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Gold Buying - Time Saver or Cheating? 543

Posted by Zonk
from the money-money-money-money dept.
Sunday's online version of The Wichita Eagle has a piece on buying gold in a MMOG. The author of the piece examines what's involved, and ponders whether such an action is cheating, or just a shortcut. From the article: "Getting my gold was a snap. The smallest quantity for sale by IGE was 500 pieces for $60, about twice what I wanted to spend. I decided to go for it, however, as I simply could not abide the prospect of skinning even one more level-10 boar. Within 20 minutes, the gold appeared in my WoW character's mailbox." From a Cathode Tan post. What is your opinion: Cheating or Shortcut?
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Gold Buying - Time Saver or Cheating?

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  • by Tim C (15259) on Monday March 06, 2006 @12:37PM (#14858672)
    Just plain stupid.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 06, 2006 @12:44PM (#14858760)
      I agree. If you're sick of playing the game, stop playing. Otherwise its not a game anymore -- it's an addiction.
    • by kannibal_klown (531544) on Monday March 06, 2006 @12:46PM (#14858780)
      Just plain stupid.

      I have to agree.

      I bought "gold" for City of Heroes twice, both times spending like 20 or 30 USD. This was while I was in my fullblown addiction phase. I've since kicked the habit entirely.

      Anyway, my reasons were mostly to correct pas mistakes. I would normally play characters I'd created since the game came out a while ago, and eventually wanted to fix a bunch of my newbie mistakes. Ie, designing a costume that didnt suck nd re-outfitting him with the correct enhancements.

      Looking back at it, I can't believe how stupid it was. It wasn't a lot of money and did make things a little easier/nicer for a while. But it was stupid.

      As for cheating... there's not a whole lot to get in CoH. I mean, if someone from WoW used bought gold to buy a rare mount or something I could sort of see it as cheating. But in CoH, where you're limited to costumes and enhancements, there's not much benefit.
      • I should mention.

        In CoH:
        • there is no gold farming, just rewards for missions or helping NPCs. Or by selling enhancements
        • there are no "drops" in the normal sense. gold/influence and enhancements are automatically distributed to people in the group by the server, so you can't really steal.

        The main methods of hoarding gold/influence in CoH is by herding large amount of mobs, or going on Task Forces (usually 4-6 hour quests that can't be "paused").

        If you have an upper level character, the gold/i

    • by Decado (207907) on Monday March 06, 2006 @01:44PM (#14859395)
      Damn right he is stupid. This guy just sent $60 of his money to the same people who are responsible for his skins being worthless in AH. That is the problem with gold farming, it makes gathering skills worthless by having two seperate effects, first the raw materials are oversupplied so they sell very cheaply affecting people like this guy who can no longer earn any reasonable amount through skinning, secondly they artificially inflate the prices of items by giving plenty gold to clueless nabs who throw it around like theres no tomorrow. Pity this dude was too dumb to realise that he is basically rewarding the people who created his problem. Unfortunately for this guy once he gets to high level in WoW he will realise that he can not do ANYTHING without having a lot of time to invest, he has also missed the early warning signs that WoW as you go up in level becomes more and more about grinding. He should get out now if he can't afford that time. The final thing he has done is by having a glut of gold he has turned his questing into an utter waste of time, since he can now afford better items than the quest rewards he is truly just grinding them for the xp now. He has turned the part of the game he liked into the part of the game he hated. He really didn't think it through did he?
      • by Vicissidude (878310) on Monday March 06, 2006 @03:13PM (#14860308)
        ...first the raw materials are oversupplied so they sell very cheaply affecting people like this guy who can no longer earn any reasonable amount through skinning, secondly they artificially inflate the prices of items by giving plenty gold to clueless nabs who throw it around like theres no tomorrow

        You appear to be thinking that people buying gold won't spend that gold on raw materials in order to raise their profession skills. At level 42 in WoW, I decided to learn cooking. It took me a great deal of cash to get all the materials to level my cooking skill up, but I got to 250/300 in about two evenings. Now, I used a great deal of my own cash to do that. But, I could have just as easily gone out and bought gold farmer cash to do it as well.

        Even so, you can't both blame inflation and deflation on the same group of people. That seriously makes no sense.

        The fact is that you have no idea how these gold farmers are making money. The likely thing is they're using multiple means of getting gold. Sure, they could be overfarming, driving down the price. The problem with that though is once the prices are down, they make no money from overfarming. So, like everyone else, it is in their best interest not to overfarm. Further, economies on servers tend to improve over time as players level up. That would suggest that a bad economy has nothing to do with gold farmers and everything to do with the number of higher-level players overall.

        You also have no idea how many of these gold farmers exist on the server at any given point. Given the thousands of players on each server, a few gold farmers are not likely to affect the economy on a long-term basis. Gold farmers only become a problem should their numbers become high enough to overwhelm the balance of the server. And since these people are presumably selling their gold all the time, that means they actually have less influence than regular player characters of the same level.
        • Even so, you can't both blame inflation and deflation on the same group of people. That seriously makes no sense.

          Yes, you can, because these are different items.

          In an MMO I'm playing, exactly this sort of thing is happening. There are so many woodcutters that even if it weren't for the people doing it with bots, the price of wood would still be ridiculously low. There are higher-level items that have inflated out of control, into the tens of millions of coins, and I've even noticed a change in the price o
      • So, the price is lowered because the raw materials are oversupplied (so a decent skinner can't make money) and then the prices are inflated because of lots of "extra" gold being thrown around (so a decent skinner can make money).

        Tell me how that works out to be anything but a draw.

    • by thesandtiger (819476) on Monday March 06, 2006 @02:32PM (#14859895)
      What's your opinion on the notion of hiring someone to come in and clean your house?

      In my case, I'd rather spend $50 a week to have some service come to my place and do all the crap stuff around here like vacuum, dust, wash windows, clean the bathroom and so on. Sure, I suppose I could spend the time to do those tasks myself, but I'd rather spend the money and have the time I would spend cleaning to do pretty much anything else. Is this stupid for me to do? If it is, then hell, I'm glad to be a dumbass.

      In the case of buying gold, if someone doesn't enjoy one particular aspect of a game (the grinding for money part) but they do like what the grinding can get them (access to good stuff) then why is it stupid to have someone else do the scut work so they can then enjoy the benefits?

      How is the WoW scenario any different from the cleaning person scenario? How is it different than *any* task that a person *could* do for themselves, but simply doesn't enjoy, and doesn't feel is an effective use of their time, so they hire someone else?

      I've never bought items in a game with real money, and I probably never will - the kinds of games that require grinding and encourage gold farming by their very mechanics simply don't appeal to me - but I certainly don't find it any dumber than any other activity in which people trade money for avoidance of boring labor.
    • Just plain stupid.

      I never bought gold in any MMOG but I can understand why people do. It's a shortcut. Getting gold/platinum/credit in any of these games is beyond easy, all you need is to have a pulse and be able to click 2-3 keys in a sequence on your keyboard. A monkey can do it. However, it's beyond boring and getting large ammounts can take quite a lot of time.

