Are you a bot? If you were a bot, would you even know it? What is it that reliably and measurably separates us from mere emulations of ourselves? It's a deep and far reaching philosophical dilemma the answer to which is disputed by theologians, scholars and - oh hold on, Blizzard has its hand up. What's that Blizzard? Anybody who starts lots of games of Diablo 3 within a short space of time is probably a bot? And Diablo 3 game limits are being re-enabled to curb botting? Well that's that one sorted. Nice run, Descartes, now pack up your stuff and go home.
I'm not sure when or from where the mental image crawled into my brain, but I've got a firm impression of what a Chinese gold farming operation looks like. The lighting and decor is that of an after-school youth centre somewhere just outside of Croydon, where a few dozen gaunt, shirtless teenagers sit emotionlessly in front of a bank of identikit PCs. Well as it turns out, if these photographs of an actual gold farming operation are accurate, this picture is all wrong.
The real-money auction house has been up and running for three weeks now. In that time we've seen the Horadric Hamburger plummet in value, before clawing back some market confidence to settle at the more respectable average buyout of £23.53. But amid all the burger-drama, Blizzard still aren't allowing Diablo 3 players to purchase gold and certain commodities for real cash. Until now! While gold will remain off limits, commodities like gems and crafting materials are about to become tradeable goods.
According to Korean Times, Korea's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has plans "to halt all virtual item trades with a new law" which will be announced at some point next month. You can potentially add this to the already teetering pile of weird gaming laws in which the country is mired: such as an online curfew for players under the age of 18. Should it pass, the law would ban the exchange of in-game items, one of the effects of which would be the outlawing of Diablo 3's real money auction house. Is that the distinctive sound of gums flapping? Or could this be a serious step towards an effort to restrict the activities of gold farmers?
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Take this with a fistful of salt, but one Diablo 3 gold farmer is alleging that, as of last week, there were 10,000 Diablo 3 accounts running automated scripts to illegitimately farm gold for sale. In an interview with one Markeedragon, the farmer claimed to personally manage 200 such accounts, netting himself a cool 60 million gold per hour. But if his numbers are to be believed, how many of these 10,000 accounts were sniffed out during Blizzard's round of account suspensions yesterday?