almost l33t, shorthand used in chat is also not within the spirit or intent of the game, as it detracts from the atmosphere. Does that make it cheating?

As a GAME, the point is to be fun. If people like some aspects of the game but have found a way to get around the money treadmill does that necessarily affect you? Sure, there's the whole issue of more money entering the economy, but if someone bought the money from someone else, the money was already in the economy, it's just changed hands.

One of the reasons I don't, and won't, play MMORPGs is because of that extended treadmill experience.

I say that something is cheating if it is synonymous with something that is illegal or is simply blatantly against the rules. If Blizzard has declared that it is against the rules and transgressors will be punished, that's great. That is enough to make it cheating. It's Blizzard's world and they make the rules. However, if this is a gray area where they've not said much, it's not cheating unless it somehow operates completely outside of the game's mechanics, as in generating money from thin air or something.

Re:It's Pretty Simple (2, Insightful)

Decado (207907) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859253)

Using something from outside the game to improve your chances inside the game is cheating. Whether or not it is serious you can debate until the cows come home, but it is cheating. The fact that people can and have had their accounts deleted for doing it would suggest that blizzard do take the problem seriously, and even if there is a minority who are willing to spend cold hard cash for wow gold, the fact remains that the vast majority spend their cold hard cash on a subscription every month to play in a controlled realm where this doesn't happen. The economics is simple, blizzard can have 1% of the people who spend 5 times as much each, or 99% of the people who spend just the set amount, its no contest.

Re:It's Pretty Simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14859470)

"Using something from outside the game to improve your chances inside the game is cheating."

Teamspeak

Re:It's Pretty Simple (1)

Vicissidude (878310) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859578)

Using something from outside the game to improve your chances inside the game is cheating. Whether or not it is serious you can debate until the cows come home, but it is cheating.

I've been on the phone with people in my party before. Other people use their internet connections to hold party conversations. Those conversations are "outside the game". Are those conversations cheating? I hardly think so.

Further, some people use outside mods to customize their WoW experience. Blizzard openly allows people to do this, even providing instructions on their website with where to load this code from "outside the game". Is that cheating? No, especially considering the support from Blizzard.
 
... the fact remains that the vast majority spend their cold hard cash on a subscription every month to play in a controlled realm where this doesn't happen.

No, that money is spent to play WoW.

The vast majority of noobs coming into the game have no idea how the economy is structured when they lay their money down in the store for the software and then enter their credit card for the subscription. The lack of gold manipulation may prevent them from leaving the game once they're in, but that's not the primary motivation to start playing or keep playing.

As long as it isn't duped gold - it is fine (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14858687)

Insert some stuffa bout a free-market economy and that the game companies only don't like it because they aren't in on in the deal (yet SOE is changing that with EQ2).

My opinion? Glad you asked! (5, Interesting)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14858704)

This is just one in a multiple list of problems concerning the RL relationships of MMORPG players. If you can withstand them all and still have fun, more power to you. I'd much rather play a single player game where I know where everything stands.

//just catching up with Smash Brothers Melee. Good times...

Think of the Economy! (5, Insightful)

Ghost429 (828987) | more than 8 years ago | (#14858712)

The people you buy gold form online had to get it from somewhere. Usually that somewhere comes from selling obscene amounts of items far below market value, making it all but impossible for honest players trying to make a few silver here and there to sell anything. Buying gold from then
a) Keeps them in buisness
b) Screws with the game economy even more, and
c) is against most, if not all EULA's

Re:Think of the Economy! (3, Insightful)

Rhys (96510) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859094)

I want your server's gold farmers.

Ours drive prices /up/. I consistnatly see the few same people selling all the high end items well above what auctioneer (or even searching and watching prices myself) would suggest market value is.

In fact, driving prices up is better for them. You have more incentive to buy gold as you'll never make enough to get the items you want otherwise.

If you walk to talk about screwing the economy, talk to Blizzard. Increasing red dragonscales drop rate and quest XP at 60 -> gold is going to be a nice shock when 1.10 hits. I'm happy I got to resell the red scales I'd been picking up on the cheap (min bid or underpriced for the win) hopeing to put together a red DS suit before the price drop hits.

Re:Think of the Economy! (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859524)

What it really seems to do is create a greater disparity in the value of low-end versus high-end items. People who horde mobs that drop high end items certainly do increase the auctionable value of said items (there is a reduced supply to the general populace as compared to the bot who is farming) generating more gold and feeding the gold-farming machine.

However, as there are a limited number of places from which to acquire these high-end items, it also makes sense to farm lower-end stuff--after all, it's still just a bot that's doing it. They sell these lower-end hides at the markets for a much lower value in order to guarantee that their items will be bought, thus the price for the item in general is greatly reduced and low-level characters who are just trying to make a buck get screwed.

Re:Think of the Economy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14859497)

Welcome to Wal-mart.... do you ever go outside?

I'm sorry, but when I read that I thought - that's what the free-market system does.

Just my 0.02

Fairness vs. pragmatism (4, Insightful)

halivar (535827) | more than 8 years ago | (#14858740)

It's definitely not fair. Some people spend hours upon hours, sometimes in-game days to tradeskill (made harder by the presence of Chinese farmers) and acquire in-game wealth. Others spend a minor amount of cash to instantly acquire this same wealth (and in a manner that enables and encourages further Chinese farming). At first I found this incredibly unfair.

Now I have another take on it. Note that I do not, nor will I ever purchase gold. But as a working professional, I don't have the same time to devote to the game that high-school and college students do. I don't want gaming to become a 9-5 job just to have fun. I only have a few hours on the weekends to play. I will never be abel to effectively tradeskill. I will level once every two weeks, if that.

For some, buying gold is an efficient way to obtain materials for tradeskilling that would otherwise require hours of dedicated playing; time that many people (like me) just don't have. Even now, I'm looking at the mats required for weaponsmithing, and all I can do is throw up my hands and say, "I don't have time to do this." I don't know anymore. I wish Blizzard would make the game funner for impatient people who can't devote their life to the game.

Re:Fairness vs. pragmatism (5, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 8 years ago | (#14858891)

But as a working professional, I don't have the same time to devote to the game that high-school and college students do.

Exactly. That's where I completely agree.

The problem is that it's not your fault. It's a game-design fault. Why does the game require ridiculous amounts of game time?

