Buying ingame objects for rl cash is a touchy subject, but its a thing that many does either as buyers or sellers - they just dont really talk much about it publicly because the subject is generally taboo in the Mmo world.
Originally the arguments for this being a bad thing was immersion. By mixing reallife and games together you miss the original roleplaying possiblities that you had in the Mud's.
However as voice chat, public chats and forums outside the game became the normal thing and the in character / Rp forums basically died away - this effectively stopped the big barriers , and made the r much smaller in mmorpg.
However at the same time lawsuits and possible legal problems began showing their head. If a game company publicly accepts trades of ingame item, then it could be argued that they have a responsability for those items ingame that can be followed to reallife cash.
This is obviously a problem, hence forcing game companies to take a pubilcly and legally proven hard stance against trading ingame items for reallife currency. Generally the game companies wouldnt have a problem with this if it wasnt due to potential legal issues.
But why is so many buying, if its illegal. Even the most law abiding non exploiting people in mmo's would gladly buy ingame gold for the right price and the reason is simple.
Build in mmo's is the time it takes to gather wealth. This is the "stuffing" or the grind to be competetive.
The grey gold gamers that this blog is about finds themselves in trouble when playing the modern mmo's. The problem isnt playerskill, carebearness or suckyness - the problem is time.
In essense a older gamer like me Loves to play mmo's, but we are also competetive and want to be on top of the game.
However we simply dont have the time a teenager, or a student does. We are Fulltime Working people, with families, kids and responsabilites. Competetive gaming is our hobby but we are being forced from this due to the ressource grind.
On the other side you have the kids, they got mad amounts of time. They have no problems in farming what is needed, and often much more than that.
This means we have a supply from the kids, and a demand from the old ones - but they are not allowed to trade.
Instead the kids swim in ressources, and the old ones often drop the game. The old gamers have played for years, so they know excactly how much time they need to spend every week to get the ressources they need to play the endgame. In wow it was the raids, and Darkfall its to get money for gear.
Ive stopped counting the times ive heard someone say "i love the game, but i dont have the time to play competetively, and if i cant do that id rather not play at all"
In World of Warcraft i bought plenty of gold. For example at some point flying mounts was introduced, and you needed this mount to get to a given instance. this mount cost 5000 gold, no way that i could spend all the hours farming 5000 gold just to get access to a horse so i could do a raid that also costs a lot of gold for every raid.
When i played runes of magic, i bought crystals that i traded on the auction house for ingame gold, giving me the needed gold and the timeheavy players a income of crystals.
The Asians got it right !
In the asian mmo's they solve this by selling "crystals" that you pay for rl money. Those crystals can be sold for ingame gold, or convertet to ingame items - but generally not gold.
This is a brilliant solution because this creates a market situation where the young players can get the stuff the costs money for ingame gold, the old players gets ingame gold and the game company gets more money.
I think we will see these solutions more often in the future. Added to this everyone knows that microtransactions is a growing market strategy and by doing it this was the young players will play unhindered , and the old ones will be able to play competetively just for a bit higher cost.
Today the western Mmo's are not there at all, and im not really sure why. Today you can not do any transactions of this kind so instead we have a large amount of chinese farmers doing shady deals selling gold very cheap using a exploited workforce.
Instead of keeping the older gamers money in the market either in the pockets of the game companies or the kids with a lot of time - it instead goes into a ever growing market of chinese gold sweatshops.
This obviously have to end, and the best solution is the crystal method like seen in Runes of Magic.
Added to this ill mention that in a real mmo like Darkfall, where you have full loot then its a totally different and smaller problem because any item i might buy - is a item i will loose then i die.
Instead of hunting people selling or buying ingame items of cash, the game companies should find the best way where they get involved - so all the money from guys like me can go into the hands of the game companies instead of a chinese farmer.
This is still a taboo subject, so odds are i will get flamed bigtime for this entry - but i think its only a matter of time before this will find its way into the western mmo's as well, and in my oppinion it can not happen fast enough.
I know many players in World of Warcraft who have spend way more money on gold and item sellers, than they ever payed to Blizzard during 3-4 years of wow gaming.
Lets keep the money in the mmo community.