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Buying Gold

Overall, those players who have purchased virtual currency have spent on average 135 USD altogether. Again, there was a mild correlation with age (r = .17) but there wasn't a significant gender difference.


Tags: RMT (3)
Posted on October 17, 2005 | Comments (66) | TrackBack (0)


I find this to be very true; at 25 years old I have a good job and really value my time; grinding for gold isn't that appealing. I've purchased gold for several games before because it lets me leverage my RL wealth (not that I'm wealthy at all) and transfer that into the game. I'm just surprised more 30+ don't buy gold.

Posted by: dave on October 20, 2005 5:24 AM

I agree with Dave's comment above. I am in the 30+ category and have purchased gold two or three times over the last 5 years. Between work, raising children, and keeping up with household chores, my gaming time isnt abundant and the last thing I feel like doing is grinding for gold. If $15 or $20 dollars every blue moon frees up my gaming time for "fun stuff" its worth every penny!

Posted by: gamergranny on October 20, 2005 10:20 AM

Buying gold is not my thing. I am 37 and my husband plays also (WoW) - but we also have no kids and are probably on for 30-40 hours a week. If we had children and more RL demands...who knows? But for me right now, paying real money for in-game loot is a line that I am not interested in crossing, or even willing to cross. I would feel like an awful cheat! Spending $15-20 once in a while wouldn't be *so* bad I guess, but we have one friend who buys large amounts regularly and has purchased epic mounts for himself and his GF that way. She offered me 300g toward my epic that she has "leftover" and I turned it down on principle.

But I think it's interesting to see where people stand on various "cheat" issues. I like to think I am somewhere in the middle. I have played with a few people who fiercely resist power-leveling by fellow guildies or friends (I say bring it on!), and even a couple who will not exchange anything between their own toons.

Posted by: tunnymowg on October 20, 2005 11:13 AM

I recently bought 300g in WoW for the first time, but I agonized over it for days beforehand. As with the above posters, it really boiled down to time and enjoyment. I'm 36 and work full time, so I can't grind for gold all day like a student can. Also, I only bought the gold so I could buy my mount at 40. On my main character I earned the money for my mount the old fashioned way, but I was 44 before I could afford it and it was a real hardship. Since I had already done the gold grind on one character, and since I'm now on a PvP server where it's even harder to level or make money, I felt somewhat justified in buying the gold. Unfortunately, IGE has a minimum buy of 300g, so I had 200g left over, which I have put into a trust fund for a future alt. The one line I do not feel justified in crossing is buying gold so I can buy better equipment on the Auction House. I have already seen how bought gold can mess with a server's economy, inflating prices to the point where you either have to farm gold or buy it in order to afford anything decent on auction. I don't want to be a part of the inflation of the economy, I just want a horsey.

Posted by: Slayve on October 20, 2005 12:15 PM

The rub with buying gold, is that at WoW's end game, repair costs for a full set of epic equipment is going to run you 15-20g for a total break, learning new content and being in a guild pushing the envelope of that is going to put gamers at a flat loss per week of 100-140g in repairs alone, assuming a full break or two per night.

Now, when you consider that alot of MMO players have full time jobs, it makes it awfully hard to log in and farm when you get home from work, pre-raid. WoW's end game time sink isn't content -- it's financing it, hence the success of Gold farming agents like IGE/IGXE/MOGS, et cetera. Food for thought, I suppose.

Posted by: Scoot on October 20, 2005 12:57 PM

I've evolved. In the early days (I mean long pre UO even) I was adamantly opposed to real money trading. We paid $16/hour for high-speed access in those days (1200 baud!), so it isn't that we weren't spending real money regularly. It just seemed wrong. It broke the barrier between fantasy and reality.

But as online gaming grew, evolved, developed, I became more and more interested in the meta-game side too. Eventually I bought an account on eBay (for the cheap account, not the character, which was trash). From there I moved to selling some game cash. Then buying it too.

I don't buy regularly, and the person I play with most is adamantly opposed to it, but I will do it if I feel the impulse.

And I will probably dip back into the arbitrage side at some point. Feeling the itch.

I've far on the upper side of the 30 line, of course.

Posted by: Dan S on October 20, 2005 1:29 PM

"It just seemed wrong. It broke the barrier between fantasy and reality."

'Nuff said - that pretty much sums up my gut feelings on the issue at this point. And messing with the server economy - that's another big reason I am opposed to gold-buying en masse. That, and it also supports the farmers who I find a major irritant.

My 60 priest recently joined a great guild and is just beginning to access high-end content so I can only anticipate what my future repair bills will be - but I am guessing they will be nowhere near 100g a week! I do have a fulltime job; however for me personally, I find raids a bit wearisome and too intense to do every single night. For the other part of my playtime, I like running around with alts, in small groups of friends/guildies. I enjoy the small groups better than large raids anyway - getting back to all the social, fun and silly bits of WoW that attracted me to it in the first place. So I have plenty of time for farming and crafting to pay repair bills.

Posted by: tunnymowg on October 20, 2005 2:55 PM

This trend isn't really surprising. Older people generally have jobs/steady income but also less time to gather online money in their MMO of choice. The opposite, of course, is that younger people have lots of time but most likely no steady income.

This brings up a excellant point/question and a small story from a few years back. My brother has a friend, age mid-teens I think, who played SWG. This friend would gather lightsaber components then sell them online to get real money. He'd then use this money to pay for his internet connection and monthly fee. And back to question at hand.

Are younger people more likely to farm to generate real cash by selling through IGE and such or is the merchandise they get more from a wider age base then that? While there may be 24/7 gold farmers out there, that doesn't mean all of it comes from them.

Posted by: spiketail on October 20, 2005 6:15 PM

I have mixed feelings about this one. I see gaming as fun, and as grinding is not the most fun thing to do, I see buying gold to skip that as ok. That being said, I do not want this to become a thing where your real world wealth makes you a better player.

Although I have never done it, I have considered selling gold. But, I have no interest in making money from it. I would just like to off set the monthly fee.

Well, as with most things in life: all things in moderation.

