Gaming and Money

27 01 2009

Gold farmers
Nowadays, the relationship between games and money isn’t as simple as game developers selling games to earn money. Ever since MMORPGs appeared on the internet, and with popular games such as World of Warcraft, many ‘gold sellers’ started to emerge in the game. These ‘gold sellers’ also known as ‘gold farmers’ are people who play a game, but not to have fun. They have another motive. Money. MMORPGs have evolved into a money-making tool.

Screenshot of World of Warcraft, a well known MMORPG

Illegal gaming services
They usually try to get as much in game currency (commonly known as gold) as possible; they also try to obtain the extremely rare items, such as weapons or armors. Afterwards, they will try to sell the ‘gold’ and items on online marketplace, like eBay, for real life currency. Another service related to gaming and money is power leveling. Power leveling is a service that levels up an in-game character to a certain level after a fixed time. However, this service is also very costly.

RPGstash.com, a website that provides illegal services like gold selling and power leveling.

RPGstash.com, a website that provides illegal services like gold selling and power leveling.

Fixing the problem
With websites dedicated to provide such services like RPGstash.com, the problem of gaming and money is becoming more severe. These websites usually spam inside the game to advertise their illegal services. The advertising messages are against the rules of the game, and are very irritating for honest gamers who do not require such services. Blizzard, the developer of World of Warcraft, is now suing the companies that are providing illegal services in the game. Blizzard has also added some countermeasures in the game to block out the advertising messages, and to detect the gold farmers and ban them from the game.

A poll from the About.com forums.

A poll from the About.com forums.

Why break the rules?
Some gamers do not have the time to play a game all day to train their character to a required level. Therefore, they pay others to do power leveling on their character. At times, paying someone else to do the job may be even cheaper than doing it yourself because of the high amount of money to be paid monthly to play the game. Paying a professional to level up a character takes much lesser time and in turn, it saves on the monthly subscription fees. Acquiring a rare item can sometimes take weeks, or even months, this is why people are willing to pay a little extra to get the item they want.

guildbank.com selling WoW weapons ranging from $84.99 to $49.99

guild-bank.com selling WoW weapons ranging from $84.99 to $49.99

Dishonest gamers
Buying gold/items or power leveling with real cash is a very unfair thing to do. Other gamers who do not make use of such illegal services are at a disadvantage because they don’t have the aid from the professionals. Buying gold or items can also be considered as a form of cheating, as not much work is needed to obtain the extra gold or items compared to getting the gold/items manually.

Warhammer Online, another MMORPG infested with gold sellers.

Warhammer Online, another MMORPG infested with gold sellers.

The reactions
The game publishers have been trying to eliminate these problems. For example, Sony have successfully removed the in-game items for sale at eBay. Blizzard have also warned gamers about the policy against gold/items selling, and players who fail to listen will be banned.

Conclusion
The problem of gaming and money will become worst over the years. As more and more games are being developed, more of these new games are being targeted by gold farmers. Unless the game developers do something serious to eliminate these cheaters, this problem will continue to exist throughout many MMORPGs.

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15 responses

29 01 2009
Pauline

I never knew that paying real cash for golds and gems are illegal. however, i don’t see this as a huge problem, if both parties are willing to engage in such trades, why not? afterall, both gamers stand to gain.

29 01 2009
sjj1991

it is illegal within the game, but not illegal outside the game. using real cash to buy items/gold is unfair to other players who do not use real cash. if a player wants gold/items, they should trade within the game, and not use real cash. for example, trading some in-game gold for a rare item is perfectly alright.

30 01 2009
blogscapes

Well, another case of the corrupting influence of money, or the unfair use of money. Isn’t gaming for fun? Well, it certainly doesn’t look that way anymore.

Quite an interesting insight into gold farming and some of the legal consequences of it. You have included some screenshots – why not post links to the direct sites so that we could access them too?

30 01 2009
blogscapes

You mentioned that ‘Unless the game developers do something serious to eliminate these cheaters, this problem will continue to exist throughout many MMORPGs’ – so what do you suggest they do?

30 01 2009
sjj1991

i have added links below some of the screenshots 🙂

things that the game developers should do are under Fixing the problem and The reactions part.

30 01 2009
Nan

Quite an interesting piece of information. I never really heard of such trades within the game. This is the first. I think as long as the parties know what they are doing and are aware of the consequences, it shouldn’t really be a problem. However I am not encouraging such acts either.

31 01 2009
sjling

I have friends using money to play game which I find it rather ridiculous. Why not save the money? To me spending money on the virtual world seems to be throwing money to the sea. Because when you get sick of the game, you quit and leave the character there. So why spend so much money on the character?

31 01 2009
sjj1991

@Nan
although it doesnt really causes problems for the players, it will cause a big problem for the game developers. many of these trades can be scam, especially power levelling because the other party needs the account information. it is also quite impossible to catch the culprits in the virtual world.

@sjling
yea, i agree.

3 02 2009
Raffizah

“They usually try to get as much in game currency (commonly known as gold) as possible; they also try to obtain the extremely rare items, such as weapons or armors. Afterwards, they will try to sell the ‘gold’ and items on online marketplace, like eBay, for real life currency. ”

I don’t see this as a huge problem trying to earn as much game currency as possible while playing the game. However, I think it is not necessary for them to sell what they have earn in the game for real life currency. I realised that they are even buying and using cheat codes just for the sake of the game. I don’t understand as to why they are doing all this when it is just a game.

Raffizah

4 02 2009
newera-edu

I do not see any wrong with paying money to buy an account or ask someone to help you gain levels in the game as long as both parties are ok with it.
But i have also seen some people getting cheated ,both their money and their account.
I think that this problem will remain for a long time because everytime i hear about a game having restrictions and will block off people that cheat but at the same time i will hear people talking about hack codes available .

4 02 2009
Kiang Hua

I think its perfectly fine to sell things that you have gotten in the game. Like you have said, some people do not have the time to play as often as others do.

If they are willing to make the sacrifice then why not?

I think its a really smart way to make some extra income.

5 02 2009
sanjeev

I think its perfectly fine to sell things that you have gotten in the game.If they are willing to make the sacrifice then why not?

I think its a really good way to make some extra income.

5 02 2009
junjiang

it might be fine to sell things but theres a sense of pride among gamers if u gain a particular item and boosts ur online ego.

Selling items or gold like this diminishes the whole cycle and people might start to wonder if u ebay-ed ur account or did u realli get that item the proper way.
In a way it is killing the game as there isnt as much satisfaction as before.

6 02 2009
dian

personally,i’m not much of a gamer.
So i think that its fine to earn and sell things in this manner as it serves as an extra mode of income.

dian(:

2 06 2009
Alan

NO GOLDSELLING!

If Goldselling would be legal, this would happen: $$$$$$$$

Blizzard will see a new way of earning money from world of warcraft.. They should sell the gold themselfs, they don’t even have to farm it themselfs, they can ‘Give’ / ‘Create’ money,

and then sell it to the players who want to give real life money for it. That would be a real push-back for the ordinary gamer who just wants to play the game like it is without the extra’s.

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