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Posted: Dec 13th 2011 2:11PM (Unverified) said

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The problem with gold buying and selling is most of it comes from hacking accounts and stealing the gold. This costs developers money and is a huge headache for anyone that has been hacked. I even had to buy an authenticater for WoW (with real money) because hacking is so prevalent due to idiots buying gold.

The whole eliminate the grind is a false solution. People are lazy. Hold in WoW is damn easy to get and can't be used for much, yet people still buy it.

Posted: Dec 13th 2011 2:30PM (Unverified) said

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@(Unverified)

It also takes away a lot of the gameplay. People get annoyed when they play the game, play by the rules, and others don't and get the same rewards. Gold buying is essentially cheating, and it's also sad the people resort to buying gold because their time is too precious to spend actually playing the game.
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Posted: Dec 13th 2011 3:40PM Irem said

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@(Unverified)
All of the above.

In addition, I'm surprised Jef doesn't see how it impacts those games that -do- have virtual world elements. In games with a player-run economy, it means that some people are "breaking the 4th wall" in order to get ahead, rather than playing within the confines of the world. It's only really a judgment on developers in a game where nearly everyone does it because it's next to impossible to support yourself and still have time to play the game; in most games nowadays we have currency that's nearly worthless for anything important and practically falls out of the sky, and yet people still buy gold. The willingness to ease player involvement in the economy and allow everyone to be self-sufficient is one of those elements other than combat that's going the way of the dinosaur.
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Posted: Dec 14th 2011 12:42AM Utakata said

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@Irem & others

I will also add from a developer perspective...it get's into intellectual property/copywrite issues. That is, a third party is making money off and at game company's expense. The dev's would like their cut back please.
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Posted: Dec 14th 2011 1:54AM DataShade said

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@(Unverified)
>The problem with gold buying and selling is most of it comes from hacking accounts and stealing the gold.
Citation needed. There have been *actual documentaries* on gold-seller companies who practically run sweatshops - rows of computers all logged into a game, with employees playing in shifts, never logging out of the character, just hot-swapping into a chair when the previous guy's shift is over. To the best of my knowledge, no MMO company has ever released detailed statistics about hacking. In fact, they go out of their way to keep as much of that information - not just the personally identifying information of their customers, but *all* records of breaches, lapses or loopholes in their security systems, etc. So ... no, you don't just get to assert that "most" RMT gold comes from hacking, since there's no hard evidence to support that and significant evidence to the contrary.

> I even had to buy an authenticater for WoW (with real money) because hacking is so prevalent due to idiots buying gold.
So you spoke to the guy who hacked you and he told you his motivations? That's pretty uncommon, they usually don't respond if you send them tells while they're disenchanting all of your brand new epic gear to make the reagents that you often can't find for any price until well after all race to be the first to conquer new combat has already ended. Oh, but I forgot, it would never be an unscrupulous member of a rival guild, it's those *damned Chinese.*

Since you got to talk to the guy, did he also tell you where he got your password? Because I'd like to know if it was that you had a trojan/keylogger, or because you used the same user/pass on multiple different sites (like wowhead or wowwiki or curse), or if you followed the instructions of a phishing email. You notice I didn't mention any kind of actual hack/crack of Blizzard's servers; I work in IT/security, we haven't seen an honest-to-god brute force password crack that was successful in *years,* but probably 5-10 a day each of the other three I listed.


> The whole eliminate the grind is a false solution.
Citation needed. Name a game that's dismantled its grind and still suffered from game-breaking RMT. I'll wait.

>People are lazy.
That would certainly explain your specious reasoning. Also, why game developers don't seem willing to either adapt to RMT or engineer away the grind.

>Hold in WoW is damn easy to get
wrong
>and can't be used for much,
wrong
>yet people still buy it.
Gold is easy to get *IF* you're at the level cap, a good solo player, well-geared enough to run the best daily quests, AND have enough time on your hands to run a sizeable number of them every day.

Which means if you're a casual player OR you're playing a character who doesn't do well on his own, if you're not at max level, if you're not decked out in Heroic instance drops, if you're not dedicated enough to *grind the same 8-12 quests every day* then you're not going to have enough gold.