EVE Online - while I only played it shortly - appears to have one big part of the problem solved: Skills increase through automatic training that depends on only one factor: Real time passed. Whether you're online playing or offline sleeping/working/whatever doesn't matter. You gain x experience points per hour.

A good game should reward good playing, not more playing.

Re:Fairness vs. pragmatism (1)

Robmonster (158873) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859056)

Why does the game require ridiculous amounts of game time?

If it too no time at all then Blizzard wouldn't be able to sell more game-time.

Making things take a long time to do is ultimately their aim.

Re:Fairness vs. pragmatism (1)

Tyler Eaves (344284) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859307)

Well, EVE has it's own problem...that those who started when it went live are so far ahead of someone starting today that it's not even competitive.

Re:Fairness vs. pragmatism (2, Informative)

Acy James Stapp (1005) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859479)

Well, EVE has it's own problem...that those who started when it went live are so far ahead of someone starting today that it's not even competitive.


Not entirely true. They have a lot more options available to them when they go to play, but after two months you can be an effective, hard-hitting player. You'll be limited to one race's ships, and you probably won't be flying any of the specialized craft, but you can make a difference in PvP as well as tackle the high-end NPC content.

Re:Fairness vs. pragmatism (2, Insightful)

panthro (552708) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859419)

I can't comment on other MMORPGs, but World of Warcraft does reward good playing. It also rewards more playing by design, but everyone seems to assume that grinding and tradeskills are the only way to make money, and that money is the only way to be rewarded.

Good players are far more likely to:

  • Complete quests and instances in reasonable time
  • Be invited into groups and guilds
  • Win in the Battlegrounds
  • Be efficient at collecting materials for tradeskills
  • Figure out how to gain reputation quickly

Roleplaying is rewarded (at least on RP servers) by higher-level characters probably more than any other thing you can do, and it is characteristic of good playing (after all, you play to have fun, and the more fun you have the better you're playing). Getting into a good guild can get you items from raids. You can trade services for gold or items. And finally, I'll say it again: you don't have to have all the best items all the time to have fun playing.

Seems to me you guys have all lost the spirit of playing games for fun.

Re:Fairness vs. pragmatism (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 8 years ago | (#14858950)

It's definitely not fair. Some people spend hours upon hours, sometimes in-game days to tradeskill (made harder by the presence of Chinese farmers) and acquire in-game wealth. Others spend a minor amount of cash to instantly acquire this same wealth (and in a manner that enables and encourages further Chinese farming). At first I found this incredibly unfair.

Why would this be unfair? It's not like gold farmers refuse to sell to gamers who play for a long time.

Re:Fairness vs. pragmatism (1)

muhgcee (188154) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859049)

As long as you play consistantly, as you appear to do, then I would argue that you do have the time to do well. Your character will take more real time to level, but the same amount (or less, because of rested xp) of game time to level.

So you just keep hacking away at it bit by bit. You should spend your few hours a week doing things that are fun to you. Don't actually enjoy crafting? Then go questing. You don't need top-of-the-line gear to be decent in WoW. Sure, it might set you back from the "elite" players, but not everyone can be an elite player.

Re:Fairness vs. pragmatism (2, Interesting)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859050)

So why doesn't Blizzard just sell the gold for those players who want to skip to the front? Why don't they just let you roll up a level 50 player with a greater from scratch if you fork over $100? After all, let's say you want to join your friends who play on Battlegrounds, but don't want the agonizing process of leveling up to battlegrounds level... why doesn't Blizzard offer to let you build a character at that level? It would make them money, block off the farmers, let players who have no interest in the treadmill aspect of MMOs get involved, and still allow you to design the player yourself and know what it has (whereas buying a character from someone else gives you a bunch of stuff that you don't know how to use and might not work well).

Re:Fairness vs. pragmatism (4, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859109)

The downside is that you can assume that most level 60 players at least have a good idea of how their characters work and how the function in a team (not always true sadly). If you have people starting off day 1 with their level 60, they are much more likely to play terribly and make the game experiance worse for everyone on their team.

I do wish more MMOs came with a Newgame+ feature, so when you max out one character and roll and alt, they gain levels twice as fast or have some out of the gate bonus. It can be disheartning to switch from your giant monster slaying tweaked out superchar to some level 1 that has to kill bugs and rats with his one skill.

Re:Fairness vs. pragmatism (2, Interesting)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859160)

Start the level 50 characters off in, say, "Valhalla" - some realm where they can get primo gear and have a little time to play alone and learn before jumping into the blender. Give them a day's work of looting and stuff to get accustomed to their character's high-level doodads, then cut them loose in the real world to sink-or-swim. Basically, compress the whole game into an afternoon's play for "fast track". To avoid fscking the economy, make most "fast track" artifacts useless to non "fast track players" or something - if dropped in the real world they turn into gold or something.

Cheating (2, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 8 years ago | (#14858764)

If you can't play the game, instead of buying your way through it, don't bother playing.

Spending $60 on game gold. That's 2x what I paid for the game itself. I could buy 3-4 DVDs for that much, or another 4 months playtime on WoW. What a ridiculous waste of money.

Re:Cheating (1)

Robmonster (158873) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859033)

Some might call paying monthly to play a game you've already bought is a ridiculous waste of money.

It just depends on your outlook.

How long in game time would it take to make/earn the amount of gold purchased? Paying to shortcut that that might be a brilliant use of money for some.

Re:Cheating (1)

CommiePuddin (891854) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859525)

Some might call paying monthly to play a game you've already bought is a ridiculous waste of money.

Kinda like paying to host a website you've already designed is a ridiculous waste of money?

Depends on what value you place on your time (2, Insightful)

C0deM0nkey (203681) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859246)

What a ridiculous waste of money

You use the resources you have: some people have time, some people have money.

If your time is more valuable to you then your money, you will use your money to minimize the time you have to spend in game. It is an utterly ridiculous waste to time to spend hours and hours grinding away in a videogame when you do not have to.

Its called "grinding" for a reason; and its not because it is fun (in this case :)).

Examine both sides of the coin (4, Insightful)

Rhys (96510) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859252)

Disclaimer: I haven't bought gold. I don't ever expect to. Why? Because frankly gold is trivial to make in most games. Skinning level 10 boars? A waste. I'll skim off the auction house. Buy low, sell high. Especially if you can reprocess in the middle so people don't realize you're doing it.

