ByNicholas Montegriffo, writer at
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Nicholas Montegriffo

Top presidential advisor and sentient cyst with eyes Steve Bannon is now a household name as the sinister power behind the throne in the White House, but his past career wasn't always so glamorous. In fact, one of Bannon's old jobs was as CEO of a gold-farming company in World of Warcraft.

Gold-farming is the practice of hiring low-wage employees (typically in developing countries) to grind out money and items in online games, then selling it to players for real money. It's a shady industry that's publicly frowned upon by most game developers and many players, because it encourages cheating and screws with the in-game economy. Blizzard in particular deals harshly with the practice in .

Glittering Prizes

'World of Warcraft' [Credit: Blizzard Entertainment]
'World of Warcraft' [Credit: Blizzard Entertainment]

Bannon became involved in the gold-farming game when he was recruited by IGE, one of the biggest players in the business. IGE needed to take on some financial heavy hitters so they could be taken seriously by investors, and Bannon was hired so they could tap his old Goldman Sachs buddies.

Bannon's Goldman Sachs connections proved fruitful, scoring IGE $60 million in investment from the company. But that wasn't enough to protect IGE from financial difficulties caused by Blizzard cracking down hard on farmers, declining sales, and lawsuits from angry WoW players.

After these setbacks, Bannon was installed as the company’s CEO, replacing young executive Brock Pierce, a former child actor (First Kid, The Mighty Ducks). No, seriously.

This guy. 'First Kid' [Credit: Buena Vista Pictures]
This guy. 'First Kid' [Credit: Buena Vista Pictures]

Bannon's involvement in shady fantasy gold trades may come as a surprise to some, but he's been known to dabble in some oddly nerdy hobbies. A frustrated artist, he's got several failed speculative fiction projects on the shelf, including a Shakespearean hip-hop musical and a dystopian sci-fi film script about the evils of genetic science. If only more people had bought Hitler's paintings.

The gaming world wasn't destined to work out for Bannon either. IGE was re-branded Affinity, and Bannon stayed at the helm until 2011. Nowadays game companies prefer built-in microtransaction systems for players who want to pay to get ahead in MMOs, making the shady third-party gold economy less and less profitable.

Check out this exclusive footage of Steve Bannon being banished from Azeroth by a pair of brave orcs:

Affinity has since moved out of the gold farming game and got into managing community sites for MMOs. And Steve Bannon? He left Affinity in order to work as race-baiter in chief for the toxic far-right 'news' outlet Breitbart. And the rest is history to anyone who paid attention to the 2016 US Presidential Election.

Bannon's much more handsome role model [Blizzard Entertainment]
Bannon's much more handsome role model [Blizzard Entertainment]

Nowadays, Bannon mainly focuses his scams on President Donald Trump, such as when he notoriously got Trump to sign him on to the Shado- I mean, the National Security Council without realizing it. Truly, he is the Gul'Dan to Trump's Blackhand.

What do you think of gold-farming? Have you ever shelled out real cash for virtual gold?

[Source: The AV Club]


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