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Blizzard, Square/Enix Ban Yet More Farmers 318

Posted by Zonk
from the rmt-for-the-lose dept.
Eurogamer has the news that both Blizzard and Square/Enix have banned another batch of players for farming. The number of accounts, and the amount of money removed from the economy, is astonishing. From the article: "According to the World of Warcraft website, some 30,000 accounts were banned last month - and, as a result, more than 30 million gold were removed from the economy across all realms ... Based on the results of this investigation, more than 250 [FFXI] accounts among those found to be involved in large-scale RMT operations have been terminated... Thanks to these measures, more than 250 billion gil has been removed from circulation."
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Blizzard, Square/Enix Ban Yet More Farmers

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  • Well... (Score:5, Funny)

    by PFI_Optix (936301) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @03:29PM (#15542711) Journal
    It beats subsidizing them. Maybe our government should be taking notes.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 15, 2006 @03:31PM (#15542725)
    Wait, since when did Blizzard and Square/Enix merge? (Also, isn't it "Square-Enix"?)

    Anyway...

    I have to love the subtle order of magnitude in accounts banned. WoW bans 30,000 accounts out of 6 million, or about 0.5% of total accounts. Assuming Square-Enix banned the same percentage, they have a total of 50,000 accounts.

    Now, I know that Square-Enix's MMORPG isn't quite as popular as World of Warcarft, but I'm going to guess that's more of an indication that Blizzard is being more proactive in their banning of cheaters than Square-Enix is.
    • by HarvardAce (771954) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @03:38PM (#15542807) Homepage
      Now, I know that Square-Enix's MMORPG isn't quite as popular as World of Warcarft, but I'm going to guess that's more of an indication that Blizzard is being more proactive in their banning of cheaters than Square-Enix is.

      Either that or the percentage of "cheaters" in WoW is greater than in FFXI. I put "cheaters" in quotes because, at least in the case of WoW, the "cheaters" often aren't using any illegal hacks or third party programs -- they are either buying or selling gold, items, or accounts. That doesn't mean that some (or perhaps most) of the farmers in WoW aren't using illegal macros or other 3rd party programs, but my guess is that the majority of people banned didn't use any illegal programs -- they just violated the terms of use in some way.

      Also, from the article it looks like Square-Enix focused on the suppliers (these so-called "RMT" groups), while Blizzard went after both the buyers and the sellers.

      If you have any question on how aggressive the staff at Square-Enix is, take a look at this blog [blogspot.com] by a GM for the game.

  • by Bob_Robertson (454888) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @03:31PM (#15542726) Homepage
    Now, if only we could turn off the farmers at the Federal Reserve and stop inflation in the "real" world.

    Visualize banned Greenspan.

    • You do know that Greenspan retired a while back and a Mr. Bernacke(sp) is running the Fed now?
      • You do know that Greenspan retired a while back and a Mr. Bernacke(sp) is running the Fed now?
        Bernacke is just Greenspan's alt, since he's been bored from hitting the lvl cap.
      • I didn't take the time to look up the new sock-puppet's name. Yes, I know Greenspan retired, I hope someone decides to inflate his water supply so he drowns like he helped drown America.

        One sad thing about Bernanke as opposed to Greenspan, Bernanke never embraced a firm currency, he never wrote about the benefits of thrift. All of Bernanke's writings have been about how he believes it's possible to print wealth.

        Bernanke's promotion to the head of the Federal Reserve does not bode well. If the policies he's
        • > I didn't take the time to look up the new sock-puppet's name. Yes, I know Greenspan retired, I hope someone decides to inflate his water supply so he drowns like he helped drown America.

          We're supposed to take your commentary seriously when you can't even be bothered to look up the guy's name?

          And you also mention that you edit Wikipedia.

          Way to go.
    • Visualize banned Greenspan.

      Funny that you hate Greenspan but laud Von Mises, considering that they were in the same circles.

    • Re:Federal Reserve (Score:3, Insightful)

      by servognome (738846)
      Now, if only we could turn off the farmers at the Federal Reserve and stop inflation in the "real" world.

