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Posts with tag virtual-economy

15 Minutes of Fame: Cory Doctorow on gold farming

From Hollywood celebrities to the guy next door, millions of people have made World of Warcraft a part of their lives. How do you play WoW? We're giving each approach its own 15 Minutes of Fame.

A conversation with Cory Doctorow plunges into the matter at hand so quickly that it's almost impossible not to imagine yourself falling through an internet-era rabbit hole of pop culture and technology. Doctorow is all about synthesizing ideas and spitting them out in as accessible a fashion as possible, and the ground he manages to cover in a single stride can be mind-boggling; he's a science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger, father, gamer ... A former WoW player and husband of gaming standout Alice Taylor (also previously profiled here in 15 Minutes of Fame), he's widely known as the co-editor of Boing Boing and author of the bestselling young adult novel Little Brother.

Doctorow's latest young adult novel, For the Win, pries open the seams of the shady scene behind MMO gold farming. Its young protagonists are gold farmers and gamers themselves. Doctorow has woven his own experience and sensibilities with focused research to outline a world of gold farming that sprawls far beyond the lines of cartoon-image gold farmers that most of us have painted in our heads. We chatted by phone with Doctorow for this lengthy conversation on gold farming and game economies, plus a companion piece at our sister publication Massively.com on gaming culture and his recent fiction.

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Filed under: Economy, Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

Should your GM be able to tax you?

This idea's been floated before, but a few people on the forums have responded pretty enthusiastically to the notion of introducing a "guild income tax." Others...not so much so. Basically, there was a proposal made in the Beta forums that Blizzard give GM's/officers the ability to levy a percentage-based tax on members' earnings. Jeff "Tigole" Kaplan responded, saying that it "was an interesting idea" and they're considering options for improving guild administration, but there was no way they could program a change like this in time for Wrath. Bear in mind that the original tax being suggested would apply to your toon both inside and out of raids (although no one was seriously suggesting that the tax should apply to non-raiding members of the guild).

I have to admit that I'm not too keen on the idea of a broad-based "income tax" on players, if only because the game's current mechanics make it all but certain that the main beneficiaries will be people who either can't (due to class/spec) or won't put much gold into the guild coffers. Moreover, the taxation idea acts as an incentive for people not to guild their alts, thus avoiding taxation entirely on toons that are usually the real means of support for a raiding main (someone remind me to go reserve a hunter named Swissbank). As an herbalist/alchemist, I farm a lot for friends and have been known to chuck the guild bank a few hundred gold from time to time. Maybe I'd save time and money under a system that required me to hand over 2-3% of my income, but still. Being taxed removes an element of individual responsibility, and it certainly takes away the nice feeling you have for voluntarily helping others.

If nothing else the idea's given rise to a few nice jokes (Cacora of Hellscream: "Do I get money back at the end of the year if I claim multiple alts as dependents?"), but the final word may well belong to Grig from Whisperwind: "So, Blizzard is considering taking one of the most universally loathed concepts from real life and adding it to a game. Why, they'd be silly not to do it."

Filed under: Herbalism, Alchemy, Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Economy, Making money

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