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Taiwan Earthquake Disrupts Virtual Currency Market

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the no-christmas-gold-for-you dept.

The Internet 53

miller60 writes "Telecommunications outages from Tuesday's earthquake in near Taiwan have disrupted the market for virtual currency from MMORPGs, with market leader IGE and other major online sellers reporting inventory and delivery problems. The market for the real money trading of game assets is highly dependent upon suppliers operating 'gold farms' in China and other Asian countries. With Internet access from Asia limited, these suppliers are apparently having trouble logging into games to make deliveries of gold and accounts. Online markets for the sale of game assets have grown in recent years, despite heated debates about the practice among gamers."

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Pwned. (4, Funny)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#17398430)

Now THAT is how you wield the ban hammer.

Re:Pwned. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17400674)

best post on this forum ^^

Re:Pwned. (1)

mmalove (919245) | more than 7 years ago | (#17433794)

Like, nerf Earthquake.

Prices? (1)

El Torico (732160) | more than 7 years ago | (#17398476)

Has this affected the prices of virtual commodities in MMORPGs? If so, how and to what degree? I noticed that IGN isn't buying gold on any of the US or Euro servers that I checked; however, I don't follow MMORPGs, so this may be unrelated to the earthquake and telecom outage.

Re:Prices? (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#17398528)

Lot of commodity prices have tanked in WoW because of people shifting their characters to grind mode for the upcoming expansion, so I doubt you'll see much change there. Don't know about any others.

Re:Prices? (2, Funny)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | more than 7 years ago | (#17398534)

I think that would be a deflationary depression in traditional economics ... too few dollars to pay for goods and services leading to falling prices. Tell me, have you seen any unemployed avatars selling apples on street corners?

Re:Prices? (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#17398574)

Nah, because the gold farmers don't farm gold out of thin air...They farm materials, and kill creatures, and sell items...So while the gold supply drops, so does the supply of stuff to buy

Re:Prices? (1)

El Torico (732160) | more than 7 years ago | (#17398772)

I don't think that my thoughts came across in my first post. So, I'll re-state my original question - how has this affected the real-world prices of virtual commodities and currencies in MMORPGs?

I'm curious as to whether or not the lack of access by gold farmers in the Far East has increased the real-world prices of commodities and currencies. If so, it opens the door to the duplication of the effect by man-made events.

Re:Prices? (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#17400458)

Ahhhh, I'm sorry, I misunderstood.

I'd imagine that they spiked...I know IGE, for example, changes it's prices all the time, so I'd be surprised if they didn't reflect the growing scarcity. I wouldn't think it would affect the sale of characters, and I'd imagine for WoW, that the coming expansion has already knocked the bottom out of the sale of high level items.

Re:Prices? (2, Interesting)

Bandman (86149) | more than 7 years ago | (#17402252)

I thought of this too. Later on down the road, a large DDOS attack could send ripples everywhere.

Very interesting stuff here. I'll be watching more closely from now on, for sure.

Gold farming is a sign your game is broken (3, Insightful)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17398506)

I know the usually two camps of this argument is "Ban all the gold farmers!" or "Who cares?", but to me I don't care for the practice, but I don't blame the farmers.

I think it is a sign that the game is too tedious or that there are too many times sinks in order to actually play the game.

Collecting gold and loot should actually be the fun part of the game. Not the actually sitting around with your treasure or spending it on items that are required for you to have fun.

In games that require leveling, the disparity between players is quite large and a level 1 player can't see the same content as level 20 and the level 20 can't see the same content as players at 60. This is a discouragement for casual players who don't have the ability to spend 10+ hours per week in the game.

Personally, when it ceases to be fun I quit the game all together. It just isn't worth the effort or my money. While others (who have more money than they should) pay gold farmers to actually enjoy the game without effort.

Personally the last MMOG that I really enjoyed was Shadowbane because it was more about PvP rather than sitting around killing mobs to get to the next level and Shadowbane's leveling wasn't that grueling either and the power disparity between levels wasn't that huge.

But I still think Ultima Online has the best system of advancement with skills rather than levels and players were all pretty much equal in terms of time sinks. Sure there was gold farming, but to me killing monsters and raiding dungeons was just as fun as actually have property in the game.

Of course you could always craft items for a living which made things interesting too.

