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Posts with tag gold sellers

Avoiding gold-selling scams


Tobold has an interesting post up on getting scammed by businesses claiming to sell in-game gold or items. While, yes, it's easy enough for them to take your money and hand you some in-game cash, it's easier still for them to take your money and then not bother doing anything else. (And try to explain that to your credit card company when you dispute the charges...) And once you've lost real money to such a scammer, what's your next recourse? Well, a lot of people will call customer service and complain -- Sony cited frequent customer service calls as one of the reasons they legitimized the trading business with their Station Exchange. But Blizzard's not going to be able to do anything but snicker when you call and complain that a gold-seller took your money and ran, so, really, buying gold could just leave you with a hole in your real and virtual pocket. The only way to be 100% sure you get what you pay for is obvious: don't buy gold in the first place.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cheats, Economy

Are gold sellers the key to WoW's continued success?

On Monday, Blizzard banned several thousand accounts found using third party programs to fully automate killing and looting, aka botting. These programs are largely used by gold selling companies employing farmers to speed up the rate at which they can supply gold to the many buyers out there. But a columnist at the Lightspeed Ventures site has a different take: he proposes that gold sellers are actually the independent application developers that are integral to the success of any online venture.

No matter where you fall on the gold farmer debate ("they ruin the game" vs "they fill a need the developers refuse to acknowledge"), you have to stop and think about this particular premise. Lightspeed, a venture capital company that funds technology companies, asserts that any platform needs three critical elements to succeed.

Read more →

Filed under: Blizzard, Economy

What are the gold farmers up to now?


I'm sure you've heard that Blizzard's anti-spam additions to the game have caused gold selling spammers to change their tactics. However, it certainly hasn't stopped their activity -- they're still out there, spamming us with raid invites, says, and messages over general chat channels since they can no longer do so in whispers. Lately I've been joining their raid groups to see what they've got to say, and, of course, report them. However, earlier today in one goldseller raid, I noticed that instead of listing their full site name, they're telling you to visit, for example http://www.i*****.com/. i*****.com? What? Is that even a valid domain name?

My questions are soon answered, as later in the message, the spammer explains that the ***** stands for something else, which does turn it into a valid domain name. But I have to ask -- why are they doing this? It just makes it more difficult for their potential customers to figure out where to go, so I presume there must be a reason they'd do this. So, even though there's nothing official from Blizzard, I have to think that they're doing something that causes trouble for the spammers if they use their full domain name. Are they flagging people using known gold-selling domains in chat for further investigation? Since we haven't heard anything from Blizzard, we can't say for certain. But until we hear something, there's room for speculation.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Economy

Class-action lawsuit filed against IGE

Speaking of lawsuits, Terra Nova is reporting that there's been class-action lawsuit filed in Florida against IGE for... well, I'll let you read for yourself:

The case involves IGE's calculated decision to reap substantial profits by knowingly interfering with and substantially impairing the intended use and enjoyment associated with consumer agreements between Blizzard Entertainment and subscribers to its virtual world called World of Warcraft.

The lawsuit seeks both monetary damages and a stop IGE's gold farming activities. (If you just can't get enough legalspeak, you can take a look at the entire text of the lawsuit here, via Terra Nova.) Now, I have to admit that I am not a lawyer and cannot tell you whether this lawsuit has any substance to it. However, I can assure you that over here at WoW Insider we'll be looking for any updates on this -- so we can pass them right on to you.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Economy

Interview with a farmer


No, not a farmer in World of Warcraft gold farmer, but an Everquest 2 plat farmer. When EQ2 player Ogrebear received a tell from someone trying to sell him plat, he responded how he usually did -- with a threat. However, this particular plat seller actually responded to Ogrebear's tell, resulting in an interesting conversation that gives us a bit of insight into the industry.

So what does this farmer make? About $100 a month for seven hours work a day. (Ogrebear notes that that's 71 cents an hour if he only works five days a week.)

How many characters does this farmer go through in a week? Seven. But apparently it's profitable enough to keep at it.

What's this mean to those of us playing World of Warcraft? It means that Blizzard has an uphill battle ahead of them -- the farmers are making enough money to keep at this, despite bannings. And I've got to wonder if they can ever ban enough of them. Perhaps this explains Blizzard's recent push to resolve this issue via legal methods.

[Via PlayNoEvil]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Economy

The spammers new (old) methods


While poking around the World of Warcraft LJ, I couldn't help but notice that the spammers are back at it again, and apparently using some of the old tactics that they used to use. Well, tactics that they used to use before they figured out how to script spamming hundreds of people in a split second from a level one character. For those of you who either don't remember them, or who aren't familiar, I thought it might be best to relay the information.

There are a couple of main tactics that they seem to have started employing since the new patch is squelching their ability to get to us. The first one involves random group or raid invites where the spammers invite a massive amount of people and just repeat the same text over and over in party or raid chat. While many people will not fall for this, these blind invites may prove problematic for those people who are using the LFG tool. The best suggestion I saw was to /who anyone who sends you an invitation to make sure that you aren't getting invites from level one characters.