You think there's nothing you need gold for, but, the thing is, unless the server economies have inverted since three months after Cataclysm (when I last played), then getting crafting materials and gear off the Auction House is insanely expensive when you're trying to traffic in max-level gear. If you're in a helpful guild you might not need to do much shopping, but if your guild is small, or big and obsessed with progression raiding, you're going to spend gold like water. (Hell, some guy in my guild back in 'vanilla' WoW days - before daily quests - spent over 20k in addition to grinding ores 6 hours a day in order to get to Exalted with the Thorium Brotherhood to have fire resist gear for MC and BWL.)

Just getting max-level flying for all your characters on one server costs over one hundred thousand gold - that's just riding, not the mounts - and is it still 1000 gold for dual-spec? Then there's the costs of training class skills, trade skills, deposits for items on the auction house, bank slots (and guild bank slots)...

So I guess if you count *all the game mechanics* as "not much," then, yes, there's "not much" you can spend gold on. Unless, you know, you're part of a small guild or no guild at all, and you're buying high-level BOE drops - or rare lower-level BOE drops for a PVP twink - or turn-in materials for a repeatable faction-boosting quest - et cetera et cetera.
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Posted: Dec 14th 2011 2:38AM DataShade said

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@(Unverified)
> It also takes away a lot of the gameplay.
EXCEPTION: "Grind" is not "gameplay," so buying gold isn't actually taking away any gameplay.

> People get annoyed when they play the game, play by the rules, and others don't and get the same rewards.
Either you had fun earning your rewards, or you didn't. Someone else can't take your fun away from you (unless they're in your party and suck). Wait... are these people using a mind-control laser on you to *make* you annoyed? OR are they an evil wizard? How is someone else retroactively taking away your fun?

... Unless you're not actually interested in the rewards for themselves. UNLESS you're not having fun PLAYING THE GAME, you're having fun SHOWING OFF THE REWARDS. If you're using the rewards as a form of CURRENCY to buy RESPECT (or, more correctly, more shamefully, RESPECT FROM STRANGERS ON THE INTERNET), then I could see how someone else having FAKE REWARDS devalues your precious RESPECT CURRENCY (respect, from strangers, on the internet, who could be lying about respecting you, or pedophiles hoping to get your digits, or sophisticated bots, or English-fluent Chinese gold-farmers looking to steal your account password).

Of course, I'm not even sure how you know they bough FAKE REWARDS with CHEAT GOLD anyways. How would you even know? Did *you* hack *their* accounts? Do you frequently meet people who openly admit, in public, to bannable offenses? (Allow me to remind you that people on the internet are capable of telling lies; further, there is a specific subcategory of persons on the internet known as "trolls" who specialize in lies designed to make you upset.) Or do you just assume, if you're grouped with someone who's sporting all BOE epicz and doesn't know how to play their class *at all,* that they spent CHEAT GOLD to get those SHINY PURPLES? That seems like a faulty assumption, since they could just as easily be some hardcore player's significant other or younger sibling, and could easily be such an ignorant rube that they don't even *know* you can buy gold, let alone have committed the UNPARDONABLE OFFENSE you so hate.

Personally, I'd be anxious to admit out loud that finding out other people do things that I wouldn't somehow renders my hobby retroactively unfun. I mean, there's a strong parallel between the attitude you just described and the kind of homophobia where two far-off dudes having buttsex in their own home threatens *your* marriage.


> Gold buying is essentially cheating,
HAVE YOU EVER HELPED A LOW LEVEL FRIEND THROUGH A QUEST
HAVE YOU EVER MADE OR BOUGHT GEAR FOR A LOWBIE FRIEND OR ALT
HAVE YOU EVER USED A WIKI OR A STRATEGY VIDEO OR GROUPED WITH SOMEONE WHO HAS
You filthy cheating cheater-person!


> and it's also sad the people resort to buying gold because their time is too precious to spend actually playing the game.
Again, EXCEPTION: grind is not game. As such, it's sad that some people feel it necessary to pay for a game twice - once to the developer to subscribe, and again to some third-party to make it fun.
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Posted: Dec 14th 2011 8:35AM Irem said

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@DataShade
"> Gold buying is essentially cheating,
HAVE YOU EVER HELPED A LOW LEVEL FRIEND THROUGH A QUEST
HAVE YOU EVER MADE OR BOUGHT GEAR FOR A LOWBIE FRIEND OR ALT
HAVE YOU EVER USED A WIKI OR A STRATEGY VIDEO OR GROUPED WITH SOMEONE WHO HAS
You filthy cheating cheater-person!"

