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News & Features Discussion  » General: Casual Play: Happy Anniversary...Belated

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  Stradden

Managing Editor

Joined: 7/08/05
Posts: 6729

 
OP  2/08/07 9:25:48 AM#1

This week's Casual Play sees Steve Wilson exploring the notion of Sony Online Entertainment's Sony Exchange and what it means for the average casual player.

In June of 2005 Sony Online Entertainment did something that caused more wailing and gnashing of teeth than any class nerf in their history. They allowed players on some EverQuest 2 servers to buy and sell virtual items to each other on an authorized reselling site.

For years, the practice of buying and selling virtual items has been strictly forbidden. Rather than discourage this practice, all the ban did was force buyers and sellers into black markets. This prohibition of virtual sales really hurt casual players more than anyone else. Those players that didn't have the time or inclination to grind out levels of the very best gear typically were left behind by more dedicated players. Casual players that tried to even out their lack of dedication by simply purchasing hard-to-get items were often left to rely on unscrupulous sellers completely outside of the boundaries of the game. These sellers could simply walk off with a buyer's money without any worry of prosecution.

You can read the whole column here.

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

  User Deleted
2/08/07 10:24:20 AM#2
Finally some proof to what I've always said! :)

Selling virtual items and currency does NOT inflate economy any more than places where it's forbidden!

All it does is transfer real cash from people who have more, to people who have less.


2 Years ago I was on a very tight budget and couldn't afford anything. I played Ultima Online for 7 months, starting a new account since I had deleted my earlier ones. I made over 300 million with Artifacts, buying and reselling and tradeskills. Made $3000 and was able to finally get rid of my debt from college.


Should I be punished for giving people with more money what they want and get what I wanted
  uncus

Novice Member

Joined: 8/18/04
Posts: 530

2/08/07 10:28:12 AM#3

Excellent story!  I'm curious if it had any effect on farming - if the top sellers were only around $10k, then I assume that either it actually DID decrease farming [though I don't know how much a sweatshop pays, $10k per employee doesn't seem enough to be profittable] or perhaps shifted farming to certain highest desired items.  I wonder if SOE will open this to all their games [ie Vanguard]?  And will other companies begin doing this?

Perhaps another interesting model would be to have the parent company set the price for items/gold by selling it outright themselves, in competition with the players - the players could only undersell, making farming much less attractive.  Then again, perhaps having a certain number of farming accounts is desirable to the company - an account is an account...

Anybody that plays [EQ?] have any input on this?

<p align=center><a target=_blank href=http://www.nodiatis.com/personality.htm><img border=0 src=http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/20.jpg></a></p>

  Thony

Novice Member

Joined: 1/02/07
Posts: 215

"Its not "HOW" something is written but its "WHAT" someone has written"

2/08/07 10:56:20 AM#4

Good articel but also a sad making articel, atleast for me it is, has the majority of gamers became that lazy, why are virtual worlds really bringing in the bad things of reality, if you can't put in the time for a game then just not play it and let those that are able and willing to  just play the game as intented, sure SOE made a system for it and yes it worked very good, but it also has show that the whole idea behind gaming is being flushed down the drain. When i started gaming i had respect for some players and what they had achieved, but now it seems that people are proud on achieving things only money can buy wich is sad and is the point what i made with bringing the bad things out of rl into gaming, what scared me that the articel also spoke that the majority where those 30+y gamers, i really thought that they knew what gaming is about, strange that in my rl me and my rl friends not once wanted or needed to buy stuff for rl cash for ingame items, if we couldn't get them the way ment then just bad luck for use or if we are willing maybe another attemt, (challenge is not doing something over and over again nor is that a excuse to buy the item that you would have gotten if you done it over and over again) and all have fullfilling busy/working/gf/wifes/husbands/kids/pets/family.

I'm only worried that the majority of gamers is losing touch with what gaming was ment for, a game should be fun and challenging for you and not for your wallet, want that then stick to games designed for it  Entropia Universe, Second Life, might be more but these just popup in me.

  AranStormah

Novice Member

Joined: 1/02/05
Posts: 278

2/08/07 11:24:10 AM#5

This is a risky turn of events for MMOs in general.

Yes, it presents more tools to the casual player for entertaining himself and staying competetive.

But, putting real life value to virtual assets is trying to fetch honey from a live beehive. Three extreme examples come to mind of how it could end up in the long run:

*Developers discouraged to balance their game properly as changing the potency of an item will be scamming the guys who bought it before.

*Once the above point happens you can be sure someone is going to try sueing the company, and they'd probably win.

