China Bans Gold Farming

As pointed out on the JMTC forums:

http://20kleveling.com/JMTCforum/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=515

China is apparently banning the sale of virtual goods within their county (both imports and exports) as of June 29th, 2009. Here's a link to the article from Information Week:

http://www.informationweek.com/news/internet/ebusiness/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=218101859

EDIT: Check this article as well - http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/reports-of-chinas-gold-farming-ban-misinterpreted - who do you think is right?

Very interesting stuff. So how will this affect the world of warcraft economy? The way gold farmers make their gold is by farming massive amounts of goods (usually materials for enchants or crafting) and then selling as much as possible for ridiculously low prices (as compared to market norm). The end result from removing the 80-85% of gold farmers of the world who live in china will be rising prices across the board in world of warcraft, particularly in the area of material goods.

If you're thinking to yourself "self, there are no farmers on my server," well then think again. Farming and account leveling groups usually operate together. When you see someone spamming in trade chat about a new powerleveling service you can bet money that there are also high level farmers on that server who will double as account power levelers. They are hard to find on the auction house by name because they try to meet quotas at the end of their shifts; They'll dump everything for super low prices at once, get bought out, and then dissapear until the end of their next shift.

Will this kill gold farmers? Absolutely not. They will adapt and get back into business as usual eventually, but hopefully many of the smaller operations will be shut down. The problem with gold farming is that there are gold buyers, so as long as there is a market then the former will sell to the latter.

I'm going to be watching the prices of easily farmed goods (herbs, ores, skins, etc) closely to see if they slowly increase over the course of the next month or so.

On a side note, the sale of pre-paid game cards are also banned.

12 comments: on "China Bans Gold Farming"

  1. After a quick glance at the article, it seems like the loophole is simple...they won't be selling gold, they will be selling gear...it'll just happen to be very cheap gear (a lvl 10 green) for about 100 dollars and they'll throw in 5000 gold for being a nice person.

    I can't understand why China would want to limit any kind of economic growth in their country? The ethics of gold selling/buying is debatable; nobody is hurt in the act, so making a law against it seems ... unwise.

  2. do you mean the sale of pre-paid game cards in stores or in game?

  3. I've seen other reports that have since debunked this story (http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/reports-of-chinas-gold-farming-ban-misinterpreted) - and the logic behind it does make sense.

  4. Even if the article is correct, I think it misrepresents the goal of the ruling, and it's likely effect on goldfarmers: none. I don't think the Chinese government is dumb enough to cut out a billion dollar industry from its economy.

  5. While they don't disappear, their work will become harder, therefore more expensive. As gold prices go up (in RL money), less people can afford them. So there will be less goldfarming activity.

  6. I was under the impression that they weren't farming the gold these days, but hacking characters for it. I haven't run across any farmers out in the world since BC came out...

  7. @Gentlebank: It's been suggested that some significant percentage of gold-farming operations are basically sweat shops, often employing kids. Not sure how true this is, but if you're a person that's concerned about whether your clothing, etc. comes from sweat shops, then you might want to look into it. I'm not sure "nobody is hurt" in gold farming.

  8. This _is_ really interesting.

    In addition to decreasing mats supplies, might this also decrease the amount of gold in a server's economy? That in turn would drop demand at the same time. Prices up or down? We'll have to see!

  9. As pointed out in the Wow.com comments today, China is more concerned about virtual currency being used to buy RL goods, and thus superseding the Chinese currency (which is very, very bad).

    As Marcko pointed out, this won't affect things at all as businesses will adapt if required to get around any new legislation.

  10. @ Anonymous

    I have recently reported a bot harvesting the Library Watchers in Storm Peaks, for what I can only assume is Relics of Uldar.

  11. As noted on various other sites, the ban does not have any jurisdiction over over-seas transactions.

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