I wrote an article about catching gold farmers for the latest issue of The Escapist. I’m pretty pleased with the way it turned out, but that’s largely to the credit of their great editors! Here’s a brief excerpt:
An MMOG is an amazingly complex entity. You might believe a gold farmer could easily hide among the millions of other characters on a server, like a needle in a haystack. But farmers behave fundamentally differently than a normal player. The farmer isn’t trying to have fun. In fact, if you look at the act of farming, it’s probably the most boring thing you can imagine. But it’s efficient, and efficiency is what the farmers are optimizing for. That efficient boredom sticks out like a sore thumb. We can see this stuff happen. So it’s like finding a needle in a haystack where the needle is colored bright orange and we happen to know the density of each cubic centimeter of the haystack.