The Story behind IGE (MMO gold sellers)

Did you know that much-reviled IGE was formed by former child-actor Brock Pierce? I sure didn’t.

Wired has a lengthy article on how the company came to be. Get comfortable; this is clearly an article from the print mag moved to the web and it goes on for a while. But I found it darned interesting.

The Decline and Fall of an Ultra Rich Online Gaming Empire

8489 banned for selling gold

That’s what the front page of the Herald says. Assuming these copies are being bought at retail, that’s $424,450 USD in sales. EA must be having a good month. Or someone is stretching the truth. 8489 what? Accounts or characters? If they ban characters, then that could be a meaningless number. If they ban accounts, then.. whoa!

And I’m guessing the serious gold seller outfits set up shop as a distributor and get copies of the game wholesale.

Another look at gold selling Spam

So Mythic made a big fuss about how tough they were going to be on gold sellers and how they’ve made it “easier” to report them.


From the Herald article, Reporting Spammers 101:

Place the text the player sent you in the second window, which asks for details about what was sent. Also note if this solicitation came in the form of in-game chat (any channel), or through the mail system.

Here is a typical gold selling spam. This is what Mythic wants you to key in every time you want to report a gold seller.

Skdjfhoiertr: Hello,, is selling warhammer gold, 10g for $3.75, 50g for $ 18.77. Delivery in less 3 hours. Get the gold now and be ahead of others

and another:

Banded: < < >> Cheapest Warhammer Online Gold, Price (100G==28 USD) , Order < 20 Mins Deliver. Fast Power-Leveling 1-40 sale $259. ~~Welcome to ( )

(I’ve changed the urls a bit for obvious reasons.)

In the first case, just typing in the name of the seller is a chore. And while these aren’t super lengthy passages to type, I just feel like Mythic is punishing ME, the paying customer, here. At least that’s how it felt after submitting a dozen or so of these things, many of them complete duplicates of others. Why do I have to type all this crap out? Either allow us to cut and paste the tells, or do the work yourselves and check the log files. I’m happy to type the name of the person and the site they’re advertising, but why is my typing out the cost of the gold they’re selling relevant?

Then once you do report them, does Mythic respond quickly?

[08/10/05][11:08:51]Joined Channel: [1. – Ekrund – Mordrin’s Watch]
(Me logging in. So it took 18 minutes for this spammer to find me.)
[08/10/05][11:26:22] Grotidkya:
[08/10/05][11:35:56] Grotidkya:
[08/10/05][11:47:17] Grotidkya:
[08/10/05][11:57:56] Grotidkya:
[08/10/05][12:10:31] Grotidkya:
[08/10/05][12:21:53] Grotidkya:
[08/10/05][12:34:43] Grotidkya:
[08/10/05][12:46:53] Grotidkya:
[08/10/05][13:29:25] Grotidkya:
[08/10/05][13:43:19] Grotidkya:
[08/10/05][13:59:02] Grotidkya:
[08/10/05][14:13:22] Grotidkya:
[08/10/05][16:09:18] Grotidkya:
And I logged out at 16:21, 6 minutes late for the start of the football game. No idea how much longer Grotidkya was spamming people.
[08/10/05][16:21:35]You will finish logging out in 10 seconds.
[08/10/05][16:21:40]You will finish logging out in 5 seconds.
[08/10/05][16:21:45]You are no longer logging out.

How long does it take to swing the ban-hammer? Either a lot longer than it would seem, or Mythic is seriously deluged with reports. But how many accounts can there be? And if that number is huge…say 1000 gold seller accounts. That’s $50,000 in retail sales for EA/Mythic in gold seller revenue! Or is Mythic banning Characters rather than accounts? That seems to be a losing battle.

I’m just going to start ignoring these guys. They were pretty easy to ignore before I started being a good citizen and following Mythic’s reporting rules. But now that I’ve been trying to report each seller, I suddenly feel like a data entry clerk, not a gamer. I’ll install SpamMeNot and let the gold sellers be someone else’s problem.

