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Exploiting Miners - How I accidentally became a
Runescape coal baron
Pcgamer. . r" . atp. trt. 11 ELIE 39
This article first appeared in PC Garner UK issue 233. Written by Matt Lees.
What are you doing, Matt?" asked my friend. It was March EDGE and he had spotted me through the
window of our college computer room. Why wasn' t I in the pub with the rest of our friends? I explained that
I was playing a free fantasy MMO called Runescape. Technically, that was true. It was certainly true
enough to suffice as an answerbag now-
Oh. Righte He was clearly unimpressed by the loverevolution blobs trundling around the screen. "Is it
to do with killing dragons and goblins?" "Yes," I lied. “It' s just a bit offen-” I wasn' t happy that my new
friends at college thought I was spending all my free time killing waves of magical monsters, but it was
better than the truth. The truth was that, driven by impatience and greed, I had found myself running a
coal mining business fuelled by child labour.
In my defence, I didn' t intend for it to end anthis way- I don' t think anyone living in rural Cheshire ever
really intends to get into child exploitation. I never really planned to start buying Rage Against the
Machine albums, and I wouldn' t recommend that either.
None ehwhat I achieved back then could be carried out today, anyway- In ELICIT, Runescape' s developers
introduced the Grand Exchange, a marketplace in which players are able to easily buy and sell their
goods for fair and reasonable prices. Back in EDGE, though, Runescape was awile new world. Outside of
the game' s NPC shops, buying and selling items usually relied on players simply standing on the streets
for hours at atime, shouting their best offers at anyone who' d listen. It was iworld ripe with opportunity