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The Life of the Chinese Gold Farmer

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  • The Life of the Chinese Gold Farmer

    Interesting read (and a bit amusing)...

    It was an hour before midnight, three hours into the night shift with nine more to go. At his workstation in a small, fluorescent-lighted office space in Nanjing, China, Li Qiwen sat shirtless and chain-smoking, gazing purposefully at the online computer game in front of him. The screen showed a lightly wooded mountain terrain, studded with castle ruins and grazing deer, in which warrior monks milled about. Li, or rather his staff-wielding wizard character, had been slaying the enemy monks since 8 p.m., mouse-clicking on one corpse after another, each time gathering a few dozen virtual coins — and maybe a magic weapon or two — into an increasingly laden backpack.

    Twelve hours a night, seven nights a week, with only two or three nights off per month, this is what Li does — for a living. On this summer night in 2006, the game on his screen was, as always, World of Warcraft, an online fantasy title in which players, in the guise of self-created avatars — night-elf wizards, warrior orcs and other Tolkienesque characters — battle their way through the mythical realm of Azeroth, earning points for every monster slain and rising, over many months, from the game’s lowest level of death-dealing power (1) to the highest (70). More than eight million people around the world play World of Warcraft — approximately one in every thousand on the planet — and whenever Li is logged on, thousands of other players are, too. They share the game’s vast, virtual world with him, converging in its towns to trade their loot or turning up from time to time in Li’s own wooded corner of it, looking for enemies to kill and coins to gather. Every World of Warcraft player needs those coins, and mostly for one reason: to pay for the virtual gear to fight the monsters to earn the points to reach the next level. And there are only two ways players can get as much of this virtual money as the game requires: they can spend hours collecting it or they can pay someone real money to do it for them.

    ...
    (full article)
    Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated... again...

  • #2
    Wow. I remember in the late 90s when Ultima Online characters first started to go on eBay... to the RPG "purists", this was tantamount to the apocalypse.

    This kind of thing really throws off the game balance, for the people who are actually concerned with building up a character and trying to roleplay. I remember once in a MUD I played, there was a type of currency called a "jeweled egg" -- buying one took a huge number of "blue diamonds", each one of which took a huge number of gold pieces. The eggs were big-ticket currency, used for purchasing housing and other custom items in the game. To a casual player like myself, it could take a few months to obtain one egg... and houses went for around 40-50.

    Some players found and exploited a duplicate item bug that brought a huge influx of eggs into the economy (since it was an item that could be carried). A week or so before the MUD admins found out about the bug, they announced that the prices for housing and whatnot were going to double or triple, since there were so many eggs going around ("inflation", it was thought at the time). Seems almost like the same thing is going on here... quick access to vast amounts of cash can really make it harder for the legitimate players to compete.

    Plus...

    It's just a GAME! Who cares if that Level 70 Pornomancer has a zillion gold pieces and his own island fortress? That doesn't make someone any less of a loser in real life! :P
    "I am not an atomic playboy."
    Vice Admiral William P. Blandy

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    • #3
      Being a wiener and hitting level 70 and mastering all forms of combat in the online world doesn't change the fact you're a level 70 loser with a mastery of the useless in the real world. Why bother working for anything on either side of the monitor when others will do it for you?
      If voting could really change things, it would be illegal.

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      • #4
        Met a lot of them chinese farmers when playing MMOs...they are one of the reasons I don't play these kind of games anymore. I'll always remember when I started playing Anarchy Online back in 2001, everyone was a n00b then and we all played for FUN, but exploiters, farmers and "ebayers" ruined it all.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by chrisvalla View Post
          Being a wiener and hitting level 70 and mastering all forms of combat in the online world doesn't change the fact you're a level 70 loser with a mastery of the useless in the real world. Why bother working for anything on either side of the monitor when others will do it for you?
          Because it's fun?

          Or maybe thats just you, DoD.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by chrisvalla View Post
            Being a wiener and hitting level 70 and mastering all forms of combat in the online world doesn't change the fact you're a level 70 loser with a mastery of the useless in the real world. Why bother working for anything on either side of the monitor when others will do it for you?
            so you're not a fan of MMO's then i take it? any type of farmers end up ruining the economy for which ever game it is.

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            • #7
              The fundamental problem with "economies" in MMO's is that they have no such thing.

