MMOs and selling gold; it’s a combination that, in spite of the best efforts of developers, continues to be a large-scale problem that developers have been hard-pressed to stymie and users have been hard-pressed to avoid.
This is prominently seen within Final Fantasy XIV, the MMO that readily brings the wonderfully fantasy-laden world of Final Fantasy to a massive number of users around the world, and exacerbated by the fact that Final Fantasy XIV is free to play through a good bit of beginning content; up to Heavensward expansion currently.
Meaning you can easily sink in a couple of hundred hours in the wide world of classic fantasy RPG without so much as spending a dime.
This, as we know, tends to lower the bar for ne’er do wells or bad actors: it’s easier for them to make a free account, and continue hawking their services within global chat. Reporting these users tends to feel a bit of a hollow victory, all things considered: you’ll at most tend to receive a warning that false reports are bannable offenses, and never hear from them again.
— ZXin (@zxin0609) October 30, 2020
On November 19, 2020, however, Square Enix announced that they’ve finally brought a bit of a hammer to these users that are readily trading real money for the in-game currency, Gil. These gold farms have been noted to stem from Chinese prison camps where prisoners are forced to play MMOs non-stop during their waking hours to bring another stream of revenue to the prison.
Further, purchasing the Gil isn’t going to help too much: you need to be a 2LT within a Grand Company before you can purchase a house (a colossal gold sink in the title) and you’ll likely be farming resources regardless as you’re leveling up crafters.
Regardless, Square Enix has announced that they’ve terminated a whopping 2,914 accounts for participating in real-money trading (colloquially RMT) and terminated 378 accounts for advertising RMTs in-game in a period spanning six days: November 12 to November 18.
Square Enix encourages users to continue to report chat that advertises gold-buying services in-game, and they restate their interest in ensuring that there is as little of a platform as possible for the individuals participating in the RMT.
It ensures a fair game for all and can help discourage certain nations from forcing indentured peoples to profit through digital currencies.
Meanwhile, Square Enix has been hard at work on the upcoming 5.4 Patch for Shadowbringers called ‘Future Rewritten’, and have just launched a special site to offer users a sneak peek at the upcoming changes.