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 WAR  Bans Over 400 Gold Farming 'Lowlifes'
WAR Bans Over 400 Gold Farming 'Lowlifes'
September 23, 2008 | By Leigh Alexander

September 23, 2008 | By Leigh Alexander
More: Console/PC

"I HATE GOLD SELLERS WITH EVERY FIBER OF MY BEING," writes Mythic Entertainment co-founder Mark Jacobs on his blog -- caps lock his, after the statement typed plain was "not strong enough."

"Iíve been waiting for the day that WAR launched so I could have the absolute pleasure of instituting policies to make their lives more difficult so we could drive them out of WAR," says Jacobs.

Jacobs says that since Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning launched on September 18, "we have been banning these jerks like crazy. As of Saturday night, we had banned about 400 of them."

He says WAR has a "strike team" dedicated to removing gold-selling spammers from the servers quickly, and even employs a "public ban message" that gives users a special message to let them know whenever a user has been banned.

"We will continue this policy and expand it to the other servers. We are in for a real fight against these bottom feeders, and it will be a long and costly battle but itís one we are going to take to them and this is only the first step. After all, this is WAR," says Jacobs.

He also says gold sellers have offered him "a piece of the action both personally and corporately" to "turn a blind eye or help them in their actions," and that he told them to "go to hell."

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Stephen Panagiotis
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If my toes had thumbs I'd be giving four thumbs up in their efforts.

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Hell yeah! This is exactly what needs to be done so that the game is about playing the actual game, not about how much money you can pour into buying yourself unfair advantages. I'm sure Blizzard doesn't care because they have over 50% of the entire MMO market share, but something like this would make me change away from WoW...if I hadn't already dropped it.

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Turbine has done an excellent job taking these punks out of LotRO. Early on, you'd get spammed by several different farmers in lots of areas, using both the public channels and peronal tells, and the reporting mechanism required about a minute to fill out the form. Now you just right-click on their name in the chat, and click on the gold-spammer option. They're instantly reported + added to your ignore list. The only place you really find them any more is hanging out in Bree. Also, trial accounts can't send you personal tells without your permission now. It's really a terrific place to play, and Turbine handled it all very well. Hopefully more games take the same approach.

When the success of a game is measured by how proliferent the gold farmers are, you know something's wrong. :)

Fred Brunet
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Cool feature, so glad to hear that.

Now what about delivering an interesting gameplay on WAR ?

Michael Black
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I'm all for putting the ban on the gold farmers, but come on... Jacobs' "Iíve been waiting for the day..." quote makes it obvious that he has a bit of a dick size issue.

Just ban them and move on.

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Well I'm all for banning gold farmers, mostly because of their annoying habit of spamming the chat windows with their sales pitches. But the public banning notices will probably go away at the first law suit. While I'm sure that many players like seeing who was banned for what, this idea is poorly thought through and not good CS or really good for the community. Actions against accounts should be a private matter between the player and the company. Sorry Mark, points for focusing on spamming gold farmers; negative points for publicly announcing bans.

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>> But the public banning notices will probably go away at the first law suit.

Law suit? Are you serious?

Kenneth Stojevich
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YES, that is great. Now if I had time I would love to open up my CE and enjoy the game, but damn this crunch.

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutraís Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Joshua McDonald
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In answer to Osama Dorias. The largest problem is the way it messes with the game economy by driving prices up on every item (except those which the gold sellers farm for). It screws up the buying/selling for legitimate players and forces them into certain playstyles (i.e. mining runs in WoW) to get enough money for anything.

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I don't support gold farming at all. However, banning gold farmers is an uphill, futile effort. Why? Because gold farming is something your customers want - your paying subscribers.

Banning gold farming is like Prohibition. It will never be effective as long as there is a demand for it. And much like Prohibition, the costs of maintaining such an operation will eventually grow beyond the perceived benefits.

The fact that gold farming exists reflects a great flaw in MMO design. If there is a tangible, tradeable resource that makes a significant impact on the game and isn't easily attainable through legitimate means, illegal RMT will always exist for it, regardless of any attempts to stifle it through the EULA and policing. These policies described, while clever and amusing, amount to little more than the war on drugs campaign of the 80s and 90s.

The real way to stymie the surge of gold farmers is to make acquiring gold something that isn't a chore and a grind to attain. Make it fun and accessible - this is a game after all. Regular policing is still essential, but if there is no demand, the supply dries up as well.