Posted by: George Fosmire on October 21, 2005 12:33 AM

I had once purchased gold for an epic mount in Everquest, and sold my account after I was done with the game, but with wow I had alot of fun "farming" for the gold that eventually helped me buy the gold for my epic mount in World of Warcraft. The Economy seemed different to me. In Everquest I thought there was NO WAY I'd ever have enough cash to afford the 100,000 platinum horse, in World of Warcraft I knew the goal was eventually attainable, it would just take me a couple weeks to save up 1,000 gold. Now that prices are down to 600-800 gold for an epic mount, I think it just is attainable by alot more people.

Posted by: Adam H on October 21, 2005 11:18 AM

I have to say I will not buy gold. It is beyond the scope of the game (WoW). It is an outside force acting on the virtual world. It goes beyone the point of the game, and I would call it cheating.

But like an above poster said... the lines are different for everyone. Powerleveling or sending things to alts for example.

I don't know, I guess all I know is I won't buy gold. I don't need an epic mount so bad that I will pay $20 for it... I just don't care that much.

Posted by: Brendan O'Brien on October 21, 2005 4:38 PM

Is what I don't understand is that if a game even _tempts_ you into buying gold, it's no longer fun. You have to put in real work to continue the game, and that's not just the subscription fee. It's an admission that the game is no longer fun. If it was fun, then people certainly wouldn't have any problems with playing however so long to get that money.

Of course, this applies a lot to tradmills and other "grinds", too.

Posted by: Jeff on October 21, 2005 10:54 PM

I work 2 full time jobs and dont have the time to save up gold. I bought gold off of EBAY a couple of times for ultima online and it added to the enjoyment of my playing experience :)

Posted by: David on October 22, 2005 3:19 AM

I'm surprised and sort of disgusted at how many people apparently buy gold in WoW. It ruins the economy, promotes anti-social farmers, and turns what is supposed to be a level playing field into something else entirely. If people are habitually buying gold with real money, prices on the Auction House go through the roof, as any chump who plopped down $50 in real life will have more than enough gold to spare for ridiculously priced rare items. If people continue to do it, the AH eventually becomes off limits to anybody who either can't or won't buy gold with real money.

It's a game, and it's supposed to be fun. Cheating ruins the fun of any game, and I can't know of another word for RMT.

Posted by: Caleb A on October 22, 2005 3:27 AM

If a game's economy is so rough that it takes a week to earn enough coin to purchase one level appropriate item, you bet I will buy the coin rather than farm for weeks to earn a complete armor set. I work, I've a family, and I've my leisure time. Spending family and leisure time farming in a game is boring, and made us cancel the subscription to several other games.

Posted by: Dee on October 22, 2005 3:40 AM

I think that far more people actually buy ingame currency and equipment than even this survey evidences.

I recently began playing a new (to me) MMORPG, Guild Wars, and many of the sites that I peruse for information have links to professional currency and equipment farmers' websites where I can (hypothetically speaking) take advantage of the fact that I have real life money but little time while the company has younger people with little money but all the time in the world. The mere fact that services such as these exist, not to mention the plethora of auctions on various internet auction sites, indicates that there is a very substantial market for this.

Posted by: Robert on October 22, 2005 4:20 PM

If I find someone who purchases gold, I take great pains to alienate them and avoid them. They are cheaters, ruin the game by encouraging the scum farmers themselves and ruining the economy. I have no problem in 'suffering' through and not being a hippocrit; I won't change my standards simply because someone thinks integrity doesn't matter.

Posted by: Gildas on October 23, 2005 2:52 PM

I have never bought gold and I don't plan to. However, I don't see anything ethically or morally wrong with doing so. There's no real difference between paying money for gold and farming for gold yourself- you're just paying someone else to do the farming for you. If you're willing to spend the money you earned by working on virtual items, instead of "working" for hours in-game to get enough cash, is there a problem with that? Would you rather work 1 hour of overtime or spend 10 hours camping/farming to build up enough virtual gold? Whether you're working overtime or camping for hours, you're probably spending time "not having fun" in order to get more time spent "having fun".

The problems arise when people selling gold are taking away other people's ability to enjoy the game- by preventing them from getting access to certain NPCs, for instance. This, though, is something that should be dealt with by the Game- Even if there were no gold selling, most of these abuses would still occur.

Posted by: Economist on October 25, 2005 8:25 AM

I have been both a buyer and seller of gold. I play games to have fun, so buying gold to avoid tedious gold-farming is a good way to keep the playing fun.

I also have played 4 different MMORPG's now. Whenever I move on to the next one, I clean out my character and sell it all on e-bay, that way it's a nice extra bonus.

Posted by: Just a gamer on October 26, 2005 3:02 AM

It's not just the morals of the matter that should prevent people from being able to buy gold with real money. In most cases it's a violation of the service providers' (the developers) terms of service, as it is trading in property that one does not own, and is thus ILLEGAL.

It doesn't matter whether you don't have the time or "play games for fun" or whatnot, you're indirectly harming other peoples' play experience by buying gold, by harming server economies and leveraging an outside advantage.

Should I stop whining and get a life, because it's just a game? This kind of retort, often used by frequent gold-buyers to justify their actions, is sickeningly hypocritical. This kind of leverage is the same sort used by insider stock traders or money launderers...those people go to PRISON.

Granted, the likelihood is that developers are simply banning the activity for lack of a way to capitalize on the trade. Sony itself opened up several of EQ2's servers to officially sanctioned resource trading, and Blizzard may be opening fee-based character transfers (though they're attempting to work out anti-abuse measures) some time in the future, but until the devs give their OK, it's wrong.

If one lacks the time or dedication to earn the gold they think they need, they need not play the game. It might sound harsh, but it's true. It's cheating, plain and simple.

Posted by: on October 27, 2005 11:00 AM

I am a casual, solo-only, RP player on EQ2. It seems that the world is large enough to accomodate both RMT and non-RMT groups. Much the same as the RL wealthy influence the RL economy, there, there are macro-economical influences that are beyond the indivdual's control. If the economy shifts, I shift my play style to accomodate. When gas prices go up (RL) I have to make more money or drive less. I would think that "true" RPers would look at the virtual world in that light. When I went to college, one of my roommates had a trust that he never earned. Was that fair? Did he cheat? Did I let it influence the way I live my life? (I hope not). So why should the choice of some people to use RL wealth to aid virtual wealth be considered cheating?

HOWEVER, the only exception I would make is when a game's TOS forbids such action. I would consider that illegal cheating (RL) but again something I just have to deal with in the virtual world. Believe it or not, people cheat and do illegal things in RL that affect us RL and we have to learn to work around those as well.

