I have yet to read the entire book, but in all fairness from what I’ve read so far I really like. Admittedly I have never played WoW or any other MMORPG, but the idea of “gold farming” is certainly intriguing. Getting paid for playing games is a dream for every gamer, but gold farming requires a lot more time to be invested with little gain. Perhaps it’s for this reason that the majority of goldfarmers are found in poorer countries as the return compared to the time invested isn’t all that appealing, Chinese gold farmers for instance were found to be working 12 hour shifts 7 days a week and get approximately 18p ($0.30) an hour; although to put things in perspective a recent study found that Gold farmers receive a higher percentage of sale revenue from their work than farmers of fair trade coffee.
Back to the original question however, “How realistic is FTW?” In the first three chapters we meet three characters, each with their own story and back story, but ultimately are all fans of the MMORPG genre, and who are also fortunately talented. The three characters that we have met so far also live in completely different countries, with completely different histories, but each of their stories helped me understand the appeal of the game. At first whilst I was reading Matthew’s story, it was a little hard to imagine a group of mobsters breaking into his home because of gold farming, but the more I researched the topic online the more I was able to see that this type of thing does happen, and quite often too with academic studies of gold farming revealing that the social networks of gold farmers are similar to those of drug dealers; or in a more even more so prisoners in Chinese labour camps were forced to engage in gold farming for the benefit of the prison authorities! In all fairness the other two stories follow a similar pattern, playing the game for personal fulfilment, which then turns to financial gain but against the wishes of some important (whether in a good or bad sense) to the character.
Overall I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who has a general interest in computers and the various ways that they are being utilized these days, also I would recommend the book to anyone who isn’t au fait with economics but would like to learn in a slightly different way to the norm.