Report: China Bans Gold Farming

If you are planning on buying gold for your World of Warcraft character, act quickly. The price may be going up soon because of an official crackdown which should affect availability in a negative way.

Information Week reports that on Friday the Chinese government enacted new virtual currency regulations which, among other provisions, make gold farming illegal: 

The ruling is likely to affect many of the more than 300 million Internet users in China, as well as those in other countries involved in virtual currency trading. In the context of online role playing games like World of Warcraft, virtual currency trading is often called gold farming…

The trading of virtual currency for real cash employs hundreds of thousands of people worldwide and generates between $200 million and $1 billion annually, according to a 2008 survey conducted by Richard Heeks at the University of Manchester.

He estimates that between 80% and 85% of gold farmers are based in China.

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  1. Weatherlight says:

    Not in the least bit. I do not belive in paying monthly subscription costs or buying virtual iteams, but I dont like people complaining about others doing it either. It happends so get over it.


  2. Weatherlight says:

    Well fact of the matter is, I don’t play WoW and it was a extremely sarcastic remark.


  3. Yammo says:

    What is the problem?

    Unemployed players, have time… but no money…
    Employed player, have money… but no time….

    Both win!

    Don’t complain about the Chineese stealing your work…
    They’ve probably made most of the parts of the harddrive
    where your game is installed, the computer you play on,
    the mouse and keyboard you interface with, the chair you
    sit on, the table your computer rests on, the clothes you
    are wearing, the glass you drink your coca cola from…

    They’re only capitalizing on some people not having the time
    to play 2000 hours to get a potion. I can’t se anything wrong
    with that.

  4. Wormdundee says:


    People who can’t afford to buy WOW gear (or don’t want to) are such fucking losers amirite? 

  5. Overcast says:

    They’ll ban it and gold sales will continue just fine – as we find out most of the gold sellers are from Jersey, lol.

    Just kidding – but I don’t think it will really work too well. Perhaps some of these people have made enough $$ to re-locate.

  6. FlakAttack says:

    "I don’t believe that this will significantly effect the gold trade, so I cant wait start hearing the crying again about how buying Wow gold isn’t fair…"

    Why would you even post something like this? HURF DURF I CANT WAIT TILL THOSE NUBS CRY. I don’t know where you come from, but we expect more maturity than that here.

  7. Ashton says:

    "Also in response to another post again, the only law Chinese Citizen in masse try to go around is of course the law of breeding due to most families wishing to have a son thus throwing or giving away the daughter which has led to many women in China be put in shelters were some are left to die. ABC and a few other outlets did some nice reporting on that."

    Yes, this is an incredibly widespread problem. In the hospitals I’ve worked at in China there are lots of abortions for female fetuses. It’s gotten so bad that the government has outlawed abortions of this manner. Of course, that just means that the people seek illegal abortion methods, which causes a serious vicious cycle.

    From what I understand, the law itself is actually a tax upon people who have more than one child, but in a country where the average citizen’s quality of life is rather low, having such a tax is a colossal blow – though, of course, there are still people who can pay such taxes.

    I think the best description from those links you gave of the situation is as follows:

    "The day after the program was shown, questions were raised in the House of Commons about China’s one-child policy and its dying rooms. Predictably, however, no one has raised the subject of providing massive aid for a collapsed and famine-ridden China in the event of its population rising to, say, 2.4 billion if this generation is allowed to have two children per family.

    "We don’t want to criticize the one-child policy," says Blewett. "But we want to focus on the problems it is causing which can be solved." The documentary features a tour of a privately run, locally funded orphanage where the children are happy, healthy, and loved. "We were very keen to show what can be done with the right attitude," says Blewett. "No child should suffer the kind of neglect we filmed.""

    Unfortunately, there’s no easy solution for this problem.


  8. Weatherlight says:

    Go all the way to the official statement and it doesn’t carry the weight of seriousness that people are giving it. From what I got that they are cracking down on the illegal trade of goods (by use of virtual currency) and the use of virtual currency in gambling. I do not see anything that would make selling wow gold illegal, but rather say that the government gets to take its cut of the wow gold earnings. Also notice that past laws have allowed China to continue trade of materials deemed illegal in China when they were selling it to people living outside of the country.

    I don’t believe that this will significantly effect the gold trade, so I cant wait start hearing the crying again about how buying Wow gold isn’t fair…



  9. FlakAttack says:

    I was caught off guard by this! I knew the Gold Farmers were making good money, even by our standards. This isn’t perfect (like laws against spammers not really serving to do much) but it’s better than nothing and will, at least, discourage other people from entering that market.

  10. Neo_DrKefka says:

    China, is a huge enforcer of the Age of Consent in their country and the actions of their citizens. Seeing as how the Chinese Economy is currently experiencing inflation buying tons of United States debt they need as much revenue as they could get.

