But Who's Doing All That World Of Warcraft Gold Farming While WoW Is Down In China?

from the hit-on-the-economy dept

A few years back, we wrote about the rise of virtual sweatshops in China that involved "gold farming" in online worlds. The idea was that these shops would get people to do repetitive tasks in online games to create virtual wealth that could be sold in the real world for cash. Last month, there were some stories claiming that China was looking to crack down on gold farmers, but later analysis suggested it had less to do with gold farming and more to do with alternate currencies found online. Still, it's worth noting the reports claiming that World Of Warcraft has been down in China for a while, and no one's entirely sure why. The rumor is that the Chinese gov't believes that an agreement between Blizzard and another company is illegal, and during the investigation it has forced the site offline. Still, it does make you wonder what all those WoW gold farmers are going to be doing. Judging by how often they try to spam our comments, from Chinese IP addresses, they can't be handling the downtime all that well. Update: Cool. Folks in the comments come through again, pointing out that the gold farmers are connecting via US servers so this doesn't much matter. So now you know... Of course, if that's the case, then who cares whether or not the Chinese servers have gone down?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 4:25am

    what they also do is online surveys and clickthough sites, then they sell the amazon vouchers they earn through ebay.

     

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  2.  
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    Dion @ WoW Blog, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 4:27am

    The same people as before...

    Here's my commentary on this, WoW being down in China makes *zero* difference to the gold farmers!

    Whose doing all the farming now WoW servers are down in china?

     

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  3.  
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    Sheinen, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 4:46am

    Well they're less likely to lose an arm handling a joypad - I'd have done that job for some pocket-money as a kid! It may be monotonous, but you're effectively getting paid to play games. Plus it's a good way to boost the economy through virtual means - I don't see any problems!

     

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  4.  
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    Liam, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 5:09am

    Re: The same people as before...

    you article makes no sense.

    First you say it makes sense for the Chinese to gold farm as they would be better paid then if they went for an “average wage job”.

    Then you say “they aren’t farming in China anyway”.

    Remember, this is the internet, borders don’t make a difference who you sell to, I can “farm” in china, then sell to some Americans over the web.

    Perhaps you misunderstood how eCommerce works.

     

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  5.  
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    Chunky Vomit, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 5:34am

    Re: Re: The same people as before...

    Speaking of Chinese Spam....

     

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  6.  
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    Chris, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 5:43am

    And you people talk about the decline of journalism?

    This article is a perfect example of the FAILURE being touted by the "professional" journalists. If the author did even the smallest amount of research, they could have found facts to write about instead of the total lie: "Still, it's worth noting the reports claiming that World Of Warcraft has been down in China for a while, and no one's entirely sure why." The reasons behind this were public knowledge months ago, BEFORE WoW was taken down in China. I will leave it to those of intelligence with the interest in the topic to find the info themselves. Surely the average person can find all the info that this author was to lazy to look up. If your going to be lazy, fine.. just don't spread lies to cover your laziness.

     

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  7.  
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    Digital Protector (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 5:47am

    The only question is, regardless of whether or not this has any real effect on the transfer of gold, are Chinese politicians going to start complaining about losing Chinese jobs to South Korea?

     

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  8.  
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    ChasW, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 5:53am

    Re: Re: The same people as before...

    The key here is that the Chinese Servers are down, which are realms specifically set for Chinese people to play on. If you play on a Chinese realm, you can only sell things you get on those realms to people on Chinese realms.

    The gold farmers are playing on US realms with US WoW accounts.

    In fact, most hardcore Chinese WoW player are probably playing on Taiwan servers while the Chinese servers are down.

    eCommerce is a fickle thing.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 6:07am

    Re: And you people talk about the decline of journalism?

    Congratulations... You've attacked "professional journalism" on a BLOG site. Don't let the door hit you on the way out. I'm sure the BLOGGER is deeply hurt along with his editing team and print press people.

     

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  10.  
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    Ryan, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 6:22am

    no impact

    Right, the farmers are farming on the US servers.

