Skip to Content

WoW Insider has the latest on the Mists of Pandaria!

Posts with tag gold-selling

The Lawbringer: Interfering with gold farmers


Welcome to the Lawbringer, your weekly tour of the intersection between law and Warcraft. I am a third year law student specializing in intellectual property law acting as your crossing guard, trying desperately not to get run over myself.

So last week we engaged in some speculation about how WoW might change if Blizzard permitted gold sales. Personally, I think that the damage to the game economy and culture would be far more damaging than any legal issues that might develop, but it's worth noting that legal issues could easily develop. As for the here and now, certain facts about gold selling remain:
  • Gold selling is against the terms of both the North American and European EULA and TOU.
  • Gold selling is performed by a number of companies, many of them located outside the Unites States.
  • Gold sellers acquire their gold through obnoxious farming behaviors and account hacking.
  • Gold sellers exist because of gold buyers.
Given all this, what can we as players do to stop these locusts? The biggest thing is obviously to NOT buy gold. I really don't think this point can be emphasized enough. Beyond that though, we may be able to take advantage of a legal theory known as tortious interference in contract.

Read more →

Filed under: The Lawbringer

The Lawbringer: Legal gold sales? Not a Blizzard's chance in Hell

Welcome to The Lawbringer, wow.com's weekly feature on the intersection between World of Warcraft and the Law. I am a third year law student acting as your crossing guard and trying not to get run over myself.

As an introduction to our promised discussion on gold farming, I wanted to address an idea that's been circulating in the WoW blogosphere. There has been some talk that Blizzard could solve the problem of gold farming and hacked accounts in one fell swoop by simply selling the gold themselves. It's an attractive idea on its face, as some feel as though Blizzard's current ban on Real Money Transaction for gold ("RMT") is nothing but an ill advised Prohibition. Permit people to buy gold through Blizzard, the argument goes, and the keyloggers, site spoofers, hackers, and spammers will go back to the rock from under which they came, just like the Mafia disappeared after alcohol sales were permitted in 1933. Oh wait...

The obvious problems have been pointed out before, including: rich brats will have more advantages over folks with jobs and bills; inflation will cause Azeroth to resemble Zimbabwe, the Weimar Republic, or -- God forbid -- Norrath; players will be forced to pay up to stay competitive; WoW-clone MMOs will follow Blizzard's lead, leaving players with few refuges from RMT markets; Blizzard devs will be "encouraged" to design the game around acquiring and spending more gold; players who can't remember website names will still think "www.l3g!t-w0rlduvw0wcr@ft-g0ld.c0m" is Blizzard's website and download keyloggers, etc. Some don't believe this parade of horribles is enough to discourage Blizzard from creating this quixotic market. To the doubters, let me add some legal issues that would affect Blizzard and players, namely: property rights, taxation, and investment advice.

Any of that sound like improvements to you?

Read more →

Filed under: The Lawbringer

[1.Local]: The legendary Frostingmourne

Reader comments -- ahh, yes, the juicy goodness following a meaty post. [1.Local] ducks past the swinging doors to see what readers have been chatting about in the back room over the past week.

Looking for sweet, sweet sarcasm? [1.Local] is full of smart alecs. You'll get a good taste of sarcasm in this week's sampling of comments, as well as pointers to WoW's hottest topics ... Oh, and a virtual wave of reader approval. But before we dig in, how about seconds of this week's WoW-themed dessert?

MusedMoose: Dude! It's the legendary sword Frostingmourne, weapon of the Lick King!

... I'll go now.


Us, too. Let's wipe off the frosting and head past the jump for more of the week's comments.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, [1.Local]

The Queue: It's just a game

Welcome back to The Queue, WoW.com's daily Q&A column where the WoW.com team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Adam Holisky be your host today.

I might be wrong with this one, but I think World of Warcraft is just a game. I mean, it's something we all do in our spare time, and have fun with, right?

And it doesn't really matter, because at the end of the day everything is just pixels on the screen.

But maybe I'm off base here, and WoW isn't a game. Maybe it's real. What is real? Is there a spoon? I see dead people.

