That didn’t take long

Yesterday the gold-selling cockroaches of MMOs came out of the woodwork and started sending tells in WAR; I guess I should be grateful they weren’t in the head-start.

First someone noted it in guild chat. There were incredulous reactions (mine included), and then within 10 minutes most of us online in the guild had had one of those “pssst! wanna come buy me questionable goods? ‘ere, take a look in me trenchcoat, see? Only $5 and that’s cuttin’ me own throat!” only less amusing even than that.

I despise gold selling. I despise gold buying, too. I loathe them both particularly when they take place within the framework of a game that doesn’t specifically allow for them. Giving RL money to some third-party in order to get in-game money just rubs me the wrong way. You can argue with me all you want about not having enough time in the day or not wanting to compete to have what everyone else wants, but I’m making a personal value judgement here and I won’t change.

One might argue that current game design almost forces people with lower playtimes (or other availabilities) to buy gold. Bullshit. If you require e-peen items in whatever game it is and you have to spend RL money to get em, it’s a matter of EGO and not a matter of playtime. Just admit it, you’ll be happier in the end.

My views are coloured by my lack of item motivation. All the stuff people drool over for hours in WoW leaves me cold, which is why I don’t raid and it’s why I no longer play WoW. I just don’t get the point of wasting 10-100 hours of my life for a stick. Or a pair of shoulders. Or whatever. Yay for low Bartle Achievement scores. So maybe it’s easy for me to be judgemental (or at least no harder than it is for anyone else), but if people are going to indulge in RMT they should at least be honest with themselves about it. One doesn’t HAVE to keep up with the Joneses. It’s easy to buck the system, even if it appears to be one put in place by the complicity of the game bosses (SOE’s RMT servers). Just. Say. No.

None of which obviates the fact that from now on I’m going to have to spend some of my precious game TIME to put /tell sending drones on ignore. Great.

10 thoughts on “That didn’t take long

  1. Then… why do we pay subscriptions? That’s not too far removed from paying for in-game shoulderpads. There’s some value placed on those things by the game itself, so the blame for the “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality isn’t completely on the players. (But yes, it’s idiotic either way.)

  2. Of course. However, everyone — not just the Joneses — pays their subscription fees, so in that sense it’s an even playing field. I’m not trying to figure out how or why the RMT started — there are plenty of good analyses out there — what I am is really pissed at getting tells from gold sellers. It’s like junk mail and cold calls, and I wage war against those too.

  3. Oh, aye, the spam is extremely annoying. I just figure that trying to kill it at the source might be more effective than treating the symptom. Puzzle Pirates, for instance, doesn’t have RMT troubles, largely because of the way the game is built.

    Bottom line, if a game is built in a way that RMT is possible or even obliquely encouraged, it’s no surprise that it shows up. Companies need to do their part to compensate, whether it’s with a massive banhammer or with different core design.

    I’m not really disagreeing with you, I’m just trying to look at a more comprehensive solution. šŸ˜‰

  4. In that light, I think the whole “let’s add LOADS of timesinks” design principle that’s been prevalent in MMOs to date is one of the root causes of the problem — aside from the fact that if money can be made at something, someone will find a way to do it.

    Which means we probably won’t see the end of gold tells anytime soon. šŸ˜

    Debate is healthy. I like debate. Agreement or not isn’t always a prerequisite, heh. Just kicking stuff around is fun.

  5. You’re very right, the time sinks and grind are glaring faults of current MMO design. I’ve argued that they are there pretty much just to pad out the gameplay time to suck up more subscription money, rather than out of an actual need for them to be in there because of the design core.

    No, as long as we’re in the DIKU>EQ>WoW lineage, we’ll see more level/loot treadmills that value time over skill, and the gold farmers will always be a part of that system. That’s what I’m alluding to with the design either allowing or encouraging RMT.

  6. It’s too bad no one ever looks at it the other way… if it were permissible for people to engage in RMT, we wouldn’t see the tells because there would be legitimate avenues for advertisement.

    I’ll admit – I’ve bought gold, and I hate the tells as much as anyone, even though I understand that I’ve at least spiritually helped fund them (the tells I’ve gotten so far in WAR are not from the companies I used in WoW).

    You said this:

    “My views are coloured by my lack of item motivation. ”

    So, in your view, items in the game aren’t worth real money. That’s fine, that’s your opinion, and it’s valid. But why isn’t the opposite opinion (that items in the game have real-world value, and can be bought with real-world money) equally valid in your view?

    Honestly – and not trying to be mean here – I’ve found that the people with the strongest opinions against RMT are the people with the least disposible income with which to engage in it.

    Hey, you can try to convince me otherwise all you want, but I’m making a value judgement here, and I’m not gonna change. šŸ˜‰

  7. Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates essentially does have fully functional in-game RMT. It’s a microtransaction model using what they call “doubloons”, and it’s absolutely brilliant. The trouble is, that system won’t wash in a WoW-lineage game because of the core design. WoW is level/loot dependent. YPP is skill dependent, and loot is purely decorative.

  8. @ iioshius – heh šŸ™‚ It’s not that I don’t think ingame items don’t have a real-world value — I think there’s plenty of evidence to the contrary now. It’s just that I don’t care much what’s on my character’s back as long as I can play. I’m much more motivated for silly stuff (housing deco, whatnot), but even then I don’t think I’d spend money on it.

    I have plenty of disposable income though. I don’t think the correlation is that simple.

    If I object to anything it’s the junk mail feel of it, the slightly tawdry way in which it’s engaged in (in games where it’s not allowed), and the disparity it creates — but most of all I’m irked at games for creating the situation that created the market in the first place. I just hope we can move to some other paradigm at some point, either with accepted RMT or content that doesn’t require either enormous playtime or out-of-game money.

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