      Yes because what we really need is only the rich being able to readily access liquid assets.
  • by Necroman (61604) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @03:31PM (#15542730)
    Both FFXI and WoW are doing a good job at cleaning up farmers accounts right now, but that only fixes part of the problem. These farmers have introduced a ton of new gold into the economies that isn't easily removed. FFXI raised the % of money the Auction House takes from items, so they are slowly removing money that way. While WoW has a small cover for AH purchaes, and you have to deal with repair costs as well.

    There is no fast fix at this point, but closing accounts is a good start. I hope they keep up the good work, and hope even more to stop seeing ads to buy gold and gil.
    • OR better yet- SE and Blizzard can stop making broken games where you have to spend inordinate amounts of time doing extremely boring shit to earn gold in order to get to the fun parts. I buy gold and I'm damn proud of it- if your game makes me spend 50 hours mindlessly killing no challenge mobs, or mindlessly clicking craft in order to make money, your game is flawed. Gold farmers are the only thing that makes MMORPGs playable. These mass bannings will just drive casual players with real lives out of
      • Haha, so true. This is why I don't play WoW any more.
      • by MBGMorden (803437) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @03:55PM (#15542956)
        The "casual players" need to learn that they in no way NEED that much gold to play online. You want decent equipment? PLENTY of quests give pretty nice equipment as rewards. No purchase necessary. Even if you buy it a lot of stuff is available for pretty cheap (especially crafted items). There's no way you're gonna tell me that your equipment repair bills or your flight costs exceed what you make during a standard ammount of play time. The bottom line is that for anyone who wants to play casually with casual equipment, you simply don't need much gold. You might even get some really nice equipment off of a random drop every now and then.

        The problem comes in when these casual players somehow think they need/deserve the top tier epic equipment. Yes this stuff costs a shitload of gold, because it's designed for people who put a shitload of time into the game. This stuff is really only required for the most challenging instances though (which are far beyond what a casual player would ever do).

        I also find it very amusing how gold buyers are so quick to claim that people who don't buy gold don't have real lives. You are spending real money on make believe money (when you certainly don't need it to play and have fun), yet you have the audacity to insult the social habits of those who don't do this. Judge not lest ye be judged, ya friggin hypocrite.
        • by AuMatar (183847) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:09PM (#15543089)
          Now on to reality. Want to actually compete in PvP? You need top tier items. A great player in greens and blues vs a good to decent player in MC BWL or better gear- the great player doesn't stand a chance.

          Want to go do a raid (why you'd want to do this I don't know, but some people obviopusly like it)- if you don't have top level eq, you either won't be allowed on harder raids or you'll end up being a leech.

          WoW is a gear based game. If you want to play, you need top end gear. End of story. If you have a life, that means buying it. THis is a flaw in the game, and the gold sellers help to mitigate it. I salute them for it, and Blizzard ought to be damn thankful they exist- they got an extra hundred or so off of me when I would have quit without them. And I'm far from the only one, I know another 2 dozen or so like me.
          • The flaw here is that you don't actualy want to play WoW, you want to play a game that you think WoW should be. You buy gold in an attempt to transform it into the game you think it should be, but the reality is that you're cheating, and WoW just isn't the game for you.

            What I've learned from your posts is that you don't like questing, grinding, or raiding. You like PvP, and you think you should be able to single out just that portion of the game, and be competative at the top levels without playing the

            • by AuMatar (183847) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:51PM (#15543485)
              I like questing. I like PvP. I don't like grinding, and I don't like raiding (5-10 man intances are fun if not done ad nauseum, 40 men aren't. Ones that take 5 hours to complete aren't).

