Jagex's introduction of Bonds and its "pay-through-play" initiative have led to a massive decline in RuneScape's illicit gold farming.
Back at the end of September Jagex, the company behind RuneScape, unveiled new "Bond" items that players can purchase and trade for membership time, spins and in-game RuneCoins. The goal of the new Bonds was to give players a legitimate way to obtain more gold and, in turn, stunt the gold farming that had longed plagued the game and its economy.
Roughly a month later Jagex is reporting that the bond initiative has been a complete and unequivocal success, reducing gold farming activities by a whopping 80 percent. Not surprisingly, these results have vastly exceeded the company's expectations. "While we anticipated that the launch of Bonds would impact the flow of illegal wealth into the game, we are thrilled the initiative has resulted in such a strong and immediate impact," said COO Riaan Hodgson. "This action lays the foundations for RuneScape to continue going from strength to strength in its second successful decade!"
In addition to combating gold farming, Jagex had also hoped for the Bonds to help serve as part of the foundation of its evolving "Pay-Through-Play" initiative. The idea was to boost the game's profits by providing players with appealing items they could purchase with real money and then use to access premium content or trade with other players. According to executive producer Phil Mansell, the company has "had a great response from the community since" the Bonds first launched. "The passionate RuneScape community hasn't wasted time in sharing with us how Bonds are helping them and their friends," Bonds can be purchased in-game for $5, £3 or €4.25 each.