Now, having gotten that out of the way. Consider: how long would it take you to farm the mats for... let's pick a couple things I'm looking at recently: the devilsaur set and/or volcanic and/or stormshroud. Fairly expensive: one person is selling stormshoud for about 130/150 a pop per peice on my server.

Now, I can make good money on the AH, but making that much... that'd take a lot of time. Most people don't even know making money like that on the AH is possible, but reguardless. How much time would it take farming ore, or "farming" the AH to make that much?

Right. Now from the article, 500 gold is what, $60? (I think it is less on my server from in-game spam I get from time to time but who knows.) If I wanted to do some work consulting, or even some overtime, how long would it take me to earn $60?

Heck of a lot less time than it'd take in game that's for sure! In fact, for them it may be a net gain. Spend a couple hours working on cleaning viruses off computers, spend some of that cash on virtual gold, powerlevel up whatever skill you want. Now you have some leftover real cash, leftover virtual cash, met the goal you were pursuing in the game and took less time to do it than you would have just grinding in game.

That's why people do it. It makes economic sense to them. It doesn't matter if they could buy another game: this is the game they want to play.

The problem (0)

luckykaa (134517) | more than 8 years ago | (#14858782)

The game is dull.

At least it is for poor player. There aren't enough interesting ways to make money.

Anyone could easily offer a service where I go on quests for a player in order to gain level (at least I presume so. Don't play MMOs), but nobody would bother because it would be taking away their fun. Dennis made this clear himself. "I had essentially quit my job and grabbed for life's gusto". Why do people want to get home from a tedious job, and do another tedious job?

Blizzard need to address these gameplay issues and make it so that getting rich as as gratifying as being rich.

Re:The problem (1)

Johnny Mnemonic (176043) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859492)


Anyone could easily offer a service where I go on quests for a player in order to gain level (at least I presume so. Don't play MMOs), but nobody would bother because it would be taking away their fun.

This exact service is for sale. [ige.com] That's a statement for how much dedicated effort is required--the highest level the game affords can be acquired in 18-21 days of (presumably) 24/7 play, for a mere $300.

If I were to offer such a service, I just couldn't compete; I can't afford to earn only $300 in three weeks, let alone hiring someone to work the second shift. Yet, there are folks that can offer this at retail; presumably, the folks doing the actual work make substantially less than that.

Can I say that this offer is attractive? I would say that there are dull parts of the game, and fun parts of the game. It is tempting to hire someone to play the dull parts so I can maximize my time playing only the fun parts; it's too bad that the only model Blizz has found is to balance dull/fun to just come in enough on the fun scale that it holds interest, and that it's needed at all to keep accounts subscribed for periods of time.

What is amazing to me is that this could be stopped, but it seems like Blizz only gives it token awareness. Allowing for no more than 14 hrs of play in a 24 hr period would at least slow it down; limiting the ability for characters to transfer gold to each other would be another. And that's not even imposing technological monitoring, like imposing limits on IP ranges for time online/transfer amount. And while you couldn't probably stop it, you could make it less efficient--meaning costs go up, and subsequently fewer players would have access to it or be tempted by it. As it is, on the servers I play on 10gp=$1, or even less than that; that's just insane. 10gp at the levels I play at is a fortune, and it takes me hours to acquire (that I would rather be doing other things in the game).

If the game you're playing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14858794)

...forces you to do repetitive things that you do not find fun (like harvest gold or whatnot), then find yourself a different game. It's not like there aren't options out there: I've never understood why people tolerate poor games, and even pay money to play them.

Three Things (1)

twl1973 (877541) | more than 8 years ago | (#14858795)

It's cheating, a shortcut, and annoying.

I'm farming for the materials for my Robe of the Void and guess what, there's a Gold Farmer running the same path over and over in Azshara looking for Satyrs so that he can sell off the Felcloth.

24 hours later and this Farmer has went from level 52 to 55.

Re:Three Things (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 8 years ago | (#14858946)

did you report him to GM's? or go on a forum and ask some hoarde/alliance to come and kill/camp his goldfarming ass?

Re:Three Things (1)

twl1973 (877541) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859238)

I reported him (Racia - Undead Rogue (surprise, surprise) in Icecrown) and got the "We'll look into it" response. We'll see what happens in the future.

I'm playing on a Care Bear server so no world PvP for me but I tried to make his life hell by Banishing/Fearing/Tapping everything he got near.

You might think that buying gold doesn't hurt anyone, but for those who are honestly trying to farm for their mats it's a pain as it raises the time involved in trying to get your mats for things as you're competing with a toon that never logs off.

Re:Three Things (1)

Molt (116343) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859304)

If they were going up levels there's a good chance they were just grinding the creatures for XP (..and the bonus of nice cloth drops) rather than being a gold-farmer. I've done the same in different areas myself in the past.

Clearly cheating... (2, Insightful)

pneumatus (936254) | more than 8 years ago | (#14858798)

Fortunatly for us, Blizzard enforce their policies with regard to buying gold etc over the internet. A quick glance at their news archive shows they have already banned many accounts farming gold for selling, and accounts that have purchased gold.

The main problem most MMORPG players have with these gold selling antics is that it ruins the economy of the realms. The gold farmers come and either legitimately farm gold, or more commonly use bots to automate the farming (also against the TOS) 'generating' extra gold on the realm which is then sold on, boosting the prices in the Auction House etc because there are people with more gold to spend.

It would be very naieve for someone purchasing gold on the internet to not think it can be traced - Blizzard logs ALL transactions to be able to perform rollbacks to the realms and to retrieve lost items. If Blizzard catch a gold farmer selling gold they will also be able to see everyone that had gold sent to them from that account so have a nice chain of accounts ready to be banned :)

Re:Clearly cheating... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14858926)

Not to mention transfers of 500 gold probably aren't all that common, and should be easy to notice.

Re:Clearly cheating... (0, Flamebait)

TexVex (669445) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859124)

A quick glance at their news archive shows they have already banned many accounts farming gold for selling, and accounts that have purchased gold.
Yeah, it's goddamn sad, isn't it? People are being people, trading things of value between themselves, and Blizzard is punishing them for it.