What the actual hell. All of that is involvement in the community, or doing things within the actual scope of gameplay. Comparing that to buying gold from a third party is absolutely insane.

I can't even tell what point your rant is trying to make. But I know when I played WoW I sure never had any trouble making gold before max level, and never sent much to my alts because I thought it was fun to try to make 100 gold before level 20. For some reason most people never bother with the AH before they absolutely have to, despite the fact that at the time I was playing, low-level crafting materials that could be farmed in the starting areas were worth a ton of money, more than enough to support a character by mining or gathering while leveling. I have trouble feeling sympathy for people who will spend hours grinding the same dungeons at max level until they're sick of them to gear up for raids, but couldn't be asked to do a few minutes of exploration--in game, even!--to figure out what they could do to make money for themselves as they level.
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Posted: Dec 14th 2011 3:52PM Ocho said

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@Irem

I agree with all of the above, except the ranting guy who wants us to feel the plight of gold sellers like a late night infomercial.

But Jef, what do you mean by "it's debatable how negative the effects of RMT really are on gamers"? Person A wants to get ahead, so they buy gold, gets a ton of it, and buys the Epic Sword of Epicness from Auction from person B. They have now added a significant amount of money into the system. Person B, now with a ridiculous sum of gold, more than he would have under a fair market, spends that money buying something from Player C at a ridiculously inflated price. Player B and C know they can attempt those prices because there are people like Player A who will buy gold instead of earning it. The whole process creates massive inflation in the game economy, the value of gold drops, and now EVERY gamer is affected. This, then, in turn makes gold-buying look even better, and more people do it so they can buy their own stuff, which inflates the economy even more! Its a cycle that eventually makes the in-game money worthless, so devs must make it more plentiful in-game (which they do), and start coming up with alternate currencies (which they do).

Every gamer is affected by gold-buying. They're not just "minding other people's business", they're seeing how other's business is negatively affecting them, and taking a stance against it.
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Posted: Dec 13th 2011 2:16PM CZL said

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The problem is that the game you describe is a combination of FarmVille, The Sims and Second Life, two of which feature developer-sponsored RMT. You don't fix the problem of RMT by shifting it from a black to a white market.

People play games, especially RPGs, to recreate the D&D experience, which means levels, loot, stats and grind. People who play MMOs as virtual life simulators with occasional RPG elements may bemoan this, the same as tabletop gamers bemoan dungeon crawl, pre-planned modules.

A good game will mask grindy tasks with extra-mechanical meaning (eg, story) and artificial progression barriers with lore-based reasons.

I think some mechanics are holdovers of keeping people playing (like large level caps, gear grinds, etc.) and need to go away. But to do away with grindy tasks like quests, dungeons, missions, material farming, etc., is to do away with plot devices. Saying you'll replace it with player-generated content, crafting minigames and graphical chat rooms changes the game and makes it a glorified social networking tool.

Posted: Dec 13th 2011 2:34PM fallwind said

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@CZL "People play games, especially RPGs, to recreate the D&D experience, which means levels, loot, stats and grind"

if your D&D games were nothing but levels, loot, stats and grind, you need to fire your DM and find someone who knows how to actually weave a story.
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Posted: Dec 13th 2011 3:52PM DarkWalker said

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@fallwind

Completely agree.

If anyone has any doubt what RPGs are supposed to be about, just spell out the acronym: Role Playing Game. In other words, a game where the player is supposed to role play his character, to create it's history on the go with the help of the GM and the other players.

"Levels, loot, stats and grind", among other things commonly thought by video game players as a staple of the genre, are just crutches to get the history going; in fact, plenty of RPGs have one golden rule, first rule, or whatever the game calls it: what matters is having fun. If any rule gets in the way of having fun, toss away the rule.

BTW, some games do away with some, or even all, those other things often associated with the RPG genre. Quite a few of them are, perhaps, the best examples of what it means to be an RPG you will ever find.

