How to Deal with the Epidemic that is Gold Farmers

I wasn't sure whether to put this here or the designs portion so..... if it's in the wrong place too bad.

Let me specify that when I refer to "Gold Farmers" I mean those groups or individuals who would sell in game gold for actual money. 

There have been many examples in the past of Gold Farmers ruining an otherwise awesome game, especially one where there is no legal cash to IGC conversion. I may have come up with a way to dispose of them properly while still utilizing the games lore and mechanics, specifically the bounty system and loot loss of death. 

Through a combination of player reports (to a support inbox, not an automated system) and GM active participation, I think the Gold Farmers would actually be pretty easy to identify. What I am suggesting is that there was a specialty "tag" of sorts created that the GM's could issue to these accounts. Similar to the corruption and bounty systems, this tag would cause the character to drop all gold and items upon death.

This would allow (and give incentive) to the players to police themselves. This would also keep all that gold from leaving the server economy (due to the typical GM ban). 

While I am fully aware that this kind of system would be very touchy and would need to be executed properly and monitored excessively to keep it from being abused but I do feel that the implementation of a system of this kind would be a creative and much more effective way to deal with Gold Farmers.

Please, what do you think? 
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Comments

  • FluffinaterFluffinater Member
    I wasn't sure whether to put this here or the designs portion so..... if it's in the wrong place too bad.

    Let me specify that when I refer to "Gold Farmers" I mean those groups or individuals who would sell in game gold for actual money. 

    There have been many examples in the past of Gold Farmers ruining an otherwise awesome game, especially one where there is no legal cash to IGC conversion. I may have come up with a way to dispose of them properly while still utilizing the games lore and mechanics, specifically the bounty system and loot loss of death. 

    Through a combination of player reports (to a support inbox, not an automated system) and GM active participation, I think the Gold Farmers would actually be pretty easy to identify. What I am suggesting is that there was a specialty "tag" of sorts created that the GM's could issue to these accounts. Similar to the corruption and bounty systems, this tag would cause the character to drop all gold and items upon death.

    This would allow (and give incentive) to the players to police themselves. This would also keep all that gold from leaving the server economy (due to the typical GM ban). 

    While I am fully aware that this kind of system would be very touchy and would need to be executed properly and monitored excessively to keep it from being abused, I do feel that the implementation of a system of this kind would be a creative and much more effective way to deal with Gold Farmers.

    Please, what do you think? 
  • UnknownSystemErrorUnknownSystemError Member alpha-stress-tester
    They have put systems in place from day one to address this problem. There have been multiple threads and answers already about the steps they are planning on taking to combat it. From 3rd party monitoring vendors to perma bans for those caught, they have an action plan in place to keep such activity to a minimum. They know they will never be able to squash it fully, but making it unprofitable for the gold sellers is a first step.
  • KierstadKierstad Member, Alpha 0 Participant alpha-0-rank
    If the backend is there, and the tools are there, regular analysis of heatmaps for areas can help identify these types of patterns.  Can potentially use that information to continue to monitor and deal with accounts that stick to the same path over and over again.
  • Rune_RelicRune_Relic Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited April 9
    One of the biggest obstacles for gold sellers is the sub.
    You can ban accounts left right and center...they will simply pop up under a new account.
    If they have to pay 15$ every time they create a new account, and they can only make 5$ before they are caught and banned, then they are 10$ out of pocket each time.
    Its a business at the end of the day with profit and loss.
    Make the losses greater then the profits and they collapse like any business.

    It may even be wise to charge 15$ per alt too. For exactly the same reason.
    Controversial, but how often are people going to create alts considering how long it takes to level them and make them effective ?
    I would wager not very often. So it would hurt the gold sellers far more than the actual players IMO.
    Especially as many players dont thing twice about dropping 15$ on a skin.
  • LysanderLysander Member
    One of the biggest obstacles for gold sellers is the sub.
    You can ban accounts left right and center...they will simply pop up under a new account.
    If they have to pay 15$ every time they create a new account, and they can only make 5$ before they are caught and banned, then they are 10$ out of pocket each time.
    Its a business at the end of the day with profit and loss.
    Make the losses greater then the profits and they collapse like any business.

