Have You Ever Bought Gold?

After the great response (thanks to everyone for all of the fascinating and insightful comments) to my article comparing buying gold in MMORPGs to sex in the Victorian era, I thought it might be interesting to put up a poll, asking the dreaded question directly.

I toyed with the idea of actually coming out and asking it or not as it’s a pretty taboo subject. However, after some of the very candid and interesting comments I received on my previous post, I figured I may as well do it. Although I doubt I will get enough results to make the figures themselves mean much in the grand scheme of things, what I do think will be interesting will be the comparison between the percentages.

Also, I just want to point out that the poll is completely anonymous (so don’t worry about being honest) and is refers to whether or not you’ve ever bought gold in any MMORPG you’ve played (not just recently or in the current one you’ve played).

Have You Ever Bought Gold In A MMORPG?

View Results

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Related Posts

  1. Buying Gold Is Like Sex In The Victorian Era
  2. How To Eradicate Gold Farming
  3. The Best Of The Rest: If You Buy Gold You Are Evil, Fact Edition
  4. The Most Efficient Way To Acquiring Gold In A MMORPG
  5. The RMT Industry – What I’ve Learnt


  1. Psynister says:

    Never have and have no intention to, either.

    When I saw the title in twitter I was going to come and comment that paying for gold was like paying for sex – which you’ve apparently already covered. So grats on that. Great minds, eh? ;)

    • Dawz says:

      Actually, the other article had nothing to do with -paying- for sex, it was more to do with the hypocritical views on sex in the Victorian Era, where society was saying one thing, and then doing something completely different behind closed doors.

  2. Hirvox says:

    Yes, with the qualification that I used the officially-supported way to do so in Eve Online. I guess my philosophy could be described as Lawful Neutral in this case: It’s not about good or bad, but whether it’s against the rules or not.

    • Gordon says:

      Can of worms you’ve opened there my friend :) I always found it odd how the act of buying gold is only considered “illegal” when the developers decide upon it. But when *they* want to sell gold or items, well then it’s all just cheery and no problemo :)

      • Hirvox says:

        In American football, it’s considered normal to charge into an opponent and knock him down, and people will actually cheer if such a move is done well. But try the same thing in soccer and you will be booed and driven off the field by the referee. Each game has it’s own sets of rules. All is well and good as long as the referee, the players and the crowd all use the same set of rules. Troubles arise if the referee suddenly decides to allow tackling in the middle of a soccer game. It will be the referee that will be booed, which is what happened with Blizzard and the pet shop.

        So.. is American football unfair when compared to soccer because it allows players to exploit their strength and bulk? Conversely, is soccer superior because in it, only speed, agility, accuracy and tactical planning matter? My answer to both of those questions is no.

        • Gordon says:

          Nice analogy. I guess I’ve always been a bit of a liberal and dislike the aspect of greed that prevails in many businesses so I find it all a little hypocritical when we get told “don’t buy gold from them, buy a shiny fluff pet from us instead!”.

  3. Carson63000 says:

    Nope. My main game is WoW, where not only have I not ever bought gold, I don’t think I’ve even farmed for gold for like four years or so. I think getting my epic mount on my first character was a bit of a grind, but since then, gold has rained out of the sky, I honestly can’t think what I could have wanted to pay real money for.

  4. Andrew says:

    Never felt the need to buy anything from a third party in an online game.

  5. Sharon says:

    I never have because I’m too much of a rule follower, and I always worried that I’d be caught and my account would be shut down.

    My best friend did, however, as did some of my guildies who were convinced that everyone bought gold in order to get their epic flying mounts in WoW. Despite my insistence that I’d paid for epic flying on three of my characters without buying gold, they didn’t really believe me.

  6. I have. Quite a few times actually. But they mostly before TBC which opened up gold to actually being accessible.

    I used to do it in UO, too, and for SWG credits, too.

    Why? Because I put a value on my time, and if that value is greater than what I can exchange rate in-game currency for real-life cash, I’ll buy gold. Making money in MMOs is not fun for me. Grinding dailies and collecting resources bores me. So if there’s a way to make my hobby more enjoyable, I’m all about it.

    And MMOs are my hobby. I don’t mind spending money on it, which is why I don’t mind microtransactions. It’s just like a model maker having to buy paint, a CCG player buying cards and building decks, or a miniatures player building their army by buying different troops.

  7. nugget says:

    I have, recently. But it’s a F2P cash-shop based MMO called Jade Dynasty. ^_^ Does that count? Or was your poll more asking about, ‘Have you bought gold in an MMO where gold-buying was against the rules?’

