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Spouse Aggro!

I blog at www.spouseaggro.com, write for www.ablegamers.com, run www.mmovoices.ning.com and post all over the net. HOWDY!

Author: beauturkey

You cannot tell me what I value, and how much.

Posted by beauturkey Tuesday May 19 2009 at 11:30AM
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The beauty of MMOs is that, nowadays, they leave open so many choices for players to make. How to play, when to play, what activities to participate in. So it's always so surprising to meet players, ADULT individuals that seem to think that one area of activities has more value than another.

A simple, to the point example: Raiding is more valuable than Exploring.

In a recent discussion (meaning me taking on 7 other people) on the Vanguard forums, players debated if receiving a free flying mount (for attending Fan Faire) was good or bad. I argued that it was only good or bad depending on the individual. Some players can think it is bad but that does not mean other players will. In other words, value is set by an individual, not by a group or by section of players.

Many people love to "theorize" about in-game economies, (EVE especially) spending post after post discussing this-effects-that and supply and demand, but it is all to prove a very basic point: the individual sets his or her own value. No one else does. To be clear, we are talking about MMOs and not real life, because in real life some items must be purchased for the very sake of basic living, but we could argue that even then there are choices to be made. But let's stay out of that. Boring!

But the cash shop/ non-cash shop arguments are debating the same thing: what value is this? The "this" can be a virtual item, time, or an activity. It does not matter because in MMOs, players do many different things and place a lot of different levels of value on those things. I like to role-play, love my boat to death (if I can find it) and think that exploring is the purest form of game-play. Many players love to raid, think that the Uber Sword of Uber is the goal, and think that a cash shop is a "cheat".

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Neither are correct, except to themselves.

So, the debate was "..does getting a flying mount for free DE-VALUE the current flying mounts in game?" (Take out flying mount and put in cash-shop item, activity, or anything that players DO.) My point was that it might devalue flying mounts for SOME PLAYERS, but not for all. The other side of the argument was that it did indeed ruin the very IDEALS the game was built on, ideals like "Players kills Mob A, Gets loot B, and progresses." But, that is an example of a RULE, not a philosophy. And, like all rules, some gamers can participate, and some can't. That's why that rule only works for the individual that wants it to.

All this is to say that just because a good deal of players (or a small percentage) VALUES something, does not mean that the value of that thing is universal.

I gave this example: A player BUYS a flying mount in an auction, for 1000 dollars. That means that you (non flying mount owner) MUST value that flying mount to the tune of 1,000. Of course, that example would be proven false as soon as a player decided to pay less than that amount, or not at all. The player that paid 1,000 dollars does not dictate what other players MUST pay. It might INFLUENCE the sellers, but that can be fixed by avoiding the sell until the price comes down.

So, just because you think (player that thinks this) that raiding, loot, or "progressing" is somehow more valuable than other activities does not mean that anyone else might value it to that point. I certainly do not. Developers need to remember that they can only influence value, but not dictate it. Players need to remember that, even in a game that is heavy on the raiding (Vanguard) that there are many, many players that have nothing to do with it, players that would look at that glowy uber sword of yours and go "My two-bit hammer is worth more."

And they would be right.

Beau Turkey

dcostello writes:

 To be fair, I only read the first part of your post.  However, from what I read it seems like you are arguing that value is subject to individual relativity.  Realize the logical implications of this argument though.  By arguing said argument, you consequently imply that two players cannot, in theory, come to agree upon a value for an item, an activity, etc. (in a game).  Thus, no one, in theory, would ever trade (in-game).  If relativism is correct, then players with higher levels gear could, in theory, sell their gear for "newb," or lower level prices (this is assuming that other factors, such as a lack of necessity/immersion within the in-game marktet, do not affect the hypothetical scenario).

Tue May 19 2009 3:58PM Report
Sortis writes:

Yeah I agree, it all goes back to the saying "One man's trash is another man's treasure". People set their own worth on items. I mean i browse the AH all the time and say "well the last 3 users payed 100gold for this item but its not really worth 100gold to me, maybe if it goes down to 50gold i would pay it...deffinitly not big enough of an upgrade to warrant me paying 100gold".

I also agree with raiding...i'm not really a HUGE fan of it but i enjoy it on and off. Which is why I dont play WoW considering that weapons and armor in that game have such an astronomical effect on a characters power. Not much of a game for those who dont like either raiding or hardcore pvp grinding. = )

Tue May 19 2009 4:03PM Report
beauturkey writes:

 No, D, two players CAN agree on the same value. But that's only because each individual came to the decision that, to himself, the price was enough.

 Player A does not say to himself "Player B thinks this is a fair price. That means I do."

 He says "I think that what he is ASKING for is a fair price. I agree.

 My main point is to say that just because players place a certain "value" (meaning importance) on anything in game, either activity or thing, does not mean that the value is the same for everyone.

 The only time someone can get the "worth" out of something is if other players, or himself, are willing to pay a price. That price was not set in stone because of him, it was set in stone because of his approval of the price or from other players agreeing to it's value.

 

 Beau

 

Tue May 19 2009 4:47PM Report

MMORPG.com writes:
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