      It reminds me of Collectible Card Games. You could haggle and trade with other players for the cards you needed or simply shell out that 50$ for
  • It's Pretty Simple (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 06, 2006 @12:38PM (#14858684)
    If it wasn't cheating, Blizzard would have sold the gold to you themselves.
    It's clear buying gold is not within the spirit or the intent of the game.
    Conclusion:it's cheating.
    • Premise: It's impossible to stamp out. And policing it only removes the 30-year old businessman trying to get hip with a level 70 elven cleric. The leet script kiddies altering the server economy are usually far clever.

      Conclusion: Shit happens.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 06, 2006 @12:45PM (#14858771)
      Mr. Black, Ms. White, I'd like to introduce you to someone. His name is Gray.
    • by fruitbane (454488) on Monday March 06, 2006 @01:04PM (#14858983) Homepage
      Hrm... I take issue with this conclusion. Is something that is "not within the spirit or the intent of the game" automatically cheating? I would argue the heavily abbreviated, almost l33t, shorthand used in chat is also not within the spirit or intent of the game, as it detracts from the atmosphere. Does that make it cheating?

      As a GAME, the point is to be fun. If people like some aspects of the game but have found a way to get around the money treadmill does that necessarily affect you? Sure, there's the whole issue of more money entering the economy, but if someone bought the money from someone else, the money was already in the economy, it's just changed hands.

      One of the reasons I don't, and won't, play MMORPGs is because of that extended treadmill experience.

      I say that something is cheating if it is synonymous with something that is illegal or is simply blatantly against the rules. If Blizzard has declared that it is against the rules and transgressors will be punished, that's great. That is enough to make it cheating. It's Blizzard's world and they make the rules. However, if this is a gray area where they've not said much, it's not cheating unless it somehow operates completely outside of the game's mechanics, as in generating money from thin air or something.
      • by Decado (207907)
        Using something from outside the game to improve your chances inside the game is cheating. Whether or not it is serious you can debate until the cows come home, but it is cheating. The fact that people can and have had their accounts deleted for doing it would suggest that blizzard do take the problem seriously, and even if there is a minority who are willing to spend cold hard cash for wow gold, the fact remains that the vast majority spend their cold hard cash on a subscription every month to play in a c
        • Using something from outside the game to improve your chances inside the game is cheating. Whether or not it is serious you can debate until the cows come home, but it is cheating.

          I've been on the phone with people in my party before. Other people use their internet connections to hold party conversations. Those conversations are "outside the game". Are those conversations cheating? I hardly think so.

          Further, some people use outside mods to customize their WoW experience. Blizzard openly allows people to
  • by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Monday March 06, 2006 @12:40PM (#14858704)
    This is just one in a multiple list of problems concerning the RL relationships of MMORPG players. If you can withstand them all and still have fun, more power to you. I'd much rather play a single player game where I know where everything stands.

    //just catching up with Smash Brothers Melee. Good times...
    • by StCredZero (169093) on Monday March 06, 2006 @02:44PM (#14860006)
      Work smarter, not harder. A friend of mine was telling me about a problem with MUDs (text precursors of MMORPGs) where the corpses of monsters were building up and clogging the system. The solution? Allow players to use the corpses as ingredients to make healing potions. Players then grabbed corpses and dragged them out of the dungoen to sell potions. Problem solved.

      A lot of gamers get on their moral soap-boxes about cheating and gaming ethics, and call for the devs to come up with more enforcement. I think that's just like the "War on Drugs" mentality. It's a losing game, because you are opposing market forces. Instead, get the market forces on your side. Heck, as a MMORPG game dev, you control the fabric of reality itself. If you can't think of a trick to co-opt "cheaters" then shame on you!

      I play Eve-Online, and it's come up that the "Macro Miners" are ruining things for legitimate miners. Macro-miners are mostly Russian guys who use macros to run Eve automatically and mine-out whole systems so that they can sell in-game money on eBay.

      But while it really sucks to be a competitor to these guys in mining, it's *great* for piracy. The unattended miners are full of valuable ore, and mostly unable to defend themselves. (And if they do defend themselves, they do it poorly, and this allows you to destroy them *legally*!)

      So don't try and enforce a ban on macro-mining and other MMORPG "cheats." Instead co-opt them. In Eve, you could change the game dynamic so that the Macro-Miners would be even more attractive targets for pirates. Put a time limit on NPC corporation membership, and legit corps could even declare war on them without being pirates. (So if you're a mining corp, you could just declare war on these guys and take their ore!) Furthermore, if you put time constraints on refining, the macro-miners would be forced to sell material to other players to refine their excess, which would further contribute to the economy of Eve-Online.

      And we thought of all this in about 15 minutes flat. I'm quite sure that other tricks could be thought of for WoW and other MMORPGs that would have similar effects.
      • where the corpses of monsters were building up and clogging the system. The solution? Allow players to use the corpses as ingredients to make healing potions. Players then grabbed corpses and dragged them out of the dungoen to sell potions. Problem solved.

        While that is pretty neat, it's actually a heck of a lot easier :)

        void create()
        {
        //insert happy monster data stuff
        call_out("death",30);
        }

        death()
        {
        //automagically attempt to move inventory to the room
        remove();
        }
  • by Ghost429 (828987) <ghost429@gmaHORSEil.com minus herbivore> on Monday March 06, 2006 @12:41PM (#14858712)
    The people you buy gold form online had to get it from somewhere. Usually that somewhere comes from selling obscene amounts of items far below market value, making it all but impossible for honest players trying to make a few silver here and there to sell anything. Buying gold from then
    a) Keeps them in buisness
    b) Screws with the game economy even more, and
    c) is against most, if not all EULA's
    • by Rhys (96510) on Monday March 06, 2006 @01:16PM (#14859094) Homepage
      I want your server's gold farmers.

      Ours drive prices /up/. I consistnatly see the few same people selling all the high end items well above what auctioneer (or even searching and watching prices myself) would suggest market value is.

      In fact, driving prices up is better for them. You have more incentive to buy gold as you'll never make enough to get the items you want otherwise.

      If you walk to talk about screwing the economy, talk to Blizzard. Increasing red dragonscales drop rate and quest XP at 60 -> gold is going to be a nice shock when 1.10 hits. I'm happy I got to resell the red scales I'd been picking up on the cheap (min bid or underpriced for the win) hopeing to put together a red DS suit before the price drop hits.
      • What it really seems to do is create a greater disparity in the value of low-end versus high-end items. People who horde mobs that drop high end items certainly do increase the auctionable value of said items (there is a reduced supply to the general populace as compared to the bot who is farming) generating more gold and feeding the gold-farming machine.

        However, as there are a limited number of places from which to acquire these high-end items, it also makes sense to farm lower-end stuff--after all, it's
    • by TrappedByMyself (861094) on Monday March 06, 2006 @02:46PM (#14860022)
      making it all but impossible for honest players trying to make a few silver here and there to sell anything.

