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The Ethics of Farming part I

posted on February 11th, 2006 by billy

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 who are looking for a reason to hate anyone with slanty eyes. 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.

Wheat
Don’t be fooled, these kids will rip you off.

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 (heavily white) 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.

Read more of Billy tackling tough arguments and his startling conclusion in part II. In stores tomorrow!

10 Comments

  1. Atlas said on April 17, 2006:

    Nice articule, i’ll like to clear some points since you didnt take the time to do a little research before posting it.

    “Onyxia kill.”
    Koreans killed Onyxia 3 days into retail, that sounds seems HUGE but it isnt, why? well, Blizzard allowed koreans to keep the characters from Beta, so they didnt have go from lvl 1 to 60 again, unlike USA retail where every character was deleted and everyone had to lvl a character and gear them for end game content, so while most USA server players were still gearing up for Onyxia, koreans were attempting Onyxia with the best gear……Koreans skill was clearly the deciding factor. The main reason USA servers players were upset wasnt because they killed her first, but because they were allowed to keep ther character after Beta ended. “chinese gold farmer” term exists way before even WoW beta started, it comes from others MMORPGs, so claiming it was created because of this only states you level of ignorance on the subject.

    “Farmers drive up prices because the more gold dumped into a server the more people are willing to spend.”
    At least you got this one right, farmers make things cheaper, even healing potions prices drop a lot, and this is where it hurts. Farmers make trading skills useless, if you are an alchemist you will lose gold instead of winning if you try to sell potions in AH, farmers have been selling potions so cheap that is useless to try farm the materials to sell them, if you are a blacksmith forget about selling weapons/armors in AH too, farmers will flood the AH with with so many gear that, again, if you try to sell them you will hqave to give them so cheap that you end up losing gold, hell, you’ll be lucky if you actually find the materials to make it, good luck if you go out and try to find veins/herbs, you’ll compite against at least 20 farmers for them, do you have skinning as a profesion, be careful, that rogue running to you may try to skin the mob you just killed…..yeah, farmers don’t hurt at all.

    “It’s immoral and unethical to buy gold, because you didn’t earn it and it gives you an unfair advantage.”
    I guess you are the kind of person who thinks there is nothing wrong for a candidate to buy votes, after all, if he have the money why shouldn’t is easier, he doesn’t have money? well, let him ask for money to some industry promising favors when he wins, after all we are not in a FairCommunist World, everyone can do what they want right?. I usually find that the people crying the loudest are the people who buy gold becuase they like easy mode, usually is the same ppl willing to use hacks..go figure.

  2. Billy said on April 17, 2006:

    “Nice articule, i’ll like to clear some points since you didnt take the time to do a little research before posting it.

    “Onyxia kill.â€?
    Koreans killed Onyxia 3 days into retail, that sounds seems HUGE but it isnt, why? well, Blizzard allowed koreans to keep the characters from Beta, so they didnt have go from lvl 1 to 60 again, unlike USA retail where every character was deleted and everyone had to lvl a character and gear them for end game content, so while most USA server players were still gearing up for Onyxia, koreans were attempting Onyxia with the best gear……”

    The Korean beta was 1 month long. They got ot keep those characters, By the way Korean WoW was released 1 month after American WoW. We had 1 month to catch up to thier 1 month played.

    Not to mention we had been playing American beta for over a year, with everyone 10,000s of people knowing EXACTLY where everything was 1-60.

    Try again.

  3. Gibmanmtl said on April 17, 2006:

    Well, they are called “Chinese gold farmers” and are a problem because:
    1- it’s a documented fact by many reputable journalistic sources that there are server farms in China where people earn about $0.25/hour and work 12-hour shifts to play WoW and farm for items.
    2- many of those farmers who try to sell items and gold in-game or join groups to do raid instances don’t speak english. I have nothing against that, but german players who don’t speak english play on european servers with other german-speaking players. I speak french and yet I play on an english-speaking server and use english as my primary language of communication within the game.
    3- there are many, many examples and videos of exploits being used to farm gold, mainly teleport hacks and other things that aren’t legitimate. This is a strong point. Once again, there have been many substantiated reports of hacks or programs being used to accumulate more gold/items.
    4- epic items that are not Bind on pickup are not so “epic” anymore due to a much greater availability.
    5- they will ruin your game experience if it’s in their interest to beat you to a mob/resource node. If you’re in the same area and interfering with their “harvest”, well, if you’re on a pvp server, they will kill you (or try to). If you’re not or are in the same faction, they can “steal” mobs from you by tagging them even if you did first, they will try to get bunches of mob to attack you, and so forth. When you play a few hours a week, having part of that time ruined by some farmer trying to get more gold to make money, what can you do about it? Cry to a GM that won’t do anything? Leave and play somewhere else? fine, but why would you have to?

