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World of Warcraft Gold Buying Reviewed

Aug 17, 2007
There is a culture of players in World of Warcraft that play the game not for fun, but for profit. To the citizens of Azeroth, these players are known as Farmers. Farmers spend their time killing monsters in out of the way places for the items they drop. A farmer hopes to get rare and valuable items for the hours spent mindlessly killing. They then hock all the items gathered to vendors or to other players via the Auction House. A majority of the gold farmers active in World of Warcraft are Chinese, and often speak little to no English. Though they are often the focus of ridicule by American players, and playing video games for money is something that most American kids would dream of, their lives are not easy as it may sound.

In near sweat-shop conditions, the accounts are manned in twelve to fourteen hour shifts, without holidays or vacations. It is rare for a gold farming account to spend much time offline, as each account has two or three players assigned to it in these shifts. In tightly packed rooms, between ten to thirty computers can be running the game simultaneously. Each account has a quota, most commonly twenty gold an hour. The average price for an American player to purchase gold is $70 for one thousand gold. Using these figures, each hour of game play earns approximately $3.50. A pittance is paid to the farmer, between 45 to 55 cents an hour is the normal wage. With World of Warcraft's subscription cost of $15 a month, the first 5 hours of the farmers first shift pays for that, everything else is profit for the company.

The American players who are up in arms at the gold farming epidemic are not lobbying for more fair work conditions, or attempting to help farmers unionize. The plight of the Chinese gold farmer isn't even a consideration. They are worried that it has an adverse effect on the game's economy. A farmer grinding for gold initiates a perpetual cycle. They sell the items to players for gold to give to their company, who in turn sells their gold back to the players. People buy the gold from the farming services so they can afford the things they want for their character. The purists in World of Warcraft believe that it should be hard work on the player's behalf that earns them the best gear, not real world currency.

Blizzard takes the side of these purists, but they do not necessarily hold the same moral convictions. All items, gold, characters, likenesses... everything in World of Warcraft is intellectual property of Blizzard Entertainment. The players pay their subscription fees each month to "rent" their character. Selling items or gold is strictly forbidden by the Terms of Service Blizzard has written. According to blizzard the only thing a player owns is their log on ID and their password, even sharing that is a terminable offense. A player or account proved to be engaged in the sale of items or gold and the account selling and buying can be suspended. With the long days spent farming, and the vigilant-in-text regulations set in World of Warcraft, Blizzard has still done little to stop the farmers or the buyers.
About the Author
Hunter Crowell is a researcher, avid online gamer, and creator of Cheap WOW Gold Price List. At site to help World of Warcraft players find the cheapest place to buy their WOW gold.
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