      Oh stop, please.
      I'm a casual player who just got back into the game a few weeks ago after a few months off. I started a new character on a new server and am at level 25. I spend most of my time screwing off, and I'm sitting on about 30g and have a full set of 16 slot bags. WoW is surprisingly like real life, where if you put some thought into managing money, you'll have plenty.
  • by HTH NE1 (675604) on Monday March 06, 2006 @12:41PM (#14858716)
    What is your opinion: Cheating or Shortcut?

    It can be two things!
  • by halivar (535827) <bfelgerNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday March 06, 2006 @12:43PM (#14858740) Homepage
    It's definitely not fair. Some people spend hours upon hours, sometimes in-game days to tradeskill (made harder by the presence of Chinese farmers) and acquire in-game wealth. Others spend a minor amount of cash to instantly acquire this same wealth (and in a manner that enables and encourages further Chinese farming). At first I found this incredibly unfair.

    Now I have another take on it. Note that I do not, nor will I ever purchase gold. But as a working professional, I don't have the same time to devote to the game that high-school and college students do. I don't want gaming to become a 9-5 job just to have fun. I only have a few hours on the weekends to play. I will never be abel to effectively tradeskill. I will level once every two weeks, if that.

    For some, buying gold is an efficient way to obtain materials for tradeskilling that would otherwise require hours of dedicated playing; time that many people (like me) just don't have. Even now, I'm looking at the mats required for weaponsmithing, and all I can do is throw up my hands and say, "I don't have time to do this." I don't know anymore. I wish Blizzard would make the game funner for impatient people who can't devote their life to the game.
    • by Tom (822) on Monday March 06, 2006 @12:56PM (#14858891) Homepage Journal
      But as a working professional, I don't have the same time to devote to the game that high-school and college students do.

      Exactly. That's where I completely agree.

      The problem is that it's not your fault. It's a game-design fault. Why does the game require ridiculous amounts of game time?

      EVE Online - while I only played it shortly - appears to have one big part of the problem solved: Skills increase through automatic training that depends on only one factor: Real time passed. Whether you're online playing or offline sleeping/working/whatever doesn't matter. You gain x experience points per hour.

      A good game should reward good playing, not more playing.
      • Why does the game require ridiculous amounts of game time?

        If it too no time at all then Blizzard wouldn't be able to sell more game-time.

        Making things take a long time to do is ultimately their aim.
      • Well, EVE has it's own problem...that those who started when it went live are so far ahead of someone starting today that it's not even competitive.
        • Well, EVE has it's own problem...that those who started when it went live are so far ahead of someone starting today that it's not even competitive.

          Not entirely true. They have a lot more options available to them when they go to play, but after two months you can be an effective, hard-hitting player. You'll be limited to one race's ships, and you probably won't be flying any of the specialized craft, but you can make a difference in PvP as well as tackle the high-end NPC content.

      • I can't comment on other MMORPGs, but World of Warcraft does reward good playing. It also rewards more playing by design, but everyone seems to assume that grinding and tradeskills are the only way to make money, and that money is the only way to be rewarded.

        Good players are far more likely to:

        • Complete quests and instances in reasonable time
        • Be invited into groups and guilds
        • Win in the Battlegrounds
        • Be efficient at collecting materials for tradeskills
        • Figure out how to gain reputation quickly

        Roleplayi

      • The problem is that it's not your fault. It's a game-design fault. Why does the game require ridiculous amounts of game time?

        I agree, in a way. This is why I find the Station Exchange [sony.com] somewhat offensive. What's Sony's solution to their poor game design that makes progress a slow, boring, repetitive grind? Have people to pay them more money to mitigate the unpleasant aspects of the game resulting from their design failures, of course. Maybe I'm just jealous that I haven't figured out a way to earn mon

        • And there's still plenty of mind-numbing grinding to do in EVE if you want to progress, in the form of mining asteroids or whatever. Though EVE does support a thriving player driven economy from what I've seen, one that the enterprising, clever or devious player can take advantage of to get rich much more quickly than one could achieve merely from grinding asteroids or NPC pirates for ISK.

          Umm, what? For those who know what' they are doing they can make cash without grinding so what's the problem?

          Wh
    • It's definitely not fair. Some people spend hours upon hours, sometimes in-game days to tradeskill (made harder by the presence of Chinese farmers) and acquire in-game wealth. Others spend a minor amount of cash to instantly acquire this same wealth (and in a manner that enables and encourages further Chinese farming). At first I found this incredibly unfair.

      Why would this be unfair? It's not like gold farmers refuse to sell to gamers who play for a long time.
    • by Pxtl (151020)
      So why doesn't Blizzard just sell the gold for those players who want to skip to the front? Why don't they just let you roll up a level 50 player with a greater from scratch if you fork over $100? After all, let's say you want to join your friends who play on Battlegrounds, but don't want the agonizing process of leveling up to battlegrounds level... why doesn't Blizzard offer to let you build a character at that level? It would make them money, block off the farmers, let players who have no interest in
      • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Monday March 06, 2006 @01:17PM (#14859109) Homepage Journal
        The downside is that you can assume that most level 60 players at least have a good idea of how their characters work and how the function in a team (not always true sadly). If you have people starting off day 1 with their level 60, they are much more likely to play terribly and make the game experiance worse for everyone on their team.

        I do wish more MMOs came with a Newgame+ feature, so when you max out one character and roll and alt, they gain levels twice as fast or have some out of the gate bonus. It can be disheartning to switch from your giant monster slaying tweaked out superchar to some level 1 that has to kill bugs and rats with his one skill.
        • by Pxtl (151020)
          Start the level 50 characters off in, say, "Valhalla" - some realm where they can get primo gear and have a little time to play alone and learn before jumping into the blender. Give them a day's work of looting and stuff to get accustomed to their character's high-level doodads, then cut them loose in the real world to sink-or-swim. Basically, compress the whole game into an afternoon's play for "fast track". To avoid fscking the economy, make most "fast track" artifacts useless to non "fast track player
  • Cheating (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Microlith (54737)
    If you can't play the game, instead of buying your way through it, don't bother playing.

    Spending $60 on game gold. That's 2x what I paid for the game itself. I could buy 3-4 DVDs for that much, or another 4 months playtime on WoW. What a ridiculous waste of money.
    • Some might call paying monthly to play a game you've already bought is a ridiculous waste of money.

      It just depends on your outlook.

      How long in game time would it take to make/earn the amount of gold purchased? Paying to shortcut that that might be a brilliant use of money for some.
    • What a ridiculous waste of money

      You use the resources you have: some people have time, some people have money.

      If your time is more valuable to you then your money, you will use your money to minimize the time you have to spend in game. It is an utterly ridiculous waste to time to spend hours and hours grinding away in a videogame when you do not have to.

      Its called "grinding" for a reason; and its not because it is fun (in this case :)).

    • by Rhys (96510) on Monday March 06, 2006 @01:29PM (#14859252) Homepage
      Disclaimer: I haven't bought gold. I don't ever expect to. Why? Because frankly gold is trivial to make in most games. Skinning level 10 boars? A waste. I'll skim off the auction house. Buy low, sell high. Especially if you can reprocess in the middle so people don't realize you're doing it.

      Now, having gotten that out of the way. Consider: how long would it take you to farm the mats for... let's pick a couple things I'm looking at recently: the devilsaur set and/or volcanic and/or stormshroud. Fairly expensive: one person is selling stormshoud for about 130/150 a pop per peice on my server.

