How Runescape is Taking Over Venezuela

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Venezuela. A country along the northern coast of South America with a population of 32 million.

Life is not good for many in Venezuela; the country is stuck amidst a tornado of dreadful acts such as a discontent towards the political parties, hyperinflation, and constant power cuts. These stresses, and numerous more, cause much unrest and depression across the country. Powercuts alone stop businesses temporarily, stop people from using their computers and, as the lights cut out, they actually encourage theft and vandalism, making the country more corrupt and unsafe. It can be difficult to thrive Venezuela as many people cannot afford basic supplies such as food and medicine.

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Overall, life in Venezuela is very tough compared to other countries in the world. That’s why many Venezuelans have turned to alternative methods of income – including some rather unusual ones. One such method is gold farming in Runescape.

What is Runescape?

Runescape is a popular free-to-play MMORPG that first released in January 2001. Despite its age, it’s still very popular, with many people playing it since childhood. The game involves training skills such as mining or woodcutting, meeting new people and making new friends. There are also enemies to kill and bosses to slay in Runescape, which drop loot that you can sell for Runescape gold, the in-game currency used to buy and sell items. People can also buy/sell in-game gold for real money – which is how profit can be made in real life.

What is “Gold Farming” on Runescape?

“Gold farming” is a general term that’s used across many online games. It involves the act of making mass amounts of in-game currency then selling it for a real-world profit. It’s an extremely popular popular practice in less developed countries such as Venezuela – it can be very profitable, and there’s little to no barrier of entry. As long as you have access to a PC (being from 2001, Runescape doesn’t demand much power), you’re able to play and farm this free-to-play game.

In almost all games, gold farming is against the Terms of Service, and publishers will not hesitate to ban or lock players’ accounts if they are caught doing this. It is also pretty common amongst the younger generation who crave extra money but can’t yet go out to work. In Venezuela, it is said that 50% of the younger generation are using Runescape to gold farm.

How Venezuelans are Gold farming

The different gold farming methods in Runescape are endless. One of the most popular methods in the game is through killing monsters for loot. Green Dragons can provide a player a good amount of consistent in-game gold through its loot drops. It drops two items every time guaranteed: Dragon Bones and Green Dragon hide. These can be sold on the in-game market place for around 4,500 gold pieces. These gold pieces can be sold on many third party sites for a few cents.

That may not sound like a lot, but skilled Runescape players are able to kill a Green Dragon every few seconds, so those few cents add up. And in countries like Venezuela, with a much lower cost of living, earning a few dollars a day can go pretty far.

There are other, more profitable activities that can be completed in Runescape too. The most successful gold farmers in Venezuela are believed to be earning more money than the country’s doctors, which is simply insane.

How do they sell the gold?

There are many third party websites which provide the service of exchanging Runescape gold for real money, but most operate in a similar fashion. The trade is done in game; the player will be given a location within Runescape, where they’ll find another character with whom to trade the gold. Once the trade is complete, the real-world value will be sent to the player via PayPal, Bitcoin, or another payment option they’ve selected.

How Runescape gold is changing Venezuelan’s lives

The majority of jobs in Venezuela are very badly paid and often involve working in poor conditions. To be able to access an income from something like Runescape can be life-changing to a lot of people.

It can have a very great, positive impact on a Venezuelan life; gold farming in Runescape can mean the difference of being able to afford rent, bills, food, medicine, clothes and all the other essentials in life. The fact that some people in Venezuela can afford good medicine and save their life solely because of playing Runescape truly shows the kind of power and influence technology and gaming can have – even if it is against the game’s T&Cs. People can even put themselves or their children through good education, allowing them to become knowledgeable individuals.

Is it right or wrong?

From a Runescape player’s perspective, it’s very clear that gold farming and selling gold is wrong. It breaks Terms of Service and can ruin the game’s economy. However: it is saving the lives of individuals in Venezuela. Is this not far greater and more meaningful than a fluctuation in price of a virtual item of a game?

The act of gold farming will always be a cause for argument and controversy in certain gaming communities. But as long as players can find loopholes and ways to do it, it will most likely remain a way for some people to earn a living. The bright side is that gold farming has opened up new revenue opportunities for people in need – one could even go as far as to say it saves lives.