170: Careful What You Wish For

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Careful What You Wish For

"In the world of MMORPGs, money is time. The spending power of every gold coin is directly related to how long it took to earn. Buy gold, and you're able to bypass hours of grinding and arm yourself with desirable gear without the mindless farming. Lose gold, and you could be set back weeks or months of in-game effort.

"So it's easy to imagine my reaction when I learned my mumbling little brother had lost three months of his life."

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I like you, Brendan. Tom, if you edited this issue: Good choice. The article was heart-warming and raised some decent issues at the same time:

It takes the boring part out and lets him jump right into the fray. Normally I'd say earn it yourself, but he's busy with school and loves to play.

Same with me and work. I don't have the time to sit around for days on end, not enjoying myself; not many people do in the modern gaming generation - usually because they're at school, work or socialising. The anti-farming crowd seem to forget this, and say: 'Well it's still unfair, we have to work for it!' You don't really. Perhaps if these people were employed they'd understand the pressures of the real world and the need for escapism that MMOs offer all-so-nicely, instead of trying to persuade everyone that the mundane bits are unavoidable. Perhaps if they were employed they'd be able to buy their own damn gold.

"You're the one who said that the problem with playing games these days is nobody remembers what 'playing' means: having fun with friends."

Exactly! What a great kid: He's grasped the real concept of MMOs in one; its not to stand around and brag all day about how much great gear you've got, but rather to share that good vibe and experience with others around you. What he did was nothing less than virtual altruism.

I shall play devil's advocate and say that as good as his actions were one day he would go "hardcore" and we would never see a repeat of those actions again.
Hopefully he never would be like that =) That was one of the best examples of innocence for me imo. With no questions asked about whether or not those people were gonna keep playing with him, if those people are gonna leave the guild. He gave that gold/armor to them with no strings attached. I'm still wowed by it.

Melaisis:
I like you, Brendan. Tom, if you edited this issue: Good choice. The article was heart-warming and raised some decent issues at the same time...

"You're the one who said that the problem with playing games these days is nobody remembers what 'playing' means: having fun with friends."

Exactly! What a great kid: He's grasped the real concept of MMOs in one; its not to stand around and brag all day about how much great gear you've got, but rather to share that good vibe and experience with others around you. What he did was nothing less than virtual altruism.

I don't really have anything else to add, other than that this was a great read, too. Really entertaining.

My god that was an amazing read. Bravo.

"Craven" means cowardly, So Kraven was a fine name. Plus there's a comic book character named Kraven the Hunter.

That is a great read! Thanks.

omg.. there's hope yet still

Very nice article. Had me totally hooked, even though I don't play MMOs

and the bottom line applies to gaming in general

I must admit, that I enjoy a solitary gaming experience. It's like a challenge you undertake for yourself

But certainly MMOs offer the possibility to just go out there with a bunch of friends and adventure about

I've never bought gold in my WoW life, and I depise gold sellers because some of them use those horrible ways to get it, using hacks and keyloggers to steal someone else's hard earned money/gear to get some bucks for it.

But I do understand the need of some players that just doesn't have the time to farm and get what they want because their RL is very busy. After all, is a game. You're there to enjoy it, not to make it your job.

What a great story :)

this was a great article, keep up the good work

It's nice to see something like this, what with the kid remembering why we all play games, and here I was, thinking this would be some kind of moral lesson on the perils on buying gold...

Actually, I suppose it lets us see the allure of buying gold from the eyes of a player. An interesting thought, but the article also shows a major reason as to why people wouldn't buy the gold.

To provide an alternative voice, let it be remembered that bought gold will eliminate the initial, capitalist's utopia-style equality of an MMO, insofar as it exists; The rich kids of reality become the rich kids in the game, and suddenly your boss at work is also your boss at home, online.

You think of your games as Escapism? You'll find yourself somewhere quite familiar if you aid the system that will equate the dollar, pound, euro, yen or otherwise to your 'gold', 'credits' or.. bottlecaps.

Oh, forgot to mention - I liked the article, well-written! =)

All of above, plus you indeed have a cool mom, trying to understand and going along with the hobbies of her children :)

I love the articles on here, but that one just stood out to me as a really nice story. It's just nice to see a little generosity, whatever the context.

I was expecting a sob story. My ex-girlfriend's brother got some armour for RuneCraft for his birthday, and was killed in the PvP area and lost it within a day. (Or something like that, I don't understand how all these MMO's function)

Melaisis:
I like you, Brendan. Tom, if you edited this issue: Good choice. The article was heart-warming and raised some decent issues at the same time:

It takes the boring part out and lets him jump right into the fray. Normally I'd say earn it yourself, but he's busy with school and loves to play.