Posted by: Steve on October 28, 2005 9:07 AM

I'd hafta saying while playing FFXI that yes gil farmers have destroyed the economy on most the servers however I believe EQ may have a possible solution that may help everyone.

O and to the poster above Steve Oct. 28th its not Illegal as you say, you may wish for it to be but its not otherwise EQII wouldn't have started their own auction system to buy and sell accounts, gold and items. Please think before you spout off something w/such anger.

The solution is instead of letting these people come in and destroy your games economy w/their own sites its better to give the players control and allow them to use a auction system similar to that of EQ's for buying in game items. This is obviously a much better method for it is monitored by the company themself or a company they hired, they also bring in additional funds for the company so that they may hopefully lower the cost of playing for all.

I believe that if this was the way it was taken care of then not only would some games be a bit cheaper to play for the same quality as the expensive ones but it'll also give players a reliable source to go for each game just as EQII as shown in which many users have taken the gold selling situation into their own hands dealing a blow to those who do it as a "professin" and ruin the economy of the game. Players care about the economy thus they will try and keep it intact while dealing w/their auctions in game however the sites who hire random people who make 6 characters named Bill1, 2, 3, 4 ,5 ,6 and just go around raising prices for the hell of it do not.

While I'm not saying it'd eliminate the economy problem it would make it more beneficial for all who were involved w/the game and the buying/selling of items so even if you don't buy or sell you still get a little off the play fee.

As far as buying or selling though I don't care if you do it or not just don't ruin the economy kthxbai.

Posted by: Ed on November 3, 2005 6:18 AM

I don't like the idea at all. It causes stress in a game I don't need. A game is a game and played for fun, sure. But I like to know I have the same even chance as someone else without reaching harder into my pocket to catch up to someone who has done just that. I refuse to play a game that condones such practices. It's bad enough Yantis is still on the loose. If you don't have time for the challenge of MMOGRPG's, is calling your name. Please go there and stop ruining the spirit of gaming!

Posted by: GamerGirl on November 3, 2005 9:29 PM

RMT took me a few weeks to convince myself to do it...
The RL money was there...
It was so tempting. So EASY.
I find myself often going back for more.

I work so much durring the day I just cant bear to work on my off time too. I want to have fun R&R and just plain not have to worry about affording repairs and expenses.

WoW is my escape not a stressfull boring hassle.

It is funny how at one point I was SO against this sort of thing.

Age: 24

Posted by: Sil on November 9, 2005 7:13 AM

I'm not a fan at all of having to "farm" for cash and items. Luckily my MMOG of choice, Guild Wars, is relatively low on need to farm anyway. But the thing that ultimately turns me off the desire to buy gold is the untested legaility of it in games that frown on it (like Guild Wars) and the effect that gold trading has upon the in-game economy, pushing prices of top level goods and services out of the reach of "honest" players. It would be nice to be able to purchase items direct from the publisher, so that the money spent "vanishes" and in-game demand for the item drops generally, thereby reducing prices for other players.

Posted by: Sjolvir Arkensson on November 9, 2005 8:38 PM

I feel that this kind of gaming revolves around spending alot of your time to gain anything, Buying gold due to not having time may hint that this game type is not for you.

Posted by: Bandworthy on November 15, 2005 3:11 AM

I've bought Gold several times and I don't regret it. I'm in a major raiding guild and we are doing BWL at the moment in WoW. My weekly repair costs are way over 100 Gold a week atm (I'm a very well equipped Warrior) and I just don't have the time to grind for money between work and real life issues (girlfriend, family) etc...
I don't even have the time to grind for money because as soon as I log on it's raiding time again, and if I would tell my guild that i couldn't come because I wouldn't be able to pay for the repaircosts they would probably tell me to go grind... These people have lots of time and play all day long and don't have a job, However I do and can't play all day long.
To the people that claim that I ruin the economy, please explain me how ? I don't buy any stuff from the AH, there is nothing, really nothing there remotely interesting for me with the current gear I have.
I don't have an epic mount yet and don't plan on buying one with bought money.
I use the money for repaircosts only! What's the problem ?

Posted by: Morlok on November 15, 2005 8:32 AM

RMT here.

It's been said before but I'll say it again for all the schoolies, stooodents and just plain un-employed/able people that get all hot under the collar about the subject.

I work 50-60 hours a week, 6 days a week, 52 weeks a year (as we approach the end of the year I have 24 days unused holiday which I will lose, this is my career so it's put up or shut up on that score). I also have a partner, child and family pet that all need attention every now and then if I wish to remain a member of that family.

I play WoW to raid dungeons with my mates (and I bring those into the game from RL just like I do gold), PvP, discover and brew up wierd and funky potions........ I do not play WoW to grind low lvl mobs for hours on end when my cash is low. Hell my main is a 'lock, I already farm enough re-agents before I can play.....nuts to farming quite frankly!

Anyway in other games this may be game breaking, but in WoW every endgame item worth owning is bind on pickup, not sellable to other players and not available on AH. So what do I get for buying gold, I get to not grind for an epic mount, pay my repair bills, buy some green items while I grind for epics just like everyone else has to, buy food and drink without hassling a mage or buy some tradeskill recipes and reagents off AH..........none of that will make me a better player or give me any advantage in PvP that is not available without buying gold, it just cuts out the part of the game that feels like a 2nd job.

The only real big problem I see with buying gold is the farmers themselves out there on servers hogging decent spots for days, cut out those middlmen I say. you may then end up with the level playing field that all the unemployed bums keep trying to say already exists (yeah level if you are an unemployed tax dodging student git).

Posted by: Ben on November 15, 2005 9:09 AM

I think that RMT are evidence of poorly created game economy. As the developer of any of the games mentioned here, one could eliminate nearly all RMT by simply making real money not necessary. For example, let's say I can earn 50g a hour in WoW (hypothetical). That means it takes me 12 hours to buy a epic mount for 600g. As a casual player, let's say I play 1 hour a day. So to buy my epic mount, I need to spend 2 weeks grinding. I don't want to spend two weeks grinding, and the developer shouldn't want me to either. When you're paying money every month to a game to grind, you're going to start thinking about if it's worth it, and as the developer, that's the last thought you want your players to have.