Retadinman asked...

"Why are draenei hated so much? The "lorelol" retcon wasn't really that big, but since my main character and posting avatar on the Forums (who are the same) are draenei, I get a lot of hate. Why is this?"

Read more →

Filed under: The Queue

Blizzard warns against buying gold

If it wasn't already obvious, Blizzard put together a page on their official website making clear their stance towards buying in-game gold, and have just recently given it another big push. To put it simply: don't. The page outlines what we at WoW.com have known for quite some time (hence our collective stance against buying gold) -- that gold buying harms other players. The site doesn't go into specifics other than to say that gold selling companies often acquire their gold through unscrupulous means.

They sum up their statement by saying that "players who buy gold are supporting spamming, botting, and keylogging." Basically, if you're a gold buyer, you're part of the problem. No, seriously. Gold sellers acquire gold by hacking into other players' accounts, taking their gold, selling all their items, and sometimes maliciously deleting their characters. That gold you think some Asian spent hours farming in Nagrand or something is more likely to be some other player's hard-earned gold and the seller is just as likely to be some dude from Jersey.

As tempting as buying gold may seem -- and I've read many arguments towards why people buy them -- the bottom line is that it is harmful to the game and you're not doing yourself any favors in the long run. Blizzard says that it "diminish(es) the gameplay experience," but that's putting it nicely. Gold selling and power leveling are against the EULA, anyway, so anybody who patronizes these services are in danger of getting banned. And if you don't believe in buying gold (go you!), protect yourself by getting an authenticator or reading up on account security.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Account Security

Breakfast Topic: Why Blizzard should make authenticators mandatory on Battle.net accounts


With the impending switch to necessary Battle.net accounts, Blizzard has an opportunity to create and extremely secure and hardened gaming community. They can do this by waving a magic wand, angering a certain amount of their customer base, and eliminating in one swoop nearly all, if not all, account hacks.

Blizzard can make authenticators a mandatory feature on all Battle.net accounts.

There are many pros and cons such a move would bring about. Let's examine the cons first since everyone likes to complain about stuff. The largest con would be that people would be required to have a physical piece of equipment specific to WoW and other Blizzard games. Some people would obviously not be okay with this and cancel their subscription, and others would not understand how to push a button and punch in numbers (I'm not kidding). There would be a large cry from people around the net, particularly people who enjoy scamming others out of gold and their accounts, but those are easily enough ignored.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, Account Security

China's gold farming ban not really a ban

The other day, we reported on China's recent ban on trading real currency for virtual goods, and it was hailed as the end of gold selling in the MMO world. Unfortunately, it may not actually play out that way. While this would put a stop to some gold selling, it won't stop all of it thanks to a convenient little loophole.

That loophole is the fact that their law has no jurisdiction over foreign transactions. While it absolutely can put a stop to these transactions on Chinese soil using Chinese servers and Chinese currency, Chinese goldfarmers can still happily (well, probably not happily) scrounge up gold on American realms and sell it to American players. Most likely, this new law won't have an impact on the gold selling industry whatsoever. The people being impacted are those crafting their games on a model of microtransactions rather than a subscription model. Developers, not gold farmers, will be harmed by this. A game like Free Realms is no longer a feasible option in China.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Economy

The Queue: The roof, the roof


Welcome back to The Queue, WoW.com's daily Q&A column where the WoW.com team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.

I've received a load of e-mails, tweets, whispers, and whatever else since Eliah posted this past weekend's WRUP. Yes, my garage burned down. No, nobody was hurt. No, the house didn't burn down, the siding just melted a little. No, that wasn't my car, it was my neighbor's car. Yes, my office has smelled like someone barbequeing since it happened and I can't get the smell to go away. I appreciate the concern, guys. You are all awesome. I guess I should pick a relevant Song of the Day, huh? How about Billy Joel's We Didn't Start the Fire?

Jack Spicer asked...


"With each expansion Blizzard seems to be bringing underused talent specs around and making them highly desirable. In TBC, it seemed to be Feral Druids, Prot Pallies, Shadow Priests and BM Hunters. In Wrath, they really brought up Survival Hunters and Retribution Pallies.