*Politicians are sure to notice and with dollar signs in their eyes it's only a question of time before taxes and whatnot gets added to the process.

  Terranah

Advanced Member

Joined: 7/03/04
Posts: 3618

2/08/07 11:31:51 AM#6

So if a particular item only drops from a certain npc, and that npc is camped by farmers who know they can get real world money for said item, their farming interferes with my gameplay because I can't get that item in the game.  That basically deprives me of the item or forces me to buy it.

That just doesn't seem right, atleast to me. 

  krispydemon

Novice Member

Joined: 7/28/05
Posts: 13

I''m just here for the Gasoline.

2/08/07 11:54:03 AM#7
While I somewhat agree with Thony (I think, it was somewhat hard to follow), I also fail to see the point of complaining about people spending money on a game... they're already spending money on.  People pay around fifteen bucks a month on average to play their chosen game whether they're on for 40 hours a week or 4.  It wasn't that long ago that the majority of people out there thought that paying to play a game was insane and that people who were putting up money to play games like UO and EQ were the crazy ones.  There are still those out there that feel this way, but that has dimished a bit with the (stupid) success of WoW.  While I might not ever do it personally, it always comes down to a time vs. money problem for the individuals involved.  Telling someone it's stupid to pay for an in game item or currency it like telling someone that it's stupid to pay someone to mow their lawn for them.  Maybe they work too many hours to have time to cut their grass, maybe their elderly or in some way handicapped that they can't cut their own grass... no matter what it comes down to whether or not it is more valuable to have that couple of hours saved, or to save a couple of bucks.

Same thing with any MMO.  Yeah, I could log in to MMO X and "play" the gold farming game for a few hours a day so that I could afford to keep my armor/house/sword/icbm in working condition, and then spend maybe a couple of hours on the weekend going out and actually having fun.  The other side of the coin here is that I could give some 13 year old l33t gAm0rz who have an abundance of time outside of the 6 hours of school, some of which they probably log in from a computer lab or something anyway...  Lost my train of thought there.  I could give someone with an abundance of time a bit of real life cash and they can just give me the gold I need to keep my house/sword/armor/icbm functional and in peak condition, affording me more time to spend doing what I think is fun.

So, maybe I'll end up paying 20 bucks a month instead of 15 to play MMO X.  What difference does it make to you?  You say that the point of these games is to have fun, and that's exaclty why stuff like this shouldn't be such a big deal.  Everyone always says that it brings too much RL "status" into a game.  An MMO is supposed to be some kind of great equalizer, where the rich can be on the same level as the poor (though how poor are you really if you have a decent PC, a copy of MMO X, as well as the subscription), but that's just fantasy.  Even without the "rich" spending their thousands of dollars to level up a character in a day, you have problems with them being able to get strategy guides, pay for hint websites, multiple accounts, better PCs, getting their nanny to log in for them while they're at private school and farming for gold for them.  All this and not a single dime spent buying virtual currency for real life cash.

Then there is the problem of competing with those rare powerhouses of the jobless and schooless.  You know, the children during summer vacation or the college chick who only has one class a day, and that's when she gets her sleep.  Unfortunatly, there is no way somone like me can compete.  I can't just go back to college or quit my job and expect to survive, much less afford to have a MMO subscription.  I'm not saying I should be able to compete with someone who is able to dedicate 20 hours a day to a game, but why is it that they're allowed to bring their RL circumstances into the game but someone who has money and a job, but no time, can not?  If you were honest and truely wanted a completely equal MMO experience, then you should not only decry the ability to spend RL money on in game perks, but also spending access time going for those perks also.  Think about it.   If no one was allowed to play more than 4 hours a day, than that would be completly fair.  You could even save up hours so that you could use them all over the weekend or something, because not everyone can get in even 4 hours a day.  Then it won't matter if your 24 living at home with no job, or 15 and on summer break, or 35 and supporting 4 kids and a wife.  It would all be equal, and then no one would have any right to complain about anything.

One last thing before I go is that I think some of the problem is that having respect for someone who managed to spend 60 hours a week to get some lame in game item is exactly why these problems exist.  I have no respect for that kind of thing and I don't think anyone should.  Go ride a bike or climb a mountain.  Get a friggin job and build a house.  Do something REAL to get respect.  Plugging away for insane hours behind a computer playing a graphical paper rock scissors game for hours on end should not be respectable.  I'm all for fun playing games, but there is a limit.  There's a certain point where it just get's rediculous.  "Respecting" someone for some in game accomplishiment, to me, is like respecting someone who can drink a lot of rum and basically comes down to the same kind of glutonous self abuse that is wrong with people today.

