Pretty valid, but I think Money for Items is more acceptable and integrated. Bad Company’s press hit with their content purchases shows some other problems. This 2 parter is pretty MMO specific though.
First, Go Read this rant sent to the gaming “press” by angry Lineage 2 players.
Then come back here and read some profanity.
More after the jump.
So I’ll lay this out. Gold Farmers, Virtual Currency Brokers, whatever bug the shit out of me.
Why you may ask? Is it because they encourage negative play behavior?
It’s the parasitical business model. They’re picking up money we left on thet able. I’ll lay it out plainly.
1. People will pay you real money for items in-game.
2. Players have money they wish to spend in exchange for these items.
3. Most games do not support this which caused a huge secondary market to appear.
4. There is obviously a very strong business basis for these sales as seen by the profitability of these companies.
5. The behavior of the employees of these secondary market companies has a generally negative impact on the game.
6. The item sales of these companies does NOT have a generally negative impact on the game.
So, how do you address it?
The typical bullshit answer is to address the symptoms. Ban the farmers, take an unmaintainable stand against item sales, talk about the purity of the economy, purity of play, whatever bullshit you can think of.
And you’ll spin your wheels all while these gold farmers sell your items and make piles of cash. There are way more of them than you, and every one you ban, every minute you spend responding to a call is money spent to solve an unsolvable problem.
You want to know how to beat them?
They have scaled their operations up to a large degree. They employ people in China to gain these items and mark them up based on cost of acquisition. They have a reasonably fixed cost of goods which defines how much they can sell the itmes for.,
So here’s a secret.
If you run the game, your cost of goods for item sales will ALWAYS be lower than the gold farmers.
So you want to beat them and make cash on the side? Change the playing field. You sell the items. You sell the gold. They drop their prices? You drop yours. Make it easier and cheaper for these players who want to spend the money to buy from you instead of the third party.
I can already hear the cries “OHNOES. Sanctity of the Game!@!@ Purity of Economy!@!@ Money!=Accomplishment”.
You know what? Shut up.
It’s already happening on a huge scale. We can’t stop it, we shouldn’t stop it, and there’s money to be made there. The majority of players out there obviously want this, otherwise we wouldn’t have a problem with third parties.
So we miswell make a buck on it while fixing the more egregious aspects of item sales.
Stop looking at this as a behavioral problem. Look at this as a competitive business venture and you’ll whomp the everlasting shit out of these guys.
Part 2, written after a bunch of people whined about “ruining a fake economy”
So to all who tell me that you’d fuck up the economy.
It’s already fucked up. Items are already being sold to the players. That’s not the problem. The problem is the environmental damage caused by the harvesters.
More after Jump.
These harvesters are directly damaging the the play experience of the other players. They’re consuming more than their fair share of game resources. Players who want to play the game for real have to compete with them and they have neither the time nor resources to do so. Players don’t want to compete against professionals.
So what’s a player to do? They want to enjoy the game, but these harvesters are a direct barrier to enjoyment for them.
And that’s the issue we have to solve.
By selling items directly, you remove the most damaging aspect of these sales from the game. You solve the most pressing issue, which is the inability of your players to actually play the game.
Jeff (Yes, the internet Jeff Freeman) pointed out that you can solve most of the scarcity concerns by maintaining the bind on pickup, no drop and notrade rules that are currently in place.
You sell the items where it’s appropriate. You limit the trade in these items if it’s deemed necessary. These tools are just that, tools. They can be laser focused to dramatically and drastically solve this issue, or they can be used incorrectly and simply make it worse for all involved.
IGE and the like only exist because they make money on an extreme level. Focus your attention on that in the most elegant fashion and you can defeat them. You might have to modify your beliefs about player expectations. You might have to push through the unbased fear of economic destruction.
But if you want to improve your player’s experience it’s what you have to do. Rather than plink away inefectually at the harvesters, rather than piss away countless man months on gameplay alterations, maximize the damage to the sellers, maximize the player enjoyment and fix the problem.
Or you can continue to fuck around as you have. Maybe the gold dealers will run out of space for all of their money and go home.
originally posted June 2006