Online games that include player-driven economies often face the challenge of unauthorized secondary markets involving the exchange of real-life goods, currency or services for in-game goods, currency or services. While a wide variety of transactions are possible through unauthorized secondary markets, for simplicity this article will simply refer to the matter as ‘buying gold from gold farmers.’
We understand that the players in our communities enjoy our games in many different ways, and some find the freedom of a player-driven economy very challenging. Some may not consider the negative facets of using their real-world assets to ‘get ahead’ in a game. However, we wish to caution you against such activities as there are very real consequences for such choices.
Buying gold contributes to security threats - Account compromise is one method used by gold farmers to acquire the currency they need to meet the demand of secondary markets. Phishing scams seek to acquire the account credentials of legitimate users so the scammer can liquidate the account’s assets and use it for advertising spam. While some game companies may at times offer assistance with repairing the damage done, this is not a fun process for anyone. Scammers can be very convincing and as with many unfortunate incidents in life, there are those who think such things only happen to nameless, faceless people in faraway places until it happens to them or someone they know.
Buying gold contributes to inflating game economies - Each online world is a carefully balanced system of gold ‘sinks’ (removing wealth from the economy in exchange for goods and services) and ‘faucets’ (content that generates wealth in the form of goods and currency). This is to ensure a smooth progression of the community’s overall wealth and power in exchange for the volume of content consumed by that community. Accounts that ‘faucet’ wealth into an economy without their share of ‘sinks’ (since they don’t play for enjoyment) throw off this balance, devaluing the legitimate wealth of the community and creating a wealth race where legitimate users may feel that content which should be within reach through normal play is unattainable without excessive effort.
Buying gold contributes to undesirable social elements - Our online worlds are places for players to build communities and enjoy a pleasant gaming experience. As long as the gold farmers know that one in one hundred players will buy their gold, the gold farmers will spam everyone to find the needle in the haystack. Spammed gold advertising is a blight on the community, detracting from the immersion and fun of everyone’s online experiences. The legions of characters grinding throughout our online worlds for no other reason than to meet the demand of gold buyers also damage player immersion and can interfere with the availability of game content for legitimate adventurers.
For these and many other reasons, we cannot condone participation in unauthorized secondary markets. Accounts found participating in such transactions will receive sanctions up to and including account closure.