As someone who once used to rent the old school NES “cheats” videos (it’s how I learned to beat Castlevainia 2) I am not sure if I am the right person to talk about what is ethical in the gaming world. I will anyway though, so take that!
Anyone who has ever made it beyond level 10 in World of Warcraft knows that there are people in places usually not the US that grind away all day in game collecting items and gold (in game currency) to sell for real world currency. Big deal, right? Well here is what I think… No, it isn’t a big deal. Blizzard, in one of their more incandescent moments, decided to combat this by making the best in game items BOP, which means Bind on Pickup. So for example that really kick ass epic sword you found in Molten Core, yeah you can’t sell it in the Auction House for 5,000,000,000,000,000,000 Gold, because as soon as you loot it its soul bound to your character. And the most you can get from it is a measly 3 or 4 gold from vendor selling it.
So what these “farmers” are doing is farming, naturally. They hang out in places with good loot drop tables and they kill monsters or humanoids or “mobs,” as they are called, collect the items they drop and the silver and gold. They also use trade skills like mining and herbalism or maybe skinning and sell those in the Auction House as well. At the end of the day they send all the gold they acquired to a master account whom then sells the gold on eBay or through other websites.
The reaction in the WoW community is usually a long drawn out racist diatribe by morons. Now I am not a liberal by any stretch and I usually dismiss people who pull out the race card, but I firmly believe this is a case of pure racism. Mainly against the Chinese and Koreans who also play WoW.
Back in maybe December of ’04 when WoW was only a month into its release there was a raid dungeon boss, Onyxia, that was being attempted again and again. There was this sort of inter-racial warfare going on between Americans and the Koreans. Well suffice to say the Koreans won and beat Onyxia first. The Americans were quite angry and made Asian jokes all week long, trying to trivialize the fact that they lost to a bunch of people who play in internet cafes for the most part. The American WoW players have started heavily attacking the Farmers now dubbed “Chinese gold farmers” making up absurd claims and trying to force Blizzard’s hand by, and I am not making this up, not allowing people in Asia to buy WoW.
Here are some of the numerous claims made by these xenophobic cocks on the WoW USA forums I will attempt to dismember.
- Farmers drive up prices because the more gold dumped into a server the more people are willing to spend.
I would agree with this if it were realistic. The thing, though, is that these farmers are not dumping only gold into the server. Most items are purchased through the Auction house. With the advent of the auction house it isn’t clever to always try to farm what you need when you can buy it real quick instead. Here’s the kicker. With the farmers in a server prices in the AH actually decrease. Why? Well it’s simple, since they cannot MAKE gold magically appear they have to farm it the hard way by killing mobs. So, that means they also get tons of in game items. And because their goal is to make as much money as they can by the end of the day they will often try to undersell the items to get them out of their inventory. I have been carrying around the same items in my bank on my Warlock for weeks because there isn’t anyone who wants to buy it at the price I think its worth. So I hang on to it. This isn’t what farmers do; they will sell it at the highest price it can be sold WITHIN the median of it being able to sell. So if I can’t sell my item for 15 gold, but someone is willing to pay 10, the farmer will sell it for 10, but no less than that.
What this means basically is that they auction everything, and when you have 3 or 4 of them doing the same you will see the prices drop since no one wants to pay more than they have to. Capitalism goes to work and items cost goes down. Case in point: Deviate Fish, which are a certain fish used in a recipe for cooking that does various things. It’s annoying to fish these damn things because it’s boring, and really they were rare in the AH, so some farmers started doing it. They were selling Deviate fish for 6 gold per stack. Eventually other farmers and players caught on and started selling them for 5 or 4 gold per stack. Now they sell for 80 silver per stack on my server because of farmers.
- It’s immoral and unethical to buy gold, because you didn’t earn it and it gives you an unfair advantage.
Well last time I checked it was called World of WARcraft. Not World of FairCommunismcraft. If it’s unethical or immoral is to be debated. I usually find that the people crying the loudest are the people who suck the most or people who don’t have enough money to buy gold but want to. Its true most of them aren’t clamoring to have inter-account transferring made illegal. Do you know how much gold my level 25 Warlock has? Somewhere around 32 gold, this is unheard of. In fact most people don’t get that much gold until they hit the 40s and 50s. Where did that gold come from? I mailed it to myself from my level 60 Paladin along with many other items. My Warlock didn’t earn them, and at level 25 he does have an unfair advantage. Should this be made illegal too? And what’s next after that? People who don’t have jobs who play WoW all day long are bound to have better items than those of us who have to work eight hour days. Should they have half their gold and items taken away because they play too much? This argument is a slippery slope, and at the bottom is an answer none of us would really like.