On a side note... There is a debate that the Taiwan earthquake has also caused a reduction in spam or botnets. I've notice an extreme drop in my levels on various email accounts and according to digg [digg.com] the number of tracked bots dropped from 500,000 to 400,000.

Of course it could be the influx of new computer or kids home for the holidays fixing their parents.

Re:Gold farming is a sign your game is broken (1)

techpawn (969834) | more than 7 years ago | (#17398618)

Try Guild Wars... 20 levels so you can play and walk away for weeks on end...

GW (1)

ConanG (699649) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399006)

Guild Wars was created with players like you in mind; casual gamers who don't spend more than a couple hours a week playing.

1) Max level is 20 and reached quickly.
- If you just want to PVP, you can create a level 20 PVP character with max stats and items.
2) Equipment isn't the biggest deal; you'll usually be strong enough for the next area by the time you get there as long as you do most or all of the quests along the way.
- Some people like to pay for extra rare items with nicer looking skins (same stats as regular equipment, though).
3) No monthly fee, so if you stop playing for a couple of weeks or months it's not like you're losing money.
4) Only at the highest levels of PVP does it matter which chapter(s) you own. PVP was designed so players can be competitive with any combination of chapters.

You should give it a try.

Re:GW (1)

drsquare (530038) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399436)

In every MMORPG article there are always people crawling out of the woodwork advertising Guildwars.

I think it's fair to say that Guildwars is the new Gentoo.

Re:GW (1)

ConanG (699649) | more than 7 years ago | (#17402374)

Maybe because most mmorpgs have similar problems that people keep complaining about...the same problems that ANet tried to address when they made Guild Wars?

I'm not a GW freak, I haven't even played it in several months. It just seems to be what a lot of people keep asking for when they talk about what they want out of an mmorpg.

Is it perfect? HELL NO! Hardcore, non-pvp mmo fans get bored quickly from the relatively small game world, and non-hardcore pvp'ers have a difficult time getting their skills to a level where they can compete at the highest levels of pvp.

Is it better for casual gamers than any mmorpg out there? Probably.

Re:GW (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 7 years ago | (#17404506)

I just didn't find the game itself compelling- the classes were poor, the fighting system wasn't interesting. Great concept, poor execution. If someone else gives it a try, they might get it right.

Re:GW (1)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 7 years ago | (#17405786)

I'm going to assume you never got into Guild Battles with a decent guild. Beyond simply having good communication skills, a team has to structure their build and tactics around the game mechanics. This is where the classes and fighting system work very well.

For example, one thing I've noticed is that they lend themselves well to a tension between a "balanced" or "specialized" team. If your team is too balanced (i.e. too generalized), your tactics will often not be extremely effective. On the other hand, too much specialization almost invariably leaves you weak to some type of counter-attack.

Gold farming is a sign your players are lazy. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17399084)

No, the problem is not that the game is "too boring" or "broken", it's that we have become so fucking lazy as a society that we are too lazy even to play "for fun". Everything is instant gratification, no planning or effort. Want an HDTV? Why save and work hard when you can buy it on instant credit, spending money you don't actually have? No-one knows the value of money, or effort any more, and buying virtual items is just an extension of that. Bought Need for Speed Carbon for the 360? Want an easy time? Buy the cars and upgrades for real money on X-Box Live - why play the game when you can spend real money to OMGWTFPWN people with your Tier 3 car instantly?

If MMOs have taught me anything, it's that in whatever sphere of life you are in, even one where every person starts out equal, there will be people who are just too fucking lazy to do anything for themselves. Witness the beggers hanging around cities on any WoW server you choose.

Utterly pathetic.

Re:Gold farming is a sign your players are lazy. (1)

HazMathew (207212) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399654)

HAH! Utterly pathetic is spending hours in a game doing the same thing over and over again to get money to buy the next 'uberleet' pixelated object. You ever think that some of those people that buy gold are the ones that have those things called "jobs" which keep them from spending hours a week farming and grinding to they can actually play the game? Id like to see a MMOG with no form of currency. What fun is "Virtual Reality" when you have to bust your ass working in it like real life?

