Gold farming companies are simply companies that hire players to play the games, pool the gold resources, then sell them to individual players for real world currency. The practice has been around since the emergence of Ultima On-Line and possibly before. People love taking shortcuts. Who has time to sit around and earn one thousand gold in a game when they can pay a little more each month on their credit card for it? The problem is, these companies cross lines in harassing players about their wares.
I am an older man, by World of Warcraft standards, and I understand the importance of time away from being the person you have to be for most of the day. So, why do I pay $16.98 of my money to a company to be assaulted by advertising? That was the thought train a month or so ago. I would sign in and, before my own nephew could even respond with a “hi”, I get hammered by three private messages about a company wanting to sell me gold.
Correct me if I am wrong, but they want me to spend hard earned money on some money they sit around in the air conditioning playing a game over? Then it dawns on me, someone had to agree to it for this to be going on. Maybe I was too uptight, but I knew was these countless whispers were getting old. I suppose for a little risk in terms of a few bucks, you could get rewarded with a lot of gold, but it is still digital gold.
I sat there in Arathi Highlands, on a player-vs-player server. Sure, I could be attacked my members of the opposite faction as this was a contested area, but the money there was dropping nicely. Then it hit, a general chat message detailing the name and location of a gold farmer. Cheers and laughter erupt as the suspected “gold farming bot”, as it was called, was announced dead.
Why was this a great moment? Lets analyze the simple math, first. Whether it was a gold farmer or just some player with a bot, someone that was skirting the End User License Agreement that Blizzard kindly posts after every update, a cheater was killed. Most people in the game play hard to get the experience and money; someone wanting to take a shortcut paid the price.
If you take a look at the gold companies and say, they aren’t hurting anything, you are wrong. Each server has so much bandwidth to process information from players and supply information back to them. In the terms of someone not even playing existing in the world, each and every spell, movement and gesture were processed on the server and sent to anyone that needs to know about it. Furthermore, when the companies begin to advertise their ill-gotten gains, they create simple characters, log them in, and mass whisper everyone in a certain map. All of this is taking away from that same pool of bandwidth.
Blizzard has taken steps, I agree and I congratulate them on it. It is most certainly an unenviable task to come up with an appropriate solution. On the Arathi Highlands on The Underbog server, a few players have come up with a solution, too. Which is the best? I don’t know for sure. In that moment, I know which one was the most humorous.