The head of the Lord of the Rings Online team says that, like most other MMOG makers, his company punishes "gold farming" - for now.
Exchanging real-life currency for in-game currency has been a taboo and bannable offense in many MMOGs, but Jeffrey Steefel, who spearheaded the completion and launch of the epic Lord of the Rings Online , says that view may change.
The executive producer at Turbine told Eurogamer.net that the business model driving the real "secondary market" may force companies to adapt to new realities.
"The 'secondary market' is a huge topic of conversation across the industry, and we're watching it really closely," Steefel said. He also noted, "We all know that something will happen in the next two to five years to business models in general, so we're paying attention to what's going on."
He cautioned, however, that no immediate change was on the horizon for the company's own product: "Our responsibility is to the subscribers of the game, to deliver to them the experience they expect. So we certainly do not support people farming or taking advantage of the system in that way. It's against our Terms of Service and we do try and enforce that."
Steefel noted Sony's own foray into the secondary market, via its proprietary auction house "Station Exchange" that allows EverQuest II players to buy in-game assets.
Though prohibited in the end-user license agreements in many MMOsG, the reality of cash-for-currency trading has impacted many MMOGs directly, as some "players" exist in the game solely to raise funds.