Re:Gold farming is a sign your players are lazy. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17404624)

That's precisely the problem - the obsession with the uberleet pixelated object, getting it, and getting it as soon as possible. When I buy a game, I buy it to play it, not skip to the end. As a result I end up getting screwed in multi-player because everyone else is wasting real money on a non-existent car/sword/whatever. It's insanely frustrating to those of us who enjoy playing the game that these people ruin it for the rest of us. Never mind the constant spamming ingame from the people selling the gold.

I know you are all stuck in miserable jobs you don't enjoy, so it's probably escaped your reality TV-doped lives that just because something takes effort doesn't mean it isn't fun. I fucking love my job, and am equally quite capable of finding inventive and fun ways to earn the gold I require inside WoW. Your own failure to do so is a failure of your own imagination.

Re:Gold farming is a sign your game is broken (1)

Sodade (650466) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399632)

I disagree. In WoW, buying gold is a way to focus on the fun stuff. Instead of spending hours farming the mats for a flask of 2hrs raid uberness so you can progress in a raid, you buy the gold and get the flask wothout spending a huge amount of time. Time to fun ratio is higher then. Some people nejoy collecting gold, some don't. Buying gold lets you focus where you want to. And it is not like you can buy teh sword or uberness with your gold. Gear that can be bought is generally sub par.

Re:Gold farming is a sign your game is broken (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 7 years ago | (#17400974)

You're both right. If you have to farm gold, your game is broken. Being able to buy it is a patch that can make a broken game work for a while.

At any rate, this earthquake won't matter in 2 months- gold earning rates are way up in the expansion, so prices will drop due to higher supply. Which is a good thing- I'm unwilling to farm at current rates for my flying mount, and its a little to pricey to buy the gold yet.

Re:Gold farming is a sign your game is broken (1)

Sodade (650466) | more than 7 years ago | (#17401198)

Yeah, I bet that there will be a lot of gold flowing in the early days of the exp and we'll see much cheaper gold prices. I farmed my 1st epic mount on my main, but there is no way in hell I'll do that again - I'd rather be pvping or raiding thanks...

Re:Gold farming is a sign your game is broken (1)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 7 years ago | (#17401792)

Agreed. Gold farmers are definitely a sign that there is something wrong with your game. Of course Blizzard et. al will never REALLY do anything about them since they are paying accounts. Nor will the MMORPG companies ever remove the time sinks that cause the problem since that is what keeps people playing month after month. There's a reason why they make it take forever to run all over the world for your quests and you only get your mount at lvl 40 in WoW. Try timing it and adding up all that time.

Part of the reason I loved CoH so much was that they made the travel FUN. The game got you to missions quickly, had a great group finder and was a blast, except that it had nothing in it for people looking for cool items to show off their efforts and the powers were very limiting and all looked the same. Guarantee it would be a lot more popular if you could alter the particle effects for your powers as much as you could your costume.

These reasons are why I have high hopes for the Warhammer Online game. Taking the fun bits of WoW and removing the grind hopefully while making it much more PVP intensive.

Re:Gold farming is a sign your game is broken (1)

Thorizdin (456032) | more than 7 years ago | (#17402462)

The key point for many people is that time == money and money == time. I get paid to work and that takes a large chunk of my time in exchange. The same is true for most adults in the US. If I didn't work, I would have more time but less money to dedicate to gaming. Since I, and more importantly my wife ;) decided that I need to work I have the more money and less time scenario. Just as I pay a cleaning service to come by every 2 weeks and I am seriously considering getting a lawn service this summer, I exchange money to save time when I am not working. Its not about instant gratification, its simply being able to enjoy a game. I'm currently playing GW and a few FPS games so this isn't a huge issue for me, but I certainly understand why someone playing a long grind game might want a short cut or two.

Yawn (1)

$pearhead (1021201) | more than 7 years ago | (#17398576)

A real earthquake disrupts virtual currency market? Well, I guess it's better than a virtual earthquake disrupting a real currency market...

Re:Yawn (1)

SupremoMan (912191) | more than 7 years ago | (#17404840)

Which CAN happen.

Re:Yawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17405066)

Explain, retard.

Re:Yawn (2, Funny)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 7 years ago | (#17405814)

a virtual earthquake disrupting a real currency market

I think this is pronounced "Apple press release".

