By Rick Charbs, Onrpg writer
Gold farming has been an issue in MMORPGs since the very beginning of online gaming. Players who offer real money in return for in-game currency quickly unbalance the economy within the game, resulting in a harsher difficulty to retrieve items for the average player. Something has yet to be done to completely demolish this common, yet obnoxious issue although I have some interesting news to bear, and with that you can ask yourselves whether we are seeing any progress towards the disappearance of gold-farmers everywhere or not.
If you have been following the Free MMORPG scene lately, you may have come to realise the new features companies are beginning to implement, as the demand for them is soaring up high. Although 2008 was a slight disappointment in the field of MMO innovation, thing are starting to improve; slowly, but surely! Despite these innovations, we are still lacking to see completely unique elements in an MMORPG. Of course there are exceptions, but frankly the appeal to new F2P (free to play) MMORPGs is dying out.
Luckily for us, some F2P MMO companies are still focusing on the community and their game rather than revenue. Granted, they still need to make some money in order to be able to host their game and profit, though their priorities are much better organized than the majority of game companies. An example of this I have stumbled upon recently is Ingle Games Ltd., publishers of the MMORPG recently released in closed-beta, Chaos Online. I won’t be getting into details of this game’s function and such, though you can view the Chaos Online review here.
So what is so special about Chaos Online?
Without much knowledge of the game, you may be asking yourselves this very question. Well, first of all, as far as my personal opinion goes, I did not enjoy the game. It was decent in general, but it was definitely not made for me. It is special because of the continuous support and surveillance offered by Ingle Games. Various ongoing activities and events revolve around how players want the game to be; how you want your personal experience in the game to resemble. As farfetched as this may seem, they have accomplished just that. Without the use of a player-moderator system, Ingle Games has found many ways to ensure player’s aid in making the game enjoyable for everyone. The most interesting one that I have discovered is undoubtedly the gold farmer bounty hunting.
Basically, any player that locates and successfully reports a gold-farmer within the game, he or she will be awarded with 10% of the gold acquired by that particular gold farmer (…and the gold-farmer will clearly get banned). Now, 10% may not seem like such a large reward, but considering the fact that they are hired as gold collectors, they will have quite the sum in their inventories. With such a simple system at hand, almost everyone can take part in this bounty hunting, and this will ultimately result in the disappearance of gold farmers and of hackers within the game. We can only hope so, but it is a great step forward for free MMORPGs. What can be better than gathering riches from hunting down the rule breakers?
With gold farming being such an annoyance these days, I personally believe even an innovation such as in-game bounty hunting isn’t good enough to get rid of the industry. I don’t believe we will ever see F2P MMORPGs without gold farming influence. In countries such as China, gold farming is a large business, and a simple game company will not bring them down. Even so, I am very glad an MMORPG company has finally decided to offer rewards for helping their game reach a cleaner and more appropriate status for everyone to enjoy, and for that I give them my thanks. Gold farmer bounty hunting is a very creative idea, and I am sure it will catch on in many other games to come. That being said, P2P MMORPGs also have a long way to go, only that it is more likely they will be able to diminish gold-farmers faster than their free to play counterparts.
Chaos Online has brought a whole new standard in player moderation, and I hope this will teach other publishers out there that their loyal players are able to make a difference within their game. The one problem with being human beings though, is that we’ll probably be expecting something in return.