More about Evony

Evony advertisement

This is a massive story, so I thought that I would expand on the original article. If it was in the automobile industry or the banking industry it would be front page headlines. But the old people who are in charge of the media don’t understand games. So firstly I will do some explaining.

Gold farming I have written about before. It is the practice of playing games to generate valuable in game items which are then sold in the real world to lazy Western players who can’t be bothered playing the game properly themselves. It is a massive industry employing around 400,000 people in asia, mainly in China. Gold farmers are often on the edge of legality and they use every underhand internet technique to market themselves. They generate mountains of spam as they attack blogs and forums with their advertising. They are amongst the bad boys of the internet.

Free MMO (Massive, Multiplayer, Online) games are known as persistent world games because they are always running and provide an alternative reality. The big names are Runescape, Habbo, Club Pernguin, Maple Story and Free Realms. They have many millions of players each, all around the world. Whilst the game is free to play they have revenue models based on purchasing in game items, playing an enhanced version of the game, carrying advertising etc. They are a huge phenomenon of our times and many people you know play them.

Eric Lam is a Chinese businessman who owns or is associated with a whole cloud of companies and websites. He was sued by Microsoft for online advertising click fraud. It is thought that Lam owns the gold farming company Wowmine and that he could be earning as much as half a million dollars a day from this alone.

Now it looks like Lam has decided to go first party with his own MMO, thus cutting out the middleman. That game is Evony. And its heritage shows. When you play the game, just about everything in the game can be obtained by paying instead of playing. A blatantly exploitative business model never seen before.

The game itself is a rip off of some very well known games. The game mechanic and some in game content comes from Sid Meier’s highly successful Civilisation series. Much of the graphics came from Age of Empires.

The game itself is so flaky and bugged that it is very easy for things you have paid good money for to just disappear. Lots of people are losing money this way. And, surprise, surprise, Evony never give a refund.

Something very devious is iEvony. This is an application that you download into your PC to invite your friends to join the game in exchange for in game rewards. This could very well be a Trojan designed to harvest email addresses messenger passwords and much else. Would you trust a Chinese gold farmer inside your computer? Many gullible people are.

The advertising for Evony consists of fairly lurid female imagery. These images were mostly lifted from lingerie catalogues and, amazingly, have zero relevance whatsoever to the game. Evony are carpetbombing game websites with these adverts using multiple accounts of Google AdWords. When website owners block one source of these adverts another appears. Site owners have complained repeatedly to Google, but to no avail.

But advertising isn’t the only marketing going on. Evony are using automated spam programmes to add comments to articles on blog sites. Not once or twice. No, they are blanketing game related blogs with comments that advertise the game. Exactly what you would expect of a Chinese gold farmer.

This article just skims over what is going on here. There is enough to write a whole series of articles or even a book. What is for sure is that Evony is best avoided by everyone. Go and play Runescape, Habbo or Free Realms instead.

Edited to add:

Is Evony Malware?

Evony advert ridiculed by PopCap.

Queen of Evony competition.

Evony breasts advertising


  1. oops instead of trojan its shortcut, lol, I scanned it with avast, its not a virus

  2. babablacksheep and tyler, give me a friggin’ break. EVERYONE knows that China is the number one source of pirated dvds, software, spam and viruses. Chinese is just a descriptor of where most gold farmers are located. With over a billion people there is bound to be good and bad. No one is saying that the Chinese are bad. If it was described as American gold farmers, you wouldn’t be saying jack. Stop bringing race into a simple discussion of spam.

  3. I think that this is all really fascinating, and I’m glad you are writing about it. I do have to say, though, that I disagree with you about the pervasive use of “Chinese” in front of “gold farmer” and in conjunction with “piracy” etc.

    Perhaps because I am Chinese-Canadian I am more sensitive to this than you are. But really, just ask yourself, is there a reason to include Chinese in the sentence? In other words, are you trying to say that *spamming* is bad, or are you trying to say that *chinese spammers* are bad?

    The way the article is written, it sounds like you are trying to point out that China is the source of these spammers and gold farmers. But that’s really beside the point, isn’t it? I think you would agree that spamming is a problem, period, and any company that exists to foster and feed off of spam is a problem. That’s why we are all concerned about Evony.

