Thursday, September 25, 2008
WAR and RMT
I totally agree with Mark Jacobs' approach of banning gold spammers immediately, instead of banning a large amount every couple of months. But I can also see why the decision to report bannings with pop-up windows to the other players isn't liked by everyone. And I certainly can't support Syp's proposal to ostracize your friends if they bought any gold. But I don't think any of this matters for the reality of gold selling in Warhammer Online, it's all just the inconsequential noise people make about the issue.
The best Mark Jacob's can hope for it to completely ban gold *spammers* from his game. Which would already be a big step forward, but is still a completely different league than banning gold *sellers*. The fundamental problem with banning gold sellers is that me sending you 100 gold in WAR would be completely legit, because we could be best buddies or something. You giving me 20 bucks in return is the forbidden part, but as that part happens outside the game, Mythic won't be able to verify if it happened or not.
Syp is right in saying that the problem of gold selling is the demand of gold buyers. But his solution is wrong, because he short-sightedly attributes the demand to notions of "morality or honor", which is just plain silly. Player's demand for gold is simply a function of how grindy it is to get gold, and what you need that gold for. And that are all questions of game design. It is a lot easier to solve the problem with good game design than to start a successful crusade to stop people from cheating in video games. Google has 80 million hits in a search for "cheats", most of which are about video games, that isn't something we can make go away if we all just hold hands and wish for it very, very strongly.
Fortunately WAR seems to be on a good way to if not eliminate but then at least seriously reduce gold selling by the simple means of making earning gold fun enough, and not having ridiculous money sinks like 5,000 gold epic horses. The level 20 mount in WAR costs 15 gold, and I already have that much money at level 14, without any grind. The trick is that you do earn gold whatever you do, even in RvR. Although the player you kill does not lose gold or items, you loot him and get gold or even items. So you can have fun all evening with lets say defending a keep, spend money on siege weapons, and still come out ahead with gold in your pockets. And there isn't all that much you could spend it on. Renown gear is usually better than anything you can find in the auction house, crafted consumables are cheap enough, because that is all you can craft, and training and mounts are reasonably priced. So we could well see a lot less RMT in WAR than in WoW. And that without needing to never speak to our friends again.