Funny how so many of the gold farmers are in "Communist" China. And it's the Western capitalist corporate entity telling them they're wrong for playing the ol' Supply and Demand game.

Welcome to the new Millenium.

play? (5, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 8 years ago | (#14858805)

I'd rather spend the $60 on another game, preferably one that realizes I want to play, not work.

Somehow, somewhere, this meme got into the MMORPG world that players have to "earn" their stuff, preferably through repetitive tasks.

Unfortunately, somehow it works. We all play along and accept it as normal, pretty much like computer crashes (try telling any admin of a 1970s mainframe that regular computer crashes are nothing special).

Yes, it is a shortcut. It most definitely beats having to do the same nonsense another 100 times. It is probably cheaper, as well (i.e. you earn more money in the time you saved than it costs you).
But damn, it should make you re-check your priorities and ask yourself if you're sure you want to sink more money into that game, and why. And whether you're ready to do it again, and again, as it's unlikely that phase of the game was unique.

Re:play? (1)

CaseM (746707) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859121)

I've saved several hundred dollars by playing World of Warcraft that would have gone to other distractions had it not been so much fun to me for the last 16 months.

I've purchased gold, too, and still come out ahead by a large margin. I work, make a good salary, but don't feel like spending dozens of hours farming when I could be using that time to do other things. I consider the ease of play gained by purchasing 500 gold every quarter or so well worth the marginal amount of cash spent. I could blow $50 in one night on drinks for me and my fiancee, easily - $50 of gold makes my time in WoW much more pleasant for months.

Farming sucks, but that doesn't mean the rest of the game is just as poor.

Yes and no. Mostly no (4, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859342)

Basically the problem isn't "earning" stuff, as long as it's kept within reasonable limits. I don't think anyone would consider, say, earning your Imp or Voidwalker as a Warlock in WoW to be repetitive or work. One is basically a "go there, get that book for me" quest (and not get killed first by the NPCs there) and the other is "go there, kill the npc, bring back her choker" quest. Straightforward, to the point, a little challenging, and no farming involved. And frankly, not only it's something "earned" to be proud of, but also adds a certain flavour: it gives you a quest to do and some insight in what your class is about, instead of just a new icon sprouting on your toolbar after grinding enough boars.

That's really what gets people addicted, not the later grind for resources. _This_ is what MMORPG gamers really want, and unsurprisingly most MMORPG players went to the game which gave them more of this in the beginning. You'll notice the majority isn't on the games which give you the repetitive grind and (near)impossibility to solo from the start. So that blaming it on MMORPG players and some meme is missing the point by a mile.

But unfortunately that only works that way at the lower levels.

The problem again isn't that MMORPG players start demanding something else, but that the MMORPG publisher only has so much funds for game content. And that content has to last you for about 6 months, which is what an average gamer needs to get past the "but I'll lose my online 'friends' and my uber-character if I quit!" phase. Some need less, some stay there for 5 years, but when you turn it all into a statistic, 6 months is sorta where the bathtub curve starts going up one way or the other. So the developper has to stretch that content somehow over 6 months.

And currently the formula is to give you more of it up-front when you join, so they get you addicted, and very very slowly give you less and less from there. Until at the end-game it has already crawled to a start and you need to farm one dungeon daily for months, just so you can enter the next one. At that point, any new content or rewards you're getting is in dilluted to homoepathic doses.

However at that point they're not counting on you actually having fun either. They just count that you're well into the "but I'll lose my online 'friends' and my uber-character if I quit!" phase and busy rationalizing it, so you don't need more than a vague shaddow of a carrot dangled in front of you to stay there. At that point, the rewards and earnings are so dilluted and improbable that they just serve to give you some material to rationalize about, not something that's what MMORPG players as a whole love.

So basically even at this point, blaming MMORPG players and their memes is IMHO missing the whole point by a mile. That isn't what the MMORPG players themselves been asking for, it's just the final act of a cruel scam they've been gradually guided into. And no matter how some may rationalize it as being the meat of the game (humans are damn good at rationalizing taking crap), here's the reality check: that's not what got them addicted to the game during the first 30-40 levels. And they're not in other games which gave them that "meat" up-front, from level 1, either. So don't tell me that their whole personality did an 180 degree turn when reaching level 60, and they suddenly started actually wanting to grind for weeks even for a token reward.

Yes, it should make everyone rethink their priorities, and in truth it _eventually_ does. That's why people do eventually leave.

Depends (3, Interesting)

slavemowgli (585321) | more than 8 years ago | (#14858828)

Depends on the game. Take Second Life, for example - in there, exchanging real-life money for in-game money is not only possible, it's actually encouraged and can be done through the developing company (Linden) itself. And what's more, the way the game is set up otherwise makes it pretty impossible for you to seriously get into it unless you do it.

I think Linden has pretty much figured out the second step on the road to Profit!!!, but since it's at the expense of pretty much everyone who otherwise might be interested in the game, I also dare say that they won't be able to continue with this forever.

But then, maybe that's not what they want to do, anyway - a few millions right here and now are nice enough already, right?

Re:Depends (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 8 years ago | (#14858979)

But Linden did it the smart way! He gives a small cash allowance to all players which are more of a tease than a gift, and cash is purely optional to enjoy the full benefits of the game. This idea of spending money when you need to instead of subscribing regularly is brilliant!!

It has the ability to ruin the game (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14858850)

If it was a single player game, even if it was a Diablo-like game, I couldn't care less. Enjoy it. You take a shortcut to what could usually take long to get. No problem. It does not affect me.

It does affect me in a MMORPG.

Now, sure, you have an item I don't. That's not the problem. It's also no problem if you're just a lucky bastard who decides to sell his once in a lifetime find on EBay.

The problem starts with commercial farming.

Worst problem are non-instanced encounters. Commercial and organized farmers can and do monopolize important spawns. They do have the key equipment, they do know where to be when and they do know how to cooperate. In other words, as a normal vanilla player with a normal vanilla guild (if any), you have NO chance to get that item into your hands.

Unless you pay for it.

Now, this problem can be remedied with instances. Go there with your guild and eventually you can have the item, too. No farming guild can keep you from getting it.

Another problem with farmers: Inflation. When a ton of money is pumped into the system, prices go up. I buy XXX money for YY$. So I have XXX. Would take me 2 weeks to get, and if I had to invest the time, I'd probably think twice. But who cares? 200 for a sword worth 20? That's about 3 bucks, one pack of cigs less and I can do it. Mine!