      Now, I can make good money on the AH, but making that much... that'd take a lot of time. Most people don't even know making money like that on the AH is possible, but reguardless. How much time would it take farming ore, or "farming" the AH to make that much?

      Right. Now from the article, 500 gold is what, $60? (I think it is less on my server from in-game spam I get from time to time but who knows.) If I wanted to do some work consulting, or even some overtime, how long would it take me to earn $60?

      Heck of a lot less time than it'd take in game that's for sure! In fact, for them it may be a net gain. Spend a couple hours working on cleaning viruses off computers, spend some of that cash on virtual gold, powerlevel up whatever skill you want. Now you have some leftover real cash, leftover virtual cash, met the goal you were pursuing in the game and took less time to do it than you would have just grinding in game.

      That's why people do it. It makes economic sense to them. It doesn't matter if they could buy another game: this is the game they want to play.
  • by pneumatus (936254) *
    Fortunatly for us, Blizzard enforce their policies with regard to buying gold etc over the internet. A quick glance at their news archive shows they have already banned many accounts farming gold for selling, and accounts that have purchased gold.

    The main problem most MMORPG players have with these gold selling antics is that it ruins the economy of the realms. The gold farmers come and either legitimately farm gold, or more commonly use bots to automate the farming (also against the TOS) 'generating' ex
  • play? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Monday March 06, 2006 @12:48PM (#14858805) Homepage Journal
    I'd rather spend the $60 on another game, preferably one that realizes I want to play, not work.

    Somehow, somewhere, this meme got into the MMORPG world that players have to "earn" their stuff, preferably through repetitive tasks.

    Unfortunately, somehow it works. We all play along and accept it as normal, pretty much like computer crashes (try telling any admin of a 1970s mainframe that regular computer crashes are nothing special).

    Yes, it is a shortcut. It most definitely beats having to do the same nonsense another 100 times. It is probably cheaper, as well (i.e. you earn more money in the time you saved than it costs you).
    But damn, it should make you re-check your priorities and ask yourself if you're sure you want to sink more money into that game, and why. And whether you're ready to do it again, and again, as it's unlikely that phase of the game was unique.

    • by Moraelin (679338) on Monday March 06, 2006 @01:39PM (#14859342) Journal
      Basically the problem isn't "earning" stuff, as long as it's kept within reasonable limits. I don't think anyone would consider, say, earning your Imp or Voidwalker as a Warlock in WoW to be repetitive or work. One is basically a "go there, get that book for me" quest (and not get killed first by the NPCs there) and the other is "go there, kill the npc, bring back her choker" quest. Straightforward, to the point, a little challenging, and no farming involved. And frankly, not only it's something "earned" to be proud of, but also adds a certain flavour: it gives you a quest to do and some insight in what your class is about, instead of just a new icon sprouting on your toolbar after grinding enough boars.

      That's really what gets people addicted, not the later grind for resources. _This_ is what MMORPG gamers really want, and unsurprisingly most MMORPG players went to the game which gave them more of this in the beginning. You'll notice the majority isn't on the games which give you the repetitive grind and (near)impossibility to solo from the start. So that blaming it on MMORPG players and some meme is missing the point by a mile.

      But unfortunately that only works that way at the lower levels.

      The problem again isn't that MMORPG players start demanding something else, but that the MMORPG publisher only has so much funds for game content. And that content has to last you for about 6 months, which is what an average gamer needs to get past the "but I'll lose my online 'friends' and my uber-character if I quit!" phase. Some need less, some stay there for 5 years, but when you turn it all into a statistic, 6 months is sorta where the bathtub curve starts going up one way or the other. So the developper has to stretch that content somehow over 6 months.

      And currently the formula is to give you more of it up-front when you join, so they get you addicted, and very very slowly give you less and less from there. Until at the end-game it has already crawled to a start and you need to farm one dungeon daily for months, just so you can enter the next one. At that point, any new content or rewards you're getting is in dilluted to homoepathic doses.

      However at that point they're not counting on you actually having fun either. They just count that you're well into the "but I'll lose my online 'friends' and my uber-character if I quit!" phase and busy rationalizing it, so you don't need more than a vague shaddow of a carrot dangled in front of you to stay there. At that point, the rewards and earnings are so dilluted and improbable that they just serve to give you some material to rationalize about, not something that's what MMORPG players as a whole love.

      So basically even at this point, blaming MMORPG players and their memes is IMHO missing the whole point by a mile. That isn't what the MMORPG players themselves been asking for, it's just the final act of a cruel scam they've been gradually guided into. And no matter how some may rationalize it as being the meat of the game (humans are damn good at rationalizing taking crap), here's the reality check: that's not what got them addicted to the game during the first 30-40 levels. And they're not in other games which gave them that "meat" up-front, from level 1, either. So don't tell me that their whole personality did an 180 degree turn when reaching level 60, and they suddenly started actually wanting to grind for weeks even for a token reward.

      Yes, it should make everyone rethink their priorities, and in truth it _eventually_ does. That's why people do eventually leave.
      • Am I the only one who plays WoW that doesn't get the whole "I must grind for hours and have a bajillion gold pieces to buy every awesome item in the game" mentality?

        I'm level 60. When I want to play, I either go

        a) Kill things or players that are challenging for fun.
        b) Complete quests that sound interesting (or maybe have a neat item).
        or
        c) Grab a couple guildmates and run an instance, which for the most part is fun and challenging, and possibly gets me some loot.

        None of these require that I buy gold, grind e
  • Depends (Score:4, Interesting)

    by slavemowgli (585321) on Monday March 06, 2006 @12:50PM (#14858828) Homepage
    Depends on the game. Take Second Life, for example - in there, exchanging real-life money for in-game money is not only possible, it's actually encouraged and can be done through the developing company (Linden) itself. And what's more, the way the game is set up otherwise makes it pretty impossible for you to seriously get into it unless you do it.

    I think Linden has pretty much figured out the second step on the road to Profit!!!, but since it's at the expense of pretty much everyone who otherwise might be interested in the game, I also dare say that they won't be able to continue with this forever.

    But then, maybe that's not what they want to do, anyway - a few millions right here and now are nice enough already, right?
    • But Linden did it the smart way! He gives a small cash allowance to all players which are more of a tease than a gift, and cash is purely optional to enjoy the full benefits of the game. This idea of spending money when you need to instead of subscribing regularly is brilliant!!
    • And second life, which btw is a CRAPPY *game* .. you have real life chineese money farmers, instead of chineese gold farmers.

      The only 'object' of second life is to buy virtual things. There is no *amazing* breakthrough in commercial video gaming.

      The engine is old, the graphics and models are tired, and it sucks an AMAZING amount of bandwith.

      And guess what .. there are scam artists in Second Life too.

      25 mins into my first (and only) experience with Second life, I 'bought' a tshirt with my 'allowence' money.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday March 06, 2006 @12:53PM (#14858850)
    If it was a single player game, even if it was a Diablo-like game, I couldn't care less. Enjoy it. You take a shortcut to what could usually take long to get. No problem. It does not affect me.

