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MMORPG.com Staff Blog

The staff of MMORPG.com gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

Author: staffblog

Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

This Week's Reader Mail

Posted by garrett Monday October 12 2009 at 9:24PM
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OK, so last week we had two major questions come up in Reader Mail:

How do I get involved in the game industry, in any capacity?

Here is my best answer.

To succeed in any industry you need to build up contacts. You can be the best programmer in the world or have the best game design ever, if you don't start getting to know people in the business you won't get anywhere.

So, how do you start. The best beginning is to attend a convention. If you are in some area try to get to one: 

  • Northeast - PAX East, NY Comicon
  • Southeast - Dragon Con
  • Middle America - GenCon
  • Northwest- PAX
  • Mid West - DICE (Vegas), AGDC (Texas)
  • California (damn you) - GDC, E3, San Diego Comicon

Cons are expensive and not all are open to the public, but if there is a will, there is a way. You can get into anything if you try hard enough and come up with a good plan to go.

Making friends in the business goes a long way. The good thing about gaming is everyone is generally friendly. The more contacts you make the better off you'll be the next show you go to and say: Hey I remember you! Whats up!

It seems like now-a-days submitting a resume for a job is as successful as throwing a dart at a tick on a barn door from 50 yards away.It is all about who you know when getting jobs. My advice on breaking into this business is get to know people first. By email, phone, Facebook, or most of all go to a show and start saying Hi, I play your game, but I am also an amazing programmer! Dont ask for a job right away, make friends first. Then when the time is right and they need someone or they know someone who needs someone, your name might come up.

So my advice, make friends, be nice, and find a place you can apply your skills without begging for a job. Before you know it, they may be calling you.

For the second question I'll combine a few together with MMO Gold Farming Security (great question) and MMO Design as the main points. Here we go:

In regards to Gold Farming. I do agree a Pearl Script could be used to form a system that tracks and bans gold farmers....so why hasn't it been done?

Well, those Gold Farmers happen to be paying customers. PAYING CUSTOMERS. Which all MMOs need, especially now-a-days. It is my opinion...let me repeat OPINION, that companies take a half ass approach to gold farmers because they do pay their monthly fees. They also put in large amounts of game time.

Almost any business in the world has a secondary market, ebay has proven that. MMO companies are still collecting subscription fees from gold farming accounts. Regardless of what they are used for. So for now...they will ban a few folks here and there and make a big deal out of it. But overall if you are a paying customer...they want you sub.

Ok now in terms of game design. Well if you have had a chance to look around our lovely society lately you see the word Greed being thrown around a lot. Corporations in this country are ... greedy. They want to make money. Game companies are no different. Ever major Fantasy IP was snatched up out there in the last 5 years to try and build games to compete with WoW. Guess what....they all failed.

I think MMOs like anything else around our world right now are getting too big for their britches. They are trying to be too much to too many.

MMOs started out as a niche market. Games that catered to a hardcore audience. When the business side saw the profit potentials and the fact that gamers will keep paying month after month and they just went nuts.

The reason games like Ultima or EVE are not being made, is because no one is willing to take a risk anymore. Big companies want major IPs with marketing plans for the planet. Oh they also want a WoW-like game. If you dont have that...well...Big Business doesnt want your game.

I mentioned last week in my column that the new breed of independent MMOs coming will fill the void many of the BIG Business games have forgotten. The new smaller MMOs have taken game designs that the BIG companies missed out on because they are too busy trying to be WoW. If you look on this site, those games are being watched. Hopefully they will fill the void we feel from the big IP games.

Hope that answers this weeks questions.

SEND MORE!! We may have a guest star next week!

stormwaltz writes:

Personally, I'm more impressed when someone can show me a great game mod they worked on than when someone says, "hey, remember me from that con?" Demonstrable skill says more to me than schmoozing. The guys who made Fall From Heaven for Civ4? I's be more interested in their resume than in the guy who chatted me up at GDC.

But then, I'm not in charge of hiring.

"Well, those Gold Farmers happen to be paying customers. PAYING CUSTOMERS."

I think accounts banned for violations of the Terms of Service should be charged a $50 service fee. Gold farmers are discouraged from operating in your game because you hit them where they care - their pocket. And if they do persevere, they're a steady source of income for the devs.

Tue Oct 13 2009 9:00AM Report
UknownAspect writes:

Thanks for the responses Garrett.  On the subject of gold farming though, I feel that although you make a good point in that they are paying customers, I'd like to believe that game companies also consider the financial effects of keeping these people in the game universe. 

Sure they are paying customers and they are getting that much more money, but if the spamming and botting keep up to an excessive amount, it does tarnish the reputation of the game and people will unsubscribe.  And history has shown that people pay more attention to what is done rather than what is said, and I think that goes doubly for MMOs because a large portion of the players don't visit the game's website, or read the news in the launcher or the newsletters in their mailbox.  It will all come down to what they see in the game. 