              Your absolutely right- I bought gold to make WoW a game thats more appealing to me. I also remodeled my kitchen to make it more appealing to me- is that cheating? And yes, I should be able to play the parts of the game that I want and not play the parts of the game I don't- its a game. Why the fuck should I pay to do something I don't like? Hell, for that matter name any game where you like every aspect of it- I can't. I eventually quit WoW when Blizzard made it impossible to do the parts of the game I did like without doing the parts I don't (I wasn't about to spend 5 hours a week doing MC, which was what it took a good guild then. I like having weekends). SO did the rest of my guild, minus one or two players, so there went a few grand a year for Blizzard. But if there's enough parts of the game I do like, I'm going to go ahead and play it and use whatever means are possible to skip the not fun parts. SO long as doing the fun parts is worth the money, its all good. In this case it was- I spent a few hundred on gold, and enjoyed the game for a decent amount of time. It was a lot cheaper on a per time basis than many other hobbies.
              • by XenoRyet (824514) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @05:12PM (#15543725)
                Remodeling your kitchen is not outside of intended functionality for a kitchen-space, and also has no effect on anyone. Buying gold on WoW is very much outside intended functionality, and is detrimental to the community as a whole.

                All I'm saying is that if you don't like the way WoW playes, cheating isn't the way to fix it. It's like filling the sandbox with dirt because you like making mud-forts more than sandcastles, it's really best for everyone involved if you just go play in the mud and leave the sandbox alone.

              • Hell, for that matter name any game where you like every aspect of it- I can't.

                Tetris.
          • Or maybe MMO's should move in the direction of being skill based with gear/time invested effecting the outcome of combat less. That way, casual players can still compete, and PvPer's don't need to spend 800 hours leveling, farming, and questing to be uber, they just need to practice.

            -Rick
          • Now on to reality. Want to actually compete in PvP? You need top tier items. A great player in greens and blues vs a good to decent player in MC BWL or better gear- the great player doesn't stand a chance.
            MC or BWL gear isn't bought. It's dropped. If you want to go get it, you do those runs, you don't buy the stuff. In the same light, if you want to do strictly PvP, there are rewards for doing PvP as well.

            Want to go do a raid (why you'd want to do this I don't know, but some people obviopusly like it)- i
            • by AuMatar (183847) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @05:16PM (#15543775)
              if you want to do strictly PvP, there are rewards for doing PvP as well.

              With top end gear thats limited to 4-5 people per server, and is still vastly inferior to whats found in BWL. So you still won't be able to compete. Not that you could get to the top anyway, as you'd need the best gear to have a chance.

              Through the standard progressive sequence, if you raid the proper dugneons sequentially, you will get acceptable gear simply from drops or quests. There is simply no need to buy the stuff.

              If you don't want to have to do the same dungeon 50 times waiting for a 2% drop? If it gets ninja looted when it does drop? Or if you lose the roll legitamitely? If you want to play with friends who aren't still doing those lower level dungeons?

              Gear certainly helps in certain areas, but you in no way need top end gear

              Top end gear is absolutely necessary to do PvP. Its absolutely necessary to do high level dungeons (admittedly, you can do lower level ones without it). Get 40 people in greens in MC and have fun- you won't be able to beat more than 1-2 bosses, and that will be with heavy deaths.
          • This is why I prefer WW2OL to MMORPGs. In WW2OL, it's the individual's skill that matters, and player rank just adds small things like binoculars once you're out of the lowest "greentag" ranks.
          • by geekoid (135745)
            I have a life work, wife, kids, friends, etc . . .
            I ahve never had a problem getting into a raid without 'top tiered stuff' In fact it is ecpected someone won't be in top tiered stuff. Most top tiered stuff is BoP, so it has zero auction value.
            So being a 'leech' isn't an issue.

            I ahve another character who does WSG. I routinly beet people(usually undead rogues) who ahve 1000+ GP worth of enchants.
            I ahve some blues and greens, and some good enchants(not great) and all the money I got for my enchants and gear
          • Ummm, wrong (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Sycraft-fu (314770)
            Until receantly I was a member of a top horde PVP guild (most of the guild has now quit playing). I have no purple items at all. All those that did had only PvP items. None the less we were great at PvP. Had multiple peopel who'd been high warlord, etc. When facing a random group of people, even those with epics, we'd 4 or 5 cap. Against the good alliance PvP guilds it was all tactics. When it was like 10 of us and some random people, and nobody really took leadership, we generally lost. When it was 15 of u
        • I also find it very amusing how gold buyers are so quick to claim that people who don't buy gold don't have real lives. You are spending real money on make believe money (when you certainly don't need it to play and have fun), yet you have the audacity to insult the social habits of those who don't do this. Judge not lest ye be judged, ya friggin hypocrite.

