|What CREDD Does|
But Runescape's bot and RMT problems continued. In an announcement yesterday, Jagex CEO Mark Gerhard stated that so far in 2013 that over 1.1 million botting accounts were banned and 3.7 trillion gold pieces seized from gold farmer accounts.1 But that has not slowed down the botters too much. Jagex identified 150-170 billion gold pieces injected into the game's economy over the past few months.2 That's what they detected. Who knows how much was produced that was undetected.
At the end of the video Gerhard announced the introduction of Bonds, an item that players can use to pay their membership fee. The idea, like CCP's in 2008, is that players will use the approved method of purchasing in-game currency through the company and shun the gold selling sites. According to a live stream on Twitch, the final straw that made Jagex create bonds was the discovery that 40-50% of their active player base (i.e. members) were purchasing gold from the grey market sites.
I've watched part of the live stream and I really think that Gerhard and his team have underestimated how fast and effectively a PLEX-type system will work. I base this not only on CCP's experience with PLEX but with the ease of finding sites that sell Runescape gold. When I went to put together a list of sites selling EVE Online ISK in July I first did a Google search on buying EVE Online ISK and found four sites through the Google Ads that appeared. When I did the same for Runescape gold yesterday, I found ads for 13 sites. Finding gold selling sites for Runescape, at least compared to EVE, is extremely easy. If that many companies are actively advertising on Google, then business is probably good.
As I've written before, high ban counts don't necessarily mean much if the prices the gold sellers is not affected. So what is the price of Runescape gold? Looking at the sites advertising on Google, the median price was $41.11 for 100 million GP. So that is the price players need to watch as the months go by to see if Jagex' efforts work.
1. At the median price found from the RMT sites found advertising with Google Ads, the real world value is approximately $US 1.5 million.
2. At the median price found from the RMT sites found advertising with Google Ads, the real world value is approximately $US 60,000 - $US 70,000 per month.