So to just allow gold farmers to exist because they pay doesn't make a lot of sense as the major damage done to these games is through player opinion, look at AoC and WAR, many people despise these names (even their parent companies) solely based on reputation rather than what they've played in the game.

But onto a question for next week:  Why have MMO games kept their playability in the past.  With successful games like Halo, Uncharted, and Fable to name a few, it is easy to see that there are different playstyles that are loved, but I feel that no MMOs can capture the kind of fast paced excitement or real time story telling you get in these games.  Obviously investors want the WoW approach, but how is that a hurdle some companies can't get past?  Where's my action adventure MMO?  (And yes I know some games like TOR may break the mold, but why'd it take this long?)

Tue Oct 13 2009 10:03AM Report
Gikku writes:

The sad truth is you are probably right about the gold farmers. Besides they ban an account and they just open a new one. I really don't see how in WoW right now gold farming is that profitable as it is pretty easy to make gold now.

The real concern to me besides the annoyance of the gold spammers. Is those out there that are hacking accounts. I think bliz has come up with a device that helps in this area but I have to wonder how long before it is figured out how to get around that too.

Greed is the reason the gold farmers are there but it is also the reason the hackers are there as well.

Tue Oct 13 2009 10:11AM Report
Wraithone writes:

Unless they can crack server side security, breaking into an account protected by one of Blizzards authenticators is going to be a SERIOUS PITA.  There has been some talk about real time keyloggers, but the way Blizzard has their system set up, that wouldn't work very well either. As for gold farmers, the best approach is the one that Blizzard has taken with its daliy quests. Make gold relatively easy to come by, and also make it known that anyone who buys gold is risking a perma ban. Then set up some sting operations and make an example of some people.  Those two together would put a serious dent in the gold farming business.

Tue Oct 13 2009 10:27AM Report
Gikku writes:

I agree. I also hope you are right about the authenticators. I love mine. But I was just pointing out that hackers seem to be somewhat of a master mind and hopefully there is not one to break into this one.

I don't buy gold even when it was harder to come by but you are still going to have those lazy people that don't want to do dailies or quest who will sooner or later get into a sting and loose their account. So sad but I am sure you would agree.

I have to say the spammers for gold and leveling aren't as bad as they were. I do the  report even though it may do no good. I also notice they have started sending mass tells or game mails. Even that is slowing down. The ones that get me are the ones that actlually stay on the same toon and spam trade for long periods.

Tue Oct 13 2009 12:24PM Report
Zoltronlaser writes:

I dunno about your getting into the industry advice. Just because you are friends with people in the industry doesn't mean they're going to give you a job there. Yes, in general, being friendly will help you get a job...in ANY industry. That's just common sense.

To get a job in the game industry though, you actually need a skill set. If you can honestly list the necessary skills on your resume, then you'll be getting a call back or an email of some sort at the very least. "I LOVE GAMES LOTS!" is unfortunately for many, not a skill. You either need programming experience, experience using various computer art programs (3ds max, maya, photoshop), or experience building levels, scenarios, maps, etc. to be a developer.

But there are other positions too. For those, you'll need the appropriate degree in marketing, finance, or management.

The only position you MIGHT be able to land just by liking games a whole, whole lot is a Community Manager position. But for that, it still helps if you've got a degree.

Tue Oct 13 2009 6:51PM Report
hogscraper writes:

 As for gold farmers, I love them. They exist because people are willing to use their time efficiently. If you work at a job at $X/hour your time means a certain amount to you. If it takes 10 hours of game time to make a certain amount of gold and you can just work 2 hours at your job and buy that same amount? Why would you not do it? To complain about gold farmers is to point out that you have much less of a social life. That's not a bad thing really, you just choose to spend more of your free time in game. And considering the gold farmer's payment to the game plus my payment will always = more than your payment, we support the game company more so.

 If you have 50 hours a week to spend in a game and I have 10, I will do whatever it takes to equalize that difference. Same for bots. I can pay money to be better than you, just like real life. Its funny how many people cried about toa and bots in DAoC to the extent that they made you guys your own cluster, then after you got what you want? That cluster was the one with almost noone playing before they made Ywain. The sad part is, the toa and botters are the ones that kept paying for that game to exist and still do even after the populations were devastated. That's why these companies will never really care. The hard core people that do whatever it takes to win are also the ones that will still be paying for the same game a year after the other guy has whined his way through 2 or 3 other mmos.

Tue Oct 13 2009 8:57PM Report
maimeekrai writes:

"Gee, I work a lot and so does the rest of my football team. Why don't we pay off a couple teams and a few refs so we can win the title?"

Doesn't sound that great does it?

LOL! @ trying to justify cheating.


Tue Oct 13 2009 9:18PM Report
Scot writes:

It is satisfying to hear industry insiders agree with my own views on why independent MMO’s are so scarce and what is making big name MMO’s so staid in format and theme. But it is always depressing to hear this, much better when it is your own and fellow posters musings than to have it confirmed. I really see no way there can be any change to this poor prognosis for MMO’s in the short to mid term.