    It may even be wise to charge 15$ per alt too. For exactly the same reason.
    Controversial, but how often are people going to create alts considering how long it takes to level them and make them effective ?
    I would wager not very often. So it would hurt the gold sellers far more than the actual players IMO.
    Woah there! Talkin about chargin my baby alts is heresy.
    "There is no such thing as genius. To work three, four, five times harder than anyone else. That is genius."
    -Hideyo Noguchi
  • Rune_RelicRune_Relic Member ✭✭✭✭
    Lysander said:
    One of the biggest obstacles for gold sellers is the sub.
    You can ban accounts left right and center...they will simply pop up under a new account.
    If they have to pay 15$ every time they create a new account, and they can only make 5$ before they are caught and banned, then they are 10$ out of pocket each time.
    Its a business at the end of the day with profit and loss.
    Make the losses greater then the profits and they collapse like any business.

    It may even be wise to charge 15$ per alt too. For exactly the same reason.
    Controversial, but how often are people going to create alts considering how long it takes to level them and make them effective ?
    I would wager not very often. So it would hurt the gold sellers far more than the actual players IMO.
    Woah there! Talkin about chargin my baby alts is heresy.
    I know right. I am a bad man.
    Shall I look for the stocks or will you point me in the right direction ?
    :tongue:
  • LysanderLysander Member
    Lysander said:
    One of the biggest obstacles for gold sellers is the sub.
    You can ban accounts left right and center...they will simply pop up under a new account.
    If they have to pay 15$ every time they create a new account, and they can only make 5$ before they are caught and banned, then they are 10$ out of pocket each time.
    Its a business at the end of the day with profit and loss.
    Make the losses greater then the profits and they collapse like any business.

    It may even be wise to charge 15$ per alt too. For exactly the same reason.
    Controversial, but how often are people going to create alts considering how long it takes to level them and make them effective ?
    I would wager not very often. So it would hurt the gold sellers far more than the actual players IMO.
    Woah there! Talkin about chargin my baby alts is heresy.
    I know right. I am a bad man.
    Shall I look for the stocks or will you point me in the right direction ?
    :tongue:
    Of course just head down over there with everyone else someone will be with you shortly.
     Image result for walking to a cliff gif
    "There is no such thing as genius. To work three, four, five times harder than anyone else. That is genius."
    -Hideyo Noguchi
  • GrisuGrisu Member alpha-0-rank
    It's kind of a funny idea to integrate it like that, but I for one would say the simpler and faster the better. Strange trading behavior, online activity (aka 24/7 somehow grinding), additionally report function for the goldspammers and simply investigate verify ban.
    Having them be able to run around with the money longer just has no benefit and them dropping it and creating an inflation is has no benefit either. That gold should mostly not have existed in the first place. Plain and simple remove it.
    Also if it's verified all trades should be made invalid if people land in negative funds trough that well sucks to be them, or just ban them too, they are part of the problem after all

    "I can be your strangest life fulfilling wish." - Grisu
    'I can be your darkest life devouring nightmare.' - aka. Zekece#1819
    Let's build a Nation together.
  • NoaaniNoaani Member alpha-0-rank
    edited April 10
    One of the biggest obstacles for gold sellers is the sub.

    While this is true, it kind of depends on the business model.

    I remember reading years ago on eq2flames (a forum that is as it sounds) about someone that was considered a regular, top end player for years. Turns out, he had been making ridiculous coin in game and selling it to make a living, and was active on every server in the game. It wasn't what most people think of when they think of gold farming, he did it all via crafting.

    Anyways, I did a bit of looking around, and it seems that very few actual gold sellers farm the coin themselves. Most of them buy coin from a few otherwise regular players, and simply on-sell it for a profit.

    Based on this, the best way to hit a gold seller, is to strip their inventory. I mean, a gold seller isn't going to be upset if you ban the account he sold the coin on - he can get another for $15. However, if you banned the account he was holding $10,000 worth of stock, he would likely be somewhat upset.