Over time, the only people able to afford certain items will be those that farm like crazy or those buying money from farmers. You, the ordinary player who doesn't want or can't spend real money for virtual cash, you're out of the loop.

Re:It has the ability to ruin the game (1)

Renraku (518261) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859411)

Take a good look at Final Fantasy XI. On the server I played on, it would literally take days of crystal farming to get one piece of equipment that you had to have (or you had to kill one weak enemy at a time and hope not to die). This was mainly due to inflation.

On the other hand, crystal prices were up. They went up 70% in the time I played the game.

It wasn't the main reason I stopped playing, but it was #2 or #3.

In WoW, the farmers are getting out of hand. It used to be one or two here and there, and now its more like 5 per area. And they get their friends to spam you if you don't leave. Also, they threaten to report you for taking their area. After that, they follow you around and become a pain in the ass. If its a PvP server, they'll attack you over and over until you leave.

Neither (2, Insightful)

TexVex (669445) | more than 8 years ago | (#14858862)

What is your opinion: Cheating or Shortcut?
It's neither. It's just simple economics. The MMO world currency has real value to the players. So it is exchanged for real money. That's the whole idea behind currency, after all.

It doesn't matter if you don't think it's fair. A M:TG player can build a deck by buying each card individually -- nobody says they should be forced to buy booster packs until they uncover all the individual cards they want.

It doesn't matter if you think that the MMO gold is just pixels and a record in a database somewhere. Trading cards are just ink and paper, but some of them have ridiculously high value to collectors.

The only stupid thing here is the MMO publisher trying to stand in the way of the law of supply and demand. It's like trying to overcome gravity by force of will. Or, more like pissing into the wind.

Re:Neither (2, Insightful)

oirtemed (849229) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859048)

A referees calls have real value to a basketball player. Maybe we should start selling travelling calls for the March Madness tourney. After all, supply and demand. Simple economics.

Re:Neither (1)

panthro (552708) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859206)

Says you. So play a game where the designer encourages rather than discourages real-world trade in items. They've been designed so that in-game mechanics make the game balanced taking into account the influence of real-world trade.

On the other hand, for various reasons I consider legitimate and important, I would rather play a game where I know that real-world wealth has no effect on status in-game. A large proportion of MMORPG players share my desire. Thus, Blizzard and other designers have opted to discourage real-world trade in items using whatever means are at their disposal, and designed the game mechanics assuming that no real-world trade exists. Thus, in theory, the game meets my desires. Real-world trade in items for a game that has been designed to work better without the practice can only detract from the experience for players like me, who would rather play under the assumption that none exists.

Re:Neither (1)

code-e255 (670104) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859320)

May a Magic: The Gathering player offer money to his opponent during a tournament game for not playing his UberBadAssCardOfPwnage? MMOs are games, and money in those games are part of it. Real world laws and politics have no say over it. It's up to the game creator to decide the rules. Blizzard will ban you if you buy or sell gold because they believe it degrades the sense of achievment players get from working for their rewards. And A Magic: The Gathering referee will probably tell you to leave if you try to buy your way to victory in a tournament game.

Re:Neither (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859501)

"It's neither. It's just simple economics."

It's a game, with established rules. It's not Real Life, hell, most of them aren't even Second Life :).

Next time I sit down and play Risk, would it be OK for me to pay cash to one of the players to not attack me, or to give me some of his armies/cards? Is that cheating, or not?

Most MMORPGs are intended to have everyone on equal footing, and to let differences in how people play the game define the success of their character. Gold-buying circumvents this, to the detriment of everyone but the particular cheater... and in the long run, to the detriment of the cheater as well.

My point is that you can't expect to apply real-world economics to a game that is not intended to have them apply. When you play a game, you either play by the rules or you're a cheater.

Are You People For Real??? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14858887)

What is your opinion: Cheating or Shortcut?

Are you people for real? Do your mommies really allow to waste their money, $60 at a time, just to get to a higher level in an asinine game? If so, would you please assist me in getting some money out of my country?

My name is Mr.Moses Odiaka.I work in the credit and accounts department of
Union Bank of NigeriaPlc,Lagos, Nigeria...

Neither... (1)

AnswerIs42 (622520) | more than 8 years ago | (#14858895)

Just a waste of even MORE of your money. Sorry, I can see much better uses of 60$.. and that is in the REAL world.

The saying "More money than brains" really can apply to this..

If you need to spend extra cash to have fun (5, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 8 years ago | (#14858903)

Maybe online MMORPGs aren't for you. Or at least not the one you're playing. If you "don't have the time" to earn gold then you probably "don't have the time" to gain levels or do any of the other time sinks computer RPGs and especially MMOGs are famous for. Case in point -- the author was skinning level 10 boars in a game with a level cap of 60, which would be insanity if you were high enough level to kill and skin higher-level beasts with more valuable pelts. So he hasn't put in the work to level up, but has already spent $60 to buy what would be a ridiculous amount of gold for his level. How long until he just gives that up and buys a level 60 character with all the best loot because "I simply could not abide the prospect of doing even one more 'kill X many of Y creature' quests".

I understand that MMORPGs are huge time sinks, and lots of people don't have the time to spend on them. If you can have fun playing, then I suggest that you just settle for never being rich, and never having the very best items. If you can't have fun without being rich and having the best loot, may I suggest another genre?

I just want to have fun! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14858966)

I play games to have fun, I find many aspects of the mmorpg genre to be wonderfully fun. But given the fact that many server economies are just screwed up because of the gold farmers, my fun factor has decreased. There is no competing with them. If I want the good equipment, I almost have to buy it.

Because of the money shift that gold farmers produce, fewer people who go after equipment are willing to let people come along, instead they can go get it and sell it. That keeps the higher levels of people just slightly behind the gold farmer's inflated market, but in reality it is that relationship that just fuels them more.

Normal people can't play enough to farm that much gold to buy the inflated prices. So I bought gold. Now, I have enough money to let me enjoy the game again for awhile. I do feel bad because now I too have just fueled the gold farmers, but They are not going to go away ever. I hope that is not a shock to anyone's system. Since they are not going to go away, I just adapt to the new society.

For what I paid in Cash for the Gold, I was happy. In the end that is what is important to me.