    So I would personally appreciate it if the improper use of “Chinese” was acknowledged. That said, thank you for all of the writing you have done on Evony. I already appreciate that, and it is very valuable to us all.

  4. You guys are being way too sensitive to the “Chinese” thing.
    The games are from China, the man is from China, his employees work in China, and the majority of the gold farming and gold scamming involves China. Ergo, they are Chinese.
    If you think it’s an attack on your character or something, then you should be over there fixing the problems so your telepathic link is more healthy.

  5. Trevor,
    There IS a reason to tack ‘Chinese’ in front – and it has everything to do with rule of law, and nothing to do with racism. The pertinent fact is that the gold farmers are operating within a political and legal system that is opaque, indifferent to intellectual property rights, and unlikely to offer you any redress whatsoever if you have problems, whether they involve hacking, commerce, or copyright. That’s a function of the Chinese government, not ethnicity, but it IS quite germane.

  6. “I played Evony.. and all i got was a sore wrist!”
    (see website:

    the onlything *I* think this ‘campain’ is good for, is to keep people from spending MultiMassive Amount of time online, playing a game.

  7. While Evony is a mildly entertaining game to play, the ad banners used to generate traffic to their subscription servers are complete trash.

    It’s called false advertising, and although it may be considered a minor offense, you can be sued for it. Unfortunately, false advertising is becoming more and more common in ad media, both on the internet and on television. McDonald’s and similar fast food restaurants have been doing it for years. Game companies use exquisitely rendered CG sequences to sell their games instead of actual gameplay footage.

    And although the ad states that Evony is “Free Forever”, the gameplay is completely focused on getting you to pay real world money. You can’t even say “Are there any new players that could use some help?” in chat without having to pay for “speakers” to say it. Insanely long build times sucker a lot of people into buying “speed-ups” so they don’t have to wait. But, that’s our instant gratification world today, and the makers of Evony are using that to their advantage each and every day.

  8. Yeah that’s right,I said CHINESE gold farmers.Why?Because they are CHINESE.If they were African,I would call them damn AFRICAN gold farmers.Or European.I guess I’m racist because I am stating a fact.

  9. If you are stupid enough to play evony you deserve it. Making money is a serious business and ripping off the suckas is even more so.

  10. Scary stuff. I’m not sure the fact that the goldminers are Chinese is particularly relevant, however. The fact that their ethnicity is mentioned so often is a little discomforting.


  12. Yeah it’s weird… I see all these ads everywhere… The first time I saw it I was really attracted but I didn’t click on the link. Instead, I googled it and realised there was nothing to do with women so I lost interest immediately.

    I found a new ad that was supposed to be those scroll-across-types and I have took screenshots to piece them out.
    It’s on my blog.

  13. Bruce

    Thanks for your impressive works.

    After beeing addicted to Evony for 3/4 of a year, I am finally free!!!!
    And today was the first time I found reference to your work, inspite of playing and checking out Evony resources daily. Just tells how successfull their deleting strategy is….

    BUT. Your Adwords has an ad for Evony II…….

    kind regards

  14. man hat is 200% accurate! my site sometimes get some ad-comments (even with no-one viewing it) and i need to delete them…

  15. LMAO you spelled “Club Penguin” wrong!!!!!!

  16. ok first off, i doubt you can play evony in china, their retarded communist leaders have a fire wall on their internet. plus in the game RuneScape, most gold farming has been put down as it is illegal in that game. and you cant farm in Club Penguin. as for Evony, thats just the type of game it is. i dont think they coppied any other games eather. i was slightly dissapointed that the chicks in the adverts wernt in game. but i was looking for a free game to play and i quickly got addicted to it. the downside to paying for stuff in the game is that you can get attacked and farmed.

  17. The phrase “Chinese Gold Farming” is not racist. If it offends you, fine but its not racist. Is a “Mexican Hat Dance” racist or “British Bull Dog” racist or even a game of “Russian Roulet”. Gold farming was as far as I know invented in China. If it wanst, I stand corrected but the Chinese did perfected it. If it was invented and perfected and done primarily in Italy it would be “Italian Gold Farming”.

    The chinese people as a race have just as many scammers and shady individuals per capita as every other race. Deal with it. If you are of Chinese decent the phrase “Chinese Gold Farmer” doesnt apply to you nor is it directed at you. Unless you also farm gold for real world money.

