Gold farming is a pervasive plague throughout the world of free-to-play MMOs, but RuneScape
appears to have developed a cure. Jagex
has announced that the recent introduction of Bonds
(an in-game item that can pay for account-related and out-of-game benefits) has nearly eradicated gold farming in the game, reducing it by 81% in only one month. COO Riaan Hodgson stated, "While we anticipated that the launch of Bonds would impact the flow of illegal wealth into the game, we are thrilled the initiative has resulted in such a strong and immediate impact."
The impact of Bonds, however, goes beyond just significantly lowering gold farming; Bonds have opened up more benefits to more players via the Pay-through-Play initiative. Additionally, more than 10% of RuneFest
attendees have paid for their tickets to the November 2nd event at Tobacco Dock
[Source: Jagex press release]