    Spam filters are a great way to make it seem to your players that you are doing something about gold sellers - but we all really know that if a player wants to buy gold, they don't need the spam to tell them where to get it.

    The way to get at gold sellers for real is to attack their business and make it unprofitable. The problem is, players don't see this work going on, and developers are usually loathed to talk about it as they don't want their procedures to become general knowledge.
  • RodzorRodzor Member alpha-stress-tester
    I have a feeling the devs know what they are doing, they have a tracking system they mentioned in one of the livestreams that they said will hopefully be able to detect irregularities that point towards suspicious trade activity. Not sure how well this will work, seeing how the system could get triggered if you invited a friend and gave him a ton of loot to get started or something like that
  • KCCOJLKCCOJL Member alpha-stress-tester
    edited April 16
    One way to slow the process and help detect them is to litterally limit the amount of gold you can transfer to another player. The longer you have an account (real time) the more you can send. This causes the gold seller to have to have the account much longer - advertise lower amounts until old enough to advertise larger amounts - thus providing more time for us to spot/report and the devs to identify/ban the account.

    Gold spammers is a communal effort between players (not buying. repoting etc) and the Devs (taking active effort to find and ban) so that the community can create the proper air to gold sellers - "This is not your game, go elsewhere"

    If I had to invest in my account for months to be able to transfer some gold to a guildie - so what. If a gold seller had to run that risk for months without earning any money and a constantly impoved chance to be found and account banned. I think this would deter them - not cost good players more money - and give the Dev's time to make lists to do weekly/monthly bans.

    Just my 2 coppers worth
    Chilly
    Joint Strike Fighters
  • EukataeEukatae Member alpha-stress-tester
    The #1 thing you need to stop it is strong accounting. A gold seller will farm with strong, and expensive (time invested), characters. They will sell with cheap throw away characters. If you have decent accounting you can purchase gold via the sellers web site, take delivery, check transaction history to see who looted it, as well as who was in the group, how often they trade gold and so on. Ban the farmer and the seller. If you can't protect the farmer you have no business because they are worth far too much to lose.
  • SikubaSikuba Member ✭✭✭
    edited April 19

    It may even be wise to charge 15$ per alt too. For exactly the same reason.
    Controversial, but how often are people going to create alts considering how long it takes to level them and make them effective ?

    Clearly, you've never played BDO.    :D
    Just another visit from your friendly neighborhood Shaman ^^
  • CosmicChaosCosmicChaos Member ✭✭

    Most anti gold farmer actions will effect legit players ability to interact in the world. That and lack of endgame pve content is what killed BDO for me. I honestly think good detection, player reports and dev effort are the only real way to combat it. A lot of that means making sure they have a comprehensive way to track player activity in the game. I'm fairly confident giving the teams experience in the genre they're already working through ideas to limit the impact this has in their game.

    Stars don't fall for men.
  • UnknownSystemErrorUnknownSystemError Member alpha-stress-tester
    Image result for those that know know bdo image
  • KebtizKebtiz Member
    I don't know how it is in most games, but in Guild Wars 2 much of the "gold farming" was actually account theft; sub model wouldn't do much to deter that.  Login protections (n-factor, etc) would be the best way to combat the account theft portion of gold sellers.
  • StasisStasis Member
    One of the biggest obstacles for gold sellers is the sub.
    You can ban accounts left right and center...they will simply pop up under a new account.
    If they have to pay 15$ every time they create a new account, and they can only make 5$ before they are caught and banned, then they are 10$ out of pocket each time.
    Its a business at the end of the day with profit and loss.
    Make the losses greater then the profits and they collapse like any business.

