Cash is King: The new rulers of MMOs
By Kei Beneza (dividelife), OnRPG Journalist
Poor King Varian-although one formidable king has also been beaten by the power of cold, hard cash. This is one of the biggest problems in the MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) scene today. Games like World of Warcraft, Warhammer Online and Lord of the Rings Online are still trying to fight it, but most MMOs have come to accept that it is inevitable crime and will continue to be practiced regardless of legalities.
Gold farmers are all around the world, but they are mostly found in China. Believe it or not, gold farming can be considered a real job and pays pretty well for minimal effort. Simply typing “gold” followed by the name of the game in Google will grant you a series of gold farming sites. From there you can pick between an array of gold packages depending on how much you want to pay. Believe it or not, some people pay more than $500 for gold, especially if the in game items they are interested in are priced high.
Since players value MMO money enough to pay for it, gold farmers are being mass recruited to produce more in game items and currency to support the vast amount of demand worldwide. In this video, you will get a glimpse of what a Chinese gold farming workshop is really like. Just like regular players, these individuals play and enjoy the games they farm in, while saving their hard earned gold for their next customer. This is a good example of a gold farming website, and as you can see, they have managed to cover more games than just World of Warcraft.
Other places to get gold?
Ebay has already become a gold trafficking service for Chinese gold farmers too, getting higher bids than the regular rate. Although the games involved are taking action against this activity, these companies always seem to find a way.
Exactly how do they do it so fast?
I managed to have a small chat with a Chinese gold farmer in our guild regarding their speedy gold farming strategies. Note that this player plays like everyone else. Raids, PVP, enjoying the game like most of us. It’s actually pretty hard to believe that someone who’s online helping Guild mates and doing raids is collecting more gold than we could possibly imagine. I mean, he was playing the game like everyone else, so what gives him the upper hand when getting gold? According to him, the best way to earn is to know just how high a certain item can be sold for. While other gold farmers still go for the traditional grind and hunt method, he says that selling crafted items during late hours lets him sell them at a higher price, giving him more time to play for himself instead of farming.
OnRPG: So, have you sold any gold to our Guild mates?
CGF (Chinese Gold Farmer): Nope…
OnRPG: No one’s interested?
CGF: Not really, I have to send the gold I’ve earned to my boss by depositing it to one of our Gold holders (Characters created to hold currency). After that, we’re free to play.
OnRPG: Are you still enjoying the game despite this heavy workload?
CGF: Of course! You see me online doing non-profitable deeds right?
OnRPG: Have you guys ever been caught?
CGF: No, not at all. The game bans our trial accounts that are used to promote our site, but that’s no biggie as we can just get a billion trial accounts to spam with LOL.
OnRPG: And you’re telling me that you have tons of farmers on every server?
CGF: Yeah, when I say it’s a workshop, I’m talking about a factory of gold farmers lol.
The bigger fish: ORLY?
If you think gold farmers are bad (in a legit point of view), I have something else that might make them look like saints after this next story. Meet Altair, a player who claims to have gained an advantage over other players by bribing GMs into giving them better items. Yes, that’s right, the GMs! GMs serve as the police of the MMO industry. Though they’re generally doing their jobs, you can’t deny that there’s a bit of dirt everywhere. Corruption is still there I suppose. I can understand if players bend the rules, but GMs? Another player who goes by the name of Del claims that some GMs groom players to win tournaments just to have a share of the prize money. A dastardly tactic if I may say so myself. Are they not being paid enough to do their jobs?
OnRPG: How much do you regularly pay the GM for gold and better upgrades?
Altair: It really depends, but it is definitely a lot cheaper than Gold farmers.
OnRPG: That’s a pretty shady tactic, getting a hold of higher power to achieve things. That’s cheating isn’t it?
Altair: It’s war! Everyone’s entitled to pull every gun from their arsenal. It’s fun, really.
OnRPG: Does it not ruin the experience? Personal guilt on cheating maybe?
Altair: It never really occurred to us, to be honest. We’re just playing the game. It’s not real life, so if they don’t have this power, sorry!
OnRPG: How did this GM bribery start?
Altair: GM *censored is a friend of my guild mate. After some planning, we managed to convince him to gear us up for the competition. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a sure win situation even with his help, but at least we’re there.
Apparently, crimes like gold farming aren’t the only thing that plaguing the MMO industry. Most MMOs have already given up on keeping up with the money business, giving birth to item malls to redirect the income to their respective games. In my opinion, this fad is impossible to stop as players will continue to find loopholes just as long as the possibilities are there. I for one think that gold and gear should be acquired the same way as everyone else (and I don’t mean through farmers lol). It’s not even something you can hold in real life… if it’s truly a game, then it should be treated like one. Go get your @55 on top the old fashioned way NOOB LOL.
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