MMORPG.com recently conducted an interview with Yinzi Cheng of XLGames, creators of the MMO ArcheAge. The interview is based entirely around the game’s monetization format, which Cheng believes makes the game impervious to gold farmers. There are three currencies in ArcheAge: Gold, Arcs, and Crystals. Gold is the usual in-game gold, crystals are the real money currency, and Arcs are used to purchase many of the game’s premium goods. Gold and crystals are not tradeable, but arcs are. As Cheng says:
Gold that is earned from game contents is untradeable. Arcs could be earned by purchasing Crystals, by enjoying some contents such as catching boss monsters, or by trading with other users. So ‘gold farmers’ cannot produce gold illegally. Therefore, the ‘gold farmers’ easiest way to earn gold, which is auto playing, will no longer bring them profit.
I don’t think XLGames fully understands how gold farmers work. Don’t believe me? When Jagex introduced trade restrictions to RuneScape, players simply converted to a currency based in junk items, allowing them to bypass the system completely. Materials can be traded between players, so what’s to stop a gold farmer from botting millions of gold worth of materials and trading those materials to the buyer who then sells them to an NPC for gold? Arcs are open season for gold farmers to generate in-game, as they can be mined from bosses.
ArcheAge’s non-tradeable gold idea isn’t new, and XLGames should be aware that the process hasn’t done much to impede gold farming in the other titles, like ArcheAge, where despite a strong insistence that the process isn’t feasible, there is quite a variety of gold farming services with varying methods of delivery. The lesson here is that so long as there is a trade system, people will find a way to farm gold.