Gold Farming in India – Jobs, Companies, Pro’s and Con’s
Gold Farming is a method of playing a massive multiplayer online game (MMOG) to win in-game virtual currency and later selling it for real money. In other words, it is a method of selling virtual assets won in a computer game in exchange for real money. In several developing countries, people are doing a full-time job as Gold Farmers.
This is also the fact that most game operators ban the practice of selling in-game virtual currency in exchange for real cash but gold farming takes advantage of economic inequality. It is true that it takes much time to earn in-game currency. So, rich players who wish to save several hours of play time are paying a handsome amount to gold farmers. Hence, it is a trade in which individuals play online games to earn virtual currency and several other goods, then sell them for real money. These virtual coins are further required to buy things like armor and weapons that help to move up in the game.
History of Gold Farming
Gold Farming came into existence only because of MMOGs. MMOGs are games where millions of people interact simultaneously over internet. In 1980s, multi-user dungeons (MUDs – text based games) (somewhat like MMOGs) were set in fantasy world featured with virtual objects like currency, weapons and armor.
Technology advanced and we got our MMOGs (graphic based games) by 1990s. Some of the MMOGs are “Ultima Online”, “EverQuest”, “Lineage” etc. Here, players navigate characters through virtual worlds and perform tasks.
Gold Farming came in the practice at the time of MUDs itself, though not on the scale it’s reached today. In 1999, players started using online trading platform eBay to sell virtual goods where winning bidders meet the seller in the game itself and items too were traded in the virtual world. Later, opportunists realized a good source of income and set up businesses to create and sell video game wealth. By 2009, transactions of billion dollars were recorded.
Gold Farming Jobs
Thousands of people in China are gathered around long tables and each sitting at a computer. Friends, they all are playing computer games. It is the same game in which most us around the world are engaged in. But, the difference is, we are parked in front of our computer only for fun and those Chinese players are parked in front of their computer for real money. It is because they are getting payments based on the number of coins they win. They are working hard to play a video game just to sell coins to impatient players.
Several businesses are created which employ multiple gold farmers known as Gaming Workshops. These operations are found in Mexico, Romania, Russia, Indonesia and most parts in China. By 2007, around 500,000 gold farmers were employed through these 2000 gaming workshops.
Like other businesses, gold farmers too need advertising. Gold Farmers have to let players know about their services. They flash advertisements on fan sites or take help of search engines. Sometimes these farmers even create characters that will go around other players through in-game chat feature. Willing buyers later contact these gold farmers and pay real money to get in return the virtual currency or goods they need. Earlier, eBay like sites were used for all this but in 2007, e-commerce Company banned this practice. Now, many gold farmers have websites where buyers can pay through PayPal. Later, for delivery, either buyer can meet gold farmer in game and exchange virtual items or it can be made using an in-game mail function.
Gold Farming Companies
Various Chinese firms employ gold farmers who are put to work on games like World of Warcraft and Diablo. Romania too is rising in the gold farming industry. They sell their stocks through sites like USFINE and Sythe. All this doesn’t disrupt gameplay for other users who are not involved in gold farming.
Several companies are there who unleash numerous bots into games to undertake menial tasks like wood cutting or rock mining. These all generate virtual gold. These bots every year earn estimated 500 million dollars. But for regular gamers, these bots ruin the games for others. According to a gold farmer of MMOG RuneScape, he earns 10,000 dollars in a month. But due to the risk of being banned, every gold farmer tries to sell as much gold as possible that too very quickly as, several accounts were banned by Jagex (the Runescape developer), which were not too good for gold farmers.
Many gold farmers recommend not to sell gold to gamers. One should sell gold to major gold selling websites which are operated by countries like China. USFine is one of them. There are several mediators too who take the gold from gold farmers and then distribute the gold among all the gold sites depending on their needs. These mediators make it easy for gold farmers as they have to put almost no effort for selling gold.
Gold Farming companies in China are basically involved in moving gold around between seller and marketing to average players on sites like Gold4fun and the mass botting of gold.