Neither one (0, Flamebait)

inerte (452992) | more than 8 years ago | (#14858968)

I don't think it's a shortcut neither a cheating: The game mechanics allow these transaction to happen.

The possibility of gold exchange should be taken into account by the developers, and the game, balanced accordingly. It's something that the players want to do, you don't battle against your userbase. There are game designs, of course, but once you put l00t and currency, this *will* happen, no matter what the "terms of use" or anything like that says.

The developers should, then, design around this issue, and stay way from simple definitions like "cheating" or "shortcut". If you think it's a shortcut, then perhaps you have a flaw on the loot drops, and it's they that should be changed, not the player behaviour.

Some fights can't be won, and are not that bug deal, so just go along.

Cheat - period (0)

KeeghanMacAllan (842985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14858969)

It's a cheat and it degrades the experience for the other players.

I place the blame squarely with Blizzard though. How hard would it be to implement a server dedicated to players who want to buy gold, the way servers are dedicated to PvP, PvE, or roleplaying? This way, they could control the purchase and sale of gold, thereby giving those who want to play this way a EULA-compliant way of doing it, which would pretty much dry up the farmers market. Who would want to risk getting banned when they could easliy go to the gold buyout server?

good for the economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14858972)

i really don't mind people buying gold, it makes it easier for the newbs....

although buying gold does artifcially cause inflation, i don't think i've seen it too bad. and inflation isn't nessecerly good. a person at level 40 on a mature server will have a much easier time coming up with 90 gold by selling his wares on an inflated market then someone on a new server... in fact the only way i came up the money for my mount was to take advantage of the rapid changes in the arcane crystal/arcanite market that the farmers would mess up.(i was buying crystals at 9-11g each and selling for 25-30 for the end product)

so i say leave the farmers alone

The gold-buying concept applied to other games? (5, Insightful)

Andrew Lenahan (912846) | more than 8 years ago | (#14858976)

Why has this concept been limited to MMOs? It could work in any sport, game, or competitive activity you can think of.

Having "family game night" with the kids? Slip the wife a little hair-salon money in exchange for having your Candyland character halfway up the board before the game even starts! Your children might end up hating you, but victory will be yours at all costs!!

Playing in a competitive chess tournament? How about for a small extra fee you could buy yourself a few extra pawns, and maybe a spare queen or two? Who couldn't use a few extras, just in case?

Don't feel like doing your homework? Simply hand in an empty paper with a cheque taped to the back and see if teacher won't leave the red marker in the desk drawer that day.

Super Bowl time again? Whichever team is the first to pay for that big urban renewal project in the hosting city gets 10 bonus happy lucky points before the game even starts!

What about that grandest of all competitions, the Olympics? Have a big ice-skating competition coming up but you're getting cold feet? Why not pay your bodyguard to make sure the competion really "breaks a leg", if you get my drift.

...actually, scratch that last one. I think it's been tried.

Not cheating. (1)

Jack Johnson (836341) | more than 8 years ago | (#14858989)

It's a game.

If a person decides their time or enjoyment is worth more than the cost of gold or items let them do it. Considering just how much time is involved in these games where speed runs [wikipedia.org] are measured in days [kotaku.com], not minutes it certainly makes sense.

Both (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14859022)

It's cheating and a shortcut.

If gold were cheaper I probably would have bought some, but then I remember my $15.00/month cost of the subscription and realize it's just a game.

I pulled the plug today. No more WoW for me.

Re:Both (5, Insightful)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859174)

Bingo.

I'd go a step farther and say it's a sign of bad game design. If you, as a player, find yourself seriously thinking about paying someone else to play the game for you, that means that the game has stopped being a game and started being a chore. If I enjoy something, I'm not going to pay someone else to go enjoy it for me. But if it bores me, then I might be willing to pay someone to do it so I don't have to.

Is gold buying cheating? Almost certainly, in the same way that slipping someone $5 real world currency for Boardwalk would be cheating in Monopoly. There are rules that you're supposed to follow, and buying gold is breaking them.

But it's also a time saver. Instead of having to camp some stupid mob for hours on end to get your Jujitsu Gi, you instead pay someone to camp some stupid mob for hours on end, thereby skipping the boring part.

When a game has people willing to pay good money not to have to play the boring parts, that's a sign that the game has problems. Gold buying is both cheating and a time saver - and a sign of poor game design.

Lionel Hutz says... (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859065)

From a legal standpoint (IANAL) gold farming is completely unacceptable according to the TOS because no one is allowed to make a profit from Blizzard's software.

This is a very similar case to the recent Valve vs. Subway shenanegans where an ad agency showed virtual billboards in Counterstrike games. Valve sued them and won very easily.

Gold farmers are LUCKY to simply be banned from the game. They could be sued (if they reside in the same country as Blizzard, I suppose).

The obvious response (1)

ZombieRoboNinja (905329) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859069)

It's both a cheat AND a timesaver.

If I want to play in a world where the rich kids get all the cool toys without putting in any effort... I'll go outside.

Why I don't play... (1)

ucaledek (887701) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859083)

This gets at the heart of the problem I've always had for MMO's. One of the central parts of the game is making money. If the process is so little fun that people are willing to spend even more money to not go through it, then isn't that a poor design for a central game mechanic? Also, if you're paying for a game, subscription fees, and now at the very least matching those prices bypassing a large chunk of the game, how fun is that? It's like the satisfaction of beating games with god mode on. Sure you won, but you also missed 70% (those FMVs are so awesome they are the other 30% ha ) of the game.

Buying Gold Sucks (1, Insightful)

panthro (552708) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859100)

Cheating. Let's examine the primary arguments that attempt to legitimize the practice of buying gold rather than earning it in-game:

"I don't have time in real life to spend hours doing repetitive stuff to earn gold."
Sounds like impatient instant-gratification whining. There are lots of fun and non-repetitive ways to earn gold in most MMORPGs -- try to be imaginative (in WoW, try playing the Auction House or using roleplaying to sell goods or services). I have a full-time job as an engineer, a girlfriend I live with, and plenty of other commitments, and I earn enough in-game money in WoW to keep me interested. If you can't have fun without having the absolute best items all the time, then don't play.