Chris Ringrose
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It's my understanding that a lot of these gold farmers are from China and other third-world countries. They're desperate for cash to make a living.

Gold farming should be stopped, yes. But be a little compassionate.

Ken Nelson
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"The real way to stymie the surge of gold farmers is to make acquiring gold something that isn't a chore and a grind to attain. Make it fun and accessible - this is a game after all. Regular policing is still essential, but if there is no demand, the supply dries up as well."

A problem I can see is that if there's no real challenge to getting in game currency (legally), then wouldn't that be just as bad? With easy access to the money, wouldn't everything inflate anyway?

Need to find a good juggling act between ease of getting the money & being challenging enough so that its not a money fountain or that getting an certain item via purchase isn't inconsequential.

For some, it IS the grind. Maybe some wnat to imagine their character doing the Treasure Bath scene from History of the World, Part 1 after grinding for their riches.

Fun, yes. Accessible, within reasonable limits.

Joshua Nugent
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I enjoy the fact that WAR is doing a great job in taking out gold spammers/farmers. It's annoying to be in large towns trying to find people when all you see on your screen is "19.99 BLOW OUT SALE! WWW.CHEAPGOLD.COM!" (b'.')b Good job guys.

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gold farming isnt a problem.

Why alienate your two biggest demographics? the kid with nothing better to do than play video games all day and the working professional with only a few hours a night. just provide a mechanism so that gold sellers dont have to spam and keeps people from scamming each other and bam, annoyance solved.

yes, that will open a whole bag of worms with taxes and property rights: make taxes the gold farmers problem, make it clear that everything is still owned by you, ensure every transaction is under the understanding the gold buyer is just paying for the service etc.

Shannon Buys
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Everything I read about these guys makes me feel they have the right approach.

Seriously, if you don't think that gold farming is a problem, then your only interaction with MMOs was probably not as a player. Gold Farmers, whether they're poor underprivileged workers or not, completely ruin a game for players. They destroy the in game economy and create an imbalance that throws normal players into having to catch up constantly. Not to mention their impact on gameplay with botting as well as account stealing. It's also more than likely the guy who only has limited time to play who will suffer for it, not the kiddie who has all day, since as far as I've seen, the kids are the ones spending the most money on gold and leveling services with mom and dad's cash. Not to mention their impact on gameplay with botting as well as account stealing.

Secondly, it's not the poor underprivileged 3rd worlders who are making any money out of it. They get a pittance, most of the money goes to guys who are running a business from their basement somewhere in the west.

These guys are jerks and absolute leeches on the industry. More MMOs need to take actions like this.

See you in the old world, I'll be the one cheering every time I see the ban message.

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farmers dont destroy the economy, they ARE the economy. generally, you cant sell the items on ebay, people want the gold because it is modular, so half the spamming a gold farmer does goes unnoticed because its exactly the same spam a regular player puts out, that spam even goes away in games with a good auction house function. gold farmers produce items that wouldnt have otherwise been on the market and their competition brings the price down. tell me which type of market is more enjoyable to play with: one with everything available for a relatively consistent price or one that you have to spam all afternoon for fruitlessly and all items are horrifically over priced.

no one HAS to catch up on account of gold farmers, bracket pvp if you must, but dont just blame Teh Farmars and wallow in the situation.

bots? someone likes your game so much that they are willing to BUY 40 copies? so what if theyre on 24-7, theyre paying, if thats hitting your servers too hard, you have 40 subscriptions to help you upgrade your networks. bots arnt talkative? who cares, theyre shootable, let the player base chew on them. hell, implement an ingame botting mechanism, as long as the account is going to be playing itself, it may as well be done from your servers to save the bandwidth.

again, most importantly, put a mechanism in that prevents scamming and allows people that want to sell their gold to do so without spamming. I want to see those annoying whisper bots go away as much as you do, but its not going to go away with the ban stick.

Shannon Buys
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Warhammer online has never 'required' gold-farming, in fact far from it.

Back up your statements with some logic or evidence next time.

To the guy who says goldfarmers don't ruin an economy. Let me explain it.

- Gold farmer sells a large amount of gold to a player for real money. That player hasn't worked for that gold or spent time getting it, they have no qualms spending it left and right on whatever they want and they can afford much higher prices than the normal players.

- Other people realize they can get silly amounts of money for items because the guys who buy gold will pay it. Thus prices increase. We get inflation.

