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NPR sympathetic to goldfarmers

When Friiv tipped us to the recent NPR interview dealing with goldfarming, I was eager to take a listen. Finally, a non-gamer media outlet will hear our frustration. How wrong I was. The interview, which ran on May 14th takes a completely different view of the goldfarming phenomenon.

A lot about what bothers me about goldfarming is imagining the conditions in which the farmers must be working, and indeed the interview did liken the goldfarming companies to Nike sweatshops. Tens of thousands of Chinese workers sit for 12 hours shifts hunched over computer screens, standing in the same spot in game and killing the same monster over and over. The gold they make in a day's work goes for around $13.00 in the , but would only sell for $4.00 in .

The interview goes on to talk about how hatred has built toward Chinese gold farmers, to the point where people are committing acts of "virtual murder" against them. She even mentioned a "Farm the Farmers Day" that was organized on one server to slaughter as many goldfarmers as they could find. The term "xenophobia" even came up, as if we as gamers are having a tough time differentiating the Chinese people from the Chinese goldfarmers. I am sure that some people have a tendency to do this, but I honestly don't believe for a second that WoW players are beginning to despise the Chinese as a race simply because of this problem.

It appears as if mainstream media certainly prefers to side with the goldfarmer on this argument. I came away from the interview with the feeling that "these people are just playing the game they love for work." Well, so do I, but I don't break the TOS while doing it.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Economy

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