RuneScape Bonds Disrupt Gold Farming Activities

RuneScape makers Jagex say that the recent introduction of RuneScape Bonds into the long-running MMO has reduced gold farming activities by as much as 81 percent. Bonds were introduced into the game on September 26. A Bond in RuneScape cost $5, £3 or €4.25 each and can only be redeemed in-game. Bonds are redeemable for 14 days of RuneScape membership, eight Squeal of Fortune spins, or 160 RuneCoins. Multiple Bonds can also be redeemed for RuneFest tickets (RuneFest is a fan gathering that will take place at the Tobacco Dock in London on November 2). Jagex says that about ten percent of attendees have paid for entry into the event using bonds.

"Dishonest gold farming has had a detrimental effect on the online gaming space since its inception, and Jagex has worked tirelessly to limit the scope and consequence this activity has had on RuneScape over many years," said Riaan Hodgson, Chief Operations Officer at Jagex. "While we anticipated that the launch of Bonds would impact the flow of illegal wealth into the game, we are thrilled the initiative has resulted in such a strong and immediate impact. This action lays the foundations for RuneScape to continue going from strength to strength in its second successful decade!"

Gold farming is prohibited in RuneScape, though that hasn't stopped some players from engaging in the practice. In addition to dramatically reducing gold farming, Jagex says that Bonds are the "backbone" of its Pay-through-Play initiative. Players purchase bonds to access premium membership content, exchange it with other players for in-game items and wealth, or gift them to friends who play anywhere in the world.

Jagex says that the response to the Bonds system has been "great" and that this new system has "had an immediate impact on the game."

You can learn more about RuneScape here.

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  1. 0
    likalaruku says:

    There is no set definition of Pay To Win, so I can't say you're wrong, & I haven't played the game in years, so I don't remember the store, but when I think of Pay To Win, I think of…

    *A game that nickles & dimes you for every goddamn thing.

    *Low level characters can simply purchase epic gear & weapons that overpower them.

    *The slow grind/difficulty curve/leveling seems intentionally retarded (slowed down) to irritate gamers into making purchases.

    *A plethora of restrictions on Freeplayers: No housing for anyone below level 60 (can't afford the rent), no option to upgrade to a faster mount, energy restrictions that take hours to replenish/daily limits that can be purchased, entire areas with many quests are blocked off, the ability to buy XP boosters.

    Basically like DDO, MapleStory, SWTOR, anything on Facebook.

  2. 0
    E. Zachary Knight says:

    Does the fun of Runescape really diminish if people around you are spending real money while you are not? Are you in some sort of competition with the other players that relies on a fair system of skill? Is it any less fair than having people who have the time to spend playing the game 30-40 hours a week while you may only get 10-20 hours a week?

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
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    My Patreon

  3. 0
    Mr.Tastix says:

    This doesn't really fix the issue, it adds another problem altogether: RuneScape is now, effectively, pay-to-win.

    Think about it: You buy a bond for as little as $5 and can trade that in for about 6m gold (fluctuates depending on the market). Now that alone isn't much, but for anyone rich enough they can buy a lot of these, shift them on the market and buy high-level gear with the profits.

    This is the exact thing that made gold farming against the rules. Gold farming and botting is only "illegal" because it provides an unfair advantage to a player or the potential to ruin game economies, so how is this better? Anyone with more money than you now has that same unfair advantage, what has changed?

    Outside this, Bonds are a neat idea, but they shouldn't be tradeable. Being able to trade them is where problems arise. The very temptation of trading is why many hated the auction house systems in Diablo 3, and that was a complete mess.

  4. 0
    Mr.Tastix says:

    The problem is temptation. Same problem I have with Diablo 3's Auction House.

    You don't need to use it, but the temptation is there and, because this generates Jagex money, they'll be actively encouraging people to use it. And, as said, it's only the ability to trade it that makes this problematic. Remove it and people are still likely to pay for them.

    Though you'll get gold farmers coming back that doesn't really matter since they've been around for years and removing them doesn't somehow "stabilize" an economy automatically (keeping in mind that RuneScape's hasn't been somehow "ruined" by bots/gold farmers as hyperbole would have you think).

    Also consider the actual point. What is the point in being able to buy loot so easily, really? Same problems with Diablo 3 again. Once you get the best gear then what? You wait for more updates so you can buy the best gear again? The point in most MMO's is like most ARPGs: To get loot, but by making that easier you simply shorten the time someone will keep playing (which is why developers tend to try to balance that length of time by making it not too short, not too long, etc).

    You're effectively buying upgrades so you can then wait to buy more upgrades. Your money could be going to something so much better. I mean, if you find that fun and can afford it then more power to you, but why bother? The point in the game is fun and grinding for loot, and this could shift that focus, a problem that the Auction House in D3 has, too.

    And, finally, it shifts developer focus from working with the player to improve the game to working with them to market the bonds so they make more money. The Squeal of Fortune and Solomon's Store already started this trend.

  5. 0
    DorthLous says:

    Not per se, but it's very common that it will lead to more exploitive behaviors, where developers will concentrate either mainly or only on the payer. Further on, depending on the implementation, it can be a constant assault against the player's mind. Can't recall if it's Jim Sterling or Extra Credits (or both) who did an episode on exactly this a short while ago.

  6. 0
    Scott1701c says:

    Oh, this is like what CCP did for EVE online.

    There, you could buy a month of game time as an in-game item and sell it on the open market. Last I checked, 1 PLEX was going for 540,000,000 isk. PLEX is now treated like Gold is in the Real World.


    As I recall, it did not completely solve the gold farming problem, but it did severely hamper it.

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