An intersting interview with an alleged Chinese gold farmer who is making around 4 milion gold an hour using bots has appeared today. It’s a pretty slow interview due to a translation service being used, but according to the farmer the current level of botting and farming will completely destroy the economy.
In the interview, the farmer mentions that there are at least 10,000 accounts currently farming in the game. These accounts are leveled to Inferno and then set to work on farming. They are taking around 2 days to take the accounts to Inferno running 24 hours a day and he goes on to say that Blizzard are not banning the accounts even though they are active 24/7. He/she thinks this is because Blizzard will be making money eventually from the RMAH and the farming will be allowed to carry on. A bit of a bold statement, one which I can’t really buy into.
You can watch the interview after the break where I have also given more of a breakdown on the interview contents.
Below the video is a full transcript also (thanks to Elly for enduring the video and transcribing that).
The farmers are saving as much as possible before the RMAH opens so as to flood the market on launch and are set to undercut everyone with a flood of gold/items so that the market will become “usesless”. Legendary items will cost so little that the market value of everything else will be so small. The farmer is also concerned about the increase to drop rates which could make the problem even worse.
The farmer rather oddly states that Blizzard need to update Warden even though the farmers are supposedly using an “undetected method” for their bots. He also thinks that Blizzard are unlikely to stop these bots for around 2/3 months.
Currently farmers are selling their gold on third party sites to help fund the activities. They are using stolen credit cards and Paypal accounts to buy accounts and the farmer claims there is a bug in the Blizzard Europe store which is allowing them get more accounts setup.
Regarding the current spate of account hacks, the farmer says that the accounts are not being hacked at Blizzard who he says are “bullet-proof”, but rather people’s accounts on forums, facebook and other social media, and not necessarily through fishing.
While we don’t know the exact source of who the farmer is or why he/she has come forward now to do an interview, many of the comments cover things we do know and I am sure Blizzard too are well aware of. The prevention of bots must be treated as a priority by Blizzard to hamper the farmers and prevent the economy going down the pan.
Markedragon (MeD): We have today a professional Diablo 3 Farmer and he is going to give us some information about what’s going on in the industry of farming and what his concerns are. Can you start by telling us what is it you do?
Farmer: I run bots and make gold
MeD: Do you do this for a living? Is this a full time job?
Farmer: Sell it for profit, yes.
MeD: You told me that you’re using a lot of accounts to make th egold. How many accounts are you using?
MeD: With your botting, how much gold are you actually producing with those 100 accounts?
Farmer: 300,000 an hour, per account.
MeD: So does that mean 3 million an hour or 300 million an hour, no wait, that would be 30 million an hour?
Farmer: 100 accounts are actually 200 accounts
MeD: Ok, so while you’re running this, what I’m trying to get at is how much gold you are producing….
Farmer: I play on the EU and US at the same time.
MeD: Oh I see. So you can use the accounts on both at the same time. That’s interesting. Why is it that you wanted to do this interview?
Farmer: I’m a fan and wanted to get rid of this.
MeD: What do you mean by get rid of this? You want to share this information so this activity stops?
Farmer: Nah. But to make sure people know what’s going on?
MeD: How about you tell me what is going on that you want to share?
Farmer: The economy is getting destroyed.
MeD: So hyper-inflation?
Farmer: Gold prices dropped by half in one day.
MeD: Where are gold prices right now?
Farmer: Around $12 on EU. I sell as wholesaler though.
MeD: There’s a lot of money in this, is that correct?
Farmer: yeah, a lot
MeD: You want to expose something here to help Blizzard put a stop to what is going on. Can you tell us more about that?
Farmer: Don’t buy gold from Chinese.
MeD: Are you a Chinese Farmer?
MeD: Why you would say not to buy the gold. ARe you talking about it should not be done through the auction house?
Farmer: Yeah, sure. That is Blizzard controlled.
MeD: It’s still nto going to stop the hyer-inflation. In fact as a lot of gold becomes available it will conteinually go down in value.
Farmer: I wanted to point out that Blizzard should make more sinks and higher fees according to prices.
MeD: Just like in a real world economy there is inflation. Basically when money is more plentiful the prices go up and so you’re thinking that prices should adjustin game?
Farmer: Correct, yes.
MeD: Doesn’t it at some point become ridiculous? I recently got a piece of money from Mexico that was a bill that was a million peso, the inflation there is out of control that there is even a million peso bill. I guess it just devalues gold and raises the cost of items. What is an example of something that has not gone changed in price in the game that you think should be going up because there’s more gold in the game?
