56: There Goes the Neighborhood

"Today, though, something else separates the men from the boys in the gaming world. Those shy, skinny 16-year-olds can still conquer the beefy football players and 30-something executives ... but only if they have the real-world cash to back their characters." Laura Genender weighs in on the secondary market debate in There Goes the Neighborhood.

There Goes the Neighborhood

Like you said, good non-buyers just leave such games eventually. A closed system game is fun when you have others, but the minute those other players can open the system up to the outside is when it is no longer fun.

When I find rampant buying/selling in a game, I just stop playing it, not necessarily because I'm outraged or the like, but because for me it's no longer fun, the game has proven to be easily cheatable (the system is open). I don't find games fun when I can cheat in them either, games like GTA:SA allow you to cheat, but I restrain myself (mostly by not even learning how to cheat) and get unlimited fun out of it because I don't cheat (I only control my restraint however, so in multiplayer games that's not an option).

MMO games cheating usually leads me into Single Player games, which then leads me eventually into LAN or Direct IP games (like Civilization 4) where it's just assumed no one is going to cheat, because you're in it for the fun of equal competition.

Then I try MMO games again, forgetting that people will cheat if given the chance, because more people sounds better than less people. And the cycle starts over.

Second Life is neat with its system, though its less of a game of competition and more of a tool with great community (reminds me of modding communities).

For competition games (involving time-based power-gathering, i.e. leveling and equipment grading), I think people will always cheat, it's fairly hard to stop it (even if you make currency non-transferable, you'll still get account selling), and the anonymity of such games makes many feel like they can screw the game over for others so long as it gives them some quick thrill.

I always felt that the solution to the issue of money in online games would be to make "commercial" shards where people can buy gear and experience directly from the developer, and separate them from "standard" shards where that sort of thing is cracked down on with a vengeance. Give people a legal course, and they'll do it, and when they do you can control it. And also to make your game so there's no large, arbitrary obstacles (e.g. the level grind) before the real meat of the experience (e.g. the endgame). Whether this is by making the grind the whole point so that there is no endgame, or by abolishing experience, or by just making a really awesome grind - that's up to the developers. I also thought the article dismissed these two solutions too easily.

A bit off topic, but kudos on the Joe Walsh reference in the title. <3

Instead of duplicating it, I'll just reference www.flyingscythemonkey.com (go to GDC Player Sales) which contains a synopsis of the discussion that took place at Sam Lewis' "You only paid $50 for that blaster?". It also talks about gameplay models that are more resistant to RMT, including the one in Eve Online, which wasn't featured in the article here :)

Daniel Speed:
Instead of duplicating it, I'll just reference www.flyingscythemonkey.com (go to GDC Player Sales)

The links! the LINKS! Sweet, heavenly crap they still work. And after all this time!

That's a good article, Daniel. And a terrific site. Worth looking at.

Fletcher:
The links! the LINKS! Sweet, heavenly crap they still work. And after all this time!

There's no guide when you first post that you can just use HTML links, and a good number of forums specifically restrict you from doing that, since it can be abused using DHTML etc to deface them.

Daniel Speed:

Fletcher:
The links! the LINKS! Sweet, heavenly crap they still work. And after all this time!

There's no guide when you first post that you can just use HTML links, and a good number of forums specifically restrict you from doing that, since it can be abused using DHTML etc to deface them.

It's all good. Sorry for the sarcasm. It's just my "way."

Oh my, a Lineage 2 player in the press. And here I thought you all played WoW and SL exclusively. Depending on if you're a right-wing or left-wing nut, of course.

I think your "purity" as a gamer has clouded your ability to see something.

Paek Jung Yuls still exist. I know a few actually! They are the western, and sometimes eastern, or even eastern living in the west, RMT sellers.

Well. They aren't all sellers, but today's Paek Jung Yul is typically a student - who is either living off their family's good hospitality and can afford to play a lot with several accounts, or is selling enough game-related goods and services to make a little bit more than a minimum wage job at the supermarket.

They have far more power and money in online games, Lineage 2 especially, than the buyers will ever hope to attain. And I'd be willing to bet that the original Paek Jung Yul was just as "not-legit" as any of his modern day proteges. It's terribly disenchanting, I know, but thats the game we play, and it can be fun if you consider it "part of the game".

Oh, and I don't think Korea is much different than the west when it comes to farmers. You deal with them when you need to. But "stopping" them is just as impossible there as it is anywhere else. Especially when Paek Jung Yuls are the people controlling them ;)

 

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