Saturday, December 23, 2006

Blizzard bans 105,000 players in November

Another round of Blizzard bannings, quote:"In our continued efforts to combat cheating in World of Warcraft, more than 105,000 accounts were closed and over 12 million gold was removed from the game economies in Europe, Korea, and the US in the month of November. The closed accounts were associated with activities that violate World of Warcraft's Terms of Use, such as using third-party programs that allow cheating, and farming gold and items. These types of activities can severely impact the economy of a realm and the overall game enjoyment for all players."

Excuse me for being cynical, but if 105,000 gold farmers together have only 12 million gold, then each gold farmer has less than 120 gold inventory on average. So either these guys are selling the gold faster than they can make it; or more likely Blizzard only banned the bot accounts, and not the distributor account that holds all the gold.

I don't know what the current going rate for gold is, but it can't be far from $50 per 1,000 gold. So 12 million gold deleted sets the gold farmer back $600,000. And the 105,000 accounts at $20 the account cost them $2.1 million, money that goes directly to Blizzard. These bannings are quite profitable for Blizzard. The gold farmers will be back soon.

But through the law of unintended consequences, being banned is soon going to be a harsher penalty than before for a gold farmer. Because the maximum gold is earned at the maximum level. Raising the level cap to 70 means that each gold farming account needs to grind longer before reaching the cap and starting to earn good money. So every banned account is "out" for a longer time. Lets hope that this at least leads to gold farmers using less bots, as these are easier to detect than manual farming.

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