MeD: The legendaries are staying at the same price and you believe they should be going up?
Farmer: Yeah. I believe it might be a viable investment.
MeD: What you’re worried about how many dollars you can make. Is that correct?
Farmer: Yeah. I want small ones gone.
MeD: As a professional Farmer I’m sure that you know other professional Farmers. Can you tell me how many professional Farmers you think are working on Diablo 3?
Farmer: 10,000 account currently
MeD: But how many Farmers is that? I mean are you able to control 10,000 accounts or is this multiple people?
Farmer: Multiple people. Ordinary people.
MeD: We’re going to stay away from the ordinary people information. We don’t want to give away things that could harm the game. What we want to do with this interview is see how we can point out some things that Blizzard can address to get more of a handle on this. What is it you are doing with these accounts to make the money in game?
Farmer: They are leveled to Inferno. Then they are farming
MeD: So they just go through and grind and bring stuff back to the auction house and sell it or just collect the gold.
MeD: How long does it take to get an account to inferno?
Farmer: Two days.
MeD: That’s not very long. Do you run them 24 hours a day?
MeD: I wonder why Blizzard would take a look at accounts that are running 24 hours a day because they would know they are not human. Do your accounts get banned?
Farmer: No, not at all. Blizzard make money too.
MeD: They may make money as well, but I suspect…once the account is purchased how is it they make money?
Farmer: Through the Real Money Auction House
MeD: That has not started yet. Is that correct?
Farmer: Yeah but people are saving gold and stuff.
MeD: Well the day the market opens I imagine that we are going to see a lot of people and being very disappointed in the price they are getting. Because if everyone is saving their gold and items the market will be flooded that day. Would you agree?
Farmer: People will sell billions of gold, under cutting, especially the Chinese. If the prices go down so much everything gets useless.
MeD: They can go down so much that it becomes not worth your time to do the farming. Is that correct?
Farmer: If Legendary costs $10 everything else costs very little.
MeD: Besides Blizzard raising the prices of items in game, what other suggestions do you have to help curb this problem?
Farmer: They are increasing the drop rates and such right now. It will increase the issue.
MeD: In MMOs, I don’t know about in something like Diablo, it’s a little bit different from a MMO it is very common for a couple of things to happen. One of those is that in the beginning it is very difficult to play the game and very few people succeed in getting the high levels early. As the game matures they make it easier and easier to reach those high levels because I believe that’s what the majority of people what. By increasing the drop rate they are basically giving players what they need and want. Why should players not get what they need and want, why should we pay attention to what you, as a Farmer, wants with the economy?
Farmer: They should update Warden then.
MeD: When Warden updates do you have trouble with your bots, do they stop functioning?
Farmer: No, not at all
MeD: Are you a programmer of bots or just use them?
Farmer: I program and manage.
MeD: Are you reading the data streams, is that how you know where to point stuff on the game or are you using some other method that Warden can’t detect?
Farmer: They can catch everything if they want but it’s an undetected method.
MeD: So are you saying it’s just currently something they haven’t caught on to yet or you don’t think they will be able to catch on to it?
Farmer: Yeah, maybe in two to threee months.
MeD: As a programmer are you making this for multiple people or are you just keeping this in house for yourself?
Farmer: I program scripts.
MeD: Do you believe that there is going to be even more botters coming in that will even further saturate the market?
MeD: How do you plan to make money on this? I know you are going sell gold on the RMAH, do you actually think you’ll make enough to make a living?
Farmer: Yeah of course. If I don’t then Blizzard failed their game.
MeD: Interesting way of looking at it. Do you have any staff working for you?
Farmer: I work with some others.
MeD: So you just pay yourself or you guys work as a group?
Farmer: We are not taking much pay, we are saving gold.
MeD: You are going to try to do this legit, which I applaud, but currently you are selling gold on the grey market, is that correct?
Farmer: Yeah as a bonus.
MeD: Even though that’s a violation of the Terms of Service of the game you are willing to take that chance to make the money?
Farmer: What risks?
MeD: I guess the risks are that you buy all these accounts and then they get banned before you can make enough money to cover the costs of the accounts?
Farmer: Well, Warden is not so good right now.
MeD: The cost of the game in the US is about $60 and if you say you have about 100 accounts running, so you’ve made about a $6,000 investment?