Gold Farming Games
Various Gold Farming online Games are available these days. Some of them are : Knights of Pen and Paper, EverQuest-House of Thule, EverQuest-Underfoot, The Chronicles of Spellborn, EverQuest II-The Shadow Odyssey, EverQuest-Seeds of Destruction, Rohan Online-Blood Feud, Age of Conan-Hyborian Adventures, Final Fantasy XI Online-Wings of the Goddess, EverQuest-Secrets of Faydwer, The Lord of the Rings Online-Shadows of Angmar, EverQuest-The Buried Sea, World of Warcraft-The Burning Crusade, Rappelz, EverQuest-The Serpent’s Spine, Angels Online, Final Fantasy XI Online-Treasures of Aht Urhgan, EverQuest-Prophecy of Ro, World of Warcraft and many more. Few of them are discussed in detail:-
Knights of Pen and Paper is an Android and iOs game where you take control of five players and embark on an adventure via your dungeon master who is guiding you throughout.
EverQuest-House of Thule is a story of land of Norrath where many important figures have fallen into dreams/comas. Healers are not capable of waking them so something is very wrong going in the world of dreams.
Rohan Online-Blood Feud is a rich and expansive persistent online game set of the continent of Rohan. Abundance of unique game features have been implemented to keep players on the edge of their seats.
The Lord of the Rings Online-Shadows of Angmar is developed by Turbine. In this, the players start at the same time Frodo and his company starts from The Shire. As the players proceed they will be reminded of the Fellowship’s whereabouts and will sometimes meet them.
World of Warcraft-The Burning Crusade is the expansion of Blizzard’s.
Gold Farming, its Pro’s and Con’s
There are several players who have a negative view of this practice because of its effect in the game. Even human rights activists are against because of labor practice in gaming workshops. Still, some are there to defend this too.
Players dislike it because of the way it changes the gaming experience. According to them, it even creates several characters who are not playing the game. For them, the game farmers instead of interacting with others to complete and achieve a higher level, they move through the game world to collect currency/goods or advertise their services. Some bots are created who are not even controlled by real humans, they are virtual players programmed by gold farmers to do work for them. Gold Farmers are also creating inflation in the virtual economy. Gold Farmers focus mainly on killing monsters and winning gold, thus the value of the virtual currency goes down goods become expensive to purchase.
Working conditions provided to gold farmers are also not too appreciable. Workers at several workshops live in on-site dormitories and are forced to work 12 hours a day and seven days a week.
On the other hand, defenders defend gold farming by saying that because earning gold usually is a very slow process. MMOGs reward people having a lot of time on their hands and punish who are slow in winning. Gold Farming helps to level the playing field. Also, more than 3 billion dollars are generated by gold farmers in 2009, and most of the money remained in the countries that hosted the service.
Rules for Gold Farming
Now you must be wondering is the gold farming legal or not? I should mention here that it probably won’t land you in jail but certainly, it should not be practiced as it violates many MMOGs terms and conditions which you definitely agree while entering the game. So, somewhat it is illegal. This is also true that players in violation of the rule are actually hard to detect and if caught, only worst can happen is their account is suspended. Well, in that case, they can create a new account.
The country like South Korea has passed legislation that was amended to ban the exchange of virtual goods for real money if those goods were obtained by the use of automated bots. Even China placed limits on this practice but in reality, gold farming is very successful.
US Internal Revenue Service states that if you bring in more money from the virtual world than you spend, that money will be considered for taxation.
Practicing Gold Farming in India
The question arises, why Gold Farming is not big in India? In East Asian countries like India, the number of Internet users remains low as compared to many other countries. No doubt, it has soared 54% over the years to 38 million, and will certainly jump to 100 million in the next two years. The number of cyber cafes too jumped from 18,000 in 2001 to one lakh in 2018. On the other hand, China already has 100 million internet users.
We all are aware that Indians speak passable English, so Indian get more pay than they could win through games.
Conclusion – According to a gold farmer, he realized that he from being someone who had never really wanted money and was a good kid to someone who had been fully corrupted by this hoarding of gold and selling it. He never felt proud of the money he earned from gold farming. He says it is a nasty place full of nasty and greedy people.