    It may even be wise to charge 15$ per alt too. For exactly the same reason.
    Controversial, but how often are people going to create alts considering how long it takes to level them and make them effective ?
    I would wager not very often. So it would hurt the gold sellers far more than the actual players IMO.
    Especially as many players dont thing twice about dropping 15$ on a skin.
    Sounds good in theory, but I’ve played enough subs to know they still do it.  In Lineage 2 we used to go hunt farmers just to piss em off.  WoW was infected with numerous businesses out there selling gold.  Perhaps the subscription did slow them but I still saw my fair share.  Somehow we have to get away from gold/money as a universal currency.  Sure, you can still farm crafting material and sell it for real money but you’ll need somebody who needs just that material- which is a decidedly smaller market than flat gold- which everyone can use.  
  • AreeSoothsayerAreeSoothsayer Member ✭✭
    There's a game I play that I don't see gold sellers on. It's gone on about 5 years now. This game has 2 types of currency.
    Currency 1 is character bound. You can purchase npc stuff, it is used as tax for trades where items each have a trade cost, to beat inflation. Untradable.
    Currency 2 is bought with real money. This is freely tradable between players. You get a rare item you don't need but someone else wants and is willing to pay cash because he/she has to work or school and can only play on weekends. Open wallet, buy Currency 2, pay player with it. 
    Currency 2 can be used in the RL money shop. Cosmetics and various other things that don't impact the game mechanics.

  • KebtizKebtiz Member
    Currency 2 is bought with real money. This is freely tradable between players. You get a rare item you don't need but someone else wants and is willing to pay cash because he/she has to work or school and can only play on weekends. Open wallet, buy Currency 2, pay player with it. 
    Currency 2 can be used in the RL money shop. Cosmetics and various other things that don't impact the game mechanics.
    That is basically a P2W mechanic.  Using Cosmetic money to alter in-game power.  This entire system looks to be designed with P2W in mind, they are preventing people from trading with currency earned through playing and pushing the market to the $$$ side.  Like Guild Wars 2 (which in addition has tons of third party gold sellers), the difference between this and gold farmers is that Intrepid or insert company here is the pimp.  Strongly oppose.
  • NoaaniNoaani Member alpha-0-rank
    There's a game I play that I don't see gold sellers on. It's gone on about 5 years now. This game has 2 types of currency.
    Currency 1 is character bound. You can purchase npc stuff, it is used as tax for trades where items each have a trade cost, to beat inflation. Untradable.
    Currency 2 is bought with real money. This is freely tradable between players. You get a rare item you don't need but someone else wants and is willing to pay cash because he/she has to work or school and can only play on weekends. Open wallet, buy Currency 2, pay player with it. 
    Currency 2 can be used in the RL money shop. Cosmetics and various other things that don't impact the game mechanics.

    What game is this?
  • AreeSoothsayerAreeSoothsayer Member ✭✭
    Noaani said:
    There's a game I play that I don't see gold sellers on. It's gone on about 5 years now. This game has 2 types of currency.
    Currency 1 is character bound. You can purchase npc stuff, it is used as tax for trades where items each have a trade cost, to beat inflation. Untradable.
    Currency 2 is bought with real money. This is freely tradable between players. You get a rare item you don't need but someone else wants and is willing to pay cash because he/she has to work or school and can only play on weekends. Open wallet, buy Currency 2, pay player with it. 
    Currency 2 can be used in the RL money shop. Cosmetics and various other things that don't impact the game mechanics.

    What game is this?
    Warframe.
  • KebtizKebtiz Member
    edited April 28
    Warframe's economy is driven almost entirely by premium members.

    Also, it took me all of 1 search and click on first link to find 3rd party Warframe platinum vendors.
  • WayfaringWayfaring Member

    I agree with a lot of folks that it really depends on accounting and reporting. Allow players to report users for spam sales messages in chat or mail. Implement a spam filter to a channel that players can remove from their main chat window. Ban accounts proven to have participated in gold sales or purchases.

    One benefit of Ashes: Players who witness the activity themselves can just outright kill the culprits. I’d accept some corruption if it meant I got to stab a gold seller in the face. We can report them to their neighbors or their mayor. If a whole node was engaged in the activity, your community could declare war against them.

