This Is Why We Cannot Have Nice Things

I am taking the weekend off, so instead I direct you to one of our dear friends, the most influential blogger on the internet, who explains why these here tubes are so full. Excerpt:

For a mere moment, think about that. No web. And they don’t care.

As a note, a similar analysis applies to goldfarmers. “Americans are too lazy to play their games, and they will pay me to do it for them?” Yes, Americans will pay you to help destroy the games they play. Who cares if you kill the goose that lays the golden eggs? You can get a lot of gold while it is alive, and people keep breeding those geese. Apparently, we think it is a feature not a bug if you can reach up the goose and just yank eggs out. Keep reaching further, and if you yank out a vital organ, well, there will be Yet Another Fantasy MMORPG published in a few weeks.

Has anything helped the gold sales industry more than WoW mount prices? The World Bank wishes it could cause as much money to be sent to the developing world as WoW does.

With three tangential connections: THE ALGORITHM IS BANNED IN CHINA. Explanation.

: Zubon

10 thoughts on “This Is Why We Cannot Have Nice Things”

  1. I’m just gonna say, if someone were to shoot Jonathan Yantis in the head with a bullet some dark night, and I was the only person in the entire world who knew who had done this deed… I wouldn’t tell the police.

  2. Alternatively, we can start designing MMOs without transferable currency. Or where every transfer above (x) must be declared and can be audited; if found to have originated from a gold seller account, the receiving account is heavily taxed in xp, or banned outright.

    Or… bah, who am I kidding. It’s much easier to bring the gold farmers into the fold, or become one yourself by building your game around RMT, than to fight it, it seems.

  3. “designing MMOs without transferable currency”

    Or items? You could do it, but you’d have to give up any economic sim, and a lot of interaction between players.

  4. Hrm. Don’t know if we’d be removing a lot of interaction. Of course I don’t have the numbers or anything, but I’d be surprised if your average player doesn’t transfer ten or twenty times more money between his alts than to any other player.

    You can perfectly leave money transfers unlimited within characters of the same account, and limit it as you see fit for transactions ending in another account. Just that right there… if it doesn’t kill gold farming/selling outright, it leaves the bullet in and puts it in a coma.

    Of course, assuming we actually want to kill it, which remains to be seen.

  5. The easy idea, I think, would be to make a game where status simply doesn’t matter. Allow players to buy capped characters directly from the game maker, or, alternately, simply allow them to make whatever character they want, immediately, with whatever gear they want. That might seem crazy, but it eliminates two groups of, arguably, the worst people in the game.

    First, it gets rid of the supeduperhardcore folks that play 12 hours a day every day, and pin their hopes and dreams on being the big man at the raid. What’s the point of being 1337 if no one knows you are, or, alternately, everyone can be 1337? Second, it gets rid of the analyzers, the ones that distill the game down to the tiniest numbers. “How do I get to 60 the fastest?” “Uh, click that button, dude. Congrats, you’re 60.”

    Along with this, show the exact numbers and calculations in the game for anyone that wants to see them. With almost nothing to analyze, in terms of relative effectiveness, and no real reason to do the analysis in the first place, with instant-high level character for anyone that wants it, you neuter the influence of those that lead the charge for both super-difficult content and phat lewts. With that segment reduced, you significantly minimize the influence of farmers.

    Hopefully, that leaves you with two segments: people that play because it’s fun, and people that are there for community. Of course, it could backfire hideously; the game might make no money, and the instant-60 thing might also allow for insta-griefing, which is an issue in and of itself. But that’s another topic.

  6. BitterCupOJoe: that sounds a lot like Second Life? Although I think a lot of people would steer clear of it because of the lack of challenge.

    You probably could reduce RMT to tiny amounts if you built lots of monitoring into the MMO for it. It might have to involve more customer service work though.

  7. Not necessarily, Pete. The server knows and can keep track of every transfer of money or items. That functionality is already there. All you need to do is to set up a threshold that triggers automatically.

    For example, “Transaction of 99g and lower are fine. Anything over that, triggers an alert”. Now an alert is not necessarily bad. I did one transfer of a huge amount of gold (for my standards at least) to my wife’s account in WoW. But when you’re getting transaction after transaction, daily, all to or from the same account(s) and all over the threshold, well that’s your gold farmer right there. At that point you can ban the account or do whatever you want.

    It doesn’t have to involve lots of customer service if you’re upfront with your playerbase about it from the get go: “In order to combat gold reselling, we’ll monitor all transactions and flag any transaction between accounts over (x) gold”. Just so people know.

    True, gold farmers would then turn to split and separate their transactions to make them go under threshold, but then again you’d still have one account with a hojillion gold transactions in and out every day. Still can be flagged automatically, if not by the amount of gold, then by the amount of transactions.

    I still maintain it wouldn’t affect the playerbase at large, only a few cases of honest players that just happen to do a lot of transactions daily and are not gold farmers, but there are methods to alleviate that as well (Some, yes, involving some customer service).

  8. Sorry, I should have been clearer. For the people that actually want to play the game, there’s a game there. There’s still levelling, loot, etc., and a full game from 1-cap, plus endgame. If someone wants to play their entire way up, they can, and they’re probably going to be a better player than Mr. Insta60.

    That’s the one thing that you can’t really buy through goldfarmers: skill. Sure, it doesn’t take a huge amount of skill to play any of the MMOs, or at least any that I’m aware of. By removing all of the other stuff from commoditization, except for the people that are really into leveling and simply playing the full game, you remove the incentive for the goldfarmers to be there in the first place. As a nice side benefit, you get rid of Captain Hardcore, the guy in the forums that throws a tantrum when you make a change that decreases DPS by .25%. Don’t like that paladins changed? Great, make a priest, or a warrior, or whatever, and insta-level him to 60, with whatever gear you want. When the dust settles, we’ll know how well accepted the change, and wheter things need a tweak again based on percentage of active capped characters in the game.

    Of course, that opens up some interesting other possibilities. Since anyone can make the most tweaked character they want, designing the game to be ZOMG HARD for the people with the best gear no longer becomes necessary. Sure, toss them a crumb with a superhard encounter or two, but design most encounters around the concept that players will, for the most part, be at about 80-90% of maximum effectiveness for the level. Sure, that makes it too easy for Captain Hardcore, and he’ll probably leave, but given that I hate him anyways, who cares? :)

  9. There are two games that come to mind that don’t have an economy to speak of. The first one is City of Heroes/Villians. There are still things “sold” on there but there is no incentive to buy “fame”, and even if you do, you still can’t take an overt advantage of it. Not only this, but you can be a sidekick and insta yourself to playing with your higher level friends.

    Planetside has literally no trade system at all as well.

    This is another road to try and take from the gold selling problem. Both of these games lend themselves to more player based power (skill) than grinding based power. Why not tailor the game more toward that or tactical thinking in a game than power grinding? Guild Wars is a pretty good step in this direction as you CAN buy money in the game and while being helpful, it isn’t overpowering in many aspects since the game has moved toward a barter system over money (which is now used for identification kits and salvage kits more than most everything else).

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