    Most "gold sellers" though don't actually farm. They steal accounts through trojans and keyloggers and "we'll level your guy for you" type scams, and then sell off the gold on the accounts they've stolen.

     

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  11.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 6:32am

    Re: no impact

    "Most "gold sellers" though don't actually farm. They steal accounts through trojans and keyloggers and "we'll level your guy for you" type scams, and then sell off the gold on the accounts they've stolen."

    Sweet Christ, I swear I've gotten to the point where I just plain hate people. All people, everywhere.

    I'm going to write in an exception for my girlfriend, my dog, and my Mom. Everyone else is out.

     

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  12.  
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    brent (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 6:45am

    ok couple things are wrong in this article.

    1. China has it's own WoW servers and the company that was hosting them lost the deal with blizzard so everything is being transferred to another company so that it can host it. That is why wow is down in china.

    2. Chinese farmers who sell gold to players in the US play on US servers and those WoW servers are not down. And I think, i do think that the internet connects the US and china and they are still capable of playing on our US servers with their US clients

    Come on Mike, i expect much better from you!

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Chris, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 6:52am

    Re: Re: And you people talk about the decline of journalism?

    Try READING... I said that this article was a poster child example of what professional journalists are claiming is wrong with blogs. The lack of facts presented here reinforces the journalists point that only they should be reporters. I never said I agreed with that assessment - and by the simple observation that I had taken issue with the lack of facts in this article shows that I don't agree with the "professionals" - I just don't want crap like this to be used as their excuse an more. General blogs don't really matter 0- but a site such as this, that continues to hammer "professional journalists" and their faulty business models, should hold them selves to some sort of standards..

    Listen...... Listen..... Listen.....


    POP!


    There, that was the sound of your head finally coming out of your butt.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Luci, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 7:08am

    Re: Re: Re: And you people talk about the decline of journalism?

    Wow. Talk about a total failure. This is an opinion blog, not a news blog. There is your failure. No one ever said this place was about news. Even Mike doesn't claim this to be a news site. Hence, your complaints fall upon deaf ears, and you make yourself look the fool.

    Congratulations, you've just earned the title 'Internet Troll.' How's that working for you?

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 7:16am

    Re: Re: Re: And you people talk about the decline of journalism?

    I'm sorry but your original post was dripping with littered with VENOM so I thought you were trolling and responded in kind. Now you make YET another post which is just SATURATED in venom. Now for your argument.

    A says B should do something that is both implied and touted as already doing.
    A makes no claims he does this.
    A claims to make mistakes.
    A has no obligations implied or otherwise given his profession to do what he said B should do.

    THEY YOU SAY GOOD SIR
    A should be expected to do the same as he expects of B.

    So when I say Ford should make a better car YOU sir will claim that I should STFU and go make a better car? Otherwise I have no obligation to speak about these matters of car manufacturing?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Derrick Hinkle, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 7:35am

    So that comment about a lot of Chinese spam in the comments....When did you turn psychic Mike?

     

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  17.  
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    Murdock (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 7:50am

    Not up to your usual standards

    I read pretty much everything off the Techdirt RSS feed every day. I've got to say I'm a little disappointed with this one. As already mentioned the reason for WoW being offline is due to the company that contracted with Blizzard failing to perform as they wanted, therefor everything is being shifted over to a new company.

    Also as mentioned a lot of the Chinese players re-rolled on Taiwanese servers and carried a long, in fact one guild even got a world first after their transfer.

    And finally, the gold farming/selling occurs on US/EU servers, at least that's the largest market. The realms are all independent so you can't easily transfer gold/items from one realm to another and never from one region to another.

    Here's a nice summation over on WoW.com
    http://www.wow.com/2009/05/27/the9-sues-blizzard/

     

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  18.  
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    Hulser (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 8:43am

    Re: And you people talk about the decline of journalism?

    The reasons behind this were public knowledge months ago, BEFORE WoW was taken down in China. I will leave it to those of intelligence with the interest in the topic to find the info themselves.

