We tell stories to make sense of the world, but inevitably these stories emphasize certain elements while sidelining others. The same is true for the stories we tell about gold farmers. This article describes the typical story we tell as well as re-readings and alternatives to that story.
Most of you have probably heard of the Daedalus Project, which has been looking at issues of MMORPG culture and psychology for several years now. They recently published an interesting new essay on gold farming.
It looks into the problems with gold farming, player sentiments on the practice, and the commonly held notion that “gold farmers are from China”. The article finishes with a rather interesting proposal for dampening the gold market:
If we are indeed serious about dampening the gold market, the best solution isn’t tormenting the suppliers, it is in curbing the demand itself. Currently, there are no social disincentives to avoid buying gold because that behavior is entirely hidden. Developers can reveal that behavior and create accountability by showing what is already tracked by the server. Why insist on tormenting foreign workers when Western players are equally culpable?
Enpower the people to enforce their own communities? Would it be effective? Twyla has started up a discussion in the NoGold.org forums about this proposal, and I invite you to join the discussion! 🙂