But hey, maybe I'm just old and pissed off that I have to work for a living instead of having mom and dad pay for my video games.
  Parsifal57

Novice Member

Joined: 1/05/05
Posts: 268

2/08/07 12:05:50 PM#8
How much did Sony pay you to write such a glowing one sided report ?

I am totally against any sale or profit from in game items for real life money. (It's a game not a job or business to the players, a means of escapism and all this does is force RL intrusions on a fantasy game). I bet you'd be one of the advocates of in game advertising.

Synthesis between Hardcore and casual players my foot, what you mean is the casuals as usual take it in the rear by having to pay hardcore players to get items for them, while SOE sits in the background enjoying the extra $'s
  Parsifal57

Novice Member

Joined: 1/05/05
Posts: 268

2/08/07 12:06:36 PM#9
Originally posted by Myrdek
Finally some proof to what I've always said! :)

Selling virtual items and currency does NOT inflate economy any more than places where it's forbidden!

All it does is transfer real cash from people who have more, to people who have less.


2 Years ago I was on a very tight budget and couldn't afford anything. I played Ultima Online for 7 months, starting a new account since I had deleted my earlier ones. I made over 300 million with Artifacts, buying and reselling and tradeskills. Made $3000 and was able to finally get rid of my debt from college.


Should I be punished for giving people with more money what they want and get what I wanted

 A resound yes , you should be punished.
  Robbgobb

Hard Core Member

Joined: 8/03/03
Posts: 430

2/08/07 12:27:01 PM#10

I don't like the idea of selling in-game for RL. What I mean by that is I don't want to buy stuff with my money. I don't want to play on a server that does support that most of the time.

If I found a game that was great fun to play anywhere and a couple of many servers supported it then maybe I would start there to be a seller but only if the company actually had servers to it. Of course I am one that always try and charge something just to make up for my time and not make money. That means that with the way Sony is doing it then would probably be having lots of $3 sales just to cover my time and Sony's share.

If I find out though it is being done outside the company and is not something the company supports then I don't want to associate with those people and depending on situation may report them.

This is fine with me overall since it is just a couple of servers and allows people to actually keep up with the game or friends. Just not going to be what I want generally.

  daedsiluap

Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/02/07
Posts: 8

2/08/07 12:38:40 PM#11
Originally posted by Thony

Good articel but also a sad making articel, atleast for me it is, has the majority of gamers became that lazy, why are virtual worlds really bringing in the bad things of reality, if you can't put in the time for a game then just not play it and let those that are able and willing to  just play the game as intented, sure SOE made a system for it and yes it worked very good, but it also has show that the whole idea behind gaming is being flushed down the drain. When i started gaming i had respect for some players and what they had achieved, but now it seems that people are proud on achieving things only money can buy wich is sad and is the point what i made with bringing the bad things out of rl into gaming, what scared me that the articel also spoke that the majority where those 30+y gamers, i really thought that they knew what gaming is about, strange that in my rl me and my rl friends not once wanted or needed to buy stuff for rl cash for ingame items, if we couldn't get them the way ment then just bad luck for use or if we are willing maybe another attemt, (challenge is not doing something over and over again nor is that a excuse to buy the item that you would have gotten if you done it over and over again) and all have fullfilling busy/working/gf/wifes/husbands/kids/pets/family.

I'm only worried that the majority of gamers is losing touch with what gaming was ment for, a game should be fun and challenging for you and not for your wallet, want that then stick to games designed for it  Entropia Universe, Second Life, might be more but these just popup in me.


I am disgusted. I am so mad steam is pouring out of my ears. I cannot believe the laziness of today's gamers. Buying Games!!! Back in my day we all bought ANALOG Computing magazines and typed the games into BASIC ourselves. We would then edit them and have our own games. You casual "gamers" are so lazy. You just want an "I win button" that you click and BAAM! the game is on your hard drive. We didn't even have floppy drives, we had a cassette drive that we were lucky if it loaded right.

The nerve of you wanting to exchange money for goods and services. Did you know many of us put together computers ourselves from kits? I'm not talking about the way you pansies plug a video card into a slot either, we're talking soldering here noobs!

We didn't have time to "farm epics" we didn't even have epics. We had blue squares and red squares and by god we were happy with them! We were too busy making the games to actually spend hours playing them. Now I hear some of you whippersnappers spend all day on games! But playing ones you bought, not ones you made yourselves! HOW DARE YOU! You call that "hardcore" gaming. Thank the light Richard Garriot didn't!! Then you have the nerve to insult people who buy items for the games that you didn't even make yourselves! The hipocrasy is mind blowing!

