Friday, January 29, 2010
Aion refund petition
Inktomi is upset about a recent wave of Aion accounts being hacked, which apparently orginated from NCSoft's account website not being very safe. A bug on that website could result in you ending up on the account management site of another player, where you could easily change his password and then proceed to log into the game and steal all his stuff. NCSoft first denied the incident, then updated the website security, but now is slow in restoring their customers lost virtual goods. So Inktomi is starting a petition to get a "time refund".
While I do think that NCSoft is at fault here, and I'm willing to help out with that by linking to it, of course I have to remark that A) getting 3 months of free subscription from NCSoft for being hacked will never happen. And B) the reasoning behind this demand comes from a common misconception, a logical error which leads to much of what is wrong with MMORPGs today. So let me state this crystal clear:
Playing a MMORPG is not work. You do no deserve anything, neither in the form of virtual goods, nor in the form of special consideration or status, for having put in lots of hours into a MMORPG.
A MMORPG is a game. The basic financial operation going on here is YOU paying the GAME COMPANY money to be ALLOWED to play the game. You pay money for entertainment hours. You do not pay money for the virtual rewards that result from those hours of entertainment. If you lose those rewards through an error of the game company, of course the game company should do their utmost to replace those virtual goods, which with them being virtual can be done by a simple copy & paste operation. You do NOT deserve your subscription refunded, because you did NOT lose the hours of entertainment you paid for. If you consider the hours spent in a MMORPG to be not entertainment, but work, you are effectively working for a negative salary. Duh, dude!
The negative consequence of this common misconception is that some people think that for having spent a lot of hours in a MMORPG, they are now somehow superior human beings compared to the "noobs" who spent a lot less time in the game. Obviously that is not the case. At best by playing a lot a player can gain knowledge and skill, but this knowledge and skill is extremely limited, and apart from few exceptions not applicable in real life. Video game skills figure pretty low on the long list of things that really count in life. And in a meritocratic society, where people supposedly get ahead by putting in a lot of REAL work, spending a lot of time in a video game is regarded by many as suspicious. Of course the "basement gamer" is as much of a myth as the "elite gamer". But you do need to consider whether by playing a lot you aren't neglecting something in real life which might be less immediately rewarding than purple pixels, but nevertheless ultimately more important. If that "leet" gamer status did actually come from you having neglected your studies, your work, or your family, then you are nothing but a loser. Being hacked, and having been robbed of all those purple pixels, or the game you are playing shutting down and you losing everything, should serve as a reminder that all those virtual rewards and leet skills are just an illusion.