The Life of the Chinese Gold Farmer
Article Tools Sponsored By
By JULIAN DIBBELL
Published: June 17, 2007
It was an hour before midnight, three hours into the night shift with nine more to go. At his workstation in a small, fluorescent-lighted office space in Nanjing, China, Li Qiwen sat shirtless and chain-smoking, gazing purposefully at the online computer game in front of him. The screen showed a lightly wooded mountain terrain, studded with castle ruins and grazing deer, in which warrior monks milled about. Li, or rather his staff-wielding wizard character, had been slaying the enemy monks since 8 p.m., mouse-clicking on one corpse after another, each time gathering a few dozen virtual coins — and maybe a magic weapon or two — into an increasingly laden backpack.
Julian Dibbell has written a book entitled Play Money which explores the implications of Chinese Gold Farming in World of Warcraft.
A short story called Anda’s Game which also involves Chinese gold farmers can also be found in Cory Doctrow’s new collection of shortstories Overclocked.