Chinese Prisoners Forced to Farm MMO Gold

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Chinese Prisoners Forced to Farm MMO Gold

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In China, videogames aren't just a pastime, they're a lucrative punishment.

A Chinese man going by the pseudonym Liu Dali was imprisoned by the Chinese government in 2004 for "illegally petitioning" it to end the rampant corruption in his hometown. He was sentenced to 3 years at the Jixi labor camp, where he worked in a coal mine, carved chopsticks, dug ditches, and memorized communist propaganda from dawn until dusk. And when the sun went down, he was set down in front of a computer and forced to play videogames.

In addition to forcing inmates to preform tough manual labor, the prison had discovered the lucrative business of gold farming, where a player (or sometimes automated bot) does the same actions over and over again in an MMO, with the intention to sell the gold earned to unscrupulous players. It's a big business in China, earning nearly $2 billion in 2008, and the prison bosses wanted in on a piece of the action.

"There were 300 prisoners forced to play games. We worked 12-hour shifts in the camp," said Dali. "We didn't see any of the money. The computers were never turned off." He claimed to have heard the guards mention that the operation could pull in nearly $1000 on a good day. And while being forced to farm MMO gold for 12 hours after a long day mining coal certainly doesn't sound fun, the true unpleasantness of the situation didn't rear its head until someone fell behind on their gold quota for the day.

"If I couldn't complete my work quota, they would punish me physically. They would make me stand with my hands raised in the air and after I returned to my dormitory they would beat me with plastic pipes. We kept playing until we could barely see things," said Dali.

In 2009, the Chinese government imposed regulations on gold farming businesses, so the practice of enslaving inmates to kill Lord Grafnul the Demon King for the thousandth time may have come to an end, but Dali (who was released before the law was put into effect) doesn't think so. "Many prisons across the north-east of China also forced inmates to play games. It must still be happening."

It's a sad situation, but also sort of funny in a gallows-humor, surreal, macabre way. I've heard playing some games referred to as a 'torturous experience' before, but this has to be the most literal example of that phrase yet seen.

Source: The Guardian via Kotaku

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I love the hypocrisy of China.

This is kind of sad and hilarious at the same time.

WoW for gold needs to start using the fair trade logo

Chinese gold farmers are the plague and cancer of WoW and the government is making them do it!? That's sad, hilarious and hypocritical, all at the same time.

Oh wow.
Wow has become more of a monster than I thought.

Why don't they use a bot? That is more easy and economical. Isn't it?

so if the had to farm for 12 hours straight after a hard day of manual labour, that would leave them with almost no time to sleep or rest. I've heard of arguments that are pro-gold farming, and frankly after reading this I'm convinced that who ever says its a good thing is an idiot.

snfonseka:
Why don't they use a bot? That is more easy and economical. Isn't it?

The article says they do, but I'm guessing there bots get banned after a while. In communist china, games play you?

I dont mind the farming, it would be a great way of keeping the inmates busy and it would end up lucrative but China had to make a torture out of it, sigh.

It would be good if it was only for 2-3 hours just to keep their minds out of shanking people.

The situation presented in here is just retarded

Want to add realism to games? then beat the shit out of the player when they fail a quest...

Man you would not want to mis-heal in that group...

Well, it beats mining coal.

ThongBonerstorm:
Want to add realism to games? then beat the shit out of the player when they fail a quest...

Man you would not want to mis-heal in that group...

HAHAHA!! Nearly pissed myself when I read this one.
But seriously this is some F'ed up stuff... Blizzard should just IP ban the prisons. I think enslaving and beating people is reason enough?

iseko:

ThongBonerstorm:
Want to add realism to games? then beat the shit out of the player when they fail a quest...

Man you would not want to mis-heal in that group...

HAHAHA!! Nearly pissed myself when I read this one.
But seriously this is some F'ed up stuff... Blizzard should just IP ban the prisons. I think enslaving and beating people is reason enough?

Does this count as an ARG if you get beat in real life for in-game mistakes?

snfonseka:
Why don't they use a bot? That is more easy and economical. Isn't it?