              For anything to work correctly, there needs to be a degree of scarcity, which MMO's arguably can't have. To be fair, no one* wants to pay $14/mth to be poor - they want to accumulate treasure.






              *I shouldn't talk in absolutes, I'm sure someone does.
              “To discriminate against a thoroughly upright citizen because he belongs to some particular church, or because, like Abraham Lincoln, he has not avowed his allegiance to any church, is an outrage against that liberty of conscience which is one of the foundations of American life.”

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              • #8
                I do not play WoW but I have several friends that do. One (interestingly) is the wife of a friend of mine and spends upwards of 40 hours per week playing. This is a 40ish year old college educated woman... go figure...

                On to the gold farmers... was talking about WoW with a group of these players and the "Chinese" connection came up. They stated that on occassion they have gone on "raids" to take these farmers out. No good reason for it. Most of these guys are in teir late teens through early 30's and were just looking for something else to do in the game. They logged onto the server and proceed to the known hotspots for the gold farmers and proceeded to drop the poor suckers. They had done this several nights running, offing the poor farmer everytime they respawned and made their way back to the harvest spot. The sole purpose of the "raids" was to see who could wack the most farmers in a sitting.

                Seems that after 4-5 sessions the farmers got a little upset. Organized and came after them. The way they described it, they came on as a group of 10 or so, started their "game" and all of a sudden just got mobbed. When they re-spawned found a mob waiting to kill them off. They got 10-15 more of their group to log onto the server and had quite the little war going on for a bit... up to the point that they just gave up.

                Again, I don't play and was not there to see it happen, but that is what they related to me.
                Tray Green

                www.abandofgamers.com

                Battlefield Tours for Wargamers
                Normandy 2007
                ACW Border Wars 2008
                Bulge 2008

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by traygreen View Post
                  I do not play WoW but I have several friends that do. One (interestingly) is the wife of a friend of mine and spends upwards of 40 hours per week playing. This is a 40ish year old college educated woman... go figure...
                  Go figure what? That an educated woman is playing a video game? Would you think it was strange if she was watching TV for 40 hrs per week? (Granted, 40 hours is quite a bit... but I can't quite figure out this stigma that seems to exist around playing video games.)
                  Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated... again...

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by sickpup View Post
                    Go figure what? That an educated woman is playing a video game? Would you think it was strange if she was watching TV for 40 hrs per week? (Granted, 40 hours is quite a bit... but I can't quite figure out this stigma that seems to exist around playing video games.)
                    Mainly suprised by the number of hours. When you talk to her about it, it is more the social angle that has her hooked. She is a guild officer in a guild that is over 100 members and they have organized runs at 50 with VOIP chat etc. Sounds fun, but I just can't see giving it that much time.

                    In fairness, I spend about that much time reading, whatching History CHannel/Discovery, playing board games or making up stop sheets for a tour... so I am well aware that "fun" is where you find it.

                    Just me though & I am a boring old man
                    Last edited by traygreen; 21 Jun 07, 15:13.
                    Tray Green

                    www.abandofgamers.com

                    Battlefield Tours for Wargamers
                    Normandy 2007
                    ACW Border Wars 2008
                    Bulge 2008

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Overseer View Post
                      The fundamental problem with "economies" in MMO's is that they have no such thing.

                      For anything to work correctly, there needs to be a degree of scarcity, which MMO's arguably can't have. To be fair, no one* wants to pay $14/mth to be poor - they want to accumulate treasure.






                      *I shouldn't talk in absolutes, I'm sure someone does.
                      lol, interesting point!!

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                      • #12
                        Someone who plays their character up to level 70 I have some respect for (personal choice about how they spend their time... dedicating that much time in pursuit of a goal does say something about them - it still doesn't translate anything anything useful in RL though), but to 'buy' your way to level 70... you're a wanker just like someone using cheat codes and climbing up a challenge ladder because it allows 'cheaters'. I also don't need to 'escape' from RL and immerse myself OL because life isn't fair and in RL I'm a relative nobody and OL I'm a 'somebody'.

                        Farmer hunting and smackdown... that almost makes me want to sign up for an MMO... almost. I'd rather stick to my twichy FPSs though... you can't 'buy' sniping skills, they have to be practiced (sans cheating of course). I don't have to pay a monthly fee to get pwned by someone up past their bedtime and I don't loose 'ground' in the game if I only play a few hours a month.
                        If voting could really change things, it would be illegal.

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