    It does affect me in a MMORPG.

    Now, sure, you have an item I don't. That's not the problem. It's also no problem if you're just a lucky bastard who decides to sell his once in a lifetime find on EBay.

    The problem starts with commercial farming.

    Worst problem are non-instanced encounters. Commercial and organized farmers can and do monopolize important spawns. They do have the key equipment, they do know where to be when and they do know how to cooperate. In other words, as a normal vanilla player with a normal vanilla guild (if any), you have NO chance to get that item into your hands.

    Unless you pay for it.

    Now, this problem can be remedied with instances. Go there with your guild and eventually you can have the item, too. No farming guild can keep you from getting it.

    Another problem with farmers: Inflation. When a ton of money is pumped into the system, prices go up. I buy XXX money for YY$. So I have XXX. Would take me 2 weeks to get, and if I had to invest the time, I'd probably think twice. But who cares? 200 for a sword worth 20? That's about 3 bucks, one pack of cigs less and I can do it. Mine!

    Over time, the only people able to afford certain items will be those that farm like crazy or those buying money from farmers. You, the ordinary player who doesn't want or can't spend real money for virtual cash, you're out of the loop.
    • Take a good look at Final Fantasy XI. On the server I played on, it would literally take days of crystal farming to get one piece of equipment that you had to have (or you had to kill one weak enemy at a time and hope not to die). This was mainly due to inflation.

      On the other hand, crystal prices were up. They went up 70% in the time I played the game.

      It wasn't the main reason I stopped playing, but it was #2 or #3.

      In WoW, the farmers are getting out of hand. It used to be one or two here and there, and
  • Neither (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TexVex (669445)

    What is your opinion: Cheating or Shortcut?

    It's neither. It's just simple economics. The MMO world currency has real value to the players. So it is exchanged for real money. That's the whole idea behind currency, after all.

    It doesn't matter if you don't think it's fair. A M:TG player can build a deck by buying each card individually -- nobody says they should be forced to buy booster packs until they uncover all the individual cards they want.

    It doesn't matter if you think that the MMO gold is jus

    • Re:Neither (Score:3, Insightful)

      by oirtemed (849229)
      A referees calls have real value to a basketball player. Maybe we should start selling travelling calls for the March Madness tourney. After all, supply and demand. Simple economics.
    • Says you. So play a game where the designer encourages rather than discourages real-world trade in items. They've been designed so that in-game mechanics make the game balanced taking into account the influence of real-world trade.

      On the other hand, for various reasons I consider legitimate and important, I would rather play a game where I know that real-world wealth has no effect on status in-game. A large proportion of MMORPG players share my desire. Thus, Blizzard and other designers have opted to disco

    • May a Magic: The Gathering player offer money to his opponent during a tournament game for not playing his UberBadAssCardOfPwnage? MMOs are games, and money in those games are part of it. Real world laws and politics have no say over it. It's up to the game creator to decide the rules. Blizzard will ban you if you buy or sell gold because they believe it degrades the sense of achievment players get from working for their rewards. And A Magic: The Gathering referee will probably tell you to leave if you try
    • "It's neither. It's just simple economics."

      It's a game, with established rules. It's not Real Life, hell, most of them aren't even Second Life :).

      Next time I sit down and play Risk, would it be OK for me to pay cash to one of the players to not attack me, or to give me some of his armies/cards? Is that cheating, or not?

      Most MMORPGs are intended to have everyone on equal footing, and to let differences in how people play the game define the success of their character. Gold-buying circumvents this,
  • Just a waste of even MORE of your money. Sorry, I can see much better uses of 60$.. and that is in the REAL world.

    The saying "More money than brains" really can apply to this..

  • by Chris Burke (6130) on Monday March 06, 2006 @12:57PM (#14858903) Homepage
    Maybe online MMORPGs aren't for you. Or at least not the one you're playing. If you "don't have the time" to earn gold then you probably "don't have the time" to gain levels or do any of the other time sinks computer RPGs and especially MMOGs are famous for. Case in point -- the author was skinning level 10 boars in a game with a level cap of 60, which would be insanity if you were high enough level to kill and skin higher-level beasts with more valuable pelts. So he hasn't put in the work to level up, but has already spent $60 to buy what would be a ridiculous amount of gold for his level. How long until he just gives that up and buys a level 60 character with all the best loot because "I simply could not abide the prospect of doing even one more 'kill X many of Y creature' quests".

    I understand that MMORPGs are huge time sinks, and lots of people don't have the time to spend on them. If you can have fun playing, then I suggest that you just settle for never being rich, and never having the very best items. If you can't have fun without being rich and having the best loot, may I suggest another genre?
    • If you need to spend extra cash to have fun... Maybe online MMORPGs aren't for you.

      The irony of this statement is killing me.
    • If you look at it from a game designer's perspective, "Tough luck, play another game" is bad compared to "Fine, buy your gold". Something is lacking for those who pay cash to advance faster. Perhaps there could be separate fast-advancement servers?

      The level 10 boars part seems just odd to me. It takes about two evenings (maybe six-eight hours) to get get to level 10 for a completely new player. That can't be enough time for someone to get frustrated, yet be so obsessed with the game he wants to buy gold. A
  • by Andrew Lenahan (912846) on Monday March 06, 2006 @01:04PM (#14858976) Homepage
    Why has this concept been limited to MMOs? It could work in any sport, game, or competitive activity you can think of.

    Having "family game night" with the kids? Slip the wife a little hair-salon money in exchange for having your Candyland character halfway up the board before the game even starts! Your children might end up hating you, but victory will be yours at all costs!!

    Playing in a competitive chess tournament? How about for a small extra fee you could buy yourself a few extra pawns, and maybe a spare queen or two? Who couldn't use a few extras, just in case?

    Don't feel like doing your homework? Simply hand in an empty paper with a cheque taped to the back and see if teacher won't leave the red marker in the desk drawer that day.

    Super Bowl time again? Whichever team is the first to pay for that big urban renewal project in the hosting city gets 10 bonus happy lucky points before the game even starts!

    What about that grandest of all competitions, the Olympics? Have a big ice-skating competition coming up but you're getting cold feet? Why not pay your bodyguard to make sure the competion really "breaks a leg", if you get my drift.

    ...actually, scratch that last one. I think it's been tried.
  • From a legal standpoint (IANAL) gold farming is completely unacceptable according to the TOS because no one is allowed to make a profit from Blizzard's software.

    This is a very similar case to the recent Valve vs. Subway shenanegans where an ad agency showed virtual billboards in Counterstrike games. Valve sued them and won very easily.

    Gold farmers are LUCKY to simply be banned from the game. They could be sued (if they reside in the same country as Blizzard, I suppose).
  • It's both a cheat AND a timesaver.