So how do we eliminate the need to grind? There are several ways.

1. Make correct grind yeild so much money that it's unreasonable to RMT for money. The issue with this is it would cause severe problems with the auction houses, but they would theoretically balance themselves out.

2. Eliminate the grind entirely. Make earning money actually fun and actually part of gameplay instead of a painfully boring activity you do to get to real gameplay. The problem with this is, the hard core players who play 6 hours a day have few advantages over the ones who play 2 hours a day. The hardcore would then probably reconsider their play style and either find a new game that fits their current style, or change play styles.

3. Software regulation. Track every in game money transfer and use programs to track down and ban people who are buying and selling money. The problem with this is it would have broad reprecussions in game. For example, I have just started WoW because a good friend of mine talked me into it (Note: this is actually how I started playing WoW). He gives me a large (to me, not to him) sum of money to start out with so I can burn through the lower levels easily to reach him. This activity would cause the both of us to be banned.

4. Correct player controls. Essentially, the developer would brain wash the players into black-balling people who use RMTs to the point that these players would quit of their own volition. The problem with this is it creates a game culture based around screwing with the guys that are different from you. So when you run out of people who use RMTs to screw with, the game community might collapse with no enemy to unite against.

5. Lawsuits. Probably the most heavy handed approach. Just sue who ever is found to be using RMTs. It'll should cause enough of a stir to discourage all but the most dedicated. And honestly there's not much you can do against them. The problem with this is interesting. Players of MMOs and the Developers of said MMOs have a very close relationship. Destroying that relationship through legal action against players could cause all player to feel betrayed by the Developer and simply quit in disgust.

My choice is number 2. I'm sure there are other ways to get rid of RMTs if that's what the developer wants, but honestly I doubt most of them want that. Sure you guys are complaining about it, but it doesn't irritate most of you enough to quit the game, and the farmers and RMT users are paying a monthly fee. More profits for the developers. Your only real voice in most MMOs is your money, so if you really have a problem with this, quit and tell them why you quit. It's the only way they'll listen.

Posted by: Ian on November 28, 2005 10:20 AM

Personally I do not support selling, or buying gold online, though I believe the "Ruining" of the economy to be incorrect. If anything the non grinder should be happy to have that much money being bantied about for nonsensical items. One has the ability to only pick 2 professions in the game, and if tailoring isnt one of them you can make a fortune off of selling your cloth. It is near imposible in my oppinion to feel the effects of inflation unless one is sitting on gobs of gold, for the simple fact that all of the goods that you dont use are liquidated on the AH at there new inflated rates. Gold buyers also make market control more viable to those with the knowledge to take advantage of it. One can literally corner a market on the AH (say raptor eggs). I will watch the raptor egg market for a week buying low and stocking up for my nefarious weekend. When friday hits, I buyout every raptor egg in sight, and post mine for 1.5g starting bid and 2.0g buyout. Now having paid a mere 15s-30s for the eggs I making a huge profit IF I sell them. Well sell them I do. I buyout every raptor egg posted the entire weekend, and keep 10 stack up at my price. Within the week I have made over 20-30g just on eggs, and I figure most of my profit is from the gold buyers. To them, gold is cheap. To me, gold is fun to make :) Controling a market is exciting, especially when you hear people in general complaining about the prices, and you see the price of eggs is stuck at 1-1.3g for 2 weeks :)

Just my two cents

Posted by: Jerry on December 7, 2005 9:36 PM

I'm 31, a single father of one four-year-old son, and work full-time in computer networking. I've been playing video role-playing games since 1984!

I get plenty of social stimulation at work and when I go out, so I definitely don't play online games for that. I do enjoy the thought of a living breathing world with its inhabitants controlled by real people rather than AI.

That said, I spend only a few hours every week in online games, so time is definitely at a premium for me. However, I think that buying in-game currency, accounts, items, etc. is the height of lunacy.

I play games for a little mental stiumulation, the challenge of figuring out ways to accomplish goals. So I stay away from the EverQuests and other games that turn the experience into a grind, and which become a farmer's paradise.

Honestly, I think some people feel they've "achieved" something when their in-game character reaches level X by killing 9 million pixelated creatures or they're attained item B by grinding out 10 thousand platinum, but for me it's all about the reward intrinsic to having conquered with the mind, a concept these grinding games just don't have.

Posted by: Joe on December 10, 2005 8:26 AM

For those who say that buying gold is unfair to those who play long hours to earn theirs, I have a proposition. I can't buy gold, and you can't play more than 3 hours a day, since that's all the time I have. Not so fair is it? It's the same argument you're making.

Like everything, taken to an extreme gold buying can be bad. It seems like most of the people posting here (myself included) buy gold to keep up with the people who can play more often than we can.

Posted by: Dennis on December 12, 2005 7:20 AM

I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to those of you who admitted to being a "RMT consumers.

I almost have enough money to go to college now.

Posted by: I Love America. on December 13, 2005 10:58 AM

Great, I Love America,

And when you graduate from college, start your full time career, get married, have children and settle down, you will find yourself buying gold from the likes of your present day self. Keep your PvP flag ON will you?

Posted by: Andrew on December 15, 2005 9:56 AM

I've never understood the problem with buying in game gold/items. You are paying someone for the time to get things you don't have time to get yourself. Afterall, time = money and based on that proposition and based on the fact the only way to get gold/items is through time (and luck) I see no problems with buying ingame equipment.

I could see the arguement made against selling accounts, however, based on the rationale that you may think you are interacting with the same person but in fact are not. As long as you don't sell a character that has guild leadership privaleges though I don't consider it a problem. I do respect the arguement against it though, whereas I think the arguement against selling gold is baseless.

Posted by: Dhaeman on December 17, 2005 9:28 AM

I've found that in the one game I've tried (eve online) that the EULA strictly prohibits makeing such transfers. I'm not standard, but if you do make those kinds of transfers it strikes me as definately something that IF someone complains about it(I.E. abusive farmers) the Charecter or maybe account should be deleted... Just an idea though... from a newb nonetheless.

Posted by: Drew on December 26, 2005 9:29 PM

It is my opinion that it is wrong to buy gold, as it unbalances the game, inflating the currency so that it is impossible for players who don't buy gold to afford anything.