I am probably a HORRIBLE person for this but... (2)

Thansal (999464) | more than 7 years ago | (#17398606)

*insert a Nelson "HAHA" here*

I honestly dont' have much against the gold farmers themselfs, and I do feel bad about the people injured and those stuck with out communication, however I have to laugh at the tools that make this all possible, the people BUYING the gold.

Hey, "every one" complains about goldfarmers destroying the ingame economy, etc etc. however they wouldn't be able to DO that if it wasn't for the people buyign off of them.

and for those tools stuck with out their gold, I simply laugh at them :)

Re:I am probably a HORRIBLE person for this but... (1, Flamebait)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 7 years ago | (#17398820)

I find it hypocritical to criticize people who buy gold when you are shelling out money every month to play the game. You're already spending real money for in-game items through just paying the monthly subscription. So if I choose to spend a little more, because I can and it's not that big of a deal to me, then who are you to sit up there on that high horse and say anything about it? People like you probably ought to check why you feel that way. Is it because you can't afford to buy gold yourself? That's what I think. I think you're jealous. And I also think if you were a millionaire fifty bucks for WoW gold would feel a lot better than spending hours upon hours to FARM IT YOURSELF.

TLF

Re:I am probably a HORRIBLE person for this but... (1)

xappax (876447) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399412)

Is it because you can't afford to buy gold yourself? That's what I think. I think you're jealous.

In a way, you may be right. I think of people who spend RL money to increase their in-game power sort of the same way I think of people who use their extreme wealth to make friends.

On one hand, it's kind of sad, because it's likely that the rich person is either unable or unwilling to make the effort that most people do to develop a real friendship - like spending time with each other, listening to their ideas, sharing interests, doing each other favors - so they instead use their money to shortcut the process. There are plenty of people out there who will act friendly to you if you buy them expensive things and give them money.

On the other hand, it's frustrating and angering. This rich person is using this huge advantage they have in money to compensate for their inability to make friends, and that doesn't seem fair. Why should some rich asshole be incredibly popular, while nice folks like you and I are mostly ignored?

It's the same thing in games, only more so. You can argue that money makes the real world go 'round, and that it's inevitable that money will bring you favor in other areas, but people often play games to escape from that.

Many people play MMORPGs because they enjoy "being in a different world". Having people be able to gain power in the game by virtue of their RL wealth ruins the illusion that the game is truly a different world, where actions and efforts within the game are what determines people's power and influence.

Maybe the entire idea of a "different world", set apart from the influence of RL wealth is just a fantasy anyway, but I like the concept, and I hope that gaming communities can find a way to preserve it.

Re:I am probably a HORRIBLE person for this but... (2, Interesting)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 7 years ago | (#17400464)

Maybe the entire idea of a "different world", set apart from the influence of RL wealth is just a fantasy anyway, but I like the concept, and I hope that gaming communities can find a way to preserve it.


It is complete fantasy. RL wealth provides you time to play more often than people who have to go to work. Someone who can be at the computer 24/7 will always have an advantage over us poor schmucks who have to work. These games are inexplicably tied to real life, no matter how much you want them not to be.

So as far as gaming communities finding a way to preserve it, I don't see that any multiplayer online game in the history of games has ever preserved it. That concept becomes null and void the moment players can play in a persistent universe. Only in single player games does it remain preserved because there is no need to compare your own achievements to those of others. You can get lost completely in a single player game, as the ultimate hero or villain, because when you're in that world there is nobody else to compare yourself against as there are in MMORPGS. In a MMO there's always someone better, and you will almost certainly either run into them or hear about them somehow.

TLF

Re:I am probably a HORRIBLE person for this but... (1)

the dark hero (971268) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399472)

I'm sorry, but the monthly subscription is for server upkeep and so the people running the game get paid(thus allowing you to continue enjoying the game). That much has been understood since the dawn of MMORPGs. I think the problem for some players is that they have a sense of in-game ethics. It's basically a black market and i don't know about you, but i'd feel a tad conscious buying merchandise that "fell off a truck." Is it such a big deal that some people have a higher sense of justice? Besides, those of us that don't have the extra money flying around to waste on in-game gold prefer to earn our privelages and if you really were a millionaire i sure hope you'd find better things to do with your time than buying gold on WoW.

Re:I am probably a HORRIBLE person for this but... (1)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 7 years ago | (#17400392)

That much has been understood since the dawn of MMORPGs.


