In case you haven’t been keeping an eye on the news, Venezuela is in a rather bad way. Some people from the country are turning to unconventional money-making methods to get by in an extremely unstable economy. One of those methods is gold farming in games like Runescape. Unfortunately, some in the Runescape community haven’t responded in a way that could be deemed sensitive.
This started last month when Version Final, a newspaper based in Maracaibo, wrote an article about a player who fed his child by supplementing his full-time job with Runescape. He’d farm for in-game gold, then sell it to other players for real money. After that, players of Old School Runescape on Reddit say they began to notice an influx of Spanish-speaking players. These players would kill certain beasts in part of the game’s map, harvesting items worth small amounts of gold (well, small when translated to their real-world value).
For the record, there’s not that much money in gold farming — players can kill dragons for hours in Runescape and only make a few dollars. It’s also against Runescape rules, the breaking of which I don’t condone. But it can still be a reliable source of income when you have few other options.
Regardless, a player on the Old School Reddit published a guide dedicated to “Killing Venezuelans.” The post has since been deleted and the comment thread locked, but it basically told you how to allegedly identify a Venezuelan player and attack them, including how to insult them. I can’t tell if it’s intended to be serious or not, but it seems pretty mean-spirited even for a joke.
I understand they’re breaking the rules and that’s not good for anyone in a gaming community, particularly not one with its own economy. I’m not saying gold farming should be allowed full stop. But I would think if any situation called for a little compassion and tact, it’d be this one.
The moderator who locked the thread said, “I’m pretty sure i don’t need to explain why but i am disappointed with our community right now.”
We’ve contacted Jagex, the developer of Runescape, for comment about whether it’s aware of the situation with gold farming, or if the influx of Venezuelan players is as large as the comments are making it seem. We’ll update if we receive comment.