Blizzard, the people behind the mega-hit MMORPG World of Warcraft (and other great games), is starting to become more aggressive with companies that sell online gold for real life money. What method are they going to use to fight the constant spams from companies that are violating their terms of service? Suing them, of course!
"As many of you know, the latest content patch, along with many great new content additions, contains technical counter-measures designed to combat in-game gold spamming. Our efforts to reduce in-game abuse and create a fun, safe environment for everyone are never-ending.
With that said, we felt that it was important to share with the community just how serious we are in our efforts to combat this type of abuse. Blizzard has filed a federal lawsuit against the operators of Peons4hire, a popular gold-selling organization which many of you have no doubt seen advertised. As part of the lawsuit, the operators of Peons4hire have been asked to immediately cease all in-game spamming efforts by all entities and websites under their control.
If this organization refuses to act accordingly, further legal action will be taken. We'll be sure to keep you posted on the progress of this topic."
The problem is that a lot of these gold farming companies have little, if anything, to lose but lots to gain. Suing them really doesn't change this equation because many of these companies only operate in the U.S. on paper anyhow. Many of them are total scams where you only end up with an empty bank account.
The solutions will have to lie in making the overall idea too expensive to be feasible. A few good suggestions that have cropped up so far are:
1) Separate trial accounts on their own servers. The theory being that it's harder to get people to buy gold if they haven't even bought the game yet.
2) Perhaps the chat logs could be searched in a fashion similar to how email spam detection works. Sure it won't get rid of everything, but some is better than none.
3) TOS - add a line or two about being able to bill accounts of anyone who is caught spamming gold adverts.
These may not be the perfect steps, but it seems that changing the underlying risk/reward analysis will do more than a law suit that probably won't have any real impact on any party involved.