Gold sellers have become a serious issue in the modern era of MMORPGs. Not only are thousands of accounts made every day solely with the intent of farming gold and making real world money, but those doing so do it in a way that jeopardizes the quality of immersion in the games affected.
Blade & Soul is the latest MMORPG to grace the West, and naturally it's the newest born to be hit by a storm of gold sellers. Unfortunately, it's being affected at a severity far beyond anything the region has seen before. The perfect storm has been created by the game's free-to-play nature, heavy reliance on in-game currency to acquire goods and gear, as well as it already having been released in Southeast Asia four years ago.
This rush of interest by gold sellers has been felt by every player of Blade & Soul. They're first introduced the moment they spawn in the game world and see their chat screen flooded with gold selling messages. The flood of messages lay waste to the chat window, making it difficult for players to have a proper conversation with clanmates and friends.
Filtering or customization of the 'All' chat window isn't possible in its current state, so players are urged to manually block these gold sellers as an interim solution, but it doesn't take long to fill up the 50 slot block list. Within a couple days the block list typically ends up being filled and any form of defense against the spam is negated. The spam is then able to terrorize the player who has no way to stop it.
Beyond the social implications of the issue, what many don't realize is how the gold sellers themselves impact accessibility. Multi-hour queues for non-Premium players have been made far worse by the thousands of gold seller characters that are made on a daily basis, which typically don't logoff the game in normal fashion. On an average day it's typical to see dozens of bots sitting around in a town area taking up precious server space while players hoping to try out the game for their first time are forced to wait in unbearably lengthy queues.
The impact of this issue on the atmosphere of Blade & Soul has been catastrophic. The game's queues and immersion are among the two most troubling elements that have dissuaded players from playing the game long-term, and it hasn't gotten any better since the game's launch more than a week ago.
NCSOFT understands the severity of this issue, and has devoted as many resources as possible to creating a solution. Assistant Producer Jonathan Lien shared that it "is currently being worked on as a top priority". Soon, an increase to the limit on the block list, auto-removal of banned accounts from the list, and better detection of gold seller accounts will be implemented.
In the meantime, Blade & Soul serves as a prime example of how strong the gold selling industry is in 2016. It's kept me from logging in during the past three days, and could very well end up deserving the majority of the blame if the game doesn't achieve its full potential in the West.
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