          First of all, it's not clear that someone who complains about a need for gold is necessarily a gold buyer. -1 points for you.

          Second, if you can wo

          • "First of all, it's not clear that someone who complains about a need for gold is necessarily a gold buyer. -1 points for you."

            Except in this case it is crystal clear, as the post he was replying to freely admitted to buying gold. -10 points :P
          • First of all, it's not clear that someone who complains about a need for gold is necessarily a gold buyer. -1 points for you.

            Damn. People don't even RTFGP anymore. A DIRECT quote from the GP: I buy gold and I'm damn proud of it-

            Doesn't leave much to assume does it?

            Second, if you can work as many hours as you want, or at least you can work extra hours, and you get more gold for working an hour and buying it than you do for farming for an hour, then why shouldn't you buy gold if that works for you? I mean a
        • by ad0gg (594412) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @05:26PM (#15543903)
          Try to run AB without an epic mount. Speed in AB is more critical than anything else in AB since the winning strategy involves being able to reinforcing your positions before the other team can cap.
      • I consider myself a casual player. I even dared to be one in Everquest.

        I don't know if you ever noticed what happens when mass farming drives the economy in a game bonkers. In a nutshell, it means that you don't EVER get anything, unless you shell out real world money. You won't be able to put enough time into the game to actually buy something with the money you make. The money quite literally inflates faster than you can harvest it. Without farmers, you, the casual player, have a chance to actually some d
        • That inflation happens anyway. Prices *do NOT* stay stable without gold sellers- they haven't in any MMO to date. There's plenty of farmers even without gold sellers. Add in the power curve (more time=more powerful=higher earning rate) and you'll still never be able to afford it. Gold buying at least gives you an end run around it all. But so long as MMOs are based on the time sink model, this issue will exist.
          • I've seen both, stable economies and economies that were so off the scale that the most expensive "vendor component" for a receipe went for less than a tenth of a percent of the "drop only" parts, when it started originally at about equal.

            EVE had a very stable economy for quite a long time. It is still fairly stable. They've had their share of macro-mining and other exploits, but they found a way to deal with it. I don't know if it is still true, but for the time I played it, they managed to come up with en
            • You do know you can buy ISK, right? 1 billion ISK is about 200 bucks. As some of my friends just started playing it, I'm highly considering it- mining sucks, I don't have the skills to make money via PvP yet, and making enough for my first cruiser is horribly slow- I make about 200K ISK/hr in my frigate. 10K hrs of ISK for only 5 hrs of rl work sounds pretty good.
              • The question is, what do you gain from it?

                Money ain't everything in EVE. Do you have the skill to actually use that cruiser? If not, you're just throwing away about 2 cents. You'll actually do even less damage than with the frigate, if you can't "use" the cruiser.

                I'm not talking about personal skill. I'm talking about your character's skill.
      • I buy gold and I'm damn proud of it- if your game makes me spend 50 hours mindlessly killing no challenge mobs, or mindlessly clicking craft in order to make money, your game is flawed. Gold farmers are the only thing that makes MMORPGs playable. These mass bannings will just drive casual players with real lives out of the game.

        Ever consider that it's because of the gold farmers and players like you that the prices of equipment on the open market become so inflated?

        It's like what happens if a country decide
    • The problem with too much gold (inflation) is a problem of design, not of gold farmers. The farmers don't create the problem. They do add to it, but minorly at best. The problem is every $critter you kill drops $phat_loot which came from... nowhere.

      I suppose this would be okay if $critter could be made extinct by players killing them, leading to no more loot coming into the system. (since you should get the phiscal corpse of $critter if you wack it)
      • At worst, it would worsen it.

        If a commodity is finite, it is by default more interesting for farmers. So if a species could be driven to extinction, it WILL be driven to extinction. Twice so if what they offer is valuable.

        I kill them all, with my farmboys, hoarde the loot, then charge you if you plan to own one of those things. I know for a fact that I'm the ONLY, or at least almost only, one offering it. Let's see... does 500 bucks sound too much?