Until.. the Nightfall? Right now Guild Wars: Nightfall is out. You don't have to pay a subscription to play it. And people buy the currency. Hrmm. And don't give me the whole "yea but with Guild Wars you don't buy monthly fees, you buy expansions" bit. You don't HAVE to buy the expansions to play -- and plenty of subscription based MMORPGS release expansions as often as Guild Wars -- EQ2 for example.

TLF

Re:I am probably a HORRIBLE person for this but... (1)

mikkelm (1000451) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399838)

What I think is that you didn't think that reply through.

People pay subscription fees to keep the game running. There is no way of playing the game without paying these fees.

People who buy gold do so for selfish reasons. They want the action without the effort that honest players go through. This opens up a market for gold farms running bots 24/7 farming gold, driving down the market prices of commonly available goods, and driving up the prices of desirable items, and hurting the people who play the game ethically in the process. These people have to sell the items they can craft and loot at lowered prices, and buy their gear at hugely inflated prices.

These inflated prices don't exactly hurt the gold farming community, either. I'm all for rewarding time spent in a game, and if you spend 12 hours a day farming gold - go you. If you have bots running chars around in machine farms with the sole purpose of making profit for yourself at the expense of the health of the game economy that *people pay subscription fees to have access to*, you deserve absolutely no sympathy.

While it's evident from your post that you enjoy having enough disposable income to buy gold in MMOs, consider that most people, regardless of their social status, like to play their MMOs like they were supposed to be played. By people. Not bots.

Re:I am probably a HORRIBLE person for this but... (1)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 7 years ago | (#17400302)

People pay subscription fees to keep the game running. There is no way of playing the game without paying these fees.


Guild Wars. Enough said.

TLF

Re:I am probably a HORRIBLE person for this but... (1)

mikkelm (1000451) | more than 7 years ago | (#17400576)

The article is about MMORPGs, not CORPGs.

Guild Wars' economy is plenty messed up as it is, and if this is the only point from my post that you can address, why even bother? You brought up the subscription fees in the first place. There's no point in wasting a post to do nothing but backpedaling.

Re:I am probably a HORRIBLE person for this but... (2, Insightful)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 7 years ago | (#17402030)

You wanted a more detailed response, so here you go:

People pay subscription fees to keep the game running. There is no way of playing the game without paying these fees.
I mentioned guild wars, you said it wasn't an MMO....MMO vs. CO RPG.. Let's split some more hairs...

People who buy gold do so for selfish reasons.
People who play MMORPGS do so for selfish reasons.
They want the action without the effort that honest players go through.
They want to save themselves time because their time is more valuable to them than their money. This is none of your business.
This opens up a market for gold farms running bots 24/7 farming gold, driving down the market prices of commonly available goods, and driving up the prices of desirable items, and hurting the people who play the game ethically in the process.
Actually, you're wrong. Let's use WoW as an example, since it is the largest MMO in the world. In WoW bots get banned very quickly. So far, only real human farmers can pull off gold farming without getting banned. And these people are hardly hurt ethically. In the countries many of them live in the American dollar is still quite valuable. They manage to make some American money and probably do quite well for themselves. Secondly, you are wrong about the way this affects the in-game economy. Because everyone can sell their items equally nobody really loses out. Inflation does exist, but if anything it makes some parts of the game easier because there is more money in the game. Such as respecs. It costs 50g to respec once you hit the max amount. It used to be a lot of gold. Now it's not so bad. In some way we have the farmers to thank for that. Your points on the economical effects and their ethical impacts is largely irrelevant except for the respec factor. All the good gear is obtained through instance runs and raiding -- not through the AH. If you need materials you can farm them yourself, or as you have already said, buy them even cheaper now that someone else has taken it upon themselves to do it for you. If anything the gold farmers are making it easier for us.
These people have to sell the items they can craft and loot at lowered prices, and buy their gear at hugely inflated prices.
Explain to me why it makes sense that you can sell gear at lowered prices or buy your gear at hugely inflated prices? It sounds like you're saying the same gear sells low for one person and high for another, merely because the other person is a gold farmer. Absurd.

