Tragic confession: I’ve bought gold… In Everquest 2. Just the once. I didn’t think “What I need now is some gold, hi me unto the nearest vendor”. It was 3am in the morning, an email made it thru my spam filter and it looked like something Sonyish and I clicked. The site was vaguely EQ2 themed, enough that my remaining 3 brain cells didn’t think thru what I was doing as I thought “50plat for that little? hey, I can do that”.
I’d taken a leave of absence from EQ2 and upon returning it pained me, despite the mentor system, to be such a drain on my buddies. A few dollars and a few plat would allow me to upgrade and pull my own weight a little. The gold was delivered incredibly promptly so I resisted the urge to go to bed, decked my character out with good but not spectacular gear, and went out hunting with some guildies without feeling a bottom feeder myself.
Our fun was cut short by a gold farmer. That’s about when the rest of my brain woke up.
It’s not that I paid cash for gold, I am appalled at the fact that I furthered the cause of the gold farmers.
Gold Farming = Evil: A quest mob to you and I is a monetary resource to the gold farmer. It was created to be a quest mob, it was spawned to be a quest mob, the software and data environment it exists in was designed around it being treated as a quest mob. I’ve yet to meet a gold farmer who has stepped away from a mob so as not to interfere with my gameplay or who has left a group voluntarily to make room for a player.
The backbone of any MMO is the community, and gold farming destroys community. It fosters mistrust and sets an expectation for non-cooperation, it is fractuous to the most critical aspect of success for the company running the product.
But Gold Buying has a whole bunch of valid motives that need to be met by game developers, and for similar reasons as for why gold farming is evil. Yes, you might lose customers because they buy their way to the end game and then have nothing to play for. Guess what – you probably got as much subscription time out of them as you would have if they’d had to work from scratch, only you got free money out of them while they were at it.
The spanner in the works is the folks whose immersion/suspension of disbelief is crushed by a player wearing armor he didn’t loot. That’s right, people who can believe they get the +9 XXXL armor plated legs of gyroscopic telebooming from a snake or that if you kill bats you can loot coins from their corpses or that you have to kill hundreds of wolves to find an ear on one … can’t believe that a player might be wearing a piece of armor that he didn’t loot from a ghost or pay for with coins earned by repeatedly turning in rat heads to a local merchant who said he was “in need of a few”…
I’m not suggesting that games just switch on the gold tap; design it into your damn game to the end of crippling the margins the farmers can make. If the gold farmers want to make their money by buying gold from you and selling it – you’ve eliminated the true evil of gold farming, which is the in-game farming part.
Syp of Waargh wibbles the following:
I’m not here to sermonize why gold selling and buying is wrong — you should know it is, if for no other reason than how far out of the way people have to go to do it
In-fact, it (buying) is incredibly easy to do. And like drinking, smoking, having sex or taking drugs it is largely an individual moral decision. It’s not against the law, it’s against the TOS. It’s a form of cheating – the form widely considered and taught to be acceptable by the game development community – from the pirates to the developers who add “cheat codes” to their game.
Wrong is the fact that to enjoy a game fully Mike had to go outside the bonafide community to bring his characters up to snuff, and wrong is the fact that although you pretend to have understood, you slammed the guy for wanting a little dignity in his gaming. I’m glad you get a buzz out of role-playing rags to riches, but some people are OK with their gnome having a trust fund or their orc inheriting their armor from a long lost aunt.
This may come as a genuine shock to you, Syp, but most gamers – and I’m talking 999 out of 1000, could give a flying fart about the lore behind the mobs. They want them to look pretty, they want them to present some modicum of challenge to them and the buddies they play with, and they want them to die with a little less effort when they choose not to play with their buddies.
If Mike twinks his character and all-but skips levels 20 thru 30, who the hell cares. You certainly shouldn’t – you’re supposed to be hardcore. So suck it up, gloat over the fact that /you/ got where you did without schlepping out more of your hard earned, through mastery of the game. You ought to have a superior suspense of disbelief that you can wield to protect you from having to even remotely worry about where Mike got his stuff from.
Infact, it disturbs me that you seem to be confused about relative value of virtual and real money. You must, or you’d realize that Mike probably worked a hell of a lot harder for the gear than you did for yours; he spent actual food & clothing money on it.
Most of the people I know who have bought gold aren’t doing it because they have real platinum to spend, they’re doing it because they have a hard life and they happen to like this game as a mode of recreation, our guild in particular, but MMOs don’t come with a difficulty setting that would allow them to keep up.
They are the people in UO or EQ1 that wander into the guild, became the life of the party for a few weeks and then slid off the low end of the radar, failing to keep up and always sending you PMs asking if you wanted to come kill giants in LRT…
Mike didn’t think he was hurting anyone, but he was. He was helping to establish demand of an industry that is so abhorrent to most players these days
I hate to break this to you, but you’re dead wrong. “Mike” may have been a novelty in your experience because he admitted it. But I’m afraid you’ll find out you are surrounded by people who do or have bought gold. When I confessed to my gold buying, I had a few people who were deeply offended, but the overwhelming response was “did you go to … that’s where I get mine from” or “yeah? my husband|wife buys ours” or “do you have any spare?” or “I just bought 100p for my kids accounts”.
You’re misinterpreting the lost cause: most people have, unfortunately, conceded to the notion that developers aren’t going to write games to suit their needs so in addition to a subscription they’re going to have to periodically invest in a little upgrade or two. The dwindling crowd of crusaders for the cause against gold buying can sense the trend and so are upping their efforts in hopes that the rest of the world will remember the good old days where playing an MMO required having your gonads wired to the PC so that you could be bollocuted any time you died to make the punishment fittingly suitable…
Of course, I’m talking here about gold buying. Gold Farming is a different story. People do hate farmers but mostly for a different reason than you. Because if you buy gold, gold farmers aren’t merely the dealer selling you the drugs, they’re also the mafia stealing it from you in the first place under the heading “protection money”. It’s not so bad in a heavily instanced game, where gold farmers might actually generate cash without impinging on other player’s ability to earn it themselves. But in games where the best cash comes from non-instanced encounters, people really, really hate them.
If Mythic succeeds in purging WarHammer of Farmers and eliminates all gold selling/buying for cash in the game … Their subscriptions will suffer far above and beyond what simply that of the loss of the farmers’ accounts themselves. Now if Mark Jacob’s vision of WarHammer is of world full of paying “employees”, that’s clearly his call and I have no problem with a game’s developers declaring that their world be RMT free, and I think the people that choose to play that game need to accept that decision. That is part of the game just like not doing fifteen times the damage the developers coded your sword to do or travelling 100x faster than the game allows is part of the game.
I just think it is well past time for developers to make the decision to start considering integrating basic RMT into their games to their own advantage and under their control. The objective has to be to get rid of the farmers without making it so that “Mike” doesn’t feel he can’t play the came or hang out with his friends.