Time to Understand the Gold Farmers

Happy Easter, everyone! Hopefully this day will be filled we happy times and laughter with your families. My own awaits this morning, but I wanted to stop in and share a sentiment in the spirit of the day.

Let’s cut the gold farmers some slack.

Gold Farming Warehouse

I know that’s not something you’d expect to hear from an MMO blogger but I think it’s important all the same.

Day after day, you probably see these guys spam your trade channels with parsed down URLs and promises of “cheap gold, quick service!” If you’re unlucky enough to be on a few of the worse WoW or Aion servers, you probably even get private tells in broken English. I’m right with you when you say it’s annoying.

Let’s look at the other side

Take a moment to consider. Many of these people do the work they do because it’s the only employment they can find. Farmers, especially those out of China and Korea are impoverished, and gold selling companies hire them by the truck load. Most of them sleep in the factories they work at, seven days a week for pennies on the dollar. Much of that money gets sent home to their families.

Here’s a sample from a great article on the real life of gold farmers:

For thousands of Chinese workers such as Li, “gold farming” is a way of life. Workers can expect to earn between £80-£120 a month which, given the long hours and night shifts, can amount to as little as 30p an hour. After completing his shift, Li is given a basic meal of rice, meat and vegetables and falls into a bunk bed in a room that eight other gold farmers share. His wages may be low, but food and accommodation are included.

The issue of poverty in China can’t be overlooked when we look at the business of gold farming. Their concern isn’t auction house values or the quality of trade chat. It’s taking care of themselves and their families. And can you blame them?

If put in a position where I could find no other job, where it was do what I had to or starve, I’d probably take the job too. Wouldn’t you?

Right, wrong, or otherwise

I’m not saying I think gold farming should be allowed. I hate it. Or that gold farmers have no impact on the game. They do, and a bad one.

Call Center... look familiar?

What I’m saying is that the farmers you see in game are no different than the debt collectors, or operators, you talk to any time you call an 800 number. They’re people, doing a job, and are no more the company they work for than that customer service rep. might be. It’s a hard distinction to make sometimes. I know, I’ve worked in a call center. But, that hard distinction is often the most important when you consider how you treat your fellow man.

It’s not all that different from home

And it’s the same situation for the people working the front lines of the gold selling business. It’s not up to them. They do what they have to do, like anyone else. Sometimes, we keep jobs we wish we didn’t have to because, well, we do.

Side note: There’s a reason Washington Mutual lost its customer satisfaction ranking.

So what, then?

The impetus for this post is seeing the disgust some players have for them and too often unleash in tells and public chat. At once, I understand that attitude and don’t. We love our games and hate seeing people do damage to them. We know that account hacks often happen because of those same companies. And, to be clear, this post applies to the farmers not the hackers – that’s a whole different level of bad, in my opinion.

But, then, when did we stop trying to understand one another before lashing out? It matters, as much as our primal selves want to express that disdain, to try to remember it’s a person at the other end of the tell, as much as it’s as person on the other end of the phone line.

So, instead of lashing out at them, block them and report them. Report the companies they’re representing. And educate new players to the dangers of interacting with those guys. Educating your fellow player, and the company, will do more than berating them ever can.

And you’ll be a better for it.

No one wants a farmer in their game, least of all me. So, do something about it and then continue having fun in your game.

I think that’s a good option for Easter, right? Alrighty then.

Have a good one, folks!

3 pings

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    […] Chris from Game by Night has a look at gold farming. […]

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