These inflated prices don't exactly hurt the gold farming community, either.
Nope, they don't. They don't exactly hurt any community except other gold farmers, which I imagine you wouldn't be against.
I'm all for rewarding time spent in a game, and if you spend 12 hours a day farming gold - go you.
Indeed.
If you have bots running chars around in machine farms with the sole purpose of making profit for yourself at the expense of the health of the game economy that *people pay subscription fees to have access to*, you deserve absolutely no sympathy.
Why would you? You know who else deserves no sympathy? The company who allows it to happen. Again, using WoW as an example: Blizzard has banned hundreds of thousands of accounts for using bots. I can't remember the last time I saw an actual farming bot in WoW. I see plenty of bots advertising their sales on the chat channels, and they get banned almost immediately. Poof, another free trial account is banned. There is only one thing Blizzard needs to do IMHO, and that's restrict free trial accounts from using the general chat function until their free trial expires. That should solve a good deal of the advertising problems.

While it's evident from your post that you enjoy having enough disposable income to buy gold in MMOs, consider that most people, regardless of their social status, like to play their MMOs like they were supposed to be played. By people. Not bots.

Yes, I've bought some items in game. In WoW and another Blizzard game. I've also sold them. I don't look at it as a bad thing, it's merely business.

And one more thing, let's talk about PvP servers. Guess how well a bot does on a PvP server? What few there are quickly find out that they are constantly getting killed by other players. In fact, so much so that they're completely useless for farming. So if you really have an issue with gold farmers, you might consider playing on a PvP server. Maybe even go on a crusade against them. If you can find any.

TLF

Re:I am probably a HORRIBLE person for this but... (1)

mikkelm (1000451) | more than 7 years ago | (#17404266)

You know, if I had known that a detailed reply from you would have been just as void of substance as the short version, I wouldn't have asked.

Yes, it is my business if they pay people to violate EULAs and break the market economy for their own gain. People play MMORPGs for their own entertainment, but that isn't by definition "selfish". Buying gold at the expense of other players' enjoyment of the game *is* selfish.

Bot farming is against most EULAs, and they are for a reason. An MMO economy is created and adjusted according to what the average player would get from going through the game at a normal pace. Bot farming yields gold in amounts several orders of magnitude above that. The game economy isn't tailored to handle that influx of money.

You argue that the game is "easier" because the fixed in-game costs are more financially accessible with more gold in circulation. Did it ever occur to you that the developers *wanted* these fixed cost services to be expensive to the player for balance or gameplay reasons? Apparently not.

The fact that my arguments about item value sound to you as they do confirms that you don't have much of a grasp on this element of MMOs. Let me give you a fictional example.

Normal game state

-Player craftable item - 30g - Intended market value
-Player lootable item - 20g - Intended market value
-Player fixed price service - 200g - Cost related to predicted average income
-Player high end item - 800g - Fair market value

Gold farmed game state

-Player craftable item - 20g - Value down due to farming and market saturation
-Player lootable item - 10g - Value down due to farming and market saturation
-Player fixed price service - 200g - Cost now unreasonably high for the average player
-Player high end item - 1500g - Price goes up as bots cannot farm high end areas, making the demand of these items high relative to the items that can be farmed by bots, and affordable only to dedicated players and people who buy gold.

In a virtual world where money literally does grow on the trees, the economy needs to be carefully balanced. This is practically impossible when gold farmers divert as heavily from the average player in terms of income as they do, and disallowing the use of bots all together is a pragmatic approach to this problem.

It's obvious that you like playing your games on the "easy" difficulty setting, and just coast right through, but MMOs aren't democratic by nature, and any behaviour causing the game to deviate from the intentions of the developers is really not something you can logically defend. If you don't like the pace of the game, find another one instead of messing it up for the rest of us.

Re:I am probably a HORRIBLE person for this but... (2, Insightful)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 7 years ago | (#17405596)

Well, you asked. Here's another one.

Yes, it is my business if they pay people to violate EULAs and break the market economy for their own gain. People play MMORPGs for their own entertainment, but that isn't by definition "selfish". Buying gold at the expense of other players' enjoyment of the game *is* selfish.
So, farming thorium at rich thorium veins on a 24/7 basis, forcing all other players out of the area because you dominate it, that isn't selfish? I mean, even though you're just farming it for 'in game' money, that's not different than a gold farmer? It's the same thing. You cannot expect players to not be selfish in an MMO just as the same goes for life. Except in life people are selfish for themselves and their extended family which is an extension of themselves. And of course their friends and other social structures. You'll find players who aren't, but don't expect that to be the norm.

