World of Warcraft China: Interesting Facts - Part 4

Posted by Daeity On Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I had mentioned earlier how it's very common for players to sell gold to purchase WoW hourly subscriptions.

"China has an internet cafe on every corner. Every single of them can access the web for 'codes' that can be entered into the blizzard website for time. For 15 rmb (2 dollars) you can play world of Warcraft with all expansions for 2000 minutes. (For this reason I have 8 accounts, because I do pay monthly fees and often play 2 or more accounts at once I can pick and choose what I like to have online. I really enjoy the freedom provided by metered time instead of a monthly subscription." (Source)
But it gets more interesting..

In China, the majority of workers (primarily Service and Industry jobs) work an entire day for less than 60rmb ($9 USD). Less than one hour of work in World of Warcraft (grinding gold) can easily cover your WoW subscription for several months. But more than that, 1-2 hour of gold farming each day can pay for your food, rent, game subscriptions, internet fees, toys/gadgets, etc. You can actually make more money playing the game then you can from a real job.

Think you can make 4500G per day? That's the same pay as an Electrical Engineer. 3000G per day? No need to be a Professional Nurse, just play WoW - you can make the same amount of money and play a healer! (Source)

Given all of the gold making guides, you don't even need to be that skilled at farming.. even casual players using standard farming techniques can pay for their living expenses.

But isn't that against Blizzard's Terms of Use?

In NA/EU, it's frowned upon to buy/sell accounts or gold. However in China, WoW is operated by NetEase and there are different rules surrounding the game.

It's actually perfectly acceptable and quite common for players to share accounts, buy/sell items, gold, or accounts, or convert virtual gold/items into real world money. WoW gold is really just another common commodity in China and can be bought or sold quite easily. =]

Recently, the Chinese government had announced that they are "banning gold farmers" with new legislation. However, it's been exaggerated by news outlets and there are tons of loop holes in their proposed system. In fact, their new laws will have no impact on gold farming at all (it's actually targeting something else).. and they don't even have any enforcement measures for the buying and selling of in-game virtual items.

China Banning Gold Farmers
Gold Farming Confusion
Gold Farming Ban Not Really A Ban

In NA/EU, you may have a difficult time trying to find trust-worthy gold sellers, or someone to sell your account to. It's all very shady, the services are few and far between, and it can be a challenge to find someone you can trust.

In China, however, it's the exact opposite. There are large (and trusted) businesses and corporations that focus on the sale and purchasing of virtual items. Gold or items can be bought at gaming stores, convenience stores and city streets.

QQ Coins can also be used in exchange for gold or in-game services, which can be converted into real merchandise on many online or gaming stores. Occasionally, you may also receive a random whisper from a gold seller in-game. They give you their QQ (IM) address and you can pay them with QQ points which can be obtained with real money. The Chinese Ebay "Taobao" and other Chinese websites sell gold online directly to your WoW mailbox too. =]

There's no secret "cloak-and-dagger" activities (like in NA/EU) required to sell your account or gold - it's all done right out in public and it's very much the norm.

I'm actually kind of jealous. I have over 300k of gold idling that I'd love to sell. =]

"The most common way to buy gold, however, is to trade time card codes in-game for gold to a person who needs a card. It's entirely possible to never pay any of your own money to play WoW if your dedicated to earning gold from others and have a niche as either a raider or power level or farmer." (Source)

Because of this standard industry in China, it's the reason why so many players are engaged in gold farming activities (if a couple hours playing WoW paid more than your real job, wouldn't you take advantage?), gold has real value, and it has completely reshaped the in-game and real world economies in China.

Because of this paradigm shift, players also engage in gold making "services" that you wouldn't normally see on NA/EU realms. And it's also very easy for new characters to be power leveled and geared up (15 rmb/$2 USD right now can buy you high-end epics and many hours of power-leveling.)

But more on those unique "gold making services" in the Part 5.