Side note: A few of these jerkwads spam you for more than one website. Not sure if the sites are all owned by the same place, or if “gold seller spammer” is a new contractual position in the world of bottom feeders.

Warhammer Chat Paradox

Two of the biggest issues that people are complaining about when it comes time to complain about Warhammer Online:

1) I always miss /tells because nothing draws my attention to them
2) Gold sellers keep sending me /tells and its seriously impacting my enjoyment of the game

Does this seem odd to anyone else?

If the chat system is so bad that you don’t notice tells, then how can the gold seller spam be so annoying!!?

I’m just askin…

And, like Ysharros, I’m sorta tired of the WAR bashing. If you don’t like the game, that’s fine. We get it. No game is right for everyone. But why put so much energy into a string of anti-Warhammer posts? It seems to me like it takes one, maybe two, posts to say “I don’t like Warhammer because of X, Y, & Z. If these are big issues for you too, you might want to hold off on buying the game.”

Then move on and share your *enthusiasm* for games you like. Because enthusiasm is infectious and fun to read. Whining, not so much.

And yeah, I realize the irony of me whining about whining. 🙂

Warhammer Update 1.01

We’re getting a big Warhammer update.

Highlights from the Herald:

* Players no longer need to scroll down through the EUALA when logging into the game. The window now defaults to the bottom, and players need only check the Agreement box and click accept.

* The war against the gold sellers continues! We have made improvements to the Appeal system to allow players to report spam messages from gold sellers more quickly.

* TAB-targeting should now more consistently select the nearest enemy in the player’s field of view.

* Corrected an issue that was preventing players from adding new friends to their friend list even while the number of existing friends was below the list’s size limit.

* Fixed the issue that was causing players to sometimes get stuck in a particular animation state.

* Monsters which change velocity while moving in combat should no longer return “Target is Out of Range” sometimes when attacked by players.

* The /ignore command will now work more consistently.

* In response to player feedback, we have made improvements to player pet movement and behaviors.

* The Pet window should no longer disappear when its master is zoning or entering the game.

* We made many UI fixes including a new “autoloot” feature requested by many players.

* Guild cloaks will now display their heraldry properly.

* We have made several improvements to the chat window, and it should now be more intuitive to use and set up. A number of chat window issues were resolved in the process. We are continuing to work on your requests about chat, with more improvements to come in the future.

Not bad at all. Seems like they’re working on the hottest issues, to me.

Good show, Mythic!

Gold sellers move in to Warhammer

As Stylish Corpse reports, gold sellers have hit Warhammer Online.

I got a tell from two of them last night, from different web sites. This early on, they have legit-sounding names. And they aren’t spamming in general chat yet. They’re offering to sell you gold or to power-level your character.

In case you are wondering how to deal with this, I opened a CSR ticket under the topic “Harassment” and left the spammer’s name, the fact that they were selling gold, and the URL of the site they were advertising. Not very long after, CSR Rep Cielua contacted me in game to ask what s/he could do for me. I noted that I was just reporting a gold seller and asked if that was the proper way to report such things, and was told “Yes, absolutely.”

In case you want to report them after the fact, don’t forget you have a chat log! Look in:
\Program Files\Electronic Arts\Warhammer Online – Age of Reckoning\logs\communication\{server name}\{character name}^M

And you’ll have a file for everyone who sent you a tell, and what they sent you. Mine looked like this:

[08/09/20][01:54:30] [SELLER NAME DELETED]: < <[URL DELETED] >> Have good day. Warhammer Online Gold Price (10G==13 USD) ,Fast Power-Leveling 1-40 sale $239. And World Of Warcraft Gold sale (1000G==$24) . ~~Welcome to ( [URL DELETED] )

As a side note, I was very impressed by how quickly CS responded to my ticket on a busy Friday night.