    If I want to play in a world where the rich kids get all the cool toys without putting in any effort... I'll go outside.
  • Buying Gold Sucks (Score:2, Insightful)

    by panthro (552708)

    Cheating. Let's examine the primary arguments that attempt to legitimize the practice of buying gold rather than earning it in-game:

    "I don't have time in real life to spend hours doing repetitive stuff to earn gold."
    Sounds like impatient instant-gratification whining. There are lots of fun and non-repetitive ways to earn gold in most MMORPGs -- try to be imaginative (in WoW, try playing the Auction House or using roleplaying to sell goods or services). I have a full-time job as an engineer, a girlfriend

  • by orthogonal (588627) on Monday March 06, 2006 @01:19PM (#14859132) Journal
    I simply could not abide the prospect of skinning even one more level-10 boar.

    But, but...

    It was for the boar-skinning that I signed up!

    Nothing beats sitting in the comfort of my mom's basement, skinning virtual boar! Every day, I thank God that I live in an age when the delights of boar-skinning can be achieved so readily.
  • by Ritchie70 (860516) on Monday March 06, 2006 @01:21PM (#14859151) Journal
    I heard a piece on NPR a week or two ago about whether the selling of in-game items for real-world money creates tax consequences for everyone playing the game.

    The IRS doesn't distinguish between "income" due to hobby and "income" due to work. If you make quilts for fun, but you sell them because you don't have room for any more quilts in the house, the money you get for the quilts is still considered income.

    If you do something, and someone gives you an item with value (for example, a plumber fixes a painter's toilet, and is given a painting) the value of that painting at the time of the exchange is considered income.

    If you play a game and get in-game "e-gold", and that e-gold has value outside the game (as it does in this case) then the IRS may well consider the e-gold taxable income in the amount it could be sold for in real world money - whether you actually ever sell it or not.

    The NPR correspondent made a number of phone calls to the IRS, and the consensus was that the e-gold was likely taxable income. They suggested he file as if it were, and see what happens. He ended the piece saying that it wasn't going to be him who brought this issue to the IRS's attention in writing, and left it at that.
    • The IRS doesn't distinguish between "income" due to hobby and "income" due to work

      Actually, it does, but both are taxed. If you claim "hobby income" you can deduct "hobby losses", but "hobby losses" can never exceed "hobby income", unlike business losses which can exceed income and reduce your tax bill.

      Because of this, very few people use the hobby income rules, instead opting to just treat their hobby as a business if it is enough income that they are afraid the IRS might catch on.

      IANATL (tax advisor), bu
    • I heard a piece on NPR a week or two ago about whether the selling of in-game items for real-world money creates tax consequences for everyone playing the game... If you play a game and get in-game "e-gold", and that e-gold has value outside the game (as it does in this case) then the IRS may well consider the e-gold taxable income

      So, if I'm playing Monopoly, and I slip the banker five US dollars for $2000 in monopoly money, are all monopoly transactions thereafter taxable?

      Hell, you can buy a stack o
    • by Per Bothner (19354) <per@bothner.com> on Monday March 06, 2006 @03:38PM (#14860608) Homepage
      If you play a game and get in-game "e-gold", and that e-gold has value outside the game (as it does in this case) then the IRS may well consider the e-gold taxable income in the amount it could be sold for in real world money - whether you actually ever sell it or not.

      How is this different from making a quilt and not selling it? Clearly, if you sell game gold, it is taxable income. But game gold (like a quilt) is not taxable until you sell it.

      I guess it might be "inventory" - I don't know what the rules are for that.

      Now whether it is earned income or capital gains may be trickier, perhaps depending on how you acquired it.

  • These games have broken economies; they are using the wrong economic model, imposing pseudo-scarcity where there is in fact no scarcity at all. It's the game design that's the problem, not the fact that users are finding ways of working around this annoying fact: Don't blame the users, blame the designers.

    What's the solution? The Second Life folks seem to have a good one but I suspect it's not readily transportable to other types of worlds. Perhaps the solution for other types of worlds is to base the advan
  • I could never compete at WoW (if I played) because I don't have time to run around leveling up. I have a wife, three jobs, an education. So I'm at a disadvantage because I don't have as much time to spend. Does that mean people who do spend more time than me are cheating? No - they just choose to allocate more time (resources) to the game. Good for them.

    How is money any different? If someone wants to allocate more money (resources) to the game how is that any different from them allocating more time?

    -
    • If someone wants to allocate more money (resources) to the game how is that any different from them allocating more time?

      Because time spent playing (by the player, in real life) equals time spent by the character -- thus, the character is actually doing something to earn his or her money or items. Money spent in real life to buy gold or items is disjoint from the game (what did your character do to earn that gold or item?).

      • How can I phrase this delicately... the character doesn't exist. The character doesn't do anything. It's just imaginary. We're on Slashdot, not some RPG WoW server so we can drop that facade right now.

        The player either spent time playing the game or spent money buying gold. The availability of time to play WoW is just as disjoint from the game as the amount of real world USD available to buy virtual gold. One of the main reasons I don't play on-line RPGs is precisely this: it's obnoxious to me that I
        • Re:time IS money (Score:3, Insightful)

          by panthro (552708)

          Even if I'm smarter and a better gamer, even if I have more talent for the game it doesn't matter: the game gives preferential skills/stats/etc to people with an extreme excess of time on their hands (or no time management skills).

          This is where most of the arguments in this thread fail. Yes, ceteris paribus, spending more time equals better character stats and better items. However:

          • Having more talent for the game, in my experience with WoW, is far more important. If you disagree, you probably just suck

  • One thing to keep in mind about gold sellers is that, even if you're repeatedly doing end-game content in a raiding guild.... you're usually NOT making much money.

    Raiding in WoW costs money. Repair bills (especially while learning), consumables (the 2hour flasks cost quite a bit in mats, everyone needs stacks of greater fire prot and greater healing for MC, stacks upon stacks of mana pots for all the casters, etc, etc), not to mention the various miscellanious class costs (candles & other reagents, fo
  • I'm no big-time MMORPG player (I have played a bit of EQ and Guild Wars normally, and dabbled in other games), but I think gold is a replacement for friends when you start out. When I first started playing Everquest, I was lucky enough to have a friend in the game, and found another person nice that helped me get decent money and weapons/equipment (some handed right to me). At least to me, others helping you get started seems incredebly useful. Now what if you didn't find anyone friendly and didn't have
  • By the established rules.

    Is buying gold banned in the EULA? Did you agree not to buy gold when you installed/logged on/set up a user account? If so, it's cheating.

    Personally, I think people who buy gold are short-changing themselves of the full game experience. And if the game is too arduous, or too boring for them without buying gold, then they should be playing a different game, which might lead to more MMORPGs without the grind.

    Gold-buying kills game economics for those who don't buy gold. It t
  • by sycomonkey (666153) on Monday March 06, 2006 @01:35PM (#14859310) Homepage
    The whole point of MMO's is to try to achieve more things in less time than other people given the same opprotunities. This requires a combination of equipment management to achieve maximum stat-twinkery, money management, talent tree planning, investments and AH expertise, social networking, and farming. Purchasing gold with real money undermines the entire game, from both you and everyone else on your server.
  • It's both (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AgentDib (931969) on Monday March 06, 2006 @01:36PM (#14859323)
    I've never really understood the surprised indignation society seems to carry over the fact that there is a thriving real world demand for game characters, items and money. It's definitely cheating and it's definitely in violation of the EULA. It's far less malevolent than software and music piracy, however, and that has become fairly socially acceptable. Both are cases where people take the easy way to get what they want, but it's amusing to see people with 200 GB of pirated mp3's write posts complaining about people who are actually paying for what they want.

