Blizzard Entertainment has had to step in yet again and ban players from its World of Warcraft for cheating. This time around, reports say, a total of 5,400 accounts were banned and more than 10,000 suspended.
The owners of the accounts affected have been accused of using third-party farming software to gain gold and other items.
This is nothing new to this MMORPG and many others. WoW and EverQuest have both faced this kind of cheating for a long, long time. Some players farm items and turn around and try to sell the in-game items for cash in the real world. EQII has tried to address this by creating its own marketplace where players on set servers can sell their goods.
This is a gaming phenomena I just don’t understand. OK, it’s fun to be über. It’s cool to have the best gear in the game. But, half the fun is in earning it or getting it from friends – not buying it with actual, real world currency. Yet, this appears to be a big business in a number of different MMORPGs.
[ADBLOCKHERE]Back when I played EQI, I had multiple players offer to buy my account with a high-level shaman on it. A friend sold his with Time gear equipped for a bundle, even as the game was in its pre-EQII slump. Players who bought accounts or gear were picked on, ridiculed and generally made fun of by those who earned their stuff the old-fashioned way. The “eBay tank” was shunned by groups. Anyone who wasn’t adept at playing their toon was accused of buying it. In short, it really didn’t pay to cheat in the long run. Yet, people did and they continue to do so there and in games like WoW.
So, what’s the draw for players? Maybe it’s a deep need to be the best somewhere. Maybe it’s sheer laziness in not wanting to play the game as it’s meant to be.
I suppose whatever the reason, those who farm will continue to farm as long as those who plunk down real cash continue to do that as well.
Blizzard’s right in being diligent in its efforts to ban players who farm and so are other game companies that run MMORPGs. The act, while it seems harmless, creates some serious problems with in-game economies and can have some nasty impacts on the enjoyment level of all players.