But I'm curious. From a PvE perspective, which talent trees are still universally lacking and laughable?"

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Queue

There could be up to a million Chinese gold farmers

A new report on MMO gold farming claims that there are about 400,000 working in China on gold farming and trading, and that there could be as many as 500,000 to even a full million. Of course there's no way to tell exactly how many people are employed in the business (and the number almost certainly doesn't stay constant for long), but according to interviews and surveys done of business there, that's the number they've come up with. They also claim a $10 billion a year turnover, however, and that number seems way high, though remember that they're talking about all MMOs, not just World of Warcraft. The report has some other interesting information about how China does gold farming: there are a number of brokerages staffed by English speakers in the larger cities that handle the actual transaction, and then the farms themselves are usually outside the cities, where cheaper labor is available. Typical pay in the farms is about $140 a month plus food and board, working in about ten hour shifts, while pay is higher in the city-based brokerages. Most employees are younger guys, who play while drinking beer and smoking cigarettes, and lots of their ingame tasks are automated with custom-made and adapted software.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Making money

Guardian talks to Chinese goldsellers and UK buyers

UK paper The Guardian has a look at what life is like at a Chinese goldselling company. It's interesting, but we've basically seen it before -- the small room of young people working almost 24/7 to make and deliver gold in-game, the concerns about worker livelihood and the supposedly large amounts of money going through these businesses (there's one figure quoted of £700m, which is about $980 million, but that's an estimate -- no one really knows how much these companies are making).

But what's really interesting about this piece is that it seems to treat goldselling as more of an "opportunity" than anything else. The people running the companies are making money, the employees are getting a roof over their head and a steady paycheck, and even the guy making the film talks about how governments should start taking a cut of this industry. Nowhere is it actually mentioned that Blizzard considers these companies to be against the terms of service, or that many times the gold obtained by these companies isn't earned through simple grinding, but by hacking, keylogging, and exploiting. Even if (emphasis on the if) these companies are making millions of dollars a year, they're stealing accounts and cheating in-game to do it.

Rowenna Davis also did interviews with both the gold farmer and a player in the UK buying money from him (bannz0red?), but again, there's no insight at all from the player whose account was hacked and bank was looted, or the player who is able to earn as much gold as they need and have a life outside the game (there are plenty of those to go around). Would have been nice to see the issue from players who aren't actually breaking the game's terms of service.

Thanks, Bryn!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Leveling, Making money, Wrath of the Lich King

Authenticator ordering leads to unexplained refunds

We've already reported that the Blizzard Authenticator is sold out, but here's another twist to the story. WoW Insider reader Ryan told us that he placed his order last Monday, before the sell out was announced.

However, instead of getting his Authenticator, he instead got an unexplained refund. With no other word from Blizzard, they simply canceled the order and refunded the money. He talked to a coworker who had also ordered the Authenticator and found that he had the same experience. As of yet, Blizzard has not explained the refund to him.

It's likely that Ryan was simply unlucky enough to place his order after they'd sold out but before they'd officially announced it, but there's other somewhat unfortunate implications. If they're refunding his order instead of honoring it, it suggests that they don't expect to have any new Authenticators ready for quite some time.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Hardware, Account Security

Breakfast Topic: The price of flight

As recently reported, Kharmen EU Talnivarr has reportedly paid 20,000 gold for the Amani War Bear. Kharmen reportedly raised the cash for the enormous land epic ride on her which raised questions about how much gold grinding would trigger a gold farming alert.

