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How a Gold Farm Works(2)

Not only were there macros, but there were rumors of a "banker dupe" which were probably untrue, and there were also rumors of an offset hack to make the server think you dropped to a negative amount of money, which would put your character at a very very large positive amount of money. I believe the latter more, because the banker would require inside help, and while it's possible I don't think it's probable.

I lost 10 employees at that time. 100k platinum was a large amount back then, still, and to make that consistently on a daily basis with a couple of people was difficult. Since many of my employees were husband / wife teams of players with families to support, they could not afford to remain in a situation where their income was cut down to about $25 a day.

It was fixed, of course, but it is interesting to note that once it was fixed prices never returned to $200 per 100k, but rather went to $75 per 100k at the most. Enough platinum had entered Everquest to drop prices by more than half outside of the game. The effects were very very noticeable in game as well. While the issue was still present, ornate armors and the like which were top end droppables at the time, were reaching wild prices of 200k platinum and up, and they were selling. After it was fixed, top end items which had gone for 25k to 40k each, were now near 75k to 100k each and remained there for quite some time (before the top end item price went up again, and not down).

If you look back, this time period also marks the beginning of the decline of Everquest subscriptions. To be fair this was also in the midst of Gates Of Discord, but I can't help but believe the tidal wave that ripped through the bazaar may have contributed to that happening. It certainly would be frustrating to be saving up for some gear as a casual player, only to find the things you were saving up for nearly doubled or tripled in price within weeks, while your platinum didn't come to you any faster. Part of what my business was, was understanding what my customer's needs were. And many were just your average casual player who bought a bit of plat, 10k or 20k, here and there, to work on some tradeskills or to pick up a new hat or pair of boots in the bazaar. I dealt with a sea of emails at the time, from such customers, who were extremely frustrated at the whole mess, and many who outright quit as they were then almost forced to buy platinum to keep up their level of playing that was fun for them, and that made the game no longer a game to them.

My other customers consisted of the stereotypical plat buyer that people seem to dislike. The guy who goes out and spends $2000 on platinum (which gets you about 15 million platinum right now, or which got you 4 million platinum a couple months ago). These were the people with lots of money or who just had EQ as their main hobby (we all have one of those money sink hobbies to an extent) and had no qualms about spending such money on a videogame as it was fun for them to do so. Then there were the guilds, or guild officers and leaders who would buy platinum to pay for their guild's armor pieces, or high end players who would buy platinum for rare items like amulet of necropotence, mask of tinkering, blade of carnage, or other things their guild did not actively kill, or which were almost required for individuals to make it in a high end guild as they needed a "taunt weapon" or the like.

So anyways, after this great decline, things were very stable for the next year and a half. Prices in and out of game were stable, increasing and decreasing on the order of between 10 and 15 percent per year, which is normal. Prices on platinum dropped from $75 per 100k in late 2003 to $50 per 100k in mid 2005. I spent more time speaking with other sellers, and more time diversifying how we obtained platinum until the point where we, 8 people, were the sole supplier on 4 post merge servers, for everquest platinum to the big three sellers. There was no reason for them to lie to us about this, of course. They did have other sources of platinum at a rate of about 50k per day from people selling bits and pieces here and there, or they'd get a million from someone now and again, but they did not have the steady flow on the 4 servers from anyone else at all other than us. This was about $500 a day per server, or about $180,000 a year, divided amongst 8 people. It was barely manageable when you factor in health insurance and taxes.

In July of this year, one of the big sellers we dealt with, with a name starting with "G" (as I'd rather not mention them here lest people think I am trying to get them more business) told us and their other suppliers that they no longer had any need for platinum from us. They closed off any buys from people, and dropped their price from $50 to $40 per 100k on the market, and instead of having varying amounts for sale per server, they had millions on every server.

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