Gold farmers 'operate like criminal gangs'
Friday, July 23, 2010 6:00 PM
Gold farmers. Along with griefers and cheaters, they're the scourge of the online games like World of Warcraft - and now a University of Minnesota student has written a paper exploring the similarities between them and real-life criminals.
PhD student Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad, together with Brian Keegan, has posted research that compares gold farmers - people who trade in-game resources for real-world cash - to drug dealers and other illicit practices.
They're selective about who they do business with, they will network with other like-minded people to increase profit and often use middle-men for their big scores, the student concluded in his EverQuest 2-focused research.
"An informal cottage industry of inconsequential scale and scope at first, the practice grew rapidly with the parallel development of an e-commerce infrastructure in the late 1990s," the study reads.
Meanwhile, griefers - people who intentionally disrupt online games for the sheer hell of it - were found in an Oxford University study to operate much like real-world asshats. Joke.