Some WoW gamers out there are sometimes tempted to buy gold from one of a ton of online WoW gold merchants. If you have the money this may seem like a good idea at first, since this is will save you time, but what you are actually doing is helping to sustain an industry that is nothing less than a sweatshop for pixels.
A study was done in 2006 by the University of California by Ge Jin titled Chinese Gold Farmers in the Game World. What this study found was quite interesting and exposed to some degree the amount of exploitation in the exploding virtual commodities market. Ge went to the Si Chuan Province, Fu Jian Province, and the Dong Bei area to do his hands on research. He found hundreds of gold farms.
It is now quite the comprehensive industry, one that has been around since at least 2001 (for other online games), and continues to grow.
The typical large scale gold farm provides meals and dorms, the farmers live there and work on 12 hour shifts with very brief breaks. Also typical is that farms have 2 farmers for every computer so that they are farming for 24 hours. The farmers are usually paid from between 40 USD to 200 USD monthly. Ge also found farmers that are willing to work for free as long as food and shelter are provided. That was quite a disturbing find.
Since China is the world’s primary source of cheap labor, it was no surprise to find out how poorly the farmers are treated and paid. Though I am hopeful that in the long run this will change and farmers are paid a wage equal to their labor, unless China opens up its markets that will be hard to gauge.
I hope this article enlightens you a little and give you pause next time you consider buying some pixels to enhance your gaming experience. As always, it is just best to take the high road and get yourself a guide or walk through that will help you get what you want legitimately. There are a ton of resources online as well that will greatly enhance your WoW gaming experience, including well reputed gold guides. Happy gaming!