Interview With A Casual Gold Farmer
By Vincent Haoson (Vincenthaoson), OnRPG Journalist
Ah, Gold Farming, the ever so familiar pair of words in the MMO industry. We’ve seen them in a lot of MMOs and hated those large groups of spammers whose sole purpose in logging into the game is to say in the trade channel “WE SELL <insert game name here> GOLD AT AFFORDABLE PRICES!”
These guys are the larger-scale gold farmers whose reason for logging in is strictly business. They’re considered large-scale because these farmers have invested a lot of money in the people they hire and the hardware they use. Let’s face it, if you want to earn big by gold farming you’d need more than just one computer and one account.
Gold farm setup
The smaller-scale gold farmers on the other hand are actual gamers who want to earn a little cash through the MMOs they play. Mostly the small time gold farmers do this as a sideline and have work or school to worry about. I got a chance to talk to one such person and he was willing enough to share his story as a former gold farmer for MU Online, RF Online, Ragnarok Online and WoW.
Writer’s Note: the interviewee requested to withhold his name due to obvious reasons.
Vincent: Can you tell me your age and current work?
Anon: 23, turning 24 this year. I’m a Virtual Assistant/SEO Consultant. I do a lot of content writing, internet marketing research, niche research, social networking and social media optimization just to name a few.
Vincent: How did you start your gold farming business?
Anon: I started gold farming during my MU online days. I started with selling in-game items for real currency. I get about a hundred pesos (2 dollars) for the jewels I get which is enough to pay for six hours rental time in the café I play at.
Vincent: So you started gold farming to pay for your PC rental charges? What happened next?
Anon: Yup, after moving on from MU Online I looked for another exciting MMO. When I started playing I look for possible items that I can sell for real life currency aside from gold or in-game currency.
Players never have enough of it
Vincent: How do you do the exchange?
Anon: The transaction happens locally. I don’t do trades outside the city to avoid being scammed. If there’s a player who’s interested in buying from me I tell them to go to a café and from there we will do the exchange. It’s safer in a sense because if I got scammed I could just beat him up.
Vincent: However you also sold gold in WoW right? So how did you do business there?
Anon: Well, in WoW trade was made up of us guys in my previous company. It’s like an inside project in our company last year. I only forward the gold I have in my account to the head of the project and they’re the ones who do the selling.
Vincent: Can you explain how the WoW trade started? How did it prosper and how was it handled?
Anon: The president of our company, who was an American, saw the booming business of WoW gold selling and saw that it has income potential. He found out that there are a lot of WoW gamers in the company so he recruited us to play the retail servers. He gave us accounts and we just piloted his toons.
Vincent: How were you paid when you piloted for those WoW accounts?
Anon: Our piloting was considered overtime in the company. We got about 3-4 hours of playtime right after work so that basically explains why it’s only considered as OT.
Vincent: Was there contract between you and the company president for the piloting?
Anon: There wasn’t. It was only a verbal agreement between us and the president. Besides, we only play at our discretion so it’s up to us if we join in the sessions or not.
Vincent: Are you still gold farming in WoW? Are you still gold farming in the games you play?
Anon: I stopped playing WoW retail servers since I got fired from the company last year. I started playing on private servers for fun. As of now there are no decent MMOs that I’d like to gold farm on so I’ve been playing for fun these past few months.
Vincent: You mentioned earlier that you also used gold farm at other MMOs like Ragnarok Online. How do you do it there?
Anon: The case is different in Ragnarok Online. Unlike in WoW where its players only buy gold, Ragnarok Online’s market is both gold and items. Since I wasn’t much of a Ragnarok Online player I only farmed gold. The problem with RO is that the prices of items in-game are also so expensive that there are times when RO loads (in-game cash cards) were the only way to pay for our gold.
Vincent: So that means you don’t get a lot from gold farming?
Anon: Yep, that stories the same with my friends who also gold farm
Vincent: How do you farm in Ragnarok Online?
Anon: The process is simple; I log in, kill monsters for loot, sell the expensive loot for gold and then sell the gold for real life currency. I don’t use bots when I was still farming in RO then. I didn’t used bots because I was too lazy to look for one and set it up so everything I did in RO was done manually.
Multiboxing setup for gold farming
Vincent: How do you get buyers?
Anon: RO used to have a lot of gold buyers, there were chat rooms setup for gold buying even so it was easy for me then to find a gold buyer.
Vincent: So basically you just farmed on games that you wanted to play?
Anon: Yes, I wanted to enjoy my time in-game too.
Vincent: So what was the reason why you farmed gold?
Anon: I started gold farming before because I had a measly allowance so I looked for a different means to keep on playing. Hence I started selling gold with real-life currency so that I can play the MMOs I wanted to play.
Vincent: Did it ever occur to you the repercussions of what you did to the in-game economies of the games you played?
Anon: Yep, I knew then that farming would really destroy the game economy, like how piracy affects the music/movie industry, but I didn’t think about it so much because during my MU Online days I didn’t feel the effects of farming so much. However things changed when I played RF, the item prices skyrocketed and the purchasing power of the game’s currency was really low.
Vincent: So do you think you’d continue gold farming?
Anon: Most likely I won’t unless I get into the mood of selling gold again, but unlike before I won’t take gold farming too seriously now. Work and my girlfriend take priority so I don’t think I can really concentrate on gold farming.
As you can see, a player’s drive to gold farm is rooted more on personal reasons rather than just to earn money through playing MMOs. Small-time gold farmers won’t really stay for long due to various reasons however the effects of their actions will really leave a mark in the game’s economy long after they have done their small business.
The one question that was left was if it was all worth it. The only answer Anon gave me was a laughing smiley and that ended our little discussion.