        Yes?

        Tough luck. Some idiot next to you is willing to pay it.
  • by CSZeus (593470) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @03:31PM (#15542732)
    It's interesting to note that removing that vast amount of gold will actually help the economy in WoW (I can't testify to FFXI as I don't play it). It's directly analagous to decreasing the money supply in an over-inflated capitalist market - with the added twist that the money being removed is the money that belongs to the percentage of the population that has a vast amount of wealth in excess of the average.
    In short, prices drop, and the "poverty line" is lowered drastically.
  • by Tridus (79566) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @03:31PM (#15542733) Homepage
    There were a large group of unguilded Rogues levelling up against Ogres in the Badlands just a few days ago. There was so many for a while that we couldn't do any quests involving killing those Ogres, it was totally camped. (Its empty now, they got enough levels and moved on.)

    This type of action is largely pointless. They've slowed down the farmers for a little while, but they just level new accounts and go back to it. Meanwhile Blizzard is making more things that require Arcanite, which is probably the single most farmed resource on the entire server. That will just drive prices up and increase the pool of people who say "screw it" and go buy gold from some farming operation, spawning more farmers.

    If they actually want to do something about this, they need to reduce the need to buy gold to get anything done in a reasonable timeframe, and/or start banning people who BUY gold. They're the problem anyway.
    • No, what they need to do is stop putting time sinks in the game. Remove the uber rare components from crafting, the idiotic can only use this alchemy 1x per week transformations, and BAM! prices drop because its not hard to make, and gold farming ceases because you don't need mounds of gold to buy equipement. Dealing with farming is dealing with the symptom. Fix the problem- the flawed idea of time sinks.
    • If they actually want to do something about this, they need to reduce the need to buy gold to get anything done in a reasonable timeframe, and/or start banning people who BUY gold. They're the problem anyway.

      The people that buy gold aren't the problem. You pointed to the problem yourself...Blizzard is the problem. Face it, if there weren't a ton of gold sinks in the game and if gold was easier to get, there'd be no market for buying gold from other players. As it is, gold is tedious to come up with and
      • "But if some of the goals weren't so "time sinky" in nature, I bet everybody would just play the game."

        And then, after they breezed through every possible quest and goal in the game in under a week, would get bored and go back to whining about how much the game sucks because there's nothing left to do and the economy has been ruined by a flood of cheap goods.

        Worse yet, if they have two brain cells to rub together they just might stop playing and take their money somewhere else. That doesn't exactly su

        • *shrug* It takes a lot more effort to develop a game with a lot of quests that can keep people entertained for an extended period of time. I'll grant you that the current mantra around MMORPGs is that there have to be massive time sinks to keep people playing. My guess is that's primarily because nobody's tried to develop one without relying on that "crutch."

          I don't mean to suggest that every time sink be removed, but if things like the epic mount quests were more a string of individual quests no less t
    • You should see the Western Plaguelands or Felpaw Village in Felwood. You almost have to resort to sneaky tagging tactics just to get kills in at these crowded places (I've noticed more actual player farmers in Felpaw though, with the professional farmers hanging out more in WP).

      Anyways, on many of the more established realms, the creation of new characters (for accounts with no characters already on that realm) is closed. When farmer accounts are removed, they are removed forever. I'm sure most of these
    • Meanwhile Blizzard is making more things that require Arcanite, which is probably the single most farmed resource on the entire server.
      Water breathing potions/deepdive helmet/shaman buff... Azshara bay... Swim speed equipment/potions. Never seen a single unguilded toon with a name like "Zzngqx" out there. Outfoxing our Chinese colleagues is one of the more thrilling aspects of the game.
    • How else is Blizzard going to make a mint off of people if they dont make resources time consuming? Are you expecting content for your monthly fee?
  • Oh Noes! (Score:5, Funny)

    by mmalove (919245) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @03:33PM (#15542748)
    The sudden drop in China's stock prices, and the ripple on the world economy, is suddenly explained.

    Nice Job, Bliz...

