Real-Money Trading Policy
It is our goal to provide an enjoyable experience to every Guild Wars player. That's why we take the topic of real-money trading (buying and selling gold or in-game items for real-world money) very seriously. Every week, we ban thousands of accounts used by real-money trading companies, because those companies harm the game for other players by running large networks of bots to farm gold and items, spamming chat channels with their advertisements, and even attempting to steal login credentials from unsuspecting players.
Why we crack down on real-money trading
Real-money trading and related activities such as botting and spamming are breaches of the User Agreement and Rules of Conduct. These rules help protect the entire Guild Wars community from abuse by providing a set of guidelines for fair play that allow all players to enjoy the game. Real-money trading activities negatively impact the fun of many players.
For example, real-money trading companies set up networks of computers to constantly spam players. Message spamming in cities and towns can be irritating to many players who wish to use the chat channels to legitimately buy or sell items, look for a group or a friend, or get advice on some aspect of the game. These messages clutter the chat screen, upsetting regular players because their own messages get lost in the clutter or scroll off the screen too quickly due to all that computer-generated spam.
Real-money trading also upsets the game's economy. Many players spend countless hours of game time earning gold so they can purchase skills, weapon upgrades, or runes to improve their characters. However, regular players cannot compete with the huge bot networks run on hundreds of computers that real-money trading companies use to constantly farm the game. These bot farms can make it nearly impossible for casual and hard-core players alike to reap the benefits of the time they spend in the game. Players may find that the value of their hard-earned items has dropped due to a glut of bot-collected items, or they may find that the cost of their upgrades skyrocket due to all that purchased gold flooding the market.
There is also a shady side to real-money trading that players may not realize exists, but which has a serious impact on many players. Real-money trading companies hack into and steal legitimate accounts, often by distributing keystroke-logging malware to steal passwords. In fact, simply purchasing gold from these companies may open you up to a later hacking attempt. These hacked accounts are then stripped clean of any valuable in-game items and/or used for botting.
We are concerned that this kind of illegal activity happens more and more often in the games we all love to play. Ask any player who has had an account hacked (or fallen prey to a fraudulent scheme in the game) how he or she feels about it, and you will surely begin to understand how this growing problem affects the game.
How we deal with real-money traders
To help protect the Guild Wars community from the problems caused by real-money trading, we aggressively pursue these companies and try to stop them from abusing our players and the game. Listed below are some of the measures we take to protect Guild Wars players from the abuses of real-money trading companies.
- We identify and ban accounts—typically more than 5,000 per week—being used by real-money trading companies.
- We attempt to identify stolen accounts and return them to their rightful owners.
- Our GMs monitor the game around the clock so they can remove botters and spammers from the game, often within hours of account creation.
- When we detect a large amount of abuse from a single Internet address (IP address), we block that address from accessing the game.
- We block open proxies (open Internet servers which can relay traffic from anywhere in the world) from accessing the game.
- We identify players who purchase gold from real-money trading companies, and we suspend their accounts and remove the purchased gold. We also encourage these players to seek restitution from their credit card company. Real-money trading companies are not legally authorized to sell Guild Wars gold. They don't own the gold — ArenaNet does. Credit card companies know this, so buyers of gold can generally call their credit card companies and get the charges removed.
Remember, if you purchase gold for real-world money, you are funding these companies and supporting their behavior. These companies cause real grief to you and your fellow players on a daily basis. If you don't like them spamming, botting, hacking, and stealing accounts, then don't buy their gold.