One of the biggest problems for any successful MMO, is how to deal with Gold farmers. The often bot-controlled, repetitive questers that just grind away in order to build up in-game gold and then sell it to other players for real-world cash, often through some illegitimate site. It not only messes with the game’s economy but can put players at risk by forcing them to go down these unsavoury routes if they want to buy gold. Runescape developer Jagex however, has found a way to almost eliminate the practice: a bond system.
These bonds are available to buy straight from Jagex as an in-game item. They can then be ‘consumed,’ to give the player an extra 14 days of membership, or they can be sold for in-game gold. This essentially gives players the ability to buy gold if they want it, since there will always be those that are happy to trade their in-game money for real play time.
The reaction was immediate, with the community seeing a drop off of as much as 81 per cent of illegitimate gold trading. “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,” Jagex told PCGamesn. “This action lays the foundations for RuneScape to continue going from strength to strength in its second successful decade!”
The community is really pleased with the bond system as well apparently, with players able to buy membership with in-game gold, it’s letting long term – but perhaps poorer gamers – gift membership time to friends. The bonds can also be traded in for tickets to Runefest, a Runescape convention, the third of which is set to take place in just a few days time.
Kitguru Says: Good for Jagex. It takes a much more understanding approach to player actions to implement something like this. Like certain parts of our contemporary society, there are activities that people are going to take part in, whether you threaten to ban them or not. The best way you can improve the experience for players is to make it so they don’t have to go somewhere shady to do it and you can then use profits from that to improve the game for everyone. It’s a win win.