In World of Warcraft, early in the game's life, prices were reasonable, a good blue item would cost around 50 gold, and a good epic item would cost about 200 gold. As it is now, people are charging 1000 gold for epic items and 200 gold for blue items.

If I do a dungeon run, I can make 10 gold an hour, assuming I get a few sellable greens on the run and we don't wipe too many times. I would have to spend 100 hours (more than 4 days online) in order to buy 1 epic item. I believe there are 10 item slots per character in WoW (can't remember off the top of my head), so it would take me 1000 hours of farming 5-10 man dungeons to equip my character entirely in epic items, where previously, it would only take 1/5 as long.

I could easily spend 200 or so dollars to make that money, but then I would be cheating other players and myself.

Posted by: Tae on January 12, 2006 6:43 PM

I know many people are talking about buying gold as cheating and although I haven't done it (haven't felt the need as I make gold by 'playing the auction house' as if it were the stock market which takes little time and can be done before a raid) it has to be said that the playing field is and never will be level.

Younger people and the unemployed have lots of time and little money. Those employed have money but not the time. Like in real life people exchange one for the other. So those without money are able to grind and spend their time to make money (in the game). Those with money spend that moeny for time (in the game). Without being able to buy gold, those without jobs are at an advantage because they are able to make their transfer (time to money) but the employed are not able to make theirs (money to time).

Time is valuable and we buy it at great cost. The online world is not much different from the real world.

Will it destroy the economy? Not likely. Unlike Everquest, WoW has done a great job (knowing people buy gold) to get the gold out of the economy buy making things bind on pickup or bind on equip. So, once something is soulbound, it is out of the economy (unlike in other games) and also the high repair costs make sure that the economy is taking gold slowly out of the system - hence WoW has a pretty stable economy. Even with people buying gold - it leaves the system pretty fast and thus, it doesn't flood it. Also, all the best gear is bind on pickup anyway.

So, strangely, being able to buy gold levels the playing field some. People have their own rules to play by, as I have my own strange little rules, but I don't consider farmers or those who buy from them cheaters. (although i have a real problem with bots)

Posted by: on January 16, 2006 5:37 AM

I really have nothing against gold buyers and non gold buyers, I mean come on, we all know the difference between those who have the time to spend on a game and those who dont. It all comes down to what makes this game enjoyable for the player. That said, yes gold bying hurts the economy and supports farmers but hey gues what, its just a game. Its not like they are really affecting you in real life ( and if they do, then you my friend need help.. lots of it...). What I do have something against is the people (kids, teens and adults) who think they are holyier than thou, I have morals and you dont, your a cheater I hope you get rammed by a car attitude players that think just because they are SO honest in a game they are better. To that I say PLEASE, if I was a kid or a teen or EVEN a college kid with a crapload of free time and have no real responsibilites besides TRYING to graduate then yeah.. I would'nt really need to buy gold/gil/credits or what have you. AND IF they were the 25+ and up year olds who live in their moms basement in real life and complain about why other people buy gold and such, I should'nt have to say no more about that person... that pretty much pathetic to have that attitude and you still live in mommy and daddies house at age 25+ and up... go farm in reallife and make some real cash to go live on your Anywho, buying gold hurts the economy and such and such, but like so many people said, its just a game.... dont take it to heart just because you gotta pay 100 or more extra gold to buy decent items, its not real life remember?... Nuff Said...

PS: I HAVENT bought gold/credit yet, and I have some decent to crappy equipment on all the games I play, but between working 40-50 hours a week who can afford to get UBER gear?... thanks for listening

Posted by: hello on January 25, 2006 5:34 AM

I am a gold buyer in WoW. I am in the 30+ age group, have a full time job averaging 50 hours a week. Being a professional, I know time is money and further I can tell you exactly what my time is worth. In order for farming to be worth my time, at the going rate for 100g on my server, I need to farm approx. 450-500g per hour. Anything less and I am wasting time/losing money. That is just not possible on a consistent basis within WoW.

From another perspective, WoW is my hobby. The base cost to participate in my hobby is $15 per month. As stated above, 1 hour of my time is enough to purchase roughly 500g. If I purchase 500g once a month (which is actually more than I purchase) then my cost is 1 hour of my time, out of 160 hours of work a month, or 1/160th of my time. Not only does this investment allow me to enjoy the time spent participating in my hobby but it also frees me of the burden of spending 10-20 hours in that same month to farm the gold myself, which would be considered overtime since I must still work 160 hours at my job (and this particular overtime pay is TERRIBLE! 10-20 hours of overtime to equal 1 hour of regular work).

From an economic point of view, it doesn't make sense for me to farm the gold myself.

My only wish would be to see Blizzard sell gold directly so I knew the legitimacy of the source. Their profits would be pure black if they did. An unlimited resource they have monopoly control over which demands a solid price in real world dollars. Talk about having your hands on the printing press... That's the real mystery to me, why haven't more companies seen this economic cloud their floating on and taken full advantage of it??

Posted by: Rastible on February 23, 2006 1:25 AM

You all are missing the point. It's not about some high-minded sense of right and wrong, its about you keeping your word! And also about property rights.

Property rights. How would you like it if I copied your blog or your comments, put them up on my page under my name with a bunch of Adsense ads? You wouldn't like it, right?
OK, I'll give you credit. You still don't like it, right?
OK, I'll share some of the ad revenue with you. Still not OK?
Of course not. It's YOUR writing. It's YOUR work. You have a right to decide where and how it's used. Why? Because you wrote it!

Blizzard and Sony have exactly the same right to decide how THEIR work, WoW and EQ/EQII, are used. It is their right, and theirs alone, to make the rules for RMTs. Because it's THEIR WORK! They wrote it.

Sure, Sony sets a different rule than Blizzard does. That right belongs to each of them. It's THEIR call because it's THEIR work. It isn't for you to say "Since Sony allows it, I can do it with third parties in WoW." Wrong. That's like saying "Because one band says 'copy my music' it's OK to copy any band's music." You know better than that.

Keeping your word. Very simple. Read what you agreed to when you signed up for the game. With WoW, you agree not to trade items or gold for real-world value and not to share your account (sorry, can't pay a Romanian sweatshop laborer to run up your character.) I don't know what you agree to with EQ, EQII or other games. The point is, whatever you agreed to, YOU GAVE YOUR WORD! When you buy gold on WoW, you are being dishonest. Because you promised that you wouldn't.