Bot farming is against most EULAs, and they are for a reason. An MMO economy is created and adjusted according to what the average player would get from going through the game at a normal pace. Bot farming yields gold in amounts several orders of magnitude above that. The game economy isn't tailored to handle that influx of money.
No, the economy is not tailored. It adapts. You are making a mistake if you think a game economy will ever be free of the same vices as a real economy. Artifical impositions on the economy by the company who runs the game will never work. They simply, logically, cannot do anything about it. So I guess all I am saying is get used to it, because it's here to stay. If you can't beat em, join em.

In a virtual world where money literally does grow on the trees, the economy needs to be carefully balanced.
Last I checked money grew on trees in the real world too. It's call agriculture.

Normal game state

-Player craftable item - 30g - Intended market value
-Player lootable item - 20g - Intended market value
-Player fixed price service - 200g - Cost related to predicted average income
-Player high end item - 800g - Fair market value
Haha. "Intended market value". That's a good one. Really, come on, it's not even reasonable to assume it is possible for a company to control the market like that without, like I mentioned earlier, artificial impositions. Which would destroy the immersion factor. Across various WoW servers items go for different amounts, even though they aren't farmable by gold farmers. But wait, OH NOES, they aren't all at the "intended market value." You act like you have a grip on economical theory. I don't see it.

It's obvious that you like playing your games on the "easy" difficulty setting, and just coast right through, but MMOs aren't democratic by nature, and any behaviour causing the game to deviate from the intentions of the developers is really not something you can logically defend. If you don't like the pace of the game, find another one instead of messing it up for the rest of us.
This is why I play games like Doom 3 on Hardcore? Games like Halo on Legendary? Don't act like you know me.

As far as a game deviating from the intentions of the developers, I can easily logically defend that. An MMO is an amorphous dynamic entity. The developers pick a starting point and say "GO" and the game evolves. Aside from them fixing things which would abort the evolution and development of the game, such as rampant hacking and cheating, the game largely takes a course defined by the PLAYERS, not the developers. If the players don't like the game, it doesn't exist. The developers merely have to find a state that agrees with the playerbase and expound upon it, as they have done and continue to do with games like World of Warcraft.

TLF

Re:I am probably a HORRIBLE person for this but... (2, Funny)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 7 years ago | (#17400202)

Is it because you can't afford to buy gold yourself? That's what I think. I think you're jealous.

You've got it backwards. MMOPRGs are contests to see whose time is the least valuable. Hiring a gold farmer is cheating.

Re:I am probably a HORRIBLE person for this but... (1)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 7 years ago | (#17400354)

Well Blizzard definitely sees it as cheating. Though I imagine Blizz makes a pretty penny on the accounts these gold farmers buy. Each time a farmer advertises on the two realms I play on they get reported by the players. Blizzard then bans that account for good. Bang, Blizz sells another copy of WoW.

Seems pretty good for Blizz doesn't it? Seems like maybe that's the only reason it's not legal to do. It's good business for Blizzard to make it illegal. There are numerous other games where it is not illegal and in some is in fact supported. Hmm.

TLF

Re:I am probably a HORRIBLE person for this but... (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399378)

however they wouldn't be able to DO that if it wasn't for the people buyign off of them

The most lucrative strategy for gold farmers is now key loggers installed via Active X plugins. They aren't honest people, they do not respect other players. However much you'd like to transfer the blame to their market, they are still vermin to be exterminated.

Of course, the ultimate blame rests with Blizzard, as they can track every transaction in game, and can punish every person who buys gold once the source account is identified. But those players seem to avoid the ban hammer, because, after all, they're still paying customers, and boy are they willing to pay.

God no... (1)

sgt.greywar (1039430) | more than 7 years ago | (#17398614)

Now Wow addicts will have to either work for their gold or do something else! The Horror!

Quake V (0, Offtopic)

Dasupalouie (1038538) | more than 7 years ago | (#17398674)

I think its a sign from god

Opportunity knocking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17398826)

This is a great opportunity for companies like Blizzard and SOE to correlate login times with the earthquake and then investigate the accounts that pop out. Most of them will be gold farming accounts that can then be banned.

