Game Gold Buying; It’s a Bullish Market

I read a…er….story or OP ED (you pick) about IGE and their November 2005 buyout of Allakhazam.  The writer definitely has no soft spot for gold farming and selling in a virtual environment, and makes no bones about it.

My take on the whole thing?  Who gives a shit.  People have accounts specifically set up to farm gold, so they can sell it: so what.  People go to IGE to buy gold or accounts because they don't have 6+ hours a day 6-7 days a week to devote to a game, but want to play it to its fullest potential: so what.  The folks that are do dead set against this can't tell me that they have never "gamed the game".  Have you ever had your friends help you level, even though they were about 10 levels higher then you?   Have you ever "twinked" one of your alts with gear and ingame money from your super-duper-uber high level bad boy or your friend's coffers?  Buying gold from IGE or any other company/individual is no different.
I am sorry that I can go buy 20p for $30 USD and have as much as you got grinding 10 hours a day 7 days a week.  That's great that you have this high moral ground you can perch yourself atop of and look down on everyone else, but that fact of the matter is, I have a job, I have a wife, and I have kids.  I have a home that needs tending to, and cars that need regular preventive maintenance, so I don't have the time to acquire everything that would allow me to enjoy the end-game.  All I want to do is accompany my buddies on high level raids, and the endgame pvp portion, so I purchase the gold/plat I need to get there.

The developers don't really mind it either, no matter what kind of spin they put on it.  "We banned 1 bazzilion accounts this weekend!"  Yeah whatever.  My guess is they banned maybe 100 accounts for blatant acts of violating the EULA.  They can claim whatever they want, but at the end of the day, those "gold farmers" are paying accounts….money that goes directly to them in the form of a monthly subscription.  As far as the folks selling accounts, well that's just another reopened account.  Do you REALLY think they care whether or not the account was bought off of Ebay?

Until developers start thinking outside of the box and design an economic system that is self-contained and self-sustaining, games will always have this problem.   I thought that SWG was well on their way to doing this with the mission terminals, but the problem was that the rewards for missions were not balanced and tied to the local economy (ingame).  If you are going to have quests/missions that reward with currency, why not tie it to that area's economy.  If players are spending ingame monies in that town, setting up shop, placing their houses close, then the mission reward system should reflect that.  If the place is a ghost town with no collective revenue, then it should reflect that as well.   You should try and eliminate a system that keeps pumping money into it, with no substantial sink to eliminate the excess.

Oh shit, I could go on and on, but I'll stop for now.

Until then, why not let the casual gamer have his fun too, and if you are against buying and selling of ingame assets, then just ignore it.  Does it really affect your game play that much?

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~ by roca on May 8, 2006.

5 Responses to “Game Gold Buying; It’s a Bullish Market”

  1. WOW what is the name of the chick????

  2. hehe Jessica

  3. What do you think of devs designing RMT into the game? I realize there are ways to try and design around it but there are always going to be aspects of a game that people are willing to pay to avoid — whether its levelling, item aquisition or gold. If you build a non-inflationary economy, people will pay someone to come along and make the character not-poor by putting it through some kind of bot for 7 days.

    What about letting me have level 0 characters free, but letting me buy anything between 1 and my max level character at a small fee? What about instead of making me start with 10cp you allow me to start with 10sp for $10 or 1gp for $50? Wouldn’t that be an excellent source of revenue to have coming into the game rather than going to people who actively destroy the play value of the game?

  4. Your idea is a different one, and might work but only if you design the economy with that in mind.
    I could see where that kind of system would quickly destroy any sense of real economy that your game might have if not planned for in advance.
    Maybe if you didn’t reward folks for completing quests….in monetary form that is.

  5. First up, love the blog. Interesting game related discussion plus guaranteed hot chicks. What more could I want?

    Re KFS1’s comment. I can’t tell you how pissed off I was when EA started selling beefed up characters for UO. I’d spent mind-numbing hours lumber-jacking or mining to build up strength (and wealth) and now any dweeb could come and lay $20 US on the counter and bypass all of it. It’s just one of the reasons I moved away from UO.

    I’m just glad that WWIIOL doesn’t have this “problem” in that I can’t imagine anyone feeling so inferior or limited that they’d want to part with real cash for a higher ranked persona and there are no commodities to trade.

    I’d also suggest that MMO’s provide a little bit of an egalitarian utopia for a lot of players. Think about WWII OL – doesn’t matter if you are a 15 year defences forces vet or a 15 year old kid. You still get your opportunity to shine with talent and experience gained along the way the only requirements to excel.

    That actually reminds me of another thing I love about WWII OL. It (apparently) doesn’t seem to matter that I don’t have a 30ms ping to the server. So many other OL games are set up so that your ping is everything.

    Anyway, sorry for the long comment.

    Cheers – H0G

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