When It’s Just the Gold Farmers and You

As mentioned in my “About” page, I live in Hong Kong and play on US servers.  That puts me in the game at some unusual hours … to the extent where I don’t know what some zones look like in daylight at all.  (Zul’Drak, I’m looking at you.)  I also don’t see the typical player population of the server, as most normal people would not still be awake.

In this past autumn, I pushed my first toon all the way to level 80.  It was 3 or 4 weeks before Cataclysm went live.  That opened up whole new vistas for me but also dropped me in the middle of many of the frustrations that I had heretofore only read of on other blogs.

One of the most curious issues I encountered was several rounds of competitive gathering with ‘lilmouse’ (now deleted or renamed), a gnome Death Knight, if I recall correctly.  This gnome was flying circles around Sholazar picking up mining nodes ad nauseum.  By itself, that isn’t odd.  I was doing the same thing, trying to level blacksmithing, and for that matter so where a handful of other players.

What initially caught my attention was his low-level griefing.  I think he would /follow me until I found a node and then try to race me to it.  Whoever landed the pick first, won.  Since he had an epic flying mount and I did not, he had a good chance of beating me to the first node.  But, while he was at the first, I would zoom in on a second and sometimes a third while he was still occupied.  Also, he appeared to avoid taking damage at all costs, so just 1 mob near a deposit would scare him away.  Anyway, overall, I didn’t do too poorly at all, but the little twerp made his presence felt.

No, what was odd was that at whatever hour I logged in, he was there … in Sholazar Basin.  I took to /who’ing him every time I entered or exited the Game just to confirm.  Without fail, there he was.

It got me thinking about what Blizzard could do to combat gold farmers.  Surely there are some tell-tale behaviors that indicate a toon is being used for illicit purposes … such as being logged on 24 hours a day, remaining in one of the high-level gathering zones (like Sholazar for sauronite) at all times, and, presumably, mailing huge volumes of trade goods back to an AH stooge.  Surely it is not difficult to screen for odd patterns like these and ask for a friendly chat with the suspicious character.

And, maybe Blizzard did eventually catch up with him, since the search for ‘lilmouse’ on the new battle.net armory came up empty.

So, what do you do,
when it’s just the gold farmers and you?

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