Farmer: Yeah, something like that. There are ways to get Diablo 3 for free.
MeD: For free. Would that be by hacking other player’s accounts?
Farmer: They are very illegal but we don’t do that. It’s mostly hacking and carting.
MeD: With carting you are using stolen Paypal accounts and stolen credit cards to make purchases of new account codes and then you use the accounts that way?
Farmer: There is a bug in Blizzard’s store with Euro banks. Also, yes, stolen credit cards. We don’t do that.
MeD: Do you buy accounts from other people who do do that?
Farmer: No, we purchase the CD kuys(?) We wanted to (inaudible as the interviewer’s phone went. At 23:29 point).
MeD: Do you have any information on the account hacking that people are reporting even with having the authenticator?
Farmer: Yeah, I know everything about that.
MeD: Would you be willing to share that information with us?
Farmer: They don’t hack the computers, the passwords.
MeD: When you say they don’t hack the computers, they don’t have the player’s computers or they don’t hack Blizzard’s computers?
Farmer: They hack forums and such and take the same email and password and test it on Blizzard.
MeD: That’s what I thought. And that is testament to all of you guys out there who are using the same email and password for forums and such for your game.
Farmer: If they have 1 million stolen emails and passwords they might get 1% to 10%
MeD: What type of websites are targets for this?
Farmer: Diablo websites or Blizzard in general.
MeD: So you are talking about Diablo fansites that have forums that you know have been succesfully hacked these and get the log ins and passwords.
Farmer: Yeah, correct, it’s easy.
MeD: And in the forums of BLizzard are you able to get anything out of there?
Farmer: No. Blizzard is bullet proof, logically.
MeD: I ran forums quite a while ago and we had 130k+ members and we had issues with hack attempts at our forum accounts quite often. We were very puzzled about it. There was one time when they got everyone’s log in and password but they didn’t log into anyone’s forum account. Do you suppose that when they got into our forums do you think they were just looking to match up
Farmer: Yeah. They used it to try on people, mail and Blizzard and such. It’s called combo.
MeD: Is that a mispronunciation of your program or is that what it’s actually called?
Farmer: Nah. It’s made to make combo lists.
MeD: We reset everyone’s password, we did that for them. We were worried they were trying to hack into the forum accounts. This was many years ago by the way. What I didn’t realise then but I’m realising now is that this was all about accessing the game accounts and it had nothing to do with our forums. I bet that alot of these forums that are getting compromised are getting compromised over and over again. Would you say that is correct?
Farmer: Yeah and Paypal and banks, Facebook and so forth and small percent Russian spammers.
MeD: They are testing this against multiple things, they are not just testing this against Diablo account they also test against Paypal and their bank log ins.
Farmer: They test it against everything and sell it.
MeD: How much do they sell these for?
Farmer: It depends on what’s on them.
MeD: 10c an account, $10 an account? Do you know the range there?
Farmer: ??? Doesn’t sell.
MeD: So let’s get back to the Diablo economy? Is there anything else you can share about that, about what Blizzard can do to help there from being hyer-inflation?
Farmer: Increase sinks and prevent botters? And fix farming spots and exploits.
MeD: Do you think Blizzard know about these exploits or are they unknown things that just keep getting exploited.
Farmer: Yeah they know about it all. It’s all over Youtube.
MeD: So there are plenty of videos showing how to do these exploits?
Farmer: Yeah, we are just automating them.
MeD: What happens to you if all your accounts get banned? You just buy more accounts?
Farmer: Just buy new ones and fix the problems.
MeD: So for Farmers it’s worth to spend another $6k, buy another 100 accounts and start over again?
Farmer: Yeah, so many players.
MeD: Is there anything else you’d like bring up at this interview?
Farmer: I’m good.
MeD: What I don’t understand is that you are advocating that Blizzard work against botters and you are a botter but you think you’ll be able to survive if they keep finding you?
Farmer: Yeah. But I bypass the small ones.
MeD: What are small ones?
Farmer: They are little fish who use m???? and injections they are easily detected.
MeD: Oh I see by Warden. So you have so much faith in your method that you are not detectable?
Farmer: I believe it will be profitable before they patch Warden.
Interesting (depressing?) that this guy hopes Blizzard turns up their security from the current minimal level, since he thinks that will take out the amateur botters but won’t effect an expert like him. Thus removing much of his competition and helping to keep gold prices higher.