  8. Yes. I was into the RMT scene when I played Ultima Online. I purchased more raw goods and houses than I did gold, but I bought a gold check here or there. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I can see why new MMOG players get sucked into it and why some players turn to it. I still think its a problem waiting to be solved by proper game design.

  9. Buying gold is like a shady microtransaction. I’d rather spend my time playing the way I want to without paying someone to make it easier for me than anything else.

  10. Yes, I bought 25 plat once in EQ2 since I could not afford the master spells and wanted to raid with our guild also to be at least a bit combative in pvp fights.
    Why didnt I just started tradeskilling or harvesting? I am a lazy person with no patience at all for that kind of stuff!
    Also I want to have fun when I play a game and not wasting my time staring at a stone while harvesting or pressing random buttons while tradeskilling! Cant see the fun in that to be perfectly honest!

    • Gordon says:

      Yep. If making money was more fun in EQ2, I’m sure a lot less people would buy plat!

      • David says:

        I agree with this comment. I’ve played WoW, and EQ2 (among others) and only in EQ2 did I feel the need to buy gold. In WoW I setup a DK in Winterspring and every day login and mine Thorium, once my main was in a position to do dailies it became even easier. In EQ2 there is no real mechanic for doing that. Harvesting can help, but not always and the loot that drops from instances doesn’t always cover what you need.

        • Gordon says:

          I never felt the pressure to buy gold as much I did in EQ2. Maybe it was because I was on a PvP server but the competition was rife and it felt terrible to get beaten by someone who had better gear than you so I can understand why people do it.

  11. Dawz says:

    I purchased gold once, in WoW, because I could simply not afford my Epic ground mount, many years ago, and though my class (Paladin) had a quest-able mount, the chain was long, arduous, and I had no active ways to make money (blacksmithing was a money sink on my server if you did not raid – and I didn’t).

    I also purchased during FFXI, once, more or less to see how easy it was, and because there was one particularly tasty piece of gear I knew that cooking would never be able to fund, because my character ate close to 50% of what she produced.

  12. Jharek says:

    I bought a small amount on a few occasions in EQ2, spent maybe £50 in total.

    Like so much in life, it’s about justifying it to yourself – I spent over a year on one server levelling a toon only to see the server (Darathar) dry up horribly. I then jumped ship to a much more heavily populated server (Nagafen) and needed a boost to get me going.
    Anyone playing on that server in those days will know how difficult it was to level a new account and since I’d already done it once (twice if you count my previous time on a PvE server), I figured a few extra plat was acceptable. Once I was up and running it was no problem to make my own money.

    I’ve never really had much of an issue with bots and gold buying/selling in EQ2. You can’t buy friendliness or skill with it, and those are the things I’m looking for in the people I group/guild with. Plus in EQ2 PvP it was always nice to get a few easy bot-kills to add to my body count :) )

    • Gordon says:

      Hehe, yeah it was funny to see the groups of botters farming stuff in EQ2. The great thing about being on a PvP server was that you could actually kill them :) Great fun to wipe out an entire group of them single handely too :)

  13. Jackie says:

    I’ve never bought gold.. but have thought about it. When everyone else was buying all this uber stuff and I’m stuck in crap gear, I have thought about. It’s just that.. well.. My account is too valuable to me to have it banned for something stupid.

  14. [...] are robust enough to support that sort of thing?  You’d think with the constant talk about gold buying, that there would be some games with enough currency flow to be able to practically implement [...]

  15. Rhii says:

    I have not. I have never found WoW gold-restrictive enough to make it necessary. However, I might not be as averse to the idea if I found myself in that position. Fortunately in Wow, I generally feel like if I’m having the problem it’s because I’m doing something wrong, not because WoW stacked the deck against me.

    My youngest brother has bought Isk in EVE, I know. I think it was before the introduction of the legal way to do it, though I’m not an EVEhead like he is, so I really don’t know. In a game like that, where the cost of death is extremely high, I can understand the allure of goldbuying much more, and I’ve never criticized him for that choice.

    Except when it was choosing Isk over laundry! :D

    • Gordon says:

      I admire CCP tackling the problem of ISK selling head on and introducing a new way to purchase it. They’ve obviously understand that if they didn’t do anything about it, it will occur illegally, yet by introducing a legal system, they stand to profit from it.

  16. [...] feedback I received on my article about the comparison between Victorian sex and RMT and the poll I put up asking directly if anyone has ever bought gold has been both tremendous and incredibly insightful. Although my poll is very minor, the results [...]

  17. Ian says:

    I have bought gold a few times in EVE.