Make your own damn games then come talk to me about lazy. F'n noobs!

 

  Ulyses

Novice Member

Joined: 6/09/06
Posts: 2

2/08/07 12:40:46 PM#12
Crispydemon is spot on. Whilst I have not payed for such services I do think that the responses shown by the nay-sayers are very telling. SOE publish a paper which informs us that not only did it NOT upset ingame economies but also that it facilitated play for EVERYONE. What the hell is the issue then? We all pay for a game, why should I who have less time be penalised? For some reason there are a minority of players who think that if you can't play the way they do that you should go play somewhere else, what sort of play ground mentality is that?
  NineSpine

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/18/07
Posts: 54

2/08/07 12:47:16 PM#13

As long as a game has servers with the "buy and sell" option and servers without it, I really dont care. I would prefer to play on a server that did NOT have the option but if someone wants to be on a server that has it, that's their decision. I feel it cheapens the experience but Im not the playstyle police.

 

On another note... I find Steve Wilson's stance on this to fly directly in the face of his previous articles, his last one most of all. In his last article, he wrote about how a game shouldnt be considered work in any fashion. This is not a sentiment I particularly agree with but I dont see the logic in saying you dont want to work for a game and then spending money you... worked for... in order to get access to things you dont want to PLAY for. This seems totally bizarre to me.

 

If you dont want a game to be work, then why would you even PLAY a game that you consider to be so much "work" to advance in that you would rather pay REAL hard earned money for advancement??? This makes absolutely zero sense.

 

Steve Wilson seems to want to repeatedly get on here and write articles either berating everyone that doesnt want to play like him or contradicting himself blatantly. Article after article, he makes it more and more obvious that what he wants is a game where he doesnt have to DO anything.

  Hakiko

Novice Member

Joined: 6/13/06
Posts: 103

2/08/07 12:52:09 PM#14
Originally posted by NineSpine

As long as a game has servers with the "buy and sell" option and servers without it, I really dont care. I would prefer to play on a server that did NOT have the option but if someone wants to be on a server that has it, that's their decision. I feel it cheapens the experience but Im not the playstyle police.

 

On another note... I find Steve Wilson's stance on this to fly directly in the face of his previous articles, his last one most of all. In his last article, he wrote about how a game shouldnt be considered work in any fashion. This is not a sentiment I particularly agree with but I dont see the logic in saying you dont want to work for a game and then spending money you... worked for... in order to get access to things you dont want to PLAY for. This seems totally bizarre to me.

 

If you dont want a game to be work, then why would you even PLAY a game that you consider to be so much "work" to advance in that you would rather pay REAL hard earned money for advancement??? This makes absolutely zero sense.

 

Steve Wilson seems to want to repeatedly get on here and write articles either berating everyone that doesnt want to play like him or contradicting himself blatantly. Article after article, he makes it more and more obvious that what he wants is a game where he doesnt have to DO anything.

I think what you are failing to see here is that its not that people don't "want" to play to get the items. Its that in order to accomidate unemployed powergamers who complain non-stop about "lack of content" the game companies have made it impossible for the "casual" player to find the time to get those items. Its not a matter of wanting to play more, it a practical thing.
  GodOGames

Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/06/07
Posts: 21

2/08/07 1:18:07 PM#15

I find it harder and harder to relate to a casual gamer. Lord knows I've tried but, in the end I can't. I am not a casual gamer nor am I a hardcore gamer. I am simply a gamer. Some weeks I have more time than others and I do what I can in my game of choice. Seems to me that casual gamers want the world given to them but don't want the effort that goes into aquiring the world. I mean a person who plays basketball 2 hours a week won't (Most cases) be as good as a person that plays 30 hours a week. Same can be said for online gaming. A person that plays 10 hours a week won't be as good as a person that plays 40 hours a week. Such is life so, where is the problem? A casual gamer can still play the game and achieve what their time and playstyle allows them to achieve. Why get mad cause a person with "No-Life" has better gear when that person has spent the time and effort to acctualy earn the items they have?

   I don't really support buying virtual items. I wouldn't do it but, if someone wants to who am I to say they can't? In a game where that is illegal then the person could pay for their choice by getting banned. A server that it is legal then why not? I wouldn't play on such a server but, that is my choice.

Anyway, Don't think I'll ever understand casual gamers. If your life limits your playing time maybe you shouldn't play a game that requires time to acctually achieve something. If you choose to play such a game then please stop complaining about your choice.