Re:Opportunity knocking (1)

Thansal (999464) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399036)

I kinda doubt that they would need to do anything like that (and I hope they do not as it would create a large number of false posatives).

If they wanted to rid themselfs of gold sellers I bet they could. The way(s) I would go about it are:
1) Watch accounts that tend to transfer gold around alot (specificly where they tend to transfer to large numbers of people, and rarely, if ever, recieve items back).
2) Pull chat logs on these watched accounts.
3) Create a search that will find common strings related to the sellign of gold.
4) Start dropping the banhammer.

Now, why don't they do this? To many of their customers like the ability to just buy gold, and they really would tick of a very large user base (as well as lose the profit from the large numbers of accounts that the farmers have). It just isn't proffitable for them to ban em.

People will ofcourse bring up the peopel that quit over thigns they don't like in a game, the only problem there is that there is no OBVIOUS direct effect of farmers, the only thing you are likely to see are inflated prices of items in the AH, as opposed to cheats that let you do blatently wrong things.

Re:Opportunity knocking (1)

Killjoy_NL (719667) | more than 7 years ago | (#17405074)

1. the gold transfers are spread over many accounts to make them less suspicious
2. I don't think that they keep chatlogs of all ppl, maybe only the suspicious ones
3. They are working on that, they have an internal spamfilter, but it isn't working well just yet
4. They do drop the banhammer often, last week they banned 105000 accounts for the good of the honest players.

It is profitable to ban misbehaving miscreants from the game to please the game experience for the honest customers.

Re:Opportunity knocking (1)

Thansal (999464) | more than 7 years ago | (#17408530)

1) They can only spread it so far, admitedly with the going price of gold on IGE (well known gold sellers) it looks like they need to sell 100 GP a month to support between 2 and 5 accounts ($30-$80 for 100gp looks like a going rate), pluss the set up fee for the CD Keys for each acocunt. Also remember that I said account, not player. People do not transfer GP via mail to random other accoutns that often, and they would have to have a larger then normal amount of these transfers.

2) They DO keep chat logs, how else do you think they check reports of harrasment?

3) I havn't seen this spam filter, but I have been outta the game for a month :P

4) Most of those people were probably cheating (Fishbot, glider, etc), not gold sellers. If they banned that many gold sellers/farmers I would expect to see Gp selling for alot more then $30 on a medium pop server (frostmane, where I used to play).

And there is the other note:
miscreant behavior. Farmer accounts are doing nothing wrong (unless they are botting)

Virtual goods for real money = new economy (2, Insightful)

Thorizdin (456032) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399270)

Its interesting how many people decry the evil of buying and selling virtual assets with real currency. Its also equally interesting how the multi-national companies that run the games, who generally claim to oppose the practice, are unable to stop or even slow it. Despite PR campaigns and well publicized, but ineffective, mass bannings nothing has slowed the growth of these services. I personally believe that the gaming companies are quite happy with the current situation, does anyone really believe that WoW would have over a million subs in China if it weren't for gold farmers? I think not. At the same time this underground economy allows for an additional path for in game advancement, one that suits people with more spare money than spare time, a condition common among working professionals who want to continue gaming but don't have the 30+ hours a week that they had in college to devote to gaming. I'm sure the gold farmers are also pretty happy, both the workers and the business owners.

Which would you rather do, build furniture on an assembly line in Shanghai or grind in WoW/CoH/EQ/SWG/$fav_mmo for gold and items? This isn't to say the practice is free of flaws or negative impacts, but I'd say its better for gaming as a whole because it allows far two different vertical markets to be engaged and allows the third (people who enjoy time spent grinding) to stay in the game. If the unofficial pressure valve (short cuts) didn't exist I'd imagine that the content would have to be changed to stay relevant, and that would upset a large number of people who like the repetitive and predictable nature of these games. I've noticed that, in general, companies like to have more customers rather than fewer. :)

Clouds (1)

Ribbo.com (885396) | more than 7 years ago | (#17407478)

Turns out every cloud does have a silver lining. WoW recently proudly announced over 100,000 account banned worldwide but I don't see this as being very relevant as most of these were surely 10 day trial accounts just used for spamming the various gold sites.
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