    I detest the way other players breaking the rules can leave you weeks away from restoring your character, and can cost you huge amounts of actual money too. if you don’t have enough to keep your clone up-to-date then you risk losing so much.

    In those circumstances, I felt no shame at all in buying a bunch of ISK so that I could at least restore a clone and get a decent ship back. I still lost the weeks, but at least it didn’t take longer to grind the money back.

  18. I actually own a small RMT company… the poll is interesting since it seems to reflect the actual amount of people RMTing in MMOs. I’m only doing 1 game/1 server atm, but i’d say about 40% of players from what i’ve seen buy gold or have bought gold before.

    Like some others have said, it is a game design flaw in which people who value time over money will buy gold, whereas people who value money over time will not.

    I really don’t understand the comparison between prostitution and RMT though… they are under completely different moral standings. Prostitution’s problem is the case of selling bodies, and offering what is meant to be sacred as a mere means of profit. RMT is just trading what you’ve earnt in-game against the rules of the publishing company. It does not make it illegal nor does it make morally wrong.

    unfortunately RMT is often used to blame players’ problems in-game (i.e botting, economy etc) but there is really no evidence for this. People botting is a problem of game design. Problems /w economy don’t really have a direct impact /w RMT… people say RMT drives the prices higher, but it is the players who drive the prices higher. RMT companies always try to sell at the lowest price possible because they need to get gold fast to deliver to hungry customers. Also, majority of RMT companies make most of their gold selling directly to vendor, NOT playing the market because it is not 100% reliable and profits would be generated slowly.

    • Hirvox says:

      RMT is just trading what you’ve earnt in-game against the rules of the publishing company. It does not make it illegal nor does it make morally wrong.

      There is a critical flaw in your reasoning. The rules of the publishing company and a fee (depending on their payment model) are the only reasons why you have access to their service. If you don’t abide by their rules, you are accessing their service without authorization, and that is illegal.

      However, I do agree that RMT is not necessarily the cause of problems, it amplifies them. If grinding is the cornerstone of the in-game economy, then botting/RMT will reduce prices of grindable materials and thus increase competitive pressure against those that do grind. To maintain their level of income, they will have to grind more, sink into virtual poverty or join the botters/RMTers. There is ian ongoing discussion about the topic at Tobold’s blog.

      • Breach of contract does not make it illegal. They can sue, but it is by no means illegal. If it was illegal, people would be going to jail or being fined by the government for doing this. Many people misuse the term “Illegal” in this context because it is not agaisnt the LAW to RMT, it may be against your contract, but it is not against the law.

        Before I opened my business, i wanted to ensure that what i was going to do was legal, so I talked to a bunch of lawyers in virtual law and in IP law to ensure it was not illegal. I can understand how breach of contract may seem illegal, but it is not in this case.

        Thanks for the link to Tobold’s blog, i’ll head over there to discuss the economy portion. =)

        • Hirvox says:

          I never said that the breach of contract in itself was illegal. I said that accessing their service without authorization is, and obeying the contract and paying the fees provides said authorization. There’s also anti-fraud laws, damage to computers and even copyright violation, because that same contract is the only reason you’re allowed to use the client in the first place. All of these came into play in Blizzard’s lawsuit against Glider.

          • Gordon says:

            It’s interesting how Blizzard are moving away from the “buying gold is bad” angle and more into the “support gold sellers encourages hacking and fraud” angle. It certainly seems to be a tactic that’s working as most people could debate the impact it has on the gaming world but trying to defend or justify it in the face of hacking attempts is a lot harder.

            • Hirvox says:

              Indeed. Arguing that RMT ruins the game for everyone else isn’t much of a deterrent, and can actually serve as an incentive to antisocial players. “Buy gold and the next time it might be you who will get hacked” strikes home much, much harder.

              Ideally, game companies should try to position themselves similar to the insurance companies, serving as their advisors, helpers and vanguards. After all, they do have shared interests with the players. If someone gets hacked, it not only ruins the fun for the player, but also increases costs for the customer support department, who will be busy browsing the logs and trying to get the stuff back.

        • Gordon says:

          That’s a very interesting point about the “legality” of it all. You’re right how it’s not illegal, it’s just breaking the gaming rules. I think game’s companies obviously do their best to brand the purchasing of gold as being as “illegal” as possible in order to deter people from doing it.

  19. [...] Interweb. Recently Tobold and Gevlon got stuck into the topic again and even managed to necromance one of a series of articles I wrote last year about the subject (a self-confessed gold seller posted some interesting comments this [...]

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