Note: As I'm reading over the comments here and from referrer links, I'm noticing that a lot of people are under the mistaken impression that I'm mainly arguing that most gold farmers are not Chinese and that it's this aspect of the stereotype that I'm writing about. To decrease the amount of local comments based on this misreading, I want to make it clear that I do not make this argument in the article. I in fact point out, based on a variety of sources, that many gold farmers do appear to be based in China on page 11.
There's been a lot of talk about gold farmers and RMT (real money transactions) lately. The part that both fascinates and frustrates me is not the gold farming itself, but the stories we're telling about what's going on. We tell stories to make sense of the world. And these stories use shared experiences to make sense of novel events, but they inevitably emphasize certain elements while sidelining other equally meaningful elements. In this article, I want to describe the story that we usually tell and hear about gold farmers as well as re-readings and alternatives to that story. My goal is not to justify what gold farmers do, but rather to complicate the typical story we tell about gold farming.
What's the Problem?
Gold farmers are typically seen as problematic for several reasons. The following player articulates the key problems using his own experiences in the game.
I have found that they will try to drive you out of the area either directly or indirectly by training monsters on you, or flagging themselves and trying to get you to click on them.
Farmers have a profound downward effect on a server economy by vastly increasing the supply of certain 'rare' items. They also prevent regular players from farming their own items/materials. They make it much harder to play the market ...anything you find, they have already found 10 of.
In short, I find farmers to be a very severe problem that really breaks immersion in the games, and I wish that game companies would take stronger actions on confirmed farmer accounts. [WoW, M, 30]
Thus, gold farmers are perceived to create two main problems. First, they harass normal players. And secondly, they ruin the economy over time.
keywords: gold farmers, gold farming, RMT, virtual gold, virtual currency, virtual transaction
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