Gold

It’s all about the Gold.

Only reason we are in the mess is because of the Gold.

Anyone why tells you differently is either selling the gold, have bought gold (And are feeling guilty) or are trying to justify why they are going to buy gold.

Or they are just plain delusional.

Some history:

In the Beginning WOW was a quite place where not much gold selling was going on.

Then the beta was over and gold selling got started.

Yes, from the very first day gold sellers have been rampant.

They’ve all learned their lessons from previous MMORPGS.  Primarily Ever Quest.  IGE was arguably the first company that made its living off of selling virtual goods.

Big ticket items back then were Accounts.  They could sell a leveled, well geared Ever Quest account for THOUSANDS of dollars (One notable account went as high as $10,000)

This quickly fell to the hundreds as people got wind of this and started selling their characters (Not to mention the eventual downfall of EQ Popularity due to many reasons, but most notably bad management.)

Once World of Warcraft was launched IGE lunged at any chance to make more profits on this new world.  They knew the reputation of Blizzard (But they also had operations for all MMORPG’s)

But in the beginning the primary method of obtaining gold for selling to players was by using low wage workers in China and other countries, where “employees” where given an login, quota, and instructions on how to farm the gold.

For example, you would normally see a dozen or so players in Azshara running around killing the blue dragonkin as that was marked as an area that was most profitable.  Interaction with these individuals resulted in either attempts to sell you gold or some very brusk responses.  Even outright fights.  But when confronted directly they would typically just sit and log out.

These characters didn’t care.  They were not players of the game, they were employees of a company which only cared about the accumulation of gold.

Due to player outrage, intervention by Blizzard and other issues these “Chinese Gold Farmers” because less prominent, yet selling gold remained, and apparently because there are still players willing to pay real money for in game currency this industry flourished.

But, without the farmers, where is all the gold coming from?

Well, you hear explanations from some companies that all the gold they sell are from purchasing the gold from players that have excess gold and are willing to sell it to them.

Sounds good eh?  Player X has a lot of gold he doesn’t really need, so Company A is willing to buy his gold to give to Customer Y who has a full time job, overtime, 2 kids and a wife and not much free time.

…Problem with this theory (Based on the sheer number of companies out there claiming on making THOUSANDS of transactions per day) is the math just never works out right.

There are a lot more of Player Y then there are of Player X.

Then we started seeing hacking.

It started off as just a light rumor.  One or two people would say they were hacked and lost their accounts.  Typically they would get their accounts back, and everything was intact.  These would be explainable cases of someone wanting to play the game for nothing and not wanting to spend any time leveling, so they’d hijack an account to play it.  Typically this was done by an acquaintance of the hacked account, or an acquaintance of an acquaintance.

But more and more reports started coming in.  Then we’d hear about people getting hacked and when they’d get their account back it was completely stripped of everything.

Everything stolen, sold off and the gold gone.

A few videos of this started showing up as retribution for some slight the hacker felt.

But more and more reports started showing up.

People started connecting the dots.

Gold selling, lack of “Chinese Gold Farmers”, hacked accounts where all items are sold as gold and gold gone.

Then more reports.

Then reports and confirmations of key loggers in the wild specifically targeting WOW Login activiy and sending the information to IP’s that are registered to Chinese or Russian locations.

Then absolute confirmation as these hackers getting bold enough to hack the accounts, login and sell the items, then stay on the characters and advertise for the gold they are selling.

These activities pretty much confirmed for everyone that we were all under attack.

The gold selling companies were utilizing methods to phish and hack our accounts to get the gold they need to sell to players that are either new and ignorant to these facts, or just don’t care and just want their gold NOW and are willing to jeapordize all of us so they can get thier epic flying faster.

Don’t believe me?  Think I’m being self righteous?

Well, here’s the Wiki article on Gold selling:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gold_selling

And here is what Blizzard has to say about it:

http://us.battle.net/security/types.html#gold

You can also visit the Customer Service forums on the WOW Website:
http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/board.html?forumId=11112&sid=1

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