Monday, June 12, 2006
SCANDAL ! Secret Blizzard - IGE Deal Revealed !!!
Our investigative reporter for the MMOG Tabloid News, Carl Woodward, discovered shocking news when he
Carl: You two having a business lunch? Is there a secret deal between Blizzard and IGE going on?
Jeff: Nothing is official until you see the IGE logo on the World of Warcraft website.
Brock: If this isn't official yet, why am I paying Blizzard such a big slice of my income already, Jeff?
Jeff: All items and currency of World of Warcraft traded by IGE are the intellectual property of Blizzard, and thus we deserve that slice.
Brock: The question whether virtual items and currency are intellectual property of the game company or property of the players has never been fully resolved.
Jeff: Yes, and I think you agreed that it is not in the interest of either of our companies to get that question resolved in a court of law. That is one of the most important points of the contract we signed.
Carl: Brock, why are you meeting with a game developer from Blizzard, and not with some financial guy?
Brock: Game design is very important for RMT. Jeff and I are currently discussing the Burning Crusade expansion. Talking about intellectual property: the 2,000 gold price tag for the flying mounts was *my* idea.
Jeff: And that idea will earn you millions.
Brock: Us, Jeff, us.
Jeff: Money sinks are very important to the RMT business. Buying epic items on the auction house looks expensive to the player, but it doesn't remove the money from the economy, and unless the epic is sold by an IGE employee doesn't earn us anything. In hindsight the level 40 mount was too cheap, and the epic mount not useful enough, not everybody bought one. The flying mount will be absolutely needed to get to some zones, so the profit is assured. Few players have the time to farm 2,000 gold on their own.
Carl: So your main customers are casual players, people with a job and family, with little time and lots of money?
Brock: These are our most valuable customers. The average age of MMORPG players has gone up over the years, most players have a good income, and playing World of Warcraft is considerably cheaper than playing golf. So there is a lot of potential and people willing to spend more to get ahead in the game. But we are trying to serve the less casual customers as well.
Jeff: Don't worry, Brock. Wait until you see what a repair bill on level 70 epic armor after a typical raid costs. Not to mention the cost for potions, this again only feeds gold back into the economy and isn't a money sink.
Brock: But don't forget to make the loot in the level 70 raid dungeons just like the loot in Molten Core. Epics, to motivate players to go there, and worthless junk like coal or lifeless stones, so the money earned in the raid doesn't cover the repair bill.
Jeff: Understood. We will also continue the system introduced in patch 1.11, where players will need to spend money or resources to get access to raid dungeons, thus removing the resources from the economy. And we are thinking of more quest series like the tier 0.5 upgrade quest, where doing the quest would cost you hundreds of gold.
Carl: When you announce your deal, will that not cause a huge outcry and a loss of customers for both of you?
Brock: You learn to live with bad publicity. All these rabid anti-RMT people on message boards and blogs, their bark is worse than their bite. 9 out of 10 uber-guild main tanks are already customers at IGE to cover their repair bills. Who wants to go gold farming between raids? Many people just buy gold and keep mum about it.
Jeff: The Station Exchange hasn't hurt SOE's business a bit. We don't force anyone to buy gold, farming it for yourself is always an option. And our deal includes a clause that IGE employees are not using bots and cheats to farm gold. We will continue our policy to ban every account found cheating to farm gold.
Brock: Thus conveniently eliminating the competition.
Jeff: Having official RMT is much more convenient for our customers, as it prevents scams, and gives them better legal security. We never banned anyone for buying gold, but haven't been able to get that message across up to now.
Carl: Thank you two for the interview, I'm looking forward to see the official announcement.
Jeff: This was completely off the record. WAIT! You taped this?
[Sounds of falling chairs, angry shouts, and running footsteps]
Disclaimer: All characters and events portrayed in this work are fictional and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental. Only the link between game design and the profitability of RMT is very, very real.