  • by CrazyJim1 (809850) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @03:36PM (#15542785) Journal
    If people aren't buying and selling items for real cash, then in reality people don't want or need the items in game. When people don't want or need items in your game, there's nothing they're playing for and your game will go bust soon. Its a trend I've watched over several MMORPGS. Players complain about people that farm for gold, but I don't see the big deal.
    • If people aren't buying and selling items for real cash, then in reality people don't want or need the items in game.

      Or maybe people can distinguish between reality and the game world, and don't want to spend any more real money on the game than the purchase price, subscription fee, and an expansion or dozen.
    • >Players complain about people that farm for gold, but I don't see the big deal.

      Well, the big deal is that it hurts gameplay.

      1. Its breaks the economy and makes things more expensive. So auction prices get driven up by all this influx of money.

      2. It hurts gameplay as a pick up group usually means you'll have a farmer and once a very nice item drops and everyone is typing in "/roll" the farmer will take the item, hearthstone back to the inn, and sell it at auction.

      Arguably, this a game design problem. Wi
  • Am I the only one who thinks of Ah-nold's opening line in "The Last Action Hero?"

    "You want to be a fahmer? Here, I give you a couple of ache-ers!"
  • Posturing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Reason58 (775044) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @03:39PM (#15542819)
    This is a publicity stunt. They took more than 30 million gold out of the economy from every server? I have news for you, there's right around 170 servers worldwide. That means around 175,000 gold per server. That is a incredibly miniscule part of each server's economy, that is it laughable. Also, within one week almost all of those banned accounts will be back and max level.
  • Math tells all (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sparr0 (451780) <sparr0@gmail.com> on Thursday June 15, 2006 @03:41PM (#15542834) Homepage Journal
    Removing 30k farmers from WoW removed 30M gold. That is an average of 1000 gold each (and most would have been below the average). 1000 gold takes about 50 hours to farm, give or take 50% depending on the farmer. This breaks down to each banned account costing the farm[er/ing company]:

    $ 30 for a WoW account key
    $120 for the lost gold itself
    $ 50 for 2 people * $1/hr * 25 hours to level up a character
    $ 50 for 50 hours to farm the gold
    ----
    $250 total

    Obviously the $/hr rate is an overestimate, but the gold exchange rate and cost of a WoW key make up the majority of this estimate. At a minimum the total is $160.

    So, this is a net hit to the farming companies of $250 * 30k = $7.5M.

    All in all, a sizable blow. Unfortunately it will really only hurt the solo farmers, the guys doing it for a few extra bucks from their home. For a very large farming operation this is only a setback of about 2 weeks (100 man hours per banning) in terms of profit.
    • Re:Math tells all (Score:4, Insightful)

      by mmalove (919245) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @03:53PM (#15542936)
      Interesting math, but I think you double counted the loss of gold.

      I think Blizzard's real motive here however, is clear.

      30k accounts x 30 dollars per CD key (I thought it was more, but I'll use your numbers) = 900,000 dollars increased revenue in Blizzard's pocket. Not to mention any additional time purchased on said accounts that was taken (IE, if they were paid 6 months in advance, that's up to 80 additional dollars per account). Why do they make extra money on this? Because the farmers will be back. As long as there is a demand, and the design of nearly any MMO creates the demand, certainly WOW does.

      Now think about it - if you could do something that would provide a great PR booster, and make nearly a million dollars doing it, why not?

      • Youre right, I did double count it, cut off the last $50 from that list... Total range is from $160 to $200, still the same ballpark.

        As to motive, you are of course right.
    • You must be an incredibly experience farmer to be doing 20g per hour. I've never been able to average more than 4-5g per hour during my farming (though I rarely farm just for money. I usually combine grinding or rep farming so I don't feel like I'm totally wasting my time).
      • Not really, just willing to put the time into working out where and when to farm. Any random Joe can *MACRO* 4G/hr, just a stupid bot that runs in circles and kills/loots whatever is in the way with a super thick safety margin.
    • Re:Math tells all (Score:3, Informative)

      by Dolly_Llama (267016) *
      $ 50 for 2 people * $1/hr * 25 hours to level up a character


      25 hours? The record to 60 as best as I know is 6 days /played.