    I don’t see why they would ban a billion dollar business in China unless the Chinese Government was getting into bed or putting a huge stack in the gaming industry.

    Also in response to another post again, the only law Chinese Citizen in masse try to go around is of course the law of breeding due to most families wishing to have a son thus throwing or giving away the daughter which has led to many women in China be put in shelters were some are left to die. ABC and a few other outlets did some nice reporting on that.

    Also a popular report known as, ‘the dying rooms’

  11. Valdearg says:

    Thats exactly why I stopped raiding.. I absolutely LOVED to raid (Even to this day I miss it) but the time needed for farming outside of raiding was brutal.. The time requirement for raids is already sometimes enourmous (8+ hours over a weekend). Add to that the fact that for every hour I spend In raid, I need to spend the same amount of time farming gold to make sure I can afford to raid, and you have a part time job, without getting paid.

  12. Ashton says:

    Ah, I wasn’t aware of all those costs (wasn’t a WoW player), but was assuming based on second hand infomration from a friend, who IS an avid player. My mistake then.

    Still, people who complain about gold farming in WoW kind of strike me as having their priorities messed up. I mean, if a game stressed me out that much I’d just quit.

  13. Arcanagos says:

    Thing is, you dont use the gold just to buy gear.  To get that gear that drops off raid bosses like you mentioned it takes a lot of preperation.  Buff food, which is very expensive.  Flasks (long-lasting potions that persist through death), which are very expensive.  Healing/mana potions, etc.  Not to mention enchants, gems and other enhancements for those shiny new pieces of gear.  And when a bunch of people buy a bunch of gold so they can buy all of these for any price, the price tends to skyrocket; supply and demand my friend.

    "Go ahead and hate your neighbor, go ahead and cheat a friend. Do it in the name of Heaven, Jack Thompson’ll justify it in the end." – nightwng2000

  14. Ashton says:

    Oh, believe me, the system they have in place works fine. You know what the ACTUAL problem is? People. Or rather, people in high places being bribed to turn a blind eye to this fucking bullshit. It’s really annoying because these people are willing to indirectly cause a few hundred or a few thousand deaths just so they can get a little money. And the kicker is, when these people are punished, people from outside countries believe they’re being punished because China’s JUST THAT EVIL. It’s a lose-lose situation.

    Like they say, money is the root of all evil.

  15. Alareth says:

    I wouldn’t put it past the Chinese government to block the server ip’s for the games themselves.

  16. Neeneko says:

    I would be surprised if they actually enforced this (outside one gold farmer turning in another).  This is the same country that can not keep an eye on major producers to keep toxic materials out of food or toys,.. i.e. big physical plants with easly traced supply chains and products.  Virtual stuff? I doubt they will put in the energy needed outside a few arrests for show.

  17. Ashton says:

    Bleh… from what I hear Gold farming doesn’t really do much to WoW’s economy since the best stuff is found/dropped off monsters and bound to a character once acquired. I’m not FOR gold selling but I find the people complaining about it to be utterly ridiculous.

  18. gamegod25 says:

    About damn time they did this IMO.

    If you can’t play enough to get the money you need for better gear, mounts, etc. that’s too ****ing bad. Find another game to play.

  19. Ashton says:

    About 90% of the MMOs played in China are servers hosted within the country itself, which explains why there are no players from China who play WoW on American servers for enjoyment. So unless they plan on blocking their own servers… chances are slim.

    Also, it seems that the OPPOSITE is actually happening. When I tried playing FFXI in China I would randomly get blocked from connecting, and it seems that S-E blocked various IPs originating from China, Korea, and other Asian countries that aren’t Japan.

  20. Ashton says:

    The "campaign" is actually a pretty small branch of the government. Online gaming is a huge part of China’s economy so they can’t just go "OKAY WE BAN IT," it would cause severe domestic economic backlash.

  21. DarkSaber says:

    Surprising, I thought gold farming was all but endorsed by the Chinese government. It’s probably tied in with their general campaign against MMOs and ‘addiction’.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  22. PHOENIXZERO says:

    Consider China has "laws" against piracy and counterfeit goods (though it would really screw the poor if it was totally cracked down on) and doesn’t bother enforce them I doubt this will have much effect, besides a lot of these companies will just move more of their business to South Korea or elsewhere. In the end it won’t mean much.

  23. Alareth says:

    Repent!  Repent!  The Wowpocalypse has begun.

    Countless players will now be forced to actually play the game to get the elite gear.



  24. Valdearg says:

    If they do this right, I’d imagine that it would really help in the enforcement of the "No Gold Farming" portions of the EULA from many online games..

    Then again, cheaters will always find a way around the system.

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