Same with me and work. I don't have the time to sit around for days on end, not enjoying myself; not many people do in the modern gaming generation - usually because they're at school, work or socialising. The anti-farming crowd seem to forget this, and say: 'Well it's still unfair, we have to work for it!' You don't really. Perhaps if these people were employed they'd understand the pressures of the real world and the need for escapism that MMOs offer all-so-nicely, instead of trying to persuade everyone that the mundane bits are unavoidable. Perhaps if they were employed they'd be able to buy their own damn gold.

"You're the one who said that the problem with playing games these days is nobody remembers what 'playing' means: having fun with friends."

Exactly! What a great kid: He's grasped the real concept of MMOs in one; its not to stand around and brag all day about how much great gear you've got, but rather to share that good vibe and experience with others around you. What he did was nothing less than virtual altruism.

The article is written fine and reads well; however, I exhale heavily thinking about the example it portrays, which is that buying gold in an MMO is a harmless activity...well, I am commenting here to bring light to the harmful side of MMO gold farming/selling, a light of experience in that I was on the receiving end of this harm...it may not be common knowledge but gold buying begets real criminial activity...these gold farmers are looking for the easiest way to a buck...why sitting around hours on end farming gold when you can steal it??? And then sell it for 100% pure profit...this has been happening and continues to happen...these gold selling enterprises compromise accounts through the various nefarious means and negate 100s of hours of play time...and sometimes deleting characters out of pure malice...and at least in my case, Blizzard did not reconsitute my characters equip/gold because my case fell through their process cracks and my loss subsequently couldn't be verified months later when I re-inquired...

So gold buyers beget gold sellers beget gold stealing criminals...definitely not a victimless/harmful activity as so many think...

Although I shamefully don't often take time to comment on individual articles very often, I have to admit I truly enjoyed this article. It doesn't matter what we think about gold selling - that Pandora's box was well and opened years ago so I'm not really going to go there with my comments.

What a fantastic kid though, and thank you for sharing your cool family with all of us in such a well written way. Even this jaded (and recovering hardcore) player appreciated the reminder of what playing really means. :)

Great read, sure glued me to my seats

I agree with others that buying gold necessarily helps the gold sellers, who often obtain their goods through criminal activity. If they were actually kids in sweatshops, I'd feel somewhat better about it. My girlfriend had her account compromised, all of her stuff (and the rest of the guild's stuff) sold, and her characters deleted. Thankfully Blizzard was prompt in putting (almost) everything back, but it was still traumatic -- she had played for months to get to that point.

I'm glad that Bill understood that fun isn't about having the best stuff, but about working together and socializing with friends. This is all that much clearer in an MMO, where the entire point of the game is to socialize (the major challenges in an MMO involve organizing a group of people to work together, at which point every mob and instance becomes trivial).

Unfortunately, I think it points out the biggest problem with MMOs in general -- without a group of friends, the game itself consists of grind and gear. This is compounded by the fact that players have to be of similar levels in order to be able to see mutual benefit. This requires people to either grind their way up to where everyone else is (while they themselves continue to advance, only finally meeting up at the level cap) and to maintain similar paces while playing. This involves far too many variables to be kept synchronized. It seems many people are able to work around this, but it has always been an issue for my friends and me when we played WoW and has been even more serious as I have entered solitarily into new MMOs.

MMO makers could go a long way towards eliminating the gold/gear race by making it easier for people to group up and work together. This means not only making it easier to meet and greet other people, but to work together in spite of differences in level and experience. Warhammer has done a good job of that with their RvR by promoting low level players to higher levels equal with other combatants, allowing them to join and enjoy the fight no matter what level they are. I think games could go a step further by rewarding high-level players for helping low-level players, thus discouraging them from forging on ahead without their lower-level friends.

All the heart-warmed replies to this article make me feel better about myself that I play much like that kid. Although I've never bought gold, and my generousity is therefore few, it still is the most fun I can find in MMOGs: to give your time and effort to a friend or even a stranger.

Does raise the question of whether you should give your birthday gift away so readily though...
~

First off, awesome article, that was really a good read.
Secondly, you've got some awesome parents that they know more or less whats going on, and if they don't they care enough to look it up.

My only problem with the article is that i didn't "get" the punchline at the end. can anyone explain it to me?

The punchline is that the kid isn't unhappy that his gold is gone, he's unhappy that he accidentally named his character, essentially, "Cowardly".

This is a reprint of an article that ran about 8 months ago if I remember right, and one of the best ones of the year :)

that was a happy story

Great story! I truly enjoyed reading this. I never read anything for at least an hour after I wake up, but this kept me reading. Congratulations on that. Everyone says gold-farming is what kills a game, I am personally not affected by it in the ways I play, but I guess I'd be missing the point of this article, eh?

