Times are very tough in Venezuela. There’s no other way to put it. The cost of food and medicine has skyrocketed under the nation’s runaway inflation. The government seems less interested in solving those problems than it is in cracking down on dissent that has boiled over in the past six months.
So many people in Venezuela have turned to gold farming in old-school Runescape that a newspaper there published an article on how to be done about three weeks ago. Now this week, someone posted a guide on the old-school Runescape subreddit that effectively made anyone from the nation a target in the game, whether or not they were gold farming.
Yes, farming gold is obnoxious, against the game’s rules and will get someone banned. But the wave of anger in cresting in the Runescape community this week isn’t about the gold farmers. It’s about the people killing them (in the game).
“It's not this post that disappoints me, its the blatant racist and 'edgy' comments left by people that have no idea what it must be like to live in a situation were your economy is collapsing,” wrote a moderator, who locked the thread five days ago. The “guide” appears to have pointed out where the foremost farming locations were, and so anyone in that area, particularly killing green dragons, was a candidate for getting attacked.
Venezuelan gold farmers who always bring cheap runescape gold are in the wilderness PvP area harvesting green dragons, the selling the hides and bones they drop in Runescape’s Grand Exchange. That currency computes to about 50 cents per hour, with more advanced players getting around $2 or $3. Believe it or not, Runescape 2007 Gold is traded on sites along with Bitcoin and other virtual currencies.
This Post asserts that $2 or $3 an hour is more than the income of “the majority of college educated professionals in the country.” This story in The New York Times last week mentioned that inflation has plunged the value of Venezuela’s currency to half that of the dollar, effectively reducing minimum wage earnings to $5 a month.
“I am Venezuelan and I am deeply hurt by reading some of the comments in this thread. I have been part of this community since old-school came out and have never seen so much hate and racism. ” wrote Redditor flogging (in a comment moved to the top of the thread by moderators).
“Let me tell you something, these people are doing whatever they can to survive and they have never done anything wrong,” flogging went on. “As a Venezuelan I can tell you that the hate towards my people is sad and something I never expected to come from this community.”
Another user pointed out that an earlier tactic, killing the boss known as Zulrah, was netting someone $5 a day until Runescape publisher Jagex nerfed what Zulrah dropped in response.
More polite anti-Venezuelan comments pointed out that gold farming was against the Runescape Rules (punishable by account bans) and some wrote off the guide as a joke. But few found it a laughing matter, especially as it assumed that anyone from Venezuela in the game was a gold farmer, getting them killed in PvP despite not doing anything wrong.
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