    Basically, it’s the same story with any MMO. You have people playing casually, you have hardcore raiders, and then you have people who will do it for money. Since they are driven by that, they will go to any length to get it.
    The fact that they are chinese for the most part is mainly that, a fact. If they were swedish, we’d hate them as much (well, for my part, but I can understand how racial issues come into play, especially in the U.S. vs China showdown coming up eventually).
    the fact that they are farmers and ruining my game experience, that part I won’t take sitting down.

  4. bob said on April 17, 2006:

    Seriously are you stupid?
    The chineese are exploiting our economy in game and in realife. They are trying to sell FAKE money for REAL AMERICAN money which has alot more value then chineese money… Gold Farmers have a face dont get me wrong, the are people like everyone else. But seriously, their “gameshops” are like Sweatshops..

    Seriously though you are a moron. Saying that American Player hate Asian races.. Frankly this is a fact everyone knows about. I mean who dosent hate Asians.

    Shale we dive into history?

    WW2 Japs bomb teh shit out of peral harbor draging us into WW2.
    Vietnam
    Korera

    Frankly your a dumbass and need to be shot. I love that anyone can post their retarted opinions on the internet..

  5. bob said on April 17, 2006:

    Oh yeah you must be a farmer otherwise you wouldent be complaining.

    Go FARM gold you damn asian and ruin our economy.

  6. Billy said on April 17, 2006:

    [Comment ID #117 Will Be Quoted Here]

    Ah Bob, another fine example of the quality education one recieves in the US…god save us all… :(

  7. Stefan said on April 21, 2006:

    Just out of curiosity, what makes the “fake” money in WoW any less real than the “real” US dollars referenced earlier? Having left the gold standard behind a long time ago, what really gives money value in the current global economy is the ability to exchange it for other types of money, and the rate at which it can be exchanged. If I can exchange gold in WoW at a more or less standard (if changing) rate to dollars, euros, yen, or RMB, and then use those to purchase goods and services – then I fail to see how this gold I’m exchanging isn’t real money.

  8. Atlas said on April 23, 2006:

    [Comment ID #114 Will Be Quoted Here]

    WOW, Americans had 1 year of beta experience and they keep ALL they learned just for them, they never released anything they learned to the internet. Seriously try to use your brain for a change, Americans 1 year of Beta experience was out there for everyone to learn about it, whatever we learned in one year koreans learned it by reading about it, or are you telling me you’re that stupid as to thing that koreans went into Onyxia’s Lair and didn’t know what was in there? they didnt know if it was going to attack them or hand out cookies? No, they knew what they were going to find and they knew almost as much about the fight as the ppl that fought her in beta. There is no “1 year experience advantage” unless you want to believe that koreans dont have access to the internet, but their 1 month gear advange still remain, care to find an excuse for that? or did I made you cry?

  9. Billy said on April 24, 2006:

    [Comment ID #135 Will Be Quoted Here]

    Stefan the prices are usually held in check by the fact that vendor prices dont change. So there is a fixed medium somewhere keeping it all within a specific range. Also there are lots of quests and such which require gold in amounts. These all help establish prices.

  10. Billy said on April 24, 2006:

    [Comment ID #152 Will Be Quoted Here]

    Umm anyone whos actually ever PLAYED WoW would know that reading about someone else’s experience vs experiencing it 1st hand are two differnt things. Thre are millions of websites with strats for Ragnaros all over the internet, and yet new guilds just getting to him ALWAYS still wipe. Why? Its because reading things isnt the best way to go, experiencing it 1st hand is. I dont know that many Koreans in Korea who speak and understand fluent English, let alone whom have enough cash to get into American Beta servers or anything to figure out the game.

    So essentially we had Americans with 1 year of BETA and Koreans with 1 Month. Unfair advantage? yes.

    What I dont get is why you racist fat white lumps seem to hate on the Koreans for just being better gamers then you are. I mean if I was to use your own argument against you I could easily say that the Americans never killed Onyxia until after the Koreans so the whole “they read how to killer her” meme youre spouting gets turned on its head.

    Shouldnt you be off to a Klan rally now?

    /heres a tissue.

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