I was wondering by the end of page two how this was going to be wound up in only one other page, but the lesson honestly surprised me. The fact that your little brother, one of those *12 year old brats* (I know he isn't twelve, but you get my point), had the character to actually give that gold out to his buddies online, well...It really is great.

I liked it, In a way i'm like your brother. I haven't bought gold in guild wars, but i usually don't have much because I end up lending it out to friends, or buying things for them that they need. I've helped lots of guild members get max armor, or better weapons, things like that, instead of letting all of it sit and gather dust in my bank unused.

Amazing read, and amazing brother. He grasped the real meaning of MMOs, having fun with friends.

Malasis, you act like that people with more important or "valuable" lives have some special justification to just buy their way to the top unlike the "losers" who earned their way:). I've had times when I could have easily bought gold to keep up with the Jones's wealth in mmogs but it just makes no sense at all to play this game of virtual p-envy. Is real life wealth chasing not crazy enough to infect games with the same empty existance.

Here's my numerated problems with gold farming.
1. Giving gold to farmers promotes spamming/viruses/account thefts whatnot. You can rationalize it however you want, but by supporting the industry (even though semi-reputable gold sellers) you are supporting an industry that has many negative aspects for the gaming industry as a whole.
2. Many international countries that could care less about intellectual rights are basically robbing developers like parasites. Every dollar they make from gold farming is a dollar that positively will not go back into the pockets of people making great games. This means less great games will be developed down the road, this means people that work hard to bring good games will have less money. Granted they make a little from all the scumbag gold sellers' accounts, it is a drop in the bucket of what they suck out.
3. Gold farming basically bypasses the reward system in the game. What happens when you have bought your way to the top? In short order you have no challenges or things to earn. You have "won" the game. Now what?
4. You guys who say virtual farming doesn't affect your gameplay. I beg to differ. If you use the auction houses it does affect your gameplay. If you do any pickup groups it affects your gameplay. Suddenly you can't get a group if you dont have the l33t gear the 12 year old has:). It screws up prices and it makes it harder to sell things that legit players make/mine/find. So the people buying money do adversely affect how the economy works for everyone else. You go to buy the sword of greatness on the auction house. You now have to compete with the 12 year old who bought some gold. This drives up the cost to you. Virtual inflation. Basically it is the same as if someone could just print up endless money in real life it would adversely affect everyone else in the same economy.
5. Gold farming allows bad players to get to places they shouldn't be and act as deadweight for players to drag along.

These games are largely about the journey/grouping and just doing everthing to bypass the journey makes me wonder why you waste the money playing the game. Why are you paying someone in China to bascially play your game for you? Seriously, you should give me some money to sleep in your house, drive your car, sleep with your spouse? You say no that's a stupid proposition, yet you pay someone to play a game so you can have some virtual wealth to prove what a bigshot you are to a bunch of strangers.

Gold farming is horrible for gaming. I liked this story but I honestly think a better ending would have been if he had been conned out of his virtual money as that would have been a better lesson. Seriously these parents seem just clueless as many are about technology.

Trading real wealth for virtual money is amazingly foolish and largely destructive to the gaming industry. Giving money to some jokers in gaming sweatshops to bypass the content you paid for is bizarre. Seriously for a mmo you pay about 200 a year to play, I am wondering if the developers should double their rates to suck up all the loose change being donated to non-productive parasites.

Phoenix, you say he grasped the real fun of mmos, enjoying time with friends? I pose this counter. Would they have enjoyed their time any less if they hadn't wasted real money to become virtual bigshots? If the answer is nope they wouldnt have enjoyed questing as opposed to buying their way through the game, then there is something fundamentally wrong.

There is some societal defect being exposed with this support gold farming that maybe will be diminished by this recession. I honestly see how poor countries want the west to die miserable deaths when I hear about some of thing things on which we blow money

Maybe if some lose their jobs they will have to rethink foolish investments. People need to be more focused on not trying to flash wealth to attain happiness.

Great article! It makes me wish that I still played Guild Wars.

Great article.

I really have to commend your folks for being "with it", as they say.

The picture display for the article reminds me of

Already read that somewhere else... I doubt this is original. Will try to find the link. BRB.

The moral of this story is brilliant. Well Done Brendon! (smiley emote)

A charming story, and worthy of my Facebook. I'll be sure to peek for more stories. A lesson well learned indeed!

I really enjoyed that article. Thank you, Brendan.

I totally got angry when I thought they had taken it from him, really got my blood boiling, but that made it all the more heart warming when I read the truth, what a great kid.

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