- The normal players can't afford anything anymore because everything is sold at 'gold farmer' prices. When you see stuff being sold on the auction house for 3 times more than you can afford and somebody buys it... thank gold farmers. It works in a similar fashion to inflation in real economies. (Hint: If you think the government giving away lots of free money to everybody is a good idea, you're probably not going to understand this.)

Second, botting. MMOs are a social activity. I don't want to get to a spot to quest and find 5 bots mindlessly running around killing mobs. I want toons with real live people behind them that I can group with, PvP against and quest with. I keep seeing bots, I stop my account and go to a game that has real player running around the world.

Lastly, the whole gold selling/power leveling industry leads to other stuff like account hacking, do some research into the recent spate of account hacking that WoW went through before you start spouting of ideas on how Gold Farmers are all cuddly and wonderful for the economy.

Lastly, if you don't have the cajones to post with a name other than 'Anonymous' then don't post.

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I dont see why it matters, anonymity doesnt detract from my points.

First, gold farming doesnt go "find gold, sell for money". It goes "find item, sell it for gold, sell gold for real money". This is a very important difference, as it brings a huge amount of new items into the economy, making them readily available for all players, especially those that don't buy gold. This flood of items devalues them. If you didnt have gold farmers that NEED to get their goods sold TODAY to meet their quota's, you just have a bunch of people sitting around with a flock of mules that couldn't be bothered with haggling over the rusty dagger someone wants.

Without farmers, the extremely rare items would be rarer, so not only would they cost more, but most people wouldnt even want to part with them for anything anyone had to offer. gold farmer prices are at a discount, they want their items to move so they are consistently the cheapest.

"When you see stuff being sold on the auction house for 3 times more than you can afford and somebody buys it..."

Well I must say I got a good laugh out of this one. If you see an item being sold, its sold for whatever the seller wants it to be sold for. If someone buys it, they agree with the price. Who are you to tell the seller to give you that item for 1/3 price? Why not demand it for free? Or maybe everyone should just receive all items at character creation?

Now for bot competition; there are only so many people who are going to want to talk to you online at any given time. Whether it is you and 5 talkative real people in an empty field or you, 5 talkative real people and 30 bots is irrelevant socially.

Other players hogging all the mobs? Welcome to mmorpgs, that sort of "player interaction" is what you are paying for: competition. So go on, compete, its not a pretty chat room.

Power leveling is a completely different animal than gold farming. Giving ANYONE your password is inviting disaster. especially buying an account from someone, who on a whim can reclaim the account.

Again, put a mechanism in place that allows gold to be bought and sold in dollars and scammers CAN NOT operate.

Jaco van der Westhuizen
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The way I see it, the problem is that when you are buying gold/items with real money, you are paying for nothing. The company who created the game could flood the market with infinite amounts of cheap/free gold, but they realize that this would ruin the game. The gold farmers do something along the same lines, but they do not care about the impact that it has on the game. Therefore, they destroy/warp the economy that was intended by the game designers.

The farmers generate a larger proportion of loot per person than a normal player, therefore there is an economic pressure: the farmer values the loot less than a normal player and the player values his real money less than the farmer does, therefore trade commences. Even without the loot generation discrepancy a person in the 3rd world would value the money more and could therefore trade items for it.

On a more constructive note, Kingdom of Loathing seems to have some system in place that allows them to foil real-currency sales, therefore losing the interest of most farmers.

One part of it is that they monitor player-to-player trade, checking for players who freely or cheaply give away many items, because this might indicate external (i.e. real money) trade going on, or farmers/mules pooling their items for easier selling. This policing system is largely automated, with only the final checks and enforcement requiring human intervention.

Another part is the limit on the amount of items per account per day (which they do in a fun way, by adding game play to it) which, in combination with the above measure, enforces a certain level of rarity on the items and allows the in-game economy to maintain a constant price-level for each item.

The above even renders the bots more-or-less useless, although there are still some bots. The bots are primarily players using macros to grind.

All-in-all it is a rather well designed system, in my opinion.

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I am curious why this topic has been focused on gold farming.

Maybe, gold farming is funding terrorism? I mean, impoverished denizens have been using this to eat? Well, maybe not...

But if I was a country that supposedly has dealings in, for lack of a better word, "underhanded" activities I would probably use an easily manipulated cash "dynamo". It neither depreciates in value or output, but it also affords new avenues for said "underhanded" dealings.

Well, for give my roots but... HoT^DaY//! Thats a M3G4(b-_-)bU573R!1!11!