      Even the power leveling places will take 2wks or so 1-60.
  • WoW bans 30,000 accounts which equals 30,000,000 gold. If we divide that out it is approximately 1,000 gold PER ACCOUNT banned. Hmmm, not taking into account discounts from being honored and seargent/? or greater rank then 1,000 gold is EXACTLY the amount of cash needed for your epic mount. Coincidence, eh?

    Now, before anyone says I'm all for gold farmers I am definitely NOT. They cause me nothing but grief when I'm farm, errr, trying to acquire certain patterns or items needed for my character(s) ;-). Not t
    • Please allow me to reply to my reply - I was being slightly sarcarstic in my remarks it just doesn't come across that way. I guess it should not have been "my problem", rather it should have been "my quandry" perhaps. My boggle maybe? :)

      I'm sure they didn't ban exactly those amounts but it is close enough to be a weird coincidence since, like I said, you can buy epic mounts for less with discounts.

      I just found it an interesting coincidence is all. Personally, I'm glad they've banned farmers and are continui
  • They can auto generate this article every 2-3 months because square and blizzard will always ban farmers.
  • by Roger Wilcox (776904) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @03:56PM (#15542966)
    Implement a trading system that allows players to set a price for or hold auctions on their items in-game. Keep players' identities hidden so that all deals between sellers and buyers are conducted on an anonymous basis. All interplayer item exchanges are to be conducted through this anonymous marketplace.
    Downside: You won't be able to chuck old/unneeded items on the ground or at your friends, only delete them or liquidate them.
    Upside: Harvesting gold loses its profitability in the real world, because virtual items can't be sold for real money. Thus harvesting is greatly reduced.
    I don't know how other Blizzard players feel about this, but I'd gladly trade my ability to toss items at my friends for a virtual economy that might not fall apart immidiately.

    P.S. Come to think of it, the game might be more enjoyable simply by merit of not ever recieving hand-me-down items. The sense of achievement and respect among kickass characters would be all the greater because it will be known that everyone arrived at virtual greatness through their own ingenuity and perseverance.
    • This is a pretty good idea. I'm surprised they don't already have servers that ban trading of anything higher than a rare item. This way you can still craft and trade cheap ingrediants and stuff.

      Another idea is to impose a sliding scale on auction charges, so the more you sell, the more you are charged by the auction house, this should curb farmers somewhat and not effect most of the other players as most players are casual.
  • I think this is a dup - something about this was posted as part of yesterday's "Blizzard Pulls Plug on Own Con" screed.
  • Put a few merchants in each town to buy all the farmable resources (metals, herbs, hides, etc.) and sell for a set price (sell for a little more than they will buy for). People without money can still go farming, and can even earn a little money for it, but not enough to make it a full-time job. People with money can buy it for reasonable prices.

    Maybe even have the prices fluctuate slightly with supply/demand. If demand is high, there obviously aren't enought farmers, so the merchant will pay a little mor

  • Or as the saying goes... "When all you've got is a banhammer, all problems look like gold farming!"

    The truth of the matter is gold farming is going to continue (just like the drug trade and spam) until some fundemental problems with the core system is resolved.

    When money is involved, people will go out of their way to get that money regardless of the law and the rules of the land. No matter how many farmers you ban, IPs you block, or drug dealers you throw into jail, people are going to be doing this.

    So how
    • Then a few people aquire 98% of the gold effectivly stopping the game.

      The only way to limit gold farming is to not allow people to exchange gold.
      Second to that, only allow people to exchange small amounts of gold.
      For example, cap the high end price something can be sold for, based on the item.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:34PM (#15543330)
    Why do farmers exist? Because people are willing to pay cash for in game stuff. Why do people willingly spend money for something they could technically get themselves? Because they don't want to do it themselves.

    "Hold a second. That's like saying I buy Castlevania and then hire someone to play it for me so I can do the end boss fight. That makes no sense."

    Yup. We're getting closer to the problem. There are actually people who PAY money to NOT HAVE TO play the game. Now, when a game has parts that are so "boring" that it's no fun to do them, the problem starts with the game, not the farmer. The farmer is actually more or less an effect. Not the cause (he's the cause for other problems with the game, we're getting into a circle here).

