What’s it like when you stop being a gold farmer in World of Warcraft?

For a very long time, selling gold in World of Warcraft was a path to making money. It was unethical and against the terms of service, but it was still eminently doable. The addition of an “official” option in the form of the WoW Token changed that, and an article on Cracked talks with a former gold farmer about the path toward moving on with your life after you’ve spent time exploiting that virtual economy. It might not make you feel sympathetic for gold farming, but it’s still an interesting perspective.

Of course, if you’re farming gold, you’re probably not all that worried about playing the actual game (as the article even says), but people who are playing the game will be happy with the latest round of hotfixes, which clean up issues with the Chromie quest line, fix various balance issues, and fixes a few bugs here and there. None of them actually relates to gold, though, unless you consider a glyph recipe not dropping to be about gold. Which it sort of is, arguably.

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25 Comments on "What’s it like when you stop being a gold farmer in World of Warcraft?"

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shikarin
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shikarin

Wrote my own bot in FF11 which farmed gil for me for about a month. Made ~$2k selling it to Chinese resellers. Them high school days…

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Sally Bowls

Ofc, this is quite outdated, but the “gold farmer” appeals to the readers and thus the press. One of my more memorable ones was from last decade ago where the warden of a Chinese prison was supposedly having his inmates farm gold for him.

For the last several years, Blizzard has said that the majority of the gold sold comes from hacked accounts, not the farmers of last decade.

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A Dad Supreme

“It’s easy to scoff at these guys as low-life basement-dwellers who made a living off of other, wealthier basement-dwellers…”
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Quotable.

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Richie K

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Gordi_the_mighti

the realization this came out almost 10 years ago o_o;

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CloakingDonkey .

hmm question:

If you farm the gold legitimately (i.e. no credit card theft or bot usage) would you consider it unethical to sell it?

cmdr_cotic
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cmdr_cotic

I would find it unethical. If a person was willing to play the game they should also be willing to abide by the terms of service.

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CloakingDonkey .

Well ignore their rules for a second. I’m asking if you think it’s right or wrong and why.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

For me even if there were no rules, Gold Farmers do all sorts of unethical things on the way to gathering and selling that gold.

They destroy chat channels and whole zones with their selling advertising spam. Even if you try to stop listening to all zone chat, destroying the whole community experience, they still will fill up your game mail boxes, whisper to you in game, etc. You’d think that they’d know that hearing the advertisement every few seconds isn’t a good thing for most people, or if a person ignores the gold seller that means that person is not going to buy from them, but they put you on a list and all their different accounts spam you. If you don’t ignore them, they assume you have anyway, and so you have a great many more accounts all spamming you with their same selling info.

They ruin areas others should be legitimately having fun in, trying to drive others out of the areas they farm in, wiping out areas of monsters and trying to be rude and drive others out of the area so they don’t hurt their money earning, killing rare spawns not for the purpose of questing or having fun but in order to make it even harder to get for others without buying from them.

Even on games where they can do their own instance and actually remove you from their mail and spam lists if you ask them to (I know one game where they actually do that, though most people are so paranoid that it’s something shady that they don’t mail or whisper them to ask to be removed) = they still ruin the economy by inserting tons of gold into it from people who shouldn’t have that amount of gold. This brings the cost of everything up as people have way more gold than they should to spend and don’t care as much about the rip off prices. This hurts the people looking to legitimately buy it with the money you normally make playing. This is millions upon millions upon billions of gold (or game equivalent) that normally wouldn’t be in game and in certain peoples hands, most legitimate normal players who can’t spend all day playing are so screwed in these situations.

They turn normal subscription games into a sort of type of “pay to win” system in some games, depending on how valuable that money is.

There are other negatives I’m not thinking of now (I just woke up) but in general there are too many of them. So no, I don’t feel gold farming is acceptable even if the rules allow it.

I’d have zero sympathy for most of them if they were hit by a buss, much less just losing their illegitimate “jobs” that have ruined the gameplay experience on so many games.

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Reht

Gold farmers do that in spite of the rules…

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Utakata

The rules are apart of the answer though. That is, if the devs don’t allow it, it’s generally agreed it’s wrong. On the other hand, if the rules allow it…then it’s all right, regardless of what folks’ views are of it.

As for what I personally think of it, my position is much more complicated. So in this case, when I am in Rome, I tend to do what they do.

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CloakingDonkey .

No they’re really not. In the hypothetical I posed, the rules are entirely irrelevant and I find it honestly shocking that you specifically would be such a sucker for authority…

cmdr_cotic
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cmdr_cotic

Why ignore the rules though? That’s like saying if you ignore the law is it ok to drive the wrong way down a street. It’s the governing rules that determine whether it is right or wrong, personal beliefs don’t come into it.

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CloakingDonkey .

What? So if you were living in a fascist state that determined everyone who sneezes in public is to be publically drawn and quartered, this would be right and just with your personal opinion on the matter being irrelevant?

Very odd but have it your way then.

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Reht

He is just posing a hypothetical…

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Sally Bowls

I am completely OK with “gold selling” in EVE; you reap what you sow.

I am mostly OK will “going out of business” gold selling in WoW; you are leaving the game.

I guess I think it is wrong but not WRONG to gold sell in WoW.

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Reht

In as much as it is against the rules set forth by Blizzard, yes. Personally other than the rules issue, i have no moral or ethical qualms if the gold is raised legitimately as you have stated.

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CloakingDonkey .

Yeah I agree. I think if it’s gotten legitimately it’s really just a service venture

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Reht

I will probably get flamed for this comment but, given the options: work 1 or 2 two hours of overtime or take on the odd tech job vs 10+ hours of mindless grinding to buy something from the AH (when i saw mindless grinding, i mean like running around harvesting trade skill items to sell on the AH, etc., not normal gameplay like questing, running dungeons, pvp, raiding), i would prefer to work the overtime and buy my gold; my time is just too valuable to me – i didn’t mind it in my 20’s and early 30’s, now i do and am lucky enough to have a job that affords me the opportunity to do so.

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zoward

One would hope you could find something you *enjoy* doing in game enough to do long enough to buy whatever high-level tchotchkes you want. To me, the getting of something in-game isn’t as satisfying as knowing I spent the time to earn whatever it is.

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Reht

I figured someone would tell me how they think i am doing it wrong after 17+ years of playing MMOs and doing the grind, camping items, running dungeons, raiding, etc. Sorry, i just don’t get any satisfaction doing the mindless grind to get gold and i explained what i meant by mindless grind, if you take satisfaction for farming 1,000’s of herbs, ore, etc. to buy your tchotchkes, more power to you. I would rather work a couple hours to buy a couple of WoW tokens or REX (mainly WoW and Rift since EQ’s named camps aren’t so bad) to twink a character to hop into dungeons and raiding which i do enjoy than do that kind of farming. Games like EQ which has static named with loot tables are different story, i would rather camp them because i know i will eventually get them.

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David Goodman

Surprised to see this article here – i read it (and the first one) on Cracked ; it’s a fascinating read, even if I have little sympathy for the struggles they are going through.

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MesaSage

For the first time in years Lotro has a gold seller issue. I guess that either speaks to Lotro being in the news more often or the fact that the WoW guys need new turf.

dixa
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dixa

Has more to do with the grind introduced into the game with imbuement and everything since and the resurgence due to “mordor incoming!”. There is a large need for a massive amount of gold right now.

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Darthbawl

Why not both? :P The WoW guys needed new turf, LOTRO was in the news more often, bam, both. :P

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