"The real world is a free market and the gold had to come from somewhere."
Blizzard (and other companies) purposely didn't account for this when they designed the balancing mechanics of the game. Yes, the gold had to come from somewhere, but realize that when creatures and resources respawn infinitely, dedicated gold farmers can theoretically rack up infinite amounts of gold. The only difference between that and duping is the investment of time.

No more boar-skinning? (4, Funny)

orthogonal (588627) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859132)

I simply could not abide the prospect of skinning even one more level-10 boar.

But, but...

It was for the boar-skinning that I signed up!

Nothing beats sitting in the comfort of my mom's basement, skinning virtual boar! Every day, I thank God that I live in an age when the delights of boar-skinning can be achieved so readily.

Real-world tax implications? (5, Interesting)

Ritchie70 (860516) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859151)

I heard a piece on NPR a week or two ago about whether the selling of in-game items for real-world money creates tax consequences for everyone playing the game.

The IRS doesn't distinguish between "income" due to hobby and "income" due to work. If you make quilts for fun, but you sell them because you don't have room for any more quilts in the house, the money you get for the quilts is still considered income.

If you do something, and someone gives you an item with value (for example, a plumber fixes a painter's toilet, and is given a painting) the value of that painting at the time of the exchange is considered income.

If you play a game and get in-game "e-gold", and that e-gold has value outside the game (as it does in this case) then the IRS may well consider the e-gold taxable income in the amount it could be sold for in real world money - whether you actually ever sell it or not.

The NPR correspondent made a number of phone calls to the IRS, and the consensus was that the e-gold was likely taxable income. They suggested he file as if it were, and see what happens. He ended the piece saying that it wasn't going to be him who brought this issue to the IRS's attention in writing, and left it at that.

Re:Real-world tax implications? (3, Informative)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859568)

The IRS doesn't distinguish between "income" due to hobby and "income" due to work

Actually, it does, but both are taxed. If you claim "hobby income" you can deduct "hobby losses", but "hobby losses" can never exceed "hobby income", unlike business losses which can exceed income and reduce your tax bill.

Because of this, very few people use the hobby income rules, instead opting to just treat their hobby as a business if it is enough income that they are afraid the IRS might catch on.

IANATL (tax advisor), but I've been doing my own business taxes for years.

Neither cheating nor shortcut (1)

eyepeepackets (33477) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859153)

These games have broken economies; they are using the wrong economic model, imposing pseudo-scarcity where there is in fact no scarcity at all. It's the game design that's the problem, not the fact that users are finding ways of working around this annoying fact: Don't blame the users, blame the designers.

What's the solution? The Second Life folks seem to have a good one but I suspect it's not readily transportable to other types of worlds. Perhaps the solution for other types of worlds is to base the advancement of characters on something other than that which can be collected and transferred to another character: No gold or items, accomplishments only. Just an idea.

Happy Monday to all!

time IS money (1)

theStorminMormon (883615) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859179)

I could never compete at WoW (if I played) because I don't have time to run around leveling up. I have a wife, three jobs, an education. So I'm at a disadvantage because I don't have as much time to spend. Does that mean people who do spend more time than me are cheating? No - they just choose to allocate more time (resources) to the game. Good for them.

How is money any different? If someone wants to allocate more money (resources) to the game how is that any different from them allocating more time?

-stormin

Re:time IS money (1)

panthro (552708) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859285)

If someone wants to allocate more money (resources) to the game how is that any different from them allocating more time?

Because time spent playing (by the player, in real life) equals time spent by the character -- thus, the character is actually doing something to earn his or her money or items. Money spent in real life to buy gold or items is disjoint from the game (what did your character do to earn that gold or item?).

Re:time IS money (1)

theStorminMormon (883615) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859427)

How can I phrase this delicately... the character doesn't exist. The character doesn't do anything. It's just imaginary. We're on Slashdot, not some RPG WoW server so we can drop that facade right now.

The player either spent time playing the game or spent money buying gold. The availability of time to play WoW is just as disjoint from the game as the amount of real world USD available to buy virtual gold. One of the main reasons I don't play on-line RPGs is precisely this: it's obnoxious to me that I can't just sit down and play a fun game without some 12-year old who spends 4 or 5 hours a day coming around and squishing my character. Even if I'm smarter and a better gamer, even if I have more talent for the game it doesn't matter: the game gives preferential skills/stats/etc to people with an extreme excess of time on their hands (or no time management skills).

Remember that article about WoW teaching the wrong things? http://www.gamasutra.com/features/20060222/sirlin_ 01.shtml [gamasutra.com]

You're a perfect example of "1. Investing a lot of time in something is worth more than actual skill." If you're going to give out virtual gold to any idiot with 5 hours to burn then why not let any idiot with $50 to burn get some too?

-stormin

Blizzard's dilemma (1)

angrymilkman (957626) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859191)

Blizzard should enforce their policies more strictly to prevent the exploit of chinese farmers but on the other hand the guys that exploit these farmers pay for their WoW accounts.

Timesaver, definately (1)

Evangelion (2145) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859211)


One thing to keep in mind about gold sellers is that, even if you're repeatedly doing end-game content in a raiding guild.... you're usually NOT making much money.

Raiding in WoW costs money. Repair bills (especially while learning), consumables (the 2hour flasks cost quite a bit in mats, everyone needs stacks of greater fire prot and greater healing for MC, stacks upon stacks of mana pots for all the casters, etc, etc), not to mention the various miscellanious class costs (candles & other reagents, food for pets to keep them happy, etc, etc). It's not uncommon for raiding guilds starting out to be running a serious deficiet and have to spend time doing nothing but farming gold and/or mats. The alchemists those guilds are either buying the materials or have every single dreamfoil spawn everywhere in the world burned into thier skull.

So, there is farming being done for raiding. It's a fact of life. If you approach WoW as a hobby, then doesn't it make sense to outsource that farming?

Re:Timesaver, definately (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14859245)

B.S.

You can take 2 hours one night to 3-4 man BRD and earn all of your repair money back. I've done it myself. 100 Dark Iron residue (which drops like candy) sell for 1g.

