Shinra Inc. And MMORPGs.

By: Jason Tandro

Rufus had almost forgotten how boring his life had been without the stimulation of Reeves company. Sure he was annoying, but at least he was always doing something. In the circumstances that had led to this point in his life there had, at least, been some sense of achievement. Now, however, he was just wasting time with his new profession.

He had a few months prior joined an MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) called Land of Warriors. He had originally just joined out of boredom. Sure, it wasn't the best game he'd ever played, but it was pretty, the music was cool and playing with and against other players from around the globe was kind of fun.

Hanging out with Tseng and Elena one night, the two had both confessed to having accounts.

"Yeah, I love that game!" Elena said. "Its like being a real hero, you know?"

"I play whenever Elena is on, its not my cup of tea," Tseng added. "Although to be fair its kinda fun."

"Its okay. Maybe I can join you guys one night and we can go on a raid," Rufus suggested.

"Heh, yeah. We can be like those guys who farm for gold in the game and then sell it to players for actual gil," Tseng chuckled.

Rufus froze. He looked at Tseng in an almost accusatory fashion. "Wait... There are people that actually do that?"

"Yeah," Tseng said. "They make a fair bit of gil at it too."

And at that, Rufus had found his new career.

The first few days we're sluggish, to say the least. Part of gold-farming involved needing to be strong enough to farm. Which meant his first 48 hours were devoted entirely to level-grinding. He had sworn off of Energy Drinks due to a few too many bad experiences (see Shinra Inc And Energy Drinks) but he was pushed to stay up for almost two days in a row by something like an obsession. It wasn't out of passion for the game though; it was like he was fighting for his company.

However he had to admit (around hour 51 of consecutive gameplay) that he might be losing his senses. The awakening occured shortly after he realized hed been trying for half an hour to kill a particularly stubborn windmill.

He slept for almost 10 hours before waking up to the continued chiming of the Title Screen music. He logged back in and examined his character. Level 71, with a full set of Legendary Armor. The time had come.

He traveled to a dungeon called The Money Pit. This had a reputation amongst players as one of the best places to farm for money but the monsters within were fearsome. To his surprise, he ran into somebody he knew. There was a female knight in full armor, whose username was Geneva96.

"Geneva?" Rufus asked.

"Oh, hi Rufus!" Geneva replied. "I didn't know you played LoW."

"I only started a week ago."

"Really?! You're a Level 71 Knight, what did you do play for 48 hours straight or something?"

"Yes," Rufus replied bluntly. "I got a little loopy towards the end."

"Oh... So you're ThePrezSays," Geneva commented. "I heard you were asking people what the Loess's Windmills HP was."

"Really loopy," Rufus replied.

"So what's with the name?" Geneva asked.

"Same as my IM account," Rufus replied. "Keep it simple."

(Author's Note: see Shinra Inc. And Cyber Stalking)

"Ah," Geneva said. "So what brings you to the Money Pit?"

"Oh... Well I'm gold farming," Rufus replied. "Thinking about pursuing a career selling gold."

Geneva's avatar made no movement but Rufus could just feel her smirk.

"Aren't you supposed to be beating Reeve in a game of who can raise the most money?"

"Told you about that huh?" Rufus sighed. "This is the path I've chosen. I've heard people can make bank at this."

"But... Don't you have any other ideas? You know... Good ideas?"

Rufus paused, and rubbed his chin (both in and out of game). "Not really... Reeve was always the brains of the operation."

"I see..."

"Look are we gonna go kill stuff or what?"

"Sure thing," Geneva sighed.

Rufus was a beast at the game by now, beloved by his allies and feared by his enemies (or at least that's what his character bio said). That being said, Rufus was amazed at how well Geneva was doing. For only being a Level 43 player she was slaughtering entire hordes with what seemed like very little effort.

"You're pretty strong. I'm 30 levels higher than you and I'm only just keeping up. What's your secret?" Rufus asked.

"I'm guessing you haven't updated your skills huh?" Geneva asked.

"Skills? Oh right. I totally forgot to use those."

The second he did start, the difference was phenomenal. They reached one of the dungeon bosses, a massive towering dragon. With three quick magical attacks from Rufus the beast fell.

"You've just been using regular attacks this entire time?" Geneva asked.

"The hot bar's all the way down at the bottom of the screen. I have enough trouble using my left hand for the keyboard and right hand for the mouse," Rufus sighed.

"Still, though…"

Rufus checked his gold count and was astonished to see he had gained almost 100,000 gold just from that encounter.

