Real-money trading companies want to sell you gold for cash. To do that, they have to collect the gold, and they have to advertise it. They collect gold by looting it off stolen accounts, and by using stolen accounts for botting. They advertise it by using stolen accounts for spamming.
If people wouldn’t buy gold from these real-money trading companies, the cash incentive to steal accounts would disappear. We’d see almost no account hacking, account looting, organized botting, or spamming ads.
We’ve seen a very few cases where hackers purchased gems on accounts after hacking them. This is an uncommon type of attack because we do have in-game restrictions in place to prevent wealth from being transferred off an account in a case like this.
We’ve deployed new restrictions to prevent hackers from using stored credit cards on stolen accounts in this way, and we also now provide users the option to delete stored credit cards.
Of course, if any customer finds that a hacker has created unauthorized charges against his credit card, that player can contact our support team to get the charges refunded.
But nothing is black-or-white. No matter how much we remove profit incentive, the fact remains that Guild Wars 2 is a popular game, and any popular game will attract hackers. So we keep security at the forefront of everything we do. We introduce new features, such as email authentication, two-factor authentication, and password blacklisting, to help keep accounts secure. We maintain an open dialog with our players about what the real threats are, so that players know how to protect themselves. And we have a team of GMs standing by to help those who do get hacked.
So with Guild Wars 2, we legitimatized buying gold, but did it in a way that puts the power in the hands of the players, not in the hands of the real-money trading companies. Players who want to buy gold can now do it in the game, in an open market with other players, trading gold for gems, which the receiving players can use to buy any microtransactions they want but can’t convert back to cash. As long as players purchase their gold this way, there isn’t a flow of cash back to the real-money trading companies, and thus there isn’t a profit incentive to hack accounts.
So the roots of our protection go deep into the design of Guild Wars 2, and we’ll leverage that design to keep Guild Wars 2 a safer environment than traditional MMOs.