Posted by: mrrx | July 3, 2006

Real Money Transfer

There’s sure a lot of noise out there about real money transfer.     Those links are just the tip of the iceberg.     And most of them are developers arguing about which way games should go with it.

To whatever degree yall care what a player has to say about it, here you go :

Some say that games shouldn’t have a monetary economy.     Picking things up is the only way to acquire stuff.      I doubt I’ll be playing your game; there’s a ton of fun in being given the chance to become filthy rich.     

The more moderate version of this proposal opines that no-drop, and attuneable attributes are a way to protect the economy from farming.      Perhaps, but you’ve just ruined the money-accumulators dreams of acquiring an uber item which he can’t raid his way too.  (Even better are the people who talk ad naseum about why you don’t need that uber item if you don’t do raids, so shut up about it)

Rubenfield seems to think game developers can make a non-monetary economy.     While I bet that line of thought might lead to an interesting game, he’s not going to literally achieve that goal and get me to play.      And I have to doubt that anyone can really get their heads around that golden rainbow in the sky – The Economy – given that in the real world the smartest guys alive or dead haven’t completely figured it out either.      (However, do look at some of his comments for some mind-bending game ideas.)

Now playing Everquest2, which is a game that is item-centric and based on scarcity, and which nevertheless finds a wealth-accumulator like me playing it, has taught me a few things.

Items aren’t that important to playing the game.      You guys blew it somehow, somewhere; I have more fun socking away my money because it apparently holds its value in-game, despite the Dollars-to-Plat value dropping like a rock ($2.50 last time I checked, not $20 as I remember at the outset of the Exchange).      I rarely buy anything and just use whatever stuff I manage to get free from other players or by questing.

But you have sucked me into doing tasks over and over and over (quests) both to experience that content and mark off ticks on a scoreboard.       Guess where I expect my in-game money to be spent?   Acquiring quest doodads.       Damned Cracked Barbarian Bone costs more than many weapons.

This also leads into where the end of the game is; it’s the point at which I have finished all the quests.       And not, as I had assumed at one point, the time when I acquire the uber equipment because you’ve designed me out of that goal.

Me, I have little problem with player-to-player RMT.     I wouldn’t want to play any game where I pay the developer directly for items; it sounds too much like gambling to me, with the house rigging the bets so I can’t possibly win.     

But I also want to be able to get the best stuff that exists in the world if I can accumulate enough money to tempt another player out of it; and this means you can’t prevent me from doing it via artificial restrictions like no-drop, and keep me happy.

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