Not really since if GM send a whisper to you and you don't respond you can be suspected of botting and get banned, losing you account all the money and the fees It took to enbale that account.

Seeing that if you have prisoners that are pure free slaves who can respond to the GM if required, thus avoiding from getting banned and saving those 30 dollars or something.

I dont know to laugh or to cry.
that is terrible the MMOs should do something about it....

Yes, because one needed another reason to be anti gold farming besides wrecking the in-game economy, providing endless hours of front end work for devs, and creating unwanted Win by Purchase situations. Imagine if this was rampant in a F2P micro transaction game, they compete directly with the developer and could easily take down the game from economic issues. And to have it being done by the government? That's just low.

But then again, it's China. At least they stop beating you if you DO fill your quota. Or at least less beatings then normal.

I always said warcraft was evil but nooooo dont listen to me

So next they are going to make the prisoners mine coal in Minecraft.

Also wtf captcha I do not want to have sex with you.

technique porkyou

Thats quite amazing, funniest jail ever, probably not really funny though if you think about what kind of conditions they may be in, Then its quite sad.

I had one of them hack my GMail box.. wasn't nice at all. It started the moment I started to play WOW.

Video games are supposed to be fun. Fuck those assholes.

this might explain why my account was hacked by a Chinese ip address and i got perma baned from one of the servers

well this answers the question if you grind enough will you eventually tire and move on this goes 10x for WoW

Well, on the bright side, it probably felt like a bit of relief playing a video game after ten or so hours of manual labor. Until you've been playing for twenty-four hours straight, that is...

Wait... wha... 2 billion AMERICAN DOLLARS a year? Butbutbutbutbut... DAMMIT, i totally miss all my chances to enter something:

Twelve years ago i thought: Eh, what do people need so many cell phones for?
Eight years ago: Eh, GAMES and programs on PHONES? FOOLS

Now gold-farming is business? HOW... WHY? What is GOING ON HERE, and why am i years behind everything.

Also: Inhumane labour camps are bad. Well, China is a giant asshole. Hm... something else?

snfonseka:
Why don't they use a bot? That is more easy and economical. Isn't it?

Well I suppose they don't have to pay the prisoners or the bots so for them it doesn't matter.

OT: So does this mean that buying WoW gold is supporting an oppressive Communist regime?

...and this is why, in spite of the fact that China owns a huge amount of U.S. debt, they will never ever take over America.

1: Their financial system is dependent on Americans being able to spend money.

2: If they ever decide to go to war with us, we just have to back an uprising against the government and BAM, no more Communist China.

But yeah, living in China must suck (in general).

maybe we should just ban china ... from anything they steal IP's they farm gold torture people kill people block the internet infringe on human rights spew propaganda.

they dont deserve to be part of the civilised world right now.

As hilarious the hypocracy is, someone is going to have a huge headache at china over this.

snfonseka:
Why don't they use a bot? That is more easy and economical. Isn't it?

Bots have difficulty with more complex tasks.

Ah humanity, always coming up with new and creative ways to torture people and finding new ways to abuse existing systems.

I never though the day would come when games could be used like this, but now I have. WoW is a microcosm and now it has truly seen and done everything.

EDIT: 4975 posts... 25 posts and I get a shinny new badge. Whooray!

gigastar:
As hilarious the hypocracy is, someone is going to have a huge headache at china over this.

snfonseka:
Why don't they use a bot? That is more easy and economical. Isn't it?

Bots have difficulty with more complex tasks.

You would be suprised. In the majority of these mmo's, a player driven economy means theres usually some sort of player driven market where a basic "buy low, sell high" command can make an easy profit. The reason they don't use bots is a much more simple reason-Its easy to tell the difference between a bot and a player spending twelve hours to get money and thus ban the location. Telling the difference between a convict spending twelve hours to get money for others and a player spending twelve hours on the other hand...

Bots have come a long way, but the simple checks still take em out.

I will laugh now and be sad later. Some prisoner is probably getting his ass whipped because some people who actually play the game for real were interrupting his work and caused him to come up short.

Wow that sound horrible, labour during the day and force to play game at night. It sound like they got no or little sleeps at all.

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