    Buying gold is a fairly cheap entertainment investment. A stereotypical MMO gamer may pay $15/month for a single account and play about 20 hours per week. That works out to about $0.50 for a three hour play session. Compare that to $10 for bowling, $10 for a movie, $15 for dinner, $30-50 for a play, $50 for a sports ticket and it's easy to see why many gamers feel that MMO's provide very cheap entertainment. Spending $50 on gold every now and then still leaves them on the low side of recreational spending.

    Most importantly, the argument that bought achievements mean less than earned achievements remains too weak to alter public behavior. A store bought rug certainly carries less "meaning" than a rug you made yourself, yet most people are unwilling to devote the time and effort to weaving their own rugs. Rug weaving is arguably more interesting than gold farming (some people choose it as a hobby in itself), yet most people still prefer to avoid the issue by purchasing one themselves. In the end, if we ignore the "cheating" aspect of gold purchasing, it is no different than paying a neighborhood kid to mow your lawn for you.

    Gold purchasing is here to stay... as long as there are MMO gamers willing to deal in US dollars to acquire things they want. Because developers are paying attention to this it's probably only a matter of time before we see more systems like Sony's marketplace crop up. After all, why should companies let the gold farmers capture profit that they could be earning themselves? Beyond that, I wouldn't be surprised if it was only a matter of time until western MMO's are completely converted to the Free-To-Play microtransation models popular in asian MMO's. It doesn't take much imagination to invision a Star Wars Galaxies 2 where your character account is linked to a checking account, and you have the option to buy things from NPC vendors for either ingame credits, or out of game dollars - say $50 for 5 premium pearls and a unique hologram.
    • I think it's mostly just amazement on the part of the readers at the fact that people will play to *not* play a game.
  • by keyne9 (567528)
    Let the author of this article know what you think about this. He runs Game Politics.com [gamepolitics.com] and has asked for opinions on his actions (yesterday's news post).

    Personally, I prefer the answer, "Find a new guild."
  • Yeah its cheating. Yet I see justification in it. The game designs foster the need for grinding, whether it is gold or experience.

    WOW was close to getting it right with Bind on pickup items, yet many great items are not this way leading to a market. Since most of these items are random drops (world drops - % chance off anything in level range) it rewards those who have the most time to spend in the game.

    Compare the cost to buy gold versus the time you would have to invest and for many people becomes a no
  • Why not just spend the $60 on a decent game that doesn't hide its content behind tasks so dull that people will pay to have them done for them.

    So many MMORPG players seem to be able to produce these kind of almost convincing, hand-waving pseudo-explanations that almost justify why buying gold is OK: I think they are mostly trying to convince themselves.
  • I have never played World of Warcraft. Could somebody please equate an average number of hours it would take to accumulate 500 gold units in the game? I just want to get a feel for the dollar to hour ratio people are paying for in game gold. Thanks.
  • Cheating (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Fun Guy (21791) on Monday March 06, 2006 @02:05PM (#14859628) Homepage Journal
    I'm reminded of a conversation I had way back in the day, when I played D&D a lot. (This was back before PCs, so it was all books and dice, paper and pencil.) A friend was telling me all about this cool item he'd read about in one of his books, a quiver of ice arrows or something.

    I thought up a cool item (a lightning sword or something) and said, "Cool! I'll write it up and use it in our next session!" He got really mad, and said you can't just make stuff up and start to use it. You have to go on a quest, win it through serious effort and struggle.

    I reminded him that it's all make-believe anyway, and why couldn't I just magically get this? He insisted it wasn't the same, that it wasn't right. If I had obtained it through a big quest worthy of such an item, that would be OK, but just suddenly having it wasn't. I suggested that I make up some long story about a tremendous quest that I had gamed with another group, which culminated in me having the item. "Not the same!", he insisted.

    I was irritated at the time, because I really wanted the cool item, but now, I see that he was right. If you don't play by the rules, then the game is no challenge, and if you aren't playing for the challenge, to test your skill and creativity and endurance, then you are just there for the scenery, a tourist watching a movie.

    Ignoring the rules makes any game go faster, and let's you score better, but so what? Your drive off the tee goes into the rough? Pick up the ball and carry it to the hole... hole in one! It's fourth and 16 on your own 9 yard line? Give yourself twelve extra downs in the possession... touchdown! You're only 18 miles into the marathon, and your legs are giving out? Take a shortcut through central park... first place!

    If you don't want to actually play the game, why pretend to be a player?
  • "Money is a substitute for time or skill. Next on the news: sun comes up in the east. Back to you Jim."

    Look, wherever 2 people are competing, the playing field is NEVER precisely even.
    Person A might be unemployed and living at mom & dad's, so he can spend 12 hours a day 'perfecting' his game, and farming 000's of trashmobs for phat lewt drops; player B might have to work 60 hours a week, and use the game as relaxing escapism.

    The only problem comes when B feels he should/needs to compete with A. He ca
  • by Sir Holo (531007) on Monday March 06, 2006 @02:32PM (#14859888)
    WoW player's tough choices:

    Option 1 - Do the in-game "work" to earn the rewards.>
    Result - No time for a date.

    Option 2 - Buy the gold instead.br> Result - No money for a date.

    Option 3 - Realize WoW is a time sucking click-sink. Result - Time and money for a date.
  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Monday March 06, 2006 @02:33PM (#14859907)
    Picture any other game.

    Monopoly
    Axis & Allies
    Checkers
    Chess

    Imagine being able to bring use real cash to buy extra game money or pieces.

    Hmm. I need some $300 dollars more to buy that hotel on boardwalk- okay, I'll just put down $3.00 of real money to buy $3000 game money. Wow- this is so much fun- this game of monopoly is so much faster and I'm much more likely to win since I have $100 in my pocket and you only have $20.

    Unless the game itself explicitly allows you to buy items with cash, then buying gold this way is cheating.
    ---

    It can't be stopped tho. So any game that has a market means that normal people are playing in a game where people are rampantly cheating all around them. And the games are fundamentally unfair in several ways:
    1) If you don't have to work... you win.
    2) If you can log on just an hour earlier than the majority of the players.. you win if critical content is not instanced.
    3) If you start the game with a group of friends from a previous game- you have a huge advantage.

    These are advantages but they are not cheating. Buying gold and equipment with real world money means you are not playing the game (unless the games rules explicitly allow you to purchase items with real cash in game).
  • by vitaflo (20507) on Monday March 06, 2006 @02:39PM (#14859955) Homepage
    From the article:

    "I bought gold last week. You're reading the Business section, so that may not sound unusual. However, the purchase wasn't for my investment portfolio. And I'm not talking about real gold, either. But I did plunk down $60 of cold, hard cash in return for 500 virtual gold pieces for World of Warcraft, Blizzard's best-selling massively multiplayer online (MMO) adventure game."