Amazing thing about geeks... they think they can break any rule, law, principle, even break their own agreements and their own integrity -- if they have a reason that's clever enough!

"Oh, I'm very busy!" Too busy for this type of game, maybe.

"Oh, I need to buy gold to shape the game into what I want to play!" The game is what it is. Don't like it, there are plenty of other games. Including MMOs which DO allow gold buying.

"Oh, I can't run raids unless I buy gold!" Bulloney. Grind for gold some nights and raid on other nights. If you actually committed yourself to earning the gold in-game, you'd find all sorts of ways you overlooked. Make this a challenge, make this fun. Broadening your sense of "fun" is a lot healthier than dishonesty...

Not surprisingly, we now have a culture of very smart people whose word cannot be trusted. They cannot even trust themselves, let alone be trusted by others. Cheating is a personal disgrace, not in terms of what others think of you, but in terms of what YOU think of yourself! You KNOW your word is no good. This soaks into your bones and corrupts your entire life. Stop it.

Forget all these notions, explanations and arm-waving theories. Bottom line, respect others' intellectual property as you would wish your own respected... and keep your agreements. Everything else is nonsense.

Posted by: Wolf Harper on April 9, 2006 6:23 PM

While it is true that property rights are involved in the debate, it seems that many people have exactly the wrong idea about what is involved. It is not intellectual proerty rights, but real property rights. Nobody is selling the 'idea' of gold, they are selling 'actual' gold.

IP rights involve COPYING someone else's work. When the person sells or gives away real property they can no longer use that item. However you can easily sell or give away infinite instances of intellectual property. In game gold and goods are more like real property than intellectual property in that the seller no longer has access to the property, the 'rights' have been transfered.

This is the same as if book publishers tried to declare second hand bookstores to be illegal. There are laws stating you cannot copy a book, but you are certainly allowed to sell it if you do not keep a copy yourself.

If in game gold and items are considered 'real' then the developers can be held liable for the well being of them (server shutdowns and roll backs, nerfs, lost items, etc.), and that is a line they do not want to cross. Claiming that it is IP, with no court ruling otherwise, leaves enough wiggle room for them to do what they want or need to do.

This is the main reason why developers won't, or can't, sue gold sellers like IGE. IGE's defense would be that the items are not IP, but real property, and there is an excellent chance that a court might agree. The terms of service might actually be ruled to be out of order and this is a chance that no developer is willing to take.

Posted by: David on April 9, 2006 11:31 PM

You can't really call buyiing gold in game cheating. The gold is already in the game before it is farmed, so it is not like it is created out of thin air. Either the farmer uses the ~600g he farmed, or he sells it and someone else does. Someone tell me what the IN GAME difference is here? Also how many of us use thottbot to complete quests and find items? That is another out of the game influence but everyone uses that. The game is so massive that who wants to search around on there own ALL night to find an npc that your quest didnt give you the exact location of. not me.

Posted by: Chris on April 10, 2006 9:47 AM

The whole farming business seems a bit sketchy, but as a college student I have to say that if I could reliably pay my $15 monthly fee by selling $15 worth of gold once a month I would do it...

I have no desire to become a gold farmer or run some sort of online syndicate >_

Posted by: CollegeStudent on May 15, 2006 11:50 AM

I am a BBC journalist and have just been to China to a gold farming factory. I'm looking to do a very short pre-recorded radio interview - down the line or face to face - with someone who has bought virtual gold to be part of the finished piece. The interview can be anonymous. If you have bought gold and could help by telling us about it please get in touch by email.

(Caroline's email is

Posted by: caroline on May 25, 2006 2:15 AM

I'm also in the 30+ professional, 'don't have time' bracket, but a/ the feeling that it is cheating somehow, b/ a reluctance to hand out my card number to a website involved in 'gray area' activities, and c/ a suspicion that most of this gold isn't coming from happy students in middle America, but from some poor sod in a sweat shop in China keeps me clear of buying gold.

Therefore I am level 60, doing BWL and have only just managed to raise the cash for an epic mount. This has been a standing joke in my guild for about 3 months, so it added to the whole 'in game experience'!

The point about Blizzard legitimising the trade and selling gold was interesting.

Do those who have bought gold 'go public' about it in their guilds? Is it, in fact, encouraged by some raiding guilds to maintain 'up time'? If it isn't spoken about, why not? Would your guild consider it cheating?

Posted by: abraxus on May 25, 2006 3:13 AM

I agree the point about bliz selling gold is intersting though if they did they would create artifical limits to it like X amount of gold on X server or X accounts or X servers. (which you can get around by multiple accounts or characters)
or having specific nerf servers where gold is readily available for sale by bliz. (hobby servers as they would considered)

in any case if you see inflated prices . take advantage of them. It's easy enough to make money when you know that certain common items are in high demand (like metals and herbs in wow when there's a high number of engineers/alchamists who run battlegrounds) or the level 15-19 and 25-29 items which sell for two to three times the value of others in the 10-14 and 20-24 bracket. My own tweaked character for the bracket was financed by the sale of such high demand items by players who either had too much time on their hands on higher level characters or too much gold.

Posted by: Addermine on June 20, 2006 1:07 AM

i recently bought 400g in WoW for the first time,but
i agonized over it for days beforehand. I'm 31 and work full time,so i can't grind for gold like a student can.

Posted by: bruce on July 22, 2006 9:39 AM

I buy gold for World of Warcraft.

I get enough grinidng in my office to earn a living without doing it in my spare time. A one-off payment for a mount or killing mobs day in, day out until your eyes bleed and the skin is peeling off your fingers?

But I never abuse the economy. If there's an item at the AH with no buyout, I don't bid. If there's a great item with a buyout, I rarely bid.

Then you might ask - so why buy money?

Well there's training, mounts, repairs etc.

I can take a few chars to level 60 in the time it would normally take me to take one to 60 with some financial backing.

It's there for everyone if you must take advantage. I have and will never regret it.

Posted by: Jake on August 2, 2006 10:34 AM

Take an economics course. Buying gold online will not inflate prices in the Warcraft economy.