  Dragonalf

Novice Member

Joined: 2/02/04
Posts: 25

2/08/07 1:34:37 PM#16
Originally posted by Parsifal57
How much did Sony pay you to write such a glowing one sided report ?

I am totally against any sale or profit from in game items for real life money. (It's a game not a job or business to the players, a means of escapism and all this does is force RL intrusions on a fantasy game). I bet you'd be one of the advocates of in game advertising.

Synthesis between Hardcore and casual players my foot, what you mean is the casuals as usual take it in the rear by having to pay hardcore players to get items for them, while SOE sits in the background enjoying the extra $'s

What he said!

I found this article totally irrelevant and useless. I got the feeling that the author wrote the article in a manner to justify his own opinion on the issue. Try being a little more subjective next time and address the views of the other side, i.e. those that oppose real world cash for virtual items for many reasons already listed.

In my view, all it does is highlight the inequity in the system where casuals are, as usual, at the whim of the demands and habits of hardcore players. It's conditioning us to believe that because most casuals have more discretionary income to spend that it's OK that MMO's don't need to be made more casual friendly. It says casuals just need to spend more money playing the same game to get the same experience in an MMO. Where's the logic in that?!?!

It further serves to try and justify the unhealthy hardcore gaming lifestyle as acceptable and even shrewd. How laughable!

  uncus

Novice Member

Joined: 8/18/04
Posts: 530

2/08/07 1:50:19 PM#17
Originally posted by Terranah

So if a particular item only drops from a certain npc, and that npc is camped by farmers who know they can get real world money for said item, their farming interferes with my gameplay because I can't get that item in the game.  That basically deprives me of the item or forces me to buy it.

That just doesn't seem right, atleast to me. 


If a price is set by the company, and it is low enough, there will be no incentive to camp for that item.  SOE charging .25, .50 or $1.00 for an item would undercut any farmers - it wouldn't be worth the farmers' time.

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  uncus

Novice Member

Joined: 8/18/04
Posts: 530

2/08/07 2:01:53 PM#18
Originally posted by NineSpine

As long as a game has servers with the "buy and sell" option and servers without it, I really dont care. I would prefer to play on a server that did NOT have the option but if someone wants to be on a server that has it, that's their decision. I feel it cheapens the experience but Im not the playstyle police.

 


So you prefer to have farmers that operate as they do now in most games?[ ie. outside the control of the company running the game]

Think economics - if there is a demand, there will be someone who supplies.  Better the company who has made the game - and balanced the game for this - than outside farmers.

Is there the possibility of being raped by the company? Yes, but if it is that bad an abuse of the playerbase, they will lose the playerbase.  How much has NGE hurt SWG?  I doubt they'd do THAT again!

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  Anofalye

Advanced Member

Joined: 11/19/03
Posts: 7444

The enemy is so dumb! They believe that WE are the enemy! - A famous orc commander.

2/08/07 2:01:56 PM#19

I have always been in favor of such system, be them official or not...as long as I can dream to get it all on my owns, by doing activities I like...like group-solo grinding 80 hours a week for 12 weeks, yeah I can do that and dream to reach it before the next expansion is released! 

 

Gold farmers and exchanges never hurt me in the past as they are not the main way, nor the only way.  It is an additional option for some players, an option I won't consider 1 second myself.  Peoples who purchase there are usually friendly and nice; and in needs of help.  I actually enjoy helping players, so seeing a nub factory launching players in high-end areas, cool! 

 

Gameplays that destroy grouping, such as raiding in the current form enforced in many MMOs, such as WoW, this kills my interest and motivation to even play the grouping gameplay, which is utterly crushed and useless.

 

Gold farmers?  I usually like them...unless the game ill-designed and we are in competition, but that is to be blamed on devs, not on other players.  If something is wrong in the game, anything, you can always blame the devs!  They expect players to be nice and they aren't, devs fault!  Without a doubt!  Cause they should have expect that the players might not be nice.  Blaming the devs always work! 

- "If I understand you well, you are telling me until next time. " - René Levesque about the denial NO on the poll to his dream, project and goal. (Free translation)

  Stradden

Managing Editor

Joined: 7/08/05
Posts: 6729

 
OP  2/08/07 3:00:35 PM#20
I just wanted to point something out. This column is the author's personal opinion on the subject. In this article, Steve is giving his own personal interpretation of what he read and how he feels.  If this were a news piece, I could understand consideration of bias. This, however, is an opinion piece (and a well written one IMHO whether you agree with him or not).

Hope that clears things up!

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

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