  • FarceofNatureFarceofNature Member alpha-stress-tester
    Things that other games have done to prevent gold selling and buying:
    2 factor authentication
    Locking an account when it logs in from a different region until authorized via E-Mail.
    Monitoring player mail for large amounts of gold sent
    Banning all Chinese IPs
    Chat and bot reporting or detection systems.
  • FerrymanFerryman Member ✭✭✭
    Monitoring in game money transaction especially in cases where only other side gets money and another one nothing (or nothing valueable enough) for return. Also making reporting gold seller easy thing to do. Ashes starting point is good, because game is b2p + subscription without any p2w elements. That will help a lot.

    Gold sellers are serious problem also because they can have influence to in game economy and they can ruin players gaming experience that way. They can play with marketplace and with freeholds for example. In Albion Online gold sellers managed to over bid city plots from players and even from guilds, which led to mass quits by players/guilds whose game was basically ruined and real money also lost. I am sure they got money back, but good situation was never returned.
    Need a ride to the underworld?
  • FluffinaterFluffinater Member
    Ferryman said:
    Monitoring in game money transaction especially in cases where only other side gets money and another one nothing (or nothing valueable enough) for return. Also making reporting gold seller easy thing to do. Ashes starting point is good, because game is b2p + subscription without any p2w elements. That will help a lot.

    Gold sellers are serious problem also because they can have influence to in game economy and they can ruin players gaming experience that way. They can play with marketplace and with freeholds for example. In Albion Online gold sellers managed to over bid city plots from players and even from guilds, which led to mass quits by players/guilds whose game was basically ruined and real money also lost. I am sure they got money back, but good situation was never returned.
    I just wanna point out that ashes isn't b2p + subscription. Ashes has no box price.

    Also not to divert the topic but I was in one of those big Albion guilds and no we didn't get any money back. 
  • FerrymanFerryman Member ✭✭✭
    Fluffinater said:hh
    Ferryman said:
    Monitoring in game money transaction especially in cases where only other side gets money and another one nothing (or nothing valueable enough) for return. Also making reporting gold seller easy thing to do. Ashes starting point is good, because game is b2p + subscription without any p2w elements. That will help a lot.

    Gold sellers are serious problem also because they can have influence to in game economy and they can ruin players gaming experience that way. They can play with marketplace and with freeholds for example. In Albion Online gold sellers managed to over bid city plots from players and even from guilds, which led to mass quits by players/guilds whose game was basically ruined and real money also lost. I am sure they got money back, but good situation was never returned.
    I just wanna point out that ashes isn't b2p + subscription. Ashes has no box price.

    Also not to divert the topic but I was in one of those big Albion guilds and no we didn't get any money back. 
    Oh its just subs.. i wonder from where i got that b2p. Anyway that is good for players point of view, but gives gold sellers easier access.

    Oh the real money was lost too, omg it was then badly handled by SBI. I thought devs at least tried to compansate that somehow. But anyway my point was, thats one of the worst scenarios what can happen if there is not good enough systems prevent gold selling and exploiting. 
    Need a ride to the underworld?
  • KebtizKebtiz Member
    edited April 30
    To monitor all trades you would basically need a database logging every market transaction to assign rough pricing to each item to be able to automatically determine when something greatly disproportionate was traded. Though, I think having a system to do that in place would be vital to any company who took in game economy seriously in the first place.
  • Rune_RelicRune_Relic Member ✭✭✭✭
    Kebtiz said:
    To monitor all trades you would basically need a database logging every market transaction to assign rough pricing to each item to be able to automatically determine when something greatly disproportionate was traded. Though, I think having a system to do that in place would be vital to any company who took in game economy seriously in the first place.
    Trade goes through an escrow system. All trade is monitored.
  • KebtizKebtiz Member
    Yeah, and I would expect something like this, but to be properly monitored, you'd need logs of the values of every transaction to have price ranges for each item that don't raise flags.  But it is even more complicated that that, giving a friend a bunch of loot or gold could trigger the same flags, and would be a waste of time for staff to investigate every instance of friends sharing loot.

    Like if an account is consistently trading expensive items/gold for far outside the normal bounds (a few standard deviations, or some such), they could be flagged for investigation, but this is something that you have to be really careful with, too many false positive bannings/suspensions can get a new game/company a really bad reputation.
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