Posted by: Dick on August 9, 2006 7:47 AM

I do not buy gold because it is cheating... and very good players who regularly get in groups to do major raids sell so much loot that they don't need to buy gold- I never have. I consider the decision to buy gold a reflection of how much time you have, with age being of minimal impact and of bigger impact is how good of a player you are or how socialized you are. Horrible players get into good groups if they know the right people sometimes. To me, camping is part of the joy of an MMO. It is a time to BS and build friendships and find out who your real friends are. It takes a lot of trust to figure out what to do witha nice piece of loot and a lot of kindness to let someone wield it instead of selling it- which by the way should almost always be done among guildies and friends.

Posted by: Phetia on August 9, 2006 10:04 PM

I just bought WoW gold for the first time and I'm so happy that I did. Not only can I spend more time with my wife, 3-week-old daughter, and dog, but I can still raid with my friends and guildmates a few times a week. I'm happier and my family is happier as a result. It was either that or quit WoW completely.

Working 60 hours a week doesn't leave much time for farming. My favorite hobby is WoW, so should I be forced to quit because because I can't farm for hours per week to pay repair bills?

Posted by: JT on October 1, 2006 11:27 PM

Personally I don't buy gold but it can be frustrating paying for raiding repairs and potions etc in WoW (60 Priest). You get about 2g per boss kill raiding which usually pays for repairs for a night.

That said, I've made plenty of money playing the auction house with a mod called auctioneer that scans and records prices of all listed items then searches for bargains to sell on at the correct price.
I've 3 characters over lvl 40 and have always had enough to buy a mount at that point.

I see buying gold as too much of a risk of having my account disabled or hacked.

I'm 26 and balance full time career and girlfriend with my play and feel no need to make the purchase.

Posted by: Tom on October 2, 2006 4:29 AM

HOOOORRAYYY! for the Economics student.

The selling of gold does not effect the economy and in fact makes money for the developers.

Blizzard and the like only ban accounts in order to make money on the rebuy. The more gold sold outside the game, the more popular the game gets and the more money they make.

It is quite simple to stop the sale of game gold. They dont do it for a very good reason.

Blue and epic items costing more in-game now than when the game started has NOTHING to do with gold selling.

Like the man says "Take an economics course".

Posted by: Zing on March 6, 2007 3:22 PM

Is it just me, or is the price of gold these days (WoW) awfuly high..
When I first bought 300 gold for WoW it only cost me $8 now it is $40.. why is the price so high now??

Posted by: Lovechunks on May 29, 2007 12:33 AM

Is it just me, or is the price of gold these days (WoW) awfuly high..
When I first bought 300 gold for WoW it only cost me $8 now it is $40.. why is the price so high now??

Posted by: Lovechunks on May 29, 2007 12:33 AM

Is it just me, or is the price of gold these days (WoW) awfuly high..
When I first bought 300 gold for WoW it only cost me $8 now it is $40.. why is the price so high now??

Posted by: Lovechunks on May 29, 2007 12:33 AM

I personally don't and won't ever do it, but on the server I'm on in WoW (Muradin), I don't seem to notice anything bad about the economy.

I seem to have no problem making money in that game. I don't even grind often. Most of it's just casual mine-when-you-see-a-node or kill-monsters-on-the-way-to-destination. I do perfectly well with just 'casual grinding' as I like to call it (as opposed to the more familiar 'hardcore grinding'). And I don't even rip people off on the AH; rather I try to undersell everyone! My repair costs don't ever seem to be that big of a deal and I'm Lvl 69.

Honestly, I only ever grind in that game if I'm two or three bars away from a level, and that's usually half an hour to an hour tops (maybe more if I'm not keeping track of time).

I do have the time, but I also do have a part-time job at the local library and the rare times I'm fortunate enough to sell my artwork. The rest of the money comes from social assistance/disability, but I refuse to be unemployed after having spent a few years that way (not my favorite years either).

I guess I may be veering a bit off-topic, so I'll leave it at that.

Posted by: Derek on July 23, 2007 3:29 PM

Even assuming that WoW gold can be considered a first-class priority in one's life, it is still inefficient to by WoW gold.

From what I've seen, 300 gold goes for about $40 or $50. Considering that 300 gold can be earned in an hour or less with grinding/professions, you're actually better off just grinding the gold than working the hours needed to get $50.

Now, some will counter that some individuals have an hourly pay rate exceeding $50. In this case, the concept utility really comes into play. Is the benefit you get from 300 gold (mediocre equipment, bit more than a flying mount) worth $50 dollars and the time you use spending that gold (which is really valuable, considering how highly your profession pays)?

However, I do not understand the argument that buying WoW gold denigrates the in-game economy. The gold bought isn't just created magically in software; it's still earned through legitimate means, just not by you.

Posted by: Meta on July 24, 2007 11:36 AM

The prevalence of RMT might have something to do with the inherent system of the game itself. I can't imagine why people would ever buy gold on WoW, since it's so easy to level and acquire resources (you can get from 1-70 without ever buying equipment from the AH or even NPC vendors). On Korean MMOs like RO and Lineage, the grind is terrible, drop rates suck, and characters are extremely gear-dependent, so I would argue that the game system itself promotes RMT, at least for those people who do not have 12 hours a day to commit to mindless farming.

Posted by: Iris on August 21, 2007 5:10 PM

As a just Paladin, it makes sense in RP and in real life that I report anyone on my WoW server bragging about making RMTs (I call it "accepting resources from the Burning Legion" in character). Guildmates, friends, strangers, I don't care. I have no loyalty except to the integrity of the game in that regard. I'd rather forget that such cheap stupid acts never existed, but if the ones who commit this act are making it known to the community at large, it breaks my immersion, and that makes me upset. It also cheapens my experience, since I am a rather hardcore player (~45 hours a week).

An MMORPG is an investment. If you don't have the time to invest, don't play. It's that simple.

Posted by: Treima on August 22, 2007 7:14 PM

In some games, RMT will destroy the economy. In WoW, it's not as bad, because in the main the gold is not put into the economy, but rather absorbed into the game, via repair costs, mounts, etc. The best loot is bind on pick up, meaning you can't buy it. So, blizzard was pretty damn smart in nerfing the gold makers. For those who say it couldn't destroy the economy, how could it not? Governments don't just print money whenever they feel like it and give it out. No, its strictly regulated, and backed by some instrument. An influx of gold from an outside source (ie RMT) will cause inflation if there are items worthwhile to spend it on, ie great epic things, so forth). Since this isn't really teh case in WoW, it's not as much of a problem.

