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Ok, so I'm a little late to the party on this one, but there is a really nice piece on Chinese gold farmers over on Game Guides Online. It's nicely nuanced about the nature of the farming, and the author has actually taken the trouble of talking with the farmers.
Interesting and worth your time.
Dan Hunter on Oct 17, 2005 in Economics | Permalink
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Very nice article. Besides playing EQ2 mostly still, I am now puttering around in WoW (had to!) and not yet to the endgame content, so haven't run into these behaviors there as yet. He's gotten me started camping the IF trade channel to see if I can spot the shift chages though.
I've noticed a recent influx of randomly named crafters on my EQ2 server too. They are noncommunicative, and working as a team. I figured some sort of botting in play, but wasn't sure if they were a major guild's crew of captive crafters or farmers. I suspect the former. About the only craft that seems to pay consistently is cooking, and we aren't (yet) crowded with random-named non-communicative cooks.
Dan S |
Oct 17, 2005 at 11:57
Does cooking pay? I didn't know that. Is there something that sells well at the auction houses?
Oct 17, 2005 at 12:30
Some number crunching indicates that the quotas cited would yield dollar revenues of $3.87 per hour at current eBay exchange rates. From these hourly revenues, capital and internet access and delivery to end-users must be covered. Then a cut for the boss-man. I'm guessing the worker receives little.
How much is little? suppose you use IGE to unload your quota. IGE takes a big cut; its Buy price is way below its Sell price. Let's assume that this emulates the delivery cost and the cut for the boss-man. Using the IGE Buy rate, the dollar revenues available for these quotas are $1.17 per hour. You'd still have to pay for your own computer, software, and internet access.
Bottom line: gold farmers can make probably $1 an hour, tops. Not good. But not bad for playing a game.
Edward Castronova |
Oct 17, 2005 at 14:09
At $1/hr, you'd be making $172 a month (at 4.3 weeks/mo) in a third world country -- assuming you're only working 8 hours a week.
That's actually pretty serious money in some places! A little overtime (which is probably mandatory) and you'd be living large indeed...
Brian M. |
Oct 17, 2005 at 15:07
Although in the article 'Paul' raises valid points as to how farmers help reduce inflation he completely misses the how they contribute to it. No where does he mention that farmers aren't using the traditional gold sinks of gear upgrades, travel expenses, secondary profession costs and auction house fees. There is no need for a level 60 character (continuing with the WoW references from the article) to have top tier gear to run an instance 20 or more levels below them. Nor would multiple armor sets be necessary when grinding 1 instance and not participating in PvP.
All of the gold generated by a character then makes it into the RMT stream. Although he notes this gold leaves the game, it does so temporarily and is then brought back in and used to purchase items, usually rare or valuable. The prices paid for these rare drops will increase gradually with players that purchase gold having the upper hand.
Perhaps that's Paul's point, it's not farmers that cause ingame inflation, it's the players that purchase in game gold with real world money...
Mark Ball |
Oct 18, 2005 at 12:53
Relative to Ed's comment - I'm guessing that most farmers don't farm gold, they farm items and then sell a sub-set of those items back for in-game gold. From my experience playing several MMOs (as a player, not a farmer) the value of the per hour yield is well above $1/hour.
Relative to Brian's comment about income per person - also realize that a lot of farmers are multi-boxing, so you can count a multiple of that per farmer revenue.
Jon Grande |
Oct 18, 2005 at 13:47
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