(Nit-picking a bit, video game and computer so-called RPGs often are anything but. With a few rare and precious exceptions that actually let the player choose his own path and tell his own story - Skyrim comes to mind - they are just action, adventure, or strategy games with a thin veneer of character advancement mechanics.)
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Posted: Dec 13th 2011 2:20PM (Unverified) said

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re: Unverified

Your complaint is nothing but a result of gold buying and farming.

What the author is saying, which I agree with btw, is that if you take away the reasons why people buy gold, developers would be winning the war against the gold market more so than they are now.

Posted: Dec 13th 2011 2:21PM DancingCow said

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I agree with the general sentiment. If the game (including acquiring in-game money) was fun then very few would bother to buy it.

But I question this: "black market transactions benefit third parties rather than gamemakers".

Every black market farmer = a box sale and ongoing sub. And another box sale every time they're caught. More money pours into developers' coffers because of illegal RMT.

Plus more people stay subbed on the other side of the equation. I reckon some of those buying gold illegally would just stop playing otherwise.

On the other hand, since many players object to RMT (for whatever reasons) if the developer decided to implement it officially and try to cut out the gold farmers they would lose some players.

So allowing gold farming to continue does benefit developers. They can wring their hands in woe and wail at how hard they are to stop (rubbish really) and be quietly pleased with the extra revenue it generates them.

All that's required to really stop gold farmers is simple transaction tracking and reporting. For non-gold farmers, gold doesn't continually flow from their pockets into the pockets of many others. A first-year undergrad could probably write a system to easily detect the majority of gold-farmers.

Posted: Dec 13th 2011 2:39PM fallwind said

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@DancingCow "All that's required to really stop gold farmers is simple transaction tracking and reporting."

sure. Now tell me how you plan on telling the difference between me sending 5000g to my husband's account so he can buy his epic flying, vs me sending 5000g to some guy who just "lost" $20 into my pocket?

When I was in WoW, I practically ran the glyph market for most of LK on my server, I had more gold than I knew what to do with. I would buy guildies free mounts, raffle off mechano-hogs. even bought an IRL friend of mine all the saronite she needed for her Shadow's Edge because she was having a rough day at work. I'm dead sure that my account got flagged more than once for "suspicious activity"... but the simple fact is, that even with sending out close to 100,000g over the years, I never sold one copper for RL cash.

Simply looking at transaction history does nothing.
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Posted: Dec 13th 2011 3:30PM (Unverified) said

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@fallwind
I'll tell you the difference, the difference is legitimate folks get 1 day bans falsely, while the cheaters just don't care.

I got an account lock for suspicious activity. All I did was play the AH. I got my account back but it sucked.

It's like all the extra crap they put into packaging to prevent theft. It causes the honest to take on the burden of open all that crap, and it does nothing to the dishonest who can open those things like nobodies business.
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Posted: Dec 13th 2011 3:52PM fallwind said

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@(Unverified) so true... it's the same as my view on bike locks.... most only stop honest thieves... the better the lock the more dishonest a thief it will stop, but if they want it bad enough, they WILL get it no matter what lock you use.
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Posted: Dec 13th 2011 4:12PM Irem said

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@fallwind
Well, with bike locks it's best not to offer people the temptation to take something you can just ride away on. :P
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Posted: Dec 13th 2011 5:38PM DancingCow said

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@fallwind

No offence, but that's all complete nonsense.

A gold farmer/seller will have money constantly flying out of every orifice to seemingly random people. Money being given to guildies wouldn't even register on the system's radar. Nor would one-off gifts.
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Posted: Dec 13th 2011 2:27PM gegner said

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You did forget to mention the biggest reason why gold farming is bad for all MMOs. Most if not all gold comes from hacked accounts. The more gold you buy the more accounts need to get hacked to stay up with demand.

Whether the game is fun or not grinding for gold isn't the question. If you don't like it then do everyone a favor and stop playing the game.

Rift has taken some decent measures to fight against gold farming and it works out pretty well. They ban IPs on a per account basis, which should be changed to game wide IMO. And the coin lock feature is nice as long as your email wasn't hacked.

Posted: Dec 13th 2011 4:03PM Brianna Royce said

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@gegner "Most if not all gold comes from hacked accounts" I'd love to see an actual citation for this. I've played several MMOs where it was not at all the case, including one where gold-selling wasn't even illegal.
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