The 20,000 price tag seems pretty outrageous considering I'm still puttering along, like many others, on my regular Windriders on all of my 70s. If the Artisan Riding Skill were important to me, I'd make more of an effort to save the 5,000 gold for the mount, but I find it to be low on my priority list. There is no indication that the cost of epic flight will be reduced in the future.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Economy, Breakfast Topics, Making money, Mounts

Blizzard lays down the science on gold selling


It may seem like it didn't need to be said, but they're saying it anyway: gold buyers are financing the hacking of accounts and the selling off of people's gear. Since we at WoW Insider have seen a lot of these cases (have even had them happen to some of us) we know how profoundly irritating and even emotionally painful it can be to have all of your work on a character or characters gone in a heartbeat, much less seeing them transfered to other servers and even in some cases having their names changed. Blizzard points out power leveling services as a particular culprit in this trade, saying "Through our normal support processes and the assistance of players, we also find that many accounts that have been shared with power-leveling services are then hacked into months later, and all of the items on the account are stripped and sold off. Basically, players have paid money to these companies, sometimes large amounts, and they're then targeted by these same companies down the road."

Now, this doesn't mean that you shouldn't still be careful with add-ons you download or keep a good anti-virus program on your computer, as we know there are many malicious trojans out there targeting World of Warcraft players. But just as clearly, if you use a power leveling service or buy gold, not only are you funding account hacking, you're in danger of seeing your own account hacked as well.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Economy, Leveling

Anti-gold-seller FAQ page goes up at the official EU site

Why do Shattrath City banks have no guards? Do they just assume the Naaru will smite anyone with sticky fingers?World of Warcraft's European site has posted a new page of their FAQ aiming to describe the effects and consequences of third party gold selling, also known as RMT (Real Money Trade or Real Money Transactions). There doesn't seem to be a similar page added to the American site yet, but we've seen enough to know very well that they disapprove as well.

The page mostly focuses on the more underhanded tactics the companies use to get money, such as keyloggers and trojans, or simply stealing the accounts of people who paid for powerleveling, and using them as farming bots, or spamming in high traffic areas on level 1 characters with hard to spell names. It's a good start, and certainly reminds people of the harm that these gold farmers do, and how it can hit close to home.

As a veteran MMORPGer who's watched Johnathan Yantis and Brock Pierce practically invent the industry and most of the dirty tricks it pulls, I'm glad to see Blizzard continue to make a stand against these types of leeches and hope they continue to do so. I'd love to see them explain more fully how the constant amount of kill stealing and spawn and AH camping they do hurts the game. A campaign of information might be just what we need to stop the gold farmers once and for all. Legal measures and community shame (and thus shrinking of their customer base) for a one-two punch? Here's hoping!

Thanks for the heads up, Richard!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Economy, Making money

What is the definition of cheating in WoW?

Michael Zenke, the blogger behind MMOG Nation and regular contributor to our sister site Massively, has posted an article covering the latest dust up over gold selling.

The interesting part about this latest debate is that it has become a larger discussion about what is considered cheating. Most people would probably say that cheating is breaking the rules. Paying someone else to level your character or to give you gold for RL money is currently viewed as "unfair."

But if receiving money you didn't earn is in-game is cheating, does that extend to farming for gold with your main to give to your alt? What about having your higher level friends run you through a loweer level dungeon quicker? Isn't that powerleveling? What about twinking? Did your alt "earn" those items?

For many, I think the distinction is whether RL money is involved. It's acceptable to send gold to your alt because you main earned it, but it's not fair to buy gold because you are using your RL cash to get ahead in a game.

So if using RL resources to get ahead is cheating, what about people who are rich with time? After all, the principal mechanic for MMO progression is time spent playing the game. Aren't people with enormous amounts of free time using their RL resources to gain an unfair advantage of those who have limited play time?

Where is the line between cheating and working within the game rules to get the most out of your game time? And how much RL can developers expect to keep out of their games in the interest of "fairness"?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cheats, Leveling, Alts

Around Azeroth

Around Azeroth

Featured Galleries

It came from the Blog: Pandamonium
The gaming artwork of Jessica Dinh
Mists of Pandaria Raid DPS Analysis
Mists of Pandaria Collector's Edition
Death Knight plague epidemic
Mega Bloks: Goblin Zeppelin Ambush
Mists of Pandaria Beta: Ruins beneath Scarlet Halls
Mists of Pandaria: New warlock pets
Female Pandaren Customization

 

Categories

Joystiq

Massively

Engadget