    Given that you can get 1000 gold for less than $60 now in WoW, I'd say he didn't make a very good investment. I'd hate to see his real portfolio.
  • by altp (108775) on Monday March 06, 2006 @02:49PM (#14860064) Homepage
    Cheating ...

    If the company that runs the game says it is cheating, it IS cheating. they make the rules ... play by them ... if you don't it cheapens the game for those of us that DO play by the rules.

    If the company that develops the game says it isn't cheating, then its not and have at it. Though, paying real world money to get virtual money that is worthless is, in my opinion, stupid.
  • braindead (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vux984 (928602) on Monday March 06, 2006 @02:59PM (#14860165)
    You've got to be braindead to do that...

    Think about it this way:

    1) You pay a monthly subscription fee to play the game.
    2) You find aspects of the game so awful you'll pay other people real money to releive you of the burden of actually playing the game.

    Meanwhile, this encourages true no-lifers and/or impoverished asians to try to make a real world income by satisfying your desire not to have to play the game you subscribe to. Which floods the game with piles of greedy morons who make the game less enjoyable for those who do actually enjoy playing it.

    Here's a suggestion: Cancel your subscription and play something you actually look forward to playing. There are surely more satisfying uses of your time.

    Why are you playing a game that's 80% treadmill if you hate the treadmill? The Mmog is a complete package - and you hate most of it. To get to the bits you like, your character has to slog through the bits you don't - paying someone else to do it is ridiculous.

    You wouldn't sign up to a book club (where you read a book and meet to talk about it) if you hated the books they chose most of the time. And what you're doing is even dumber, you're paying someone else to read the books for you, just so you can stay in the book club.
  • by itdeptownsu (959290) on Monday March 06, 2006 @03:55PM (#14860817)
    For the record. I understand PERFECTLY well that my WoW character is not "real" and is by no means a reflection of me as a person. It's a game.

    Here's the kicker.

    It's a game I enjoy playing!

    I like to be happy. I like to smile. I like to do things I enjoy.

    I don't like to be overly frustrated with tedious tasks. I don't like to get smacked down by people who can sit at home all day and farm eq/gold. I don't care for it, it makes my 14$ a month pointless.

    I enjoy playing WoW, I just don't have tons of time for it. I understand that the people at blizzard cannot make a game that suits everyones schedule. I don't hold this aganist them, and I think it's probably better that it takes a long time to do these events. (The end level stuff can't be bought in the Auction House for the most part, so buying gold only really helps you level to 60 and buy mounts OR help you make more money on top of it.. so really gameplay at the end is about the same)If these raids and such at the end didn't take time and strategy it would degrade the gameplay. Even if you're wearing epic equipment for some of the last raids.. if someone slips, you all die. It should be hard, it should take a long time. I don't refute that at all. But i'll be buying my time back from a chinese sweatshop TYVM. So while you guys are whining ingame and skinning boars. I'll logon, waste some time raiding or playing battlegrounds with my great eq. Have a GREAT time.. then just go hangout with my friends, family, whatever i feel like doing in my free time. time i BOUGHT..

    One guy compared spending money on WoW gold to hiring a cleaning service. I agree with him wholeheartedly. He got well.. flamed for it.. since it's a game? as if we don't understand what we're spending money on? I know what i'm spending money on, i made a concious effort to spend it. I've enjoyed it immensely when logged on. I bet he did too. So why flame him for that? It's a service. We're just buying a service. When i look at money vs time in my life, i'd rather drop the 60$ than take the time away from other things i like to do.

    So if i'm so strapped for time, maybe i shouldn't play?

    The thing is i WANT to play and i don't feel like any smartmouth answer like "you should just not play" fixes anything...

    None of us have THAT much time here anyway. Do what makes you laugh, do what you enjoy, and don't let hateful whiney people take away your time. If there's a market for this service use it if you want too, depends what doing the things you enjoy (all of them) is worth to you.

    Personally i want to do as much as i can. So look, selfish me buys gold.. and has a GREAT time! Then logs off, and still has a great one in RL.

    .... amazing


    Cheers,

    =D
  • Not So Simple (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NetFu (155538) on Monday March 06, 2006 @06:15PM (#14862221) Homepage Journal
    There are plenty of ways that I can do better than other players in WoW that isn't considered cheating by Blizzard or most players:

    -- I have a 6mbit cable connection, which is really going to allow me to advance in the game much faster than players limited to a modem or crappy DSL connection. Believe me, there are plenty of players out there using modem connections, I've played with them, and I can literally run circles around them while they die over and over, which ends up costing them serious money and time.

    -- Having a slower video card doesn't handicap you as much, but does to some extent. You have more control over your video settings to even things out than when it comes to your connection, but it certainly helps to have a top-of-the-line video card that allows me to easily zoom out and see farther away than other players.

    -- Getting a guild together made up of high level Real-Life friends gives you a HUGE advantage over other solo players like me. Sure, you can just make the friends online, but it's a lot easier if you already have a group of level 60 geeks (especially family members) waiting to help you almost any time you want. I've been seriously left in the dust because of this many times, ESPECIALLY when it comes to WoW objectives that are mostly based on gold (epic mount, mount, etc.). I've seen players in a guild who would literally give 100-500 gold to members based solely on the fact they are Real-Life family members. Is nepotism any less cheating than buying gold from a gold farmer? I don't think so.

    I think the first and especially third points are, by far, the most common way that a random level 1 player can get to level 60 in a couple of weeks. I've moved up a couple of high-end levels (mid to high 50's) in an hour or so each just by tagging along with level 60's who were just bored and wanted to show me how much butt they could kick.

    I also think that the fact that getting a big gold hand-out from a family member or simply buying it with real world money shows there are serious flaws in the gameplay of WoW itself. Anything that costs a huge amount of gold or has ridiculous drop percentages is just Blizzard's way of telling you, "Hey, we're scraping the bottom of the barrel in content here, so just bite the bullet and start grindin'!".

    Grinding is a substitute for good game content, and WoW has been (and still is) lacking a lot of good game content in the high levels (level 40+) for a long time.

    Not to mention how many high level quests are so bugged that you have to wait weeks to do them. Some of the quests allow you to make stupid mistakes that can easily be solved with a bunch of gold, which encourages more gold begging/buying. Many high level quests are blatant in how they expect you to grind or waste huge amounts of time gathering crap to complete the quest. Most people just buy the crap to complete the quest in a few minutes.

    The real problem with WoW is that they set up the content so that you can easily advance by cheating. Then they're surprised when people actually do cheat?!?!?

    Give me a break, Blizzard, come up with more/better/less buggy content, then you can complain more about cheating (which is probably why you don't hear Blizzard complaining too much about it).

    Oh and, in the meantime, if you're going to crack down on cheaters who buy gold from gold farmers, why don't you just start regulating/restricting all sales/transfers/trades of 100 gold or more in the game? Then you'll stop ALL the B.S....
  • by mmalove (919245) on Monday March 06, 2006 @07:03PM (#14862608)
    Author spent 60 dollars on 500 gold.

    The ad banner just beneath his article :

    1000 gold for $34.99

    nuff said

Heisenberg may have been here.

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