    If bruce wanted to make it racist he would have left off the gold farmer bit and just said “Would you want a Chinese person in your compter.” Im not a racist and I dont defend racism. But Im sick of reading and hearing people cry foul of racisim simply because they feel insulted. Lets all grow an extra layer of skin.

    Be Well!

  18. Hey Bruce i wanted to add something here…..I played evony.I spent $120 on the game.Not only did the game “Glitch” a little while afterwards i lost everything i paid for.I tried contacting them the only way they have available.Which is thru email.Its been over 1 month and still no response.I did how ever get an automated response that everyone gets when they tried to contact evony.

  19. Also if u guys want to warn more ppl u should go to their Facebook official page.Yes evony has expanded to FB now and are stealing ppl’s money by the minute now.

  20. When i saw this blog i felt myself so sad of the people that pay there money to this at least i can’t play the game because it won’t let me go on the server they just copy world of warcraft,runescape some other games and now more scams are coming evrybody lets kick these scammers A**

  21. I was suspicious of Evony after the first week.

    1: English language accuracy was low level, resulting in huge confusion for beginners (ie – the persistent use of the word “valley” , when its actually a resource location)

    2: Confusing terminology between Rank and Title

    3: Wiki page is too extensive covering basics, but lacking in specifics. No usefull search engine therein !

    4: Subscribers who initially enjoy the game, become frustrated with lack of advancement, so they have to purchase items to continue.

    5: Now it gets insidious. A Medal Box is advertised as 88-cents to purchase. Its real cost is $10 USD minimum

    6: You will never understand all the rules ! There are so many products and enhancements to achieve or purchase, for you to continue. Your better devoting the time to get a real Law Degree.

    7: The game is full of ‘shills’ If you make a negative comment in World Chat, you will get 4 or 5 immediate whispers countering your opinion. Then, unsurprisingly, you don’t have enough cents to further comment in public chat. But you can purchase cents to allow you to continue. Strange, huh ?

    8: There is no end result or winner ! I suspect the top ranked Hosts and Lords are game employees, managing and farming the game.

    9: You cannot appeal or dispute an action or result that you have incurred. Because ………….

    10: The developers are making up the rules as they go along As well they can adjust settings, tables, algorithims or what ever they want to their advantage.

    CONCLUSION: Try the game. Don’t get too emotional with it. Quit when you feel your compelled to buy a Medal to advance. These developers make me nervous about protecting my c/card.

  22. Ok, I must admit I played the game for a year and a half and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. I even spent the occasional $30 US on it to get items to allow me to enjoy it further. That is until last month….

    June 18, 2010 numerous charges appeared on my paypal account to Regan Mercantile which is evony’s source for payments through paypal. I recognized it from the few times I actually did pay. What was wrong this time? Monthly recurring subscriptions at $30 US a pop repeatedly that I did not authorize, the end total came to a bounced checking account of over $1100 US!!!

    Between paypal and my bank account I have a fraud investigation going as there is no way in hell that I would allow this to happen. Both are being extremely helpful and understanding. They also brought to my attention that it was further a weird situation that even after my bank account and c/c had refused further action and was rejecting the payments, suddenly money was being sent back into my account so more money could be charged against it. My bank said they had never seen anything like this.

    Now to evony’s side of the issue. After they were contacted about the issue the only answer I got from them was to pay for all of the rejected payments in full. They refused to go back and restore my account to what it was before this happened. They did not care that my paypal account was somehow accessed without permission. The end result on their side is that my account is permanently frozen in holiday mode and they will not unfreeze it until they get the money they want which is a ridiculous amount.

    On my side, I am done with the game completely. I have closed the paypal account and the associated bank account due to this issue. I now have gone back to the games I used to play and am spreading word everywhere that I can to warn others from getting caught in this same scam. I have told them I will not pay for something I didn’t authorize them to take in the first place.

  23. I find your persistent stress on the phrase “Chinese gold farmers” quite confusing. Granted, the guy is Chinese, he owns a gold farming practice in China, but what does that have to do with Evony itself? Because Evony, as a program, does gold farming, Chinese style?

    Seems like an ad hominem attack.

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