Read more →

Filed under: Tips, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, News items

Blizzard files lawsuit against gold spammer

We knew Blizzard implemented filters with Patch 2.1 to reduce in-game spam from gold sellers. But we didn't know that they are taking the fight into the real world as well.

Eyonix has reported that Blizzard has filed a lawsuit against one of the gold spammers who have caused us so much in-game grief. If the seller does not stop its in-game spamming of whispers and non-stop in-game mail spam, Blizzard is hauling them to federal court. Yes, that's right, federal court.

And in case you are still getting whispers from gold sellers after the latest patch, Blizzard has a new solution for you. Right click on their name on your chat screen. A list of commands will appear. Click on "Report Spam." This will not only report them automatically to the GMs, it will block all further whispers and mail from that player. No more trying to report intentionally hard to spell names.

Filed under: Odds and ends, Blizzard, News items

Where's all the spam gone?


In today's breakfast topic, I noted that I haven't gotten any gold spam in the time I've played since patch 2.1.0 came along. And oh, what a change it is! I was always a good little player, taking the time to report any gold selling spam to a GM, but usually by the time a GM got around to looking at my ticket, I'd have gotten at least five more piece of spam -- and that was if I opened my ticket during off-hours.

So what's the magical change that's stopped spam in its tracks this patch? Obviously, there's the new spam reporting system, which makes reporting anyone an easy task: just right-click on their name and select the "report spam" option. You'll no longer get whispers, see text, or receive mails from that player for the duration of your game session and the incident is automatically forwarded on to a GM. But even if every player were duitifully reporting every spammer, I wouldn't expect such a dramatic change in the level of spam. CM Drysc notes that as of the patch, trial accounts can no longer whisper other players -- at least not without players whispering them first. I don't know about you, but I think this simple step may have been the magic bullet.

Filed under: Patches

WoW Moviewatch: The BBC on WoW


Proving that World of Warcraft is a big enough phenomenon for even the most mainstream media to notice, this three-minute clip features BBC reporters attempting to explain gold farming and buying to a non-gamer audience. While the information may not be terribly informative to those of us who already play and understand the game, it's usually interesting to see how exactly the media attempts to portray gamers to the larger public.

Previously on Moviewatch...

Filed under: News items, WoW Moviewatch

Missing in Action: Bot Farmers

Complaints on the forums suggest that they aren't really gone, but I've noticed an astonishing lack of them on my own server in recent weeks.  All of the obvious bots - the ones who followed a specific pattern through the same area day after day - seem to be missing lately, making farming Timbermaw reputation a nearly pleasant affair, having only to compete with the human reflexes of other players.

While I'm thrilled to see this lack of farmers on my own server, I have to wonder if any of it will last. At the end of last week, I pointed my web browser in the direction of a major gold-selling site to see to see what I could find out.  I checked the stock on gold for US servers, and for nearly all servers saw the text "NOT IN STOCK! PRE-ORDER THIS ITEM NOW AND RECEIVE CURRENCY AS SOON AS WE RESTOCK."  Another check today yielded much the same results. The servers that do have gold available for order only had it in smaller quantities (if you can consider 200 gold a small quantity).  Does this imply that Blizzard's continued efforts to weed out gold-sellers starting to have a notable impact, or is this just a temporary setback on the part of the gold-farming professionals?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cheats, Economy

In-Depth Article on Gold Farming

One of my favorite new WoW sites, Metroblogging Azeroth, has a great article today that goes deep into the controversial world of gold-farming. Author Jonas Luster details the many ways that buying gold outside of the game impacts players, developers, and the gameworld itself, with a knowledge of the game that makes his observations all the more relevant.

There are plenty of things that the average gold buyer (who is almost certainly not some intrinsically evil person) probably never takes into account when they purchase gold from a farmer, aside from what shiny new armor it will buy them; they could care less what it does to the economy of the game. Then, there are those who actually believe the practice of gold farming is healthy for a virtual economy, and for people coming from that school of thought, Luster makes a convincing case why, in the end, everyone suffers from the actions of those few. Not to mention the connection he makes between the largest network of online gold-selling sites, and a trio of convicted child molesters.

It's good readin'. Check it out here. Thanks to Sean for the link.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cheats, Odds and ends, News items

Paying Real Taxes for Virtual Items?

All you have to do is visit eBay to see that your virtual acquisitions in Azeroth have real money value.  But if my epic-geared character has a real value (a priest in my guild was recently offered $1000 for his character), does that make it a taxable asset?  The IRS has no definitive answer for this, though as the market for buying and selling virtual goods becomes larger, there's the chance that this could change.  While such real life consequences for a game might seem far-fetched, they're already starting to occur - players in South Korea have been prosecuted for stealing virtual property and Chinese courts have ordered game companies to restore stolen (virtual) goods.  Can the IRS be far behind?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Economy

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