Ooh, those gold farmers, how they infuriate MMORPG players so! The way to combat them seems pretty clear, though: add an official way to buy gold. Jagex has reported an 81% drop in the amount of farmed gold floating around its free-to-play RuneScape in the month since it added a sanctioned 'bonds' to buy gold for cash.
The 'Pay-through-Play' scheme sells in-game 'bonds' for $5, which can be cashed in for various goods and services or sold to other players like any other item. Simply, it's a way to buy gold for cash, as long as someone's willing to pay for your bond. And it seems to work.
"The amount of wealth injected by illegal gold farmers" into the game has dropped by 81%, whatever that exactly means, according to Jagex. Fewer farmers and sellers should mean happier players, though of course any new form of monetisation in a F2P game can be received poorly.
Jagex chief operations officer Riaan Hodgson said in today's announcement, "While we anticipated that the launch of Bonds would impact the flow of illegal wealth into the game, we are thrilled the initiative has resulted in such a strong and immediate impact."