    You do realize that when most people read this kind of unsubstantiated accusation, they either just flat out ignore it or at least question its authenticity. By making such a big deal about how Techdirt didn't take into account some key information and then not actually telling us what that key information is, the natural conclusion is that the key information doesn't really exist. If you're actually trying to convince someone of your point, you'd be better served by making that point rather than throwing out a shadowy accusation and putting the burden of researching your point on the reader.

     

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  19.  
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    JackSombra (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 8:51am

    Re: Re: Re: And you people talk about the decline of journalism?

    "said that this article was a poster child example of what professional journalists are claiming is wrong with blogs."
    Honestly, see just as many "professional journalist" articles that are just as shoddy as this one.

    But one key difference, TechDirt don't claim to be "professional journalists"

    @Mike, Though got to agree with the others, rather shoddy work on this article, as others have noted the reasons for the shutdown are well known and two seconds of thought combined with a few minutes of reseach could have answered your headline question.

    The chinese farmers are doing what they always do, farming non Chinese servers to sell gold to the rest of the world.

     

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  20.  
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    Hulser (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 8:51am

    Re:

    I don't see any problems!

    You don't see any problem with breaking the terms of service and cheating?

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    azuravian, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 9:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: And you people talk about the decline of journalism?

    The original post was littered with venom, and I generally agree with most of what Mike writes, but the original post was also correct. There have been multiple Techdirt articles (especially recently) that point out that the "professional journalists" are wrong when they claim that bloggers should not be considered "professional journalists". Mike has pointed out time and time again where a Blog did a better job of researching something than a big media news org. However, this article, is severely lacking in research and only serves as fuel for those that claim that blogging is not well researched.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Happynesinabotl, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 10:11am

    Increase hapines and vitality

    Since I didnt see any Chinese spam, I thought I'd insert some of my own ;)

    *********************************************8
    Happines in a bottle. Make your lady person friend be the
    renouned lady in your street. Guarenteed

    Enjot times with a special sekret mix of herbs and vitality will be yours.

    email: XSEFDEWW@DEA.Com.CN

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 10:42am

    Re: Increase hapines and vitality

    Looks like fun:

    **************************

    Deer roundeyes:

    You like tiger penis? We got tiger penis! It makes your memburr strong and pleasuring.

    Each tiger failice handcraphted for your desires. Visit Wang's Tiger Wang Shop today, at www.wangswangs.com.cn

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    lux (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 10:49am

    Vague

    Last month, there were some stories claiming that China was looking to crack down on gold farmers, but later analysis suggested it had less to do with gold farming and more to do with alternate currencies found online. I agree with the above posters who claim this article is sub-par. Can you define 'alternate currencies found online' and substantiate what the relevance is to this story or WoW in general? This article never really makes a point, and doesn't really back anything up.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    lockout, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 10:50am

    forum lock in 3......2........

    forum lock in 3......2........

     

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  26.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 10:54am

    Re: And you people talk about the decline of journalism?

    This article is a perfect example of the FAILURE being touted by the "professional" journalists.

    Actually, no, it's not. We're not professional journalists. Never have claimed to be one. What I write is part of a conversation. Do you fact check before you talk to a friend over lunch? I fully expect people to come in via the comments and fill in the missing information. Notice that the headline of this post was a question. It's because I was expecting an answer from the comments.

    My problem is when a professional journalist claims to be posting objective, fact-checked news... and still gets it wrong. If they were just posting a blog post like this, that would be a different story.

    Either way, I'm sorry you feel this blog post did not live up to your standards. I've updated the post to reflect the info others provided (much more nicely than you did). When you converse with people, do you usually attack them in a similar manner as you did here?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
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    brent (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 10:56am

    Re: Vague

    from what i understood of that cracking down was not on chinese gold farmers selling to the US but chinese selling virtual items within the country itself. WoW items would certainly be included in that but i think and im not certain because i dont partake but 2nd life has its own currency and items and properties and that might be under that cracking down as well.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Ford, Aug 13th, 2010 @ 11:14pm

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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