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'Gold Trading Exposed': Getting the player and industry perspective

Lesley Smith

A few weeks ago, we mentioned that the first installment of Nick Ryan's 'Gold Trading Exposed' has gone live over at Eurogamer. While we've all encountered bots and spammers, this insightful series of articles is trying to get behind the whispers and artfully placed dwarves to discover what makes gold farmers tick and why we, the MMO-playing public, buy gold in the first place.

Well this is where Nick comes in, after a general overview in part one, he's spoken to the gold farmers themselves but in the final two installments he's gone a step further by talking to their customers and, finally, the developers including Blizzard themselves.

The player-centric part of the series focuses on that old horror story: that buying gold can lead to characters (and even guild banks) being stripped of their worldly goods and left, stumbling, in some deity-forsaken corner of a virtual world - and that's if you're lucky.

Given the prevailing stance of most MMO companies on the subject of gold farming, the worst case scenario is often to be banned permanently from your game of choice. Yet people, possibly even folks you know, continue to buy gold and Ryan wants to know why.

His final installment focuses on the developers themselves; looking at some of the more memorable responses such as one rather emotive offering from Mythic's very own Mark Jacobs. Perhaps most surprising is he also manages to have a chat with Blizzard, whose spokesperson outlines the company's standpoint on the whole kit and caboodle.

While the short answer from most companies remains: 'don't buy gold, kids, it's wrong', the series is fascinating because it goes beyond the simple arguments about right and wrong, laziness or greed and tries to get to the heart of a growing problem which is endemic to almost ever MMO out there. We suggest you click here to take a deeper look.

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