But I think it's morally wrong to do RMT, since you are basically cheating. Its just like buying a character on Ebay, your street cred pretty much plummets. That said, its not too hard to make money in WoW, you don't have to resort to RMT.

Take two gathering professions, pick a class thats easy to level (ie hunter), get to level 70, do the dailys, gather your ores and so forth. Bonus, if you are hunter, you will almost never die while PvE (unless you are in a raid and it wipes, even then it's possible to avoid death). So you don't have the repair costs like others have. I probably make 100g a week without really farming anything. Its all spent on my alts and guildies for the most part (need to start saving for epic flying mount). Gold in the expansion is easy to get, many quest turn ins give 2g plus an item which can be sold for 3g. That's 5g just for doing the quest, let alone whatever you may picked up while doing the quest. Green equipment sells typically for 5-10g, but the AH cut is steap, and half the time it doesn't sell. But if you have access to enchanting, you can disenchant everything and sell it for major gold.

Once you get to the outlands, you can give your gold away, or save it for your mount. That way, you can finance quick leveling of alts with crafting professions. If you want to do this, yes, probably at some point (lvl 70) you'll have to grind a bit, but consider you can make epic mount money in a week of normal play at level 70. Anyway my point is that there is no need to sponge gold off others either out of game or in game, if you have a modicum of common sense and pick which professions and class to play.

Posted by: Rob on September 18, 2007 11:24 AM

I have never bought virtual items, but I have sold items that could be resold to get virtual currency. I started playing a mmorpg for fun my first year of graduate school. I played for 9 months when i figured out some shortcuts to making money and started rising to the ranks of players in top income bracket.

At one point when i was complaining about not having enough money in real life a friend told me i could sell what i earn and make good cash out of it. My graduate student income is barely enough to make ends meet. Subtracting my monthly rent, food/household stuff, transportation, health expenditures I have no money left over. What I get paid now is for 10h work day on average for the next 5-6 years of my life. Many graduate students I know are in debt. Many others try making money on the side however they can. I don't have a family, but I've known grad students with families and seen them really struggle financially. Being in debt, having absolutely nothing in banking account, and having to beg off relatives any time you don't have enough money really sucks.

I was completely new to MMO's so I didn't know I could make money this way. After my friend has told me that, i started selling my virtual income for real money. I played about 3 hours each day, more on weekend, and made about $800-1200 USD per month, depending on how much time i could put into it any given month. I'm not running bots or farming so to say, so my income doesn't affect game's economy in any bad way. I'm not bored earning virtual currency the way i do it. I interact with other players and take risks. So far it has been fun. I really do not care to have top of the line stuff, and if i make a mountain of virtual money it will just sit there. I'd much rather have a few extra hundred dollars than all this virtual currency of which i require only 10-20% myself to play. So I will keep on selling excess of my virtual money until I discover a better way to supplement my income or finally graduate.

Posted by: Soci on September 25, 2007 12:13 PM

I think the real issue is what it is you spend your purchased gold on.

I play WoW and the epic flight training (280% speed increase as opposed to 70% speed increase) costs 5000 gold. That is quite a substantial amount as any given quest yeilds about 10 gold on average. So my options were solidly grind for the next couple months doing daily quests, play the auction house, search frantically for any quests I missed, grind like crazy for mats to craft whatever was worth a few gold.......OR spend about $200 of my disposable income and get 5000G in a few days. Well, guess which route I chose.

I don't see this as cheating. I used the gold to buy an upgrade that is technically classified as a utility. If I had purchased a raid spot for The Black Temple so that I could get teir 6 gear, then yes, that would be cheating. The only way you can consider buying gold for a mount as cheating is if there were more timed quests in WoW and come on WoW players. When was the last time you saw a timed quest at level 70? I don't remember a single one.

I play the game to have fun and taking ages to get to where you need to go is not fun. My main is a Boomkin and they are extremely hard to gear up. Prior to patch 2.4 and the new badge of justice rewards, it was next to impossible to gear up Balance Druids without resorting to cloth items. Now, my boomkin is geared up in nearly all epic items, 900+ bonus damage and all leather items to boot. I am pretty proud of this because I did it myself. Flight training? Who cares how you got the money? (that is, aside from people that care too much about a game)

Buying gold on line for a mount does not make you a cheater:

Where did I get my helm from? 75 Badges of Juctice (about 3 1/2 weeks of grinding Kara)

Where did I get my boots from? 60 Badges of Justice (about additional 3 weeks of grinding Kara)

Where did I get my gloves and shoulders from? About 3 weeks of pvping

Where did I get my off-hand? Running heroics over and over until I had 35 Badges of Justice (this was prior to being keyed for Kara)

Where did I get my mace from? Killing Akil'zon in ZA after wipe after wipe until we finally figured out a strat that worked.

Where did I get my mount from? I bought the gold online.

The key is that I know the difference between grinding hard for the things that really matter and grinding hard for things that really don't. It all depends on what it is you're spending your ill-gotten gold on.

Posted by: Stoneburner on March 6, 2008 4:55 PM

**Edit on my last comment**

I meant "prior to patch 2.3" not 2.4.

Wishful thinking on my part. =P

Posted by: Stoneburner on March 6, 2008 5:09 PM

I can't believe so many people here discount students (college) as having "soo much more time than they do", time is a standard allocation of a valuable resource (arguably the most valuable). Sure generally speaking students probably have more time than the average working adult, but this is because adults have made allocated their time to a variety of life decisions. If a student wants to start a family at their age they would have just as many responsibilities.

Just because you work doesn't mean you are busier than all students. Everyone has their own objectives, goals, time sinks, hobbies - essentially life (that you chose). Some students work, go to class and play video games. Others go to class, get involved in organizations, clubs, extracurricular activities etc. In a nutshell working/time spent working towards a degree are very similar. The other decisions we make in our lives have a much greater impact on our free time.

Generally speaking, I have more respect for someone that is a student and plays games than someone who works a dead-end job 40-50 hours a week and plays games. I am no longer a student, but please refrain from thinking "all students have more time than I do".

That being said I have sold a large variety of items, accounts and wealth in-game. Most recently I sold a WoW account for $2,500 (some time ago now).

Posted by: Hmm on March 5, 2010 5:39 PM
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