In this week's Community Spotlight we focus on the thread "So when did Real Money Trading become okay?" by fundayz. In the thread, fundayz breaks down why RMT was cracked down in the first place and wonders why several MMO developers are allowing a controlled version of it in their games:
EVE Online, World of Warcraft, Diablo 3 and Guild Wars 2 are AAA games that are now implementing legitimate forms of Real Money Trading. All four of these games now allow players to purchase gameplay-affecting items and boosts using real world currencies.
When did this become okay?
The above companies rationalize the introduction of RMT trading by touting that it prevents illegal RMT, hacking, scams, etc. However, these are NOT the reasons why RMT was banned in the first place.
RMT was banned because it provided in-game advantages for out-of-game resources. That is, RMT was considered cheating.
What happened to make these companies believe that main evil of RMT is hacking and scaming instead of the loss of the game's integrity? How did the paradigm shift so much that people actually stand for it now when you would have had internet riots if this happened only 6 years ago?
What does our community have to say on this issue? Read below to find out!
DShepley60 offers some insight on the trend:
The main reason they did it is because they cant stop it. They been trying for so long with WoW which took them 6 months of fighting after Relase of Vanilla WoW before they could stop people from selling Gold and Accounts on Ebay, which now all takes places on many 3rd party sites.
Same with Diablo 2, which from nearly day one and still to this day, there is Real Money Transactions happening all the time via 3rd party sites. Since they cant stop them, they are going to impliment it so that they can benieft from it as well as giving those who do do it, a secure means of doing so.
Torvaldr is entirely on the other side of the issue:
Doesn't LoL and other MOBAs sell boosters? Where do we draw the line on what's fair and what advantages can be sold?
The only reason RMT is legal in these games is because it's easier to capitalize on it and rake in cash that it is to design around it.
None of those game need and "in game" economy, except possibly EVE, in that they aren't sanbox games with a player driven environment.
So our argument that it is inevitible that people will circumvent game rules means we should just accept it and it makes it okay for companies to sell this advantage.
Why not accept people using third party programs to enhance their game play? Why not have developers sell us third part programs and automation tools to help us.
The "paradigm shift" doesn't make sense to me. It seems like a cash grab from the developers and a justification from players who don't want to feel like cheats for buying their way through the game. In an online game everythinig we do affects other people, from the things we say in chat, to how we interact in content.
Yet, through all this we bitch at the development community for following the money (read WoW clones). We rant how we're getting offered substandard game systems, dumbed down experiences, no true virtual worlds to play in, no "challenge", and all those other things we froth about here on a daily basis. But when it comes right down to it we hypocritically rationalize being able to buy our way through game play and purchase convenience-advantage.
garretth attempts to be the voice of reason in a thread that is understandably contentious:
The players have all the power...all the control.
If you don't like the CS then don't play the game. If you like GW2 and have decided to play, then play by the ruleset that has been developed by ANET.
If after playing a month you feel that the CS impacts your fun of GW2 then give honest, unemotional feedback to ANET.
MMO's are ever-evolving games. Players do impact the original games but it takes time and metrics to fine tune a game.
GW2 has the potential to be a great game...ANET and players have the potential to make it better or worse.
Unemotional feedback based on ingame experience will help...wailing and weeping before we even get our hands on the game is absolutely worthless.
The players have all the power. Let's use it wisely.
RMT and the prevalence of cash shops has been a passionately discussed (to say the least) topic here at MMORPG.com for many years now, but given the recent announcement of ArenaNet's stance on microtransactions in Guild Wars 2, one of our most popular games to discuss here at the site, it's no surprise that this issue has come back into the forefront as of late.
MMO developers have tried (in vain) to crack down on gold farming in their games for probably as long as the genre has existed. However, going hand-in-hand with the new wave of free-toplay/hybrid free-to-play MMOs catching on in Western markets is an opportunity for MMO developers to address the RMT issues that have been plaguing their games for years while also enabling an additional revenue stream for themselves. The fact of the matter is that MMO devs have been combating RMT forever and as long as there are people willing to pay for these services, they will continue to exist, so why not regulate and control RMT so that it's safe and inteacts with the game economy in a predictable way?
Sure, you can argue that there are probably a subset of players who were too afraid of the potential risk involved with purchasing services from gold farmers that are now likely to take part in legitimized RMT where they haven't before, but so what? There will always be people with more time than money and those with more money than time and blurring these lines so that it all factors into the in-game economy in a sensible rather than destructive way really isn't so bad.
I'm personally not bothered by this, but I know I'm not going to convince anyone that is. Some will just need to try it out for themselves before they are convinced, and some will simply be ideoloigcally opposed to this notion and there isn't much that can be done about that. With that said, garretth is correct, if this isn't something you approve of -- give the developers this feedback (constructively!). Write them, post about it, and most of all, vote with your wallet!
Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!