    In a good game, it should not even cross your mind that you want to bypass parts of it. It should be interesting to do just that what is bypassed.

    It's not only a problem of WoW, that problem can be found in almost all MMORPGs. And a MMORPG that solves it will certainly sell well. But as long as there are tedious and boring parts in a MMORPG, farmers will exist.
    • by Incoherent07 (695470) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:54PM (#15543510)
      Actually, the problem you're suggesting is with the player. Why do you think cheat codes exist? Because people want instant gratification. Analogy: FPS games tend to have cheats like invulnerability, all weapons, and infinite ammo. People use these. Therefore all FPS games are inherently flawed, because people want to bypass the content. The perfect FPS would have these things enabled by default, so there would be no need for cheat codes.

      What you're suggesting about a "perfect" MMO is impossible. Why? Because people always want to have the best character, if for no other reason than to buy a level 60 warrior in full epic gear, then go and Heroic Strike someone in PvP with their Ashkandi. (Yeah, HS. I'm sure you've encountered these people too.) And this segment will be there whether your leveling content is absolutely breathtaking or a mindless grind.
    • by greymond (539980) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @05:16PM (#15543784) Homepage Journal
      I couldn't agree more. After several years of playing MMO's from EQ, to FFXI and now about to quit WoW, I find that each complained about farmers. But the reason why farmers existed was because the choice for players was:

      A) Spend a combination of 40 hours playing a game killing creatures to buy a sword so you can continue following the game's story line, quests, and continue playing with others
      B) Pay some dude $20 and buy the sword so you can continue following the game's story line, quests, and continue playing with others.

      I think the worst example of poor game design was FFXI. In it you had crafting skills which required pieces from all over the world. You could literally spend an entire weekend aquiring the materials and spend 2 hours watching the materials critically fail and now you are out the items you spent 40 hours worth of WORK in addition to into and haven't gained much progression for your character. MMO's are all about playing with other people and advancing, yet developers purposefully create time boring sinks which cause people to rely on farmers in order to get back to the fun parts of the game.

      In my opinion if an MMO came out that modeled Diablo or FF in the sense that would allow soloability (the option of playing with others is better than having to play with others - see WoW's user base) as well as by the time you reached max level you're character could easily afford anything he wanted or needed without having to "farm" you'd have a solid game and one that could potential be the end all be all of MMO's.

      But unfortunately no one wants to make one. All the companies hire designers who enjoy forcing people to play variable classes in certain ways, farm for greater amounts of time than playing with others, and insist on making MMO's more tedious and annoying. Why? Because the longer it takes you to achieve your goals, the longer you have to pay them a monthly fee.
    • I'll say what I said back in the days when this was a "problem" in EverQuest: it's not a problem, it's just a matter of supply and demand. There are people who focus on certain things. For some it's specific quests or gear. For some it's social play. For some it's just exploring the world. It can be nice to be able to "buy in" to the game and not have to do everything just to do the things you want.

      During my time in EQ, I bought plat so that I could buy things for friends who were starting the game. Eventua
  • by AntonVoyl (125030) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:53PM (#15543504) Homepage
    Check out this great article on the mechanics of professional WoW gold-farming:


    On Gold and Gollums, an overview into the Gold Farming and Selling Industry [metblogs.com]


    Sure, it's interesting that there are large, organized networks that employ legions of people willing to spend their days harvesting gold, but what really strikes me is the degree to which gold farmers manipulate a server's entire economy.

  • am i seeing this right?
    30,000 accounts on wow, removed 30 million gold, thats an average of about 1000 gold per account

    on FF its 250 accounts and 250 billion gil?

    thats an average of about 1billion gil per account?
    holy crap
  • I had to do some research on just what "gold farming" even meant. From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]:

    A farmer is a general term for a person who acquires in-game currency in a MMORPG through collecting items and money that can be obtained by continually defeating enemies within the game. Farming is a popular method in which to obtain in-game currency within many MMORPGs. A gold farmer is a person who collects in-game currency for the purpose of selling it to other players for real world currency, such as the US dollar.

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