It's just a way to get started for the friendless. (1)

ShyGuy91284 (701108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859277)

I'm no big-time MMORPG player (I have played a bit of EQ and Guild Wars normally, and dabbled in other games), but I think gold is a replacement for friends when you start out. When I first started playing Everquest, I was lucky enough to have a friend in the game, and found another person nice that helped me get decent money and weapons/equipment (some handed right to me). At least to me, others helping you get started seems incredebly useful. Now what if you didn't find anyone friendly and didn't have any friends in the game willing to give you some backing as a newbie? Well then your shit out of luck, and might buy gold to get stuff with. Be it from a friend or a store using money-bought gold, The end result of getting equipment easily is the same. And let's be realistic. Getting the first amounts of gold needed for decent equipment can be extremely tedious and IMHO is an easy way to drive players away, because they know there is so much more they can do, but are limited to getting the basics down first.

Cheating is defined... (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859295)

By the established rules.

Is buying gold banned in the EULA? Did you agree not to buy gold when you installed/logged on/set up a user account? If so, it's cheating.

Personally, I think people who buy gold are short-changing themselves of the full game experience. And if the game is too arduous, or too boring for them without buying gold, then they should be playing a different game, which might lead to more MMORPGs without the grind.

Gold-buying kills game economics for those who don't buy gold. It takes away any sense of achievement from the grind, making it more likely for others to buy gold.

Net net, gold-buying means that the gold-buyers are playing the wrong game, and the non-buyers are not getting what they paid for.

Shortcutting IS cheating. (2, Insightful)

sycomonkey (666153) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859310)

The whole point of MMO's is to try to achieve more things in less time than other people given the same opprotunities. This requires a combination of equipment management to achieve maximum stat-twinkery, money management, talent tree planning, investments and AH expertise, social networking, and farming. Purchasing gold with real money undermines the entire game, from both you and everyone else on your server.

It's both (4, Insightful)

AgentDib (931969) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859323)

I've never really understood the surprised indignation society seems to carry over the fact that there is a thriving real world demand for game characters, items and money. It's definitely cheating and it's definitely in violation of the EULA. It's far less malevolent than software and music piracy, however, and that has become fairly socially acceptable. Both are cases where people take the easy way to get what they want, but it's amusing to see people with 200 GB of pirated mp3's write posts complaining about people who are actually paying for what they want.

Buying gold is a fairly cheap entertainment investment. A stereotypical MMO gamer may pay $15/month for a single account and play about 20 hours per week. That works out to about $0.50 for a three hour play session. Compare that to $10 for bowling, $10 for a movie, $15 for dinner, $30-50 for a play, $50 for a sports ticket and it's easy to see why many gamers feel that MMO's provide very cheap entertainment. Spending $50 on gold every now and then still leaves them on the low side of recreational spending.

Most importantly, the argument that bought achievements mean less than earned achievements remains too weak to alter public behavior. A store bought rug certainly carries less "meaning" than a rug you made yourself, yet most people are unwilling to devote the time and effort to weaving their own rugs. Rug weaving is arguably more interesting than gold farming (some people choose it as a hobby in itself), yet most people still prefer to avoid the issue by purchasing one themselves. In the end, if we ignore the "cheating" aspect of gold purchasing, it is no different than paying a neighborhood kid to mow your lawn for you.

Gold purchasing is here to stay... as long as there are MMO gamers willing to deal in US dollars to acquire things they want. Because developers are paying attention to this it's probably only a matter of time before we see more systems like Sony's marketplace crop up. After all, why should companies let the gold farmers capture profit that they could be earning themselves? Beyond that, I wouldn't be surprised if it was only a matter of time until western MMO's are completely converted to the Free-To-Play microtransation models popular in asian MMO's. It doesn't take much imagination to invision a Star Wars Galaxies 2 where your character account is linked to a checking account, and you have the option to buy things from NPC vendors for either ingame credits, or out of game dollars - say $50 for 5 premium pearls and a unique hologram.

Re:It's both (1)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859437)

I think it's mostly just amazement on the part of the readers at the fact that people will play to *not* play a game.

Re:It's both (1)

Duct Tape Jedi (802164) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859570)

Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't Sony Marketplace only for Everquest2 and on certain servers? Isn't SOE now giving away Everquest2 for free? http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2006/02/15 [penny-arcade.com]

I bugs the crap out of me that I had to work my ass off for the 640gold to buy an epic mount that looks like a rat with horns, aka Alterac Valley ram, and some punk with rl cash didn't have to work for it at all. Yeah they work for the cash they spend on the gold but it is a game and should be kept seperate from rl.

If gold farming is here to stay then as much as I dispise what paying real life currency for virtual items in a virtual world I would much prefer companies go the route of Sony Marketplace where real life currency for items is only allowed on specified servers. Hopefully then players like me won't have to deal with it as much.

Heh (1)

keyne9 (567528) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859365)

Let the author of this article know what you think about this. He runs Game Politics.com [gamepolitics.com] and has asked for opinions on his actions (yesterday's news post).

Personally, I prefer the answer, "Find a new guild."

Cheating horrid game design. (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859368)

Yeah its cheating. Yet I see justification in it. The game designs foster the need for grinding, whether it is gold or experience.

WOW was close to getting it right with Bind on pickup items, yet many great items are not this way leading to a market. Since most of these items are random drops (world drops - % chance off anything in level range) it rewards those who have the most time to spend in the game.

Compare the cost to buy gold versus the time you would have to invest and for many people becomes a no-brainer. Most people I know buy these games to play, not to become a second job. There are many ways to combat the problem but it requires the designers to think outside the comfortable little box they live in.

Yeah its cheating, but only cheating because poor game design makes it viable.

...or just bloody stupid (1)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859410)

Why not just spend the $60 on a decent game that doesn't hide its content behind tasks so dull that people will pay to have them done for them.

So many MMORPG players seem to be able to produce these kind of almost convincing, hand-waving pseudo-explanations that almost justify why buying gold is OK: I think they are mostly trying to convince themselves.

Seems risky (1)

ecorona (953223) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859452)

If you purchase gold from say eBay, then you have to pay first. What's keeping the other person from keeping the gold AND your money? Please tell me it's more than just a negative point on their eBay account.

Cheating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14859456)

It's Cheating. You're playing outside of the rules of the game. I hate cheaters.

Could someone equate (1)

szembek (948327) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859495)

I have never played World of Warcraft. Could somebody please equate an average number of hours it would take to accumulate 500 gold units in the game? I just want to get a feel for the dollar to hour ratio people are paying for in game gold. Thanks.
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