Bonds – One Week In

Mod Pips talks about the first week of Bonds, including the latest stats on bond usage and gold farmers.

Hi everyone,

One week on since Bonds launched, we’ve had a great response from the community and have seen this new feature have an immediate impact on the game. There have been some mixed opinions too; this is quite a big change for the game and it’s understandable that some players will be sceptical. In this post, I’ll share info on the difference Bonds has made and give my own thoughts on some of the topics the community has been discussing.

Bonds' impact on gold farming

Bonds were conceived as a way to cripple gold farmers, whose illicit real world trading was damaging the game economy and disrupting gameplay. Though it is early days, we’ve already seen some really promising results. Analysis of gold farmer activity has shown that since the launch of Bonds:

  • Wealth injected by gold farmers has dropped by 81%
  • Quantity of real-world trades have dropped by 61%
  • Volume of wealth real-world traded has dropped by 63%

I had expected Bonds to have a more mild effect to start and grow over time to increasingly undermine gold farmers, but actually the impact was strong and swift – great news!

I’ve read some forum posts saying that Bonds cannot be effective against gold farmers if real-world traders can sell black market gold cheaper. While that seems logical, it’s not actually the case. The price of Bonds in RSGP is player-decided, so will naturally reach the value players are willing to trade for, and fills the demand that gold farmers would otherwise serve. As already shown, Bonds don’t need to compete directly on price in order to undermine gold farmers' business, marginalise their place in the market and send them packing.

The war on gold farmers

I want to reassure you that Bonds complement our existing anti-gold farmer and anti-bot initiatives, not replace them. Botwatch and related back-end systems target the supply side of the problem, while Bonds target the demand side.

We continue to evolve our anti-gold farmer systems. For example, last week while launching Bonds we deployed an upgraded trade analysis tool, and this week we started work on an extended suite of anti-gold farmer features for BotWatch. I can also confirm that on Monday we performed a large-scale perm-ban of accounts using 3rd party clients, totalling in the tens of thousands.

Bonds doesn’t stop our other protective measures; we will continue to trace and intercept real-world trades, strip wealth from gold farmers and mule accounts, and be ruthless in banning accounts caught harming the game in this way.

Bond usage stats

As well as seriously undermining gold farmers, Bonds have the nice side-effects of opening up availability for membership and allowing you to pay through play. Here are some of the headline statistics from the first week:

  • Over 3,500 Bonds gifted to other players.
  • Over 10,000 free-to-play players used Bonds to become members.
  • Over 800 years of membership has been redeemed via Bonds.
  • Over 3,000,000 RuneCoins have been redeemed via Bonds.
  • Over 13 billion GP sunk into the Bonds re-trade tax.
  • Almost 10% of ticket sold for RuneFest so far have been purchased using Bonds.

We’ve also heard some great reports of how players have used Bonds to help each other, including a clan clubbing together to buy a RuneFest ticket with Bonds for one of their clanmates, who couldn’t afford the price otherwise. Those stories are really wonderful to hear.

I’m really pleased that more players can now get involved with RuneScape membership through Bonds. I love the idea that with a few hours dedicated gameplay to make money, players can pay for their next chunk of membership, and continue doing that without having to buy with real money at all.

I hope this post has been informative and interesting, and shows how powerful Bonds will continue to be for getting rid of gold farming and improving the overall health of the game. If you have any further questions or comments, you might want to check out the Q&A session that myself, Mod Mark and Mod Dean will be doing on the RuneScape sub-Reddit on Thursday 5pm BST.

Thanks for reading,

Mod Pips
Executive Producer, RuneScape

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