"Man… I see why they call this place the Money Pit," Rufus nodded.

"Well yeah, but to buy high end gear this is really no better on average than any other dungeon," Geneva said. "You're not gonna be selling your gold to people on our level, but on to noobs who want an edge."

"Yeah on that note," Rufus said. "Did I mention that I don't really know how to begin?"

Geneva sighed. "Well not that I really approve of this, but you can do adverts in the board, but you'll need a channel to run money through. Most people use like PayBuddy or something similar."

"Oh yeah… I probably shouldn't use my own though," Rufus explained.

"Why not?" Geneva asked.

"I might have… given the information to a few webcam…thespians," Rufus replied.

"You mean online strippers?" Geneva asked.

Rufus stayed silent for a few moments and then in a sheepish voice he mumbled. "My place is pretty lonely…"

"Moving on," Geneva sighed, leading him throughout the dungeon.

Within a week, Rufus had collected almost 40 million gold. He set up an online payent service attached to a special savings account with his bank. He had cornered the market on this trade by offering the most reasonable packets: 5,000 gold for just 200 gil. He even offered a deluxe package of 50,000 gold for 1000 gil. Orders were flying in from overzealous players with lots of extra spending cash.

Rufus was walking through the in-game desert looking for a rumored dungeon even better for collecting gold than the Money Pit when he ran into his first problem. A group of three warriors who were all just about his level surrounded him.

"So you must be theprezsays, huh?" The lead knight said.

"What's it to you?" Rufus asked.

"You've been hurting our business. Undercutting us isn't nice, you know?" The second replied.

"So we figure if we just keep you from collecting gold by say, beating you to a pulp each time we see you online, we can get that business back that you keep stealing," the third threatened.

"Okay you guys are starting to piss me off. Are we fighting or what?" Rufus demanded.

But before he even had time to draw his sword, the lead knight used a powerful magical attack which knocked Rufus back onto the ground. He looked at his health bar and saw that it had already been drained by a third!

"You can't beat us. We're giving you a chance to surrender peacefully," the lead knight said. "You can still gold-farm, but you have to meet out prices. If you undercut us, it's bad for everybody's business."

"You know who I am?" Rufus said. "I'm the… former… president of Shinra Inc. I've never played fair when it comes to business."

"Then I guess we'll just have to make you stop. Jiro! Use that spell!" The second knight called to the third.

Rufus never found out what that spell was, because all of a sudden his character sprite fell over. Rufus looked over to see Geneva, Tseng and Elena's characters all standing behind him.

"We were passing through and you looked like you could use some help!" Geneva said.

"What the hell?!" The lead knight cursed. "You brought backup!"

"Guess you forgot that you're not the only one with friends, huh?" Elena said, raising her sword. "Now why don't you leave!"

"You're all at least 20 levels lower than us and this guy," he pointed to Rufus, "is one foot in the grave!"

"Yeah, and we took down Jiro, a Level 80, without you even realizing we'd done so," Tseng said. "Disengage. There's no way you can win."

The lead knight and the second knight panicked and started attacking Rufus again, but Rufus dodged the spells, expecting them and rushed in slashing through the second with one of his own power attacks. Geneva swooped down on the leader, matching him blow for blow. Tseng shot arrows from a distance at both targets while Elena focused on healing Geneva and Rufus.

The second knight fell to one of Rufus's final power attacks leaving only the lead knight whose health bar was dangerously low.

"It's a shame you gold-farmers don't play the game for the fun of it," Geneva said. "You could learn a thing or two about teamwork."

"Damn you," the lead knight said, and he turned and ran away.

"Thanks for saving me guys," Rufus smiled. "Thought I was a goner."

"That goes for you too, Rufus," Geneva said.

"Huh?" Rufus stepped back a bit.

"The whole point of the game is to grow strong and go on adventures. If you can just buy gold than that defeats the purpose of leveling and questing, and therefore defeats the purpose of the game," Elena said.

"We got to where we are because we played the game for fun, not to show how strong we are," Tseng replied.

"So… you want me to take down my advert huh?" Rufus asked.

"I know what you're doing you're doing for your company," Geneva smiled. "But there are much better ways than this. You have friends, Rufus. We'll help you, like we did today."

Rufus rubbed his arms. "Okay. I'll sell off the last bit of my gold and shut the page down. But you'd better have a good idea."

"If you want to get your company back, you're going to have to fight for it," Geneva said.

"Oh trust me," Rufus nodded. "I have no problem fighting for it."