Gold farmers create inflation, which puts up AH prices. This is not a matter of saving us time, it is a matter of forcing those who would not need to farm for gold to do so. In most MMO’s you do not need to farm yourself, that only happens when gold farmers send prices through the roof.
 

Wed Oct 14 2009 2:34AM Report
XoloX writes:

@Scot: inflation by farming depends on the game, reilly. Without trying to press a scheme on it, farming inflation did/does happen in some "straightforward" games like WoW or LoTRO, in other worlds however, farmers might even compete with each other to maintain the needed steady income, driving average prices down. That was the case in EvE with rare implants (example only) almost recently.

While speaking of EvE: CCP employs the most thoughtout strategy against illegal ingame & RL currency trades I've ever seen in action in a large scale MMO so far: they offer a legal variant of it by giving each accountee the opportunity to trade gametime for ingame currency...

Wed Oct 14 2009 8:13AM Report
LrdHades writes:

When I was at AGDC I asked about Dragoncon.  The basic feeling I got was that many studios thought that Dragoncon was too small, and PAX was larger.  Since Dragoncon and PAX are at the same time, PAX would win out due to it being the larger conference.

Dragoncon might be smaller, but its audience is tailor made for the MMO industry IMHO.

 

Wed Oct 14 2009 8:41AM Report
SnarlingWolf writes:

Anytime I hear someone say something like "It would be as easy as setting up a Perl script" I immediately think they lack any real knowledge. Please explain how a simple perl script would magically catch every gold farmer/spammer/seller without effecting the regular customers or risk wrongfully banning someone?

 

Some companies do take a strong fight on it, WoW seems to be trying to stop it, Turbine seems to be trying to stop it in LotRO. Are there a couple companies that seem not to care? Sure but the big names seem to be trying and it's clearly not as simple as a perl script.

 

Overall this whole post seemed awfully jaded and untruthful. Also I don't think I've ever heard of someone hired into the game industry by going to conventions.

Wed Oct 14 2009 10:07AM Report
CayneJobb writes:

Networking is important in any industry, but like others have said I think creating mods or a flash game might help you more than being "that really annoying guy in the PacMan shirt" at PAX.  With a bit of know-how, time and dedication anyone can put their game idea out there in small scale.  If it gets noticed by some of the right people, you're half way there.

As for Gold Farmers, I agree that most companies have a lackadaisical attitude towards the gold farmers.  As long as it's not severely hurting the game and is just a mild annoyance to players, they probably prefer to let them be and keep their subscriptions.  I expect most of those farmers have multiple accounts too, making it even more valuable for the developer to look the other way.

Wed Oct 14 2009 6:06PM Report
Ykalon writes:

As for the argument that gold farmers are paying customers, that's generally not accurate. A lot of gold farmers pay their account via visa and then claim the money back from the credit card company. Or get them by fraud.

Wed Oct 14 2009 6:09PM Report
mYcheRo writes:

"Or get them by fraud."

I doubt a dev whose main concern is bringin' in the bucks would care much about where or from whom the money is coming in from.

(as a side note, this article seemed pretty unpolished and rushed, in my opinion)

Wed Oct 14 2009 8:34PM Report
Remus3 writes:

As I have noticed a great many of these comments are bringing the "outside" view of gold farmers. I'd like to itterate that NO a great many gold companies actually get their gold legit( in the case of "Fraud").

There has only been I theft and failure to deliver at the company I personally work for. Want to know what happened? He apologized, got his pay docked and continued his duties while being monitored.

Gold on most servers on WoW and a few others on others like LOTRO, are either farmed WHEN the order comes in or there are other players .. you know people you play with who raid with YOU. So this is to dissuade that they are evil. Its people you play with who continue to drive the industry because there is always someone to buy.

Buy gold for 3-4$ sell it for 7. Pretty simple math imo. Banning those gold farmers would only result in a lot of players you play with in raids. Yes having a script would be mostly retarded. Want to know something as well... hackers pay the subs too, which why you get small ban waves rather than actually implementing hooking detection in the "oh so mighty" Warden.

 

Money is Money. They play it along and if the "negative" side of society crops up a little too much they go out to the fields with a trimmer.

 

and last note about the fraud. It is nearly everytime done by your american brethren, be it social engineering or hacking your account from your myspace info. Don't lay the blame on us chinese, you guys helped create this, take responsibility.

Thu Oct 15 2009 8:47PM Report
Remus3 writes:

after post corrections:
only 1 theft  and it was resolved and the customer was happy.
and the statement of a lot of you guys really don't know what your talking about when it comes down to gold transactions. Some are spot on, but others... I laugh at your self indulgence.


Thu Oct 15 2009 8:49PM Report
AkumaDaimyo writes:

Hogscraper is a moron who has to pay for sucess in an MMO.

Thu Oct 15 2009 11:41PM Report
Murtas writes:

Letting rmt in any mmo, is the same as any country letting stealing go if they pay an tax of the value of the thef?

So goldfarmers = bad, very bad.

Sun Oct 18 2009 2:48PM Report

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