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News & Features Discussion  » General: Jennings: Real Money, Real Problems

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161 posts found
  Gyrus

Hard Core Member

Joined: 11/20/07
Posts: 2336

11/18/09 11:38:15 PM#41
Originally posted by LumTheMad

 


Originally posted by Gyrus
But you want that Credit Card transaction to go through - Fraudulent Card?  GOOD.
Credit Card companies have more power and international reach than many law enforcement agencies.  (Simply by acting through local offices rather than having to go through international legal complications).
Who cares if the Credit Card Companies are unhappy?  That is their problem.  That's why they charge extortionate fees.  If their security is not up to a sufficient standard then how is that an MMO companies problem?   That's an issue for them.

 

Most of the fees for credit card fraud (instant chargebacks, service fees, etc) are charged to the MMO provider, not the credit card company.

 

I just spoke to my credit card company about this to confirm how it works and this is my understanding.

If a Credit Card User uses a credit card (valid or fraudulent) to purchase a product / service and that service IS provided then the Credit Card User may NOT ask for a charge back - unless there is some wrong doing on the part of the merchant (you bill for services that were not requested or provided).
In the event a Credit Card User asks for a charge back then an 'investigation' is made (the CC Company will contact the merchant) and a charge back will only be made if / when it is confirmed that the merchant did not provide the goods or billed incorrectly.
The merchant should face no fees if they provided the product or service and billed correctly.

In the event a Fraudulent (Stolen) Credit Card is used then the merchant does have some responsibility up front to take reasonable steps to ensure that the Credit Card is Valid and not Stolen.  Having done that, the merchant can then let the transaction proceed.
If / when it turns out the card is not valid there will be an investigation.  If it is found that the merchant took all reasonale steps to detect fraudulent cards then the merchant is not at fault and the merchant will not be charged a fee.

Other than that there are the standard fees charged by all CC Companies to allow you to use their service.

 

If an MMO company (the merchant) accepts a Credit Card payment and then bans that account prior to the end of the billing cycle then yes, the MMO Company (the merchant) has failed to provide the service.
So, in that case, yes the customer (even a goldfarmer) is entitled to their money back!
In that case, yes, the MMO company would get hit by a fee - because the MMO company did the wrong thing.
That's why I say don't close their accounts.
That way when the CC Company calls and says "Our Customer Mr Isel Gold, card number 4557123456789012 is requesting a chargeback."  The MMO Company can say - "Mr Gold's account is still open.  Please see our records."

If Fraudulent Cards are used then all the MMO company needs to do is to carry out the security checks required by the CC Company (which they should be doing anyway) and maintain records (which they should be doing anyway).

Maybe the law is different in some countries? (In which case avoid doing business there)


But Credit Card companies definitely do NOT act in favour of criminals to the detriment of legitimate merchants - if they did that the whole CC system would collapse and Credit Cards would not exist.

 

Nothing says irony like spelling ideot wrong.

  gunweapon123

Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/16/09
Posts: 11

11/19/09 12:24:16 AM#42

Okay people here's a simple solution to stop gold farmers and advertising spammers. STOP buying gold and power leveling. You (mainly players in American and Europe players) keep on complaining of how they lag you and it's unfair and end up making racist crap about the Chinese. If you didn't buy their gold and power leveling systems they would run out of business. If you haven't notice America is known to be the laziest country and Europe are very racist. So since most of you are lazy you buy their gold or power leveling package, and later end up complaining. And most of them aren't Chinese, some players sell gold to obtain the money to pay for their account (average of $15 a month) for a mmorpg game. And if you play European server they make racist joke constantly about CHINESE GOLD FARMERS. I saw a EU Lotro movie on youtube title as "Noob Chinese gold farmers" and on the video a was a group of noob french players attempting to so a quest, and the one filming is assuming they are failed gold farmers. Even check the comments and they all agreed with the player. More than 60% of players on a MMORPG game all brought gold and power levling before so don't go dissing the gold farmers if you brought their gold and power leveling before. SO IF YOU WANT THIS TO STOP, STOP BUYING THEIR GOLD AND POWER LEVELING PACKAGE AND THEY WILL RUN OUT OF BUSINESS. COMPLAINING, MAKING RACIST COMMENTS AND BLAMING THE GM FOR BEING LAZY IS NOT GOING TO STOP THESE GOLD FARMERS.

  Ulfric_Draka

Novice Member

Joined: 7/30/09
Posts: 8

11/19/09 1:51:24 AM#43

Gyrus - however, credit card authorisers WILL load charges on merchants who have high levels of fraud or chargebacks, presumably on the grounds that "there's no smoke without fire" and thoose high levels must be the result of negligence or unsavoury practices by the merchant.

There are actually TWO "credit card companies" involved - the card ISSUER is the company who gave you the card and send you a bill every month. The card AUTHORISER  is the one that the merchant deals with - they provide the terminals in shops, process the transactions and then send the bill on to the appropriate card issuer. In most transactions, the two are different companies.

  Scot

Elite Member

Joined: 10/10/03
Posts: 5503

11/19/09 3:08:01 AM#44

If there is one topic that should bring us all together it is this. Players, designers, corporate’s alike can see the damage this causes MMO’s. From our side just don’t buy guys, the reason prices are so high and you feel a need to buy gold is that others are doing this and driving up prices. This is one topic where I lay the blame firmly with us. Yes MMO’s could do more but we are the ones causing this.

  User Deleted
11/19/09 3:08:33 AM#45

Nice article.

  thamighty213

Novice Member

Joined: 9/17/06
Posts: 1648

11/19/09 4:50:28 AM#46

Please tell me its Aion your working on you must be the first member of staff NCSoft has for this purpose because it not evident so far.

 

Looking forward to next weeks article.  Its a issue rather close to me at the moment.

  User Deleted
11/19/09 6:08:10 AM#47

Interesting article.  Good food for thought.

 

Ken

 

  Gyrus

Hard Core Member

Joined: 11/20/07
Posts: 2336

11/19/09 6:45:02 AM#48
Originally posted by Ulfric_Draka

Gyrus - however, credit card authorisers WILL load charges on merchants who have high levels of fraud or chargebacks, presumably on the grounds that "there's no smoke without fire" and thoose high levels must be the result of negligence or unsavoury practices by the merchant.


Actually - I think you will find that merchants who are left with the costs are those that have failed to correctly follow the Authorization steps as set out by the CC Company.
There are contracts in place (which are quite detailed and very specific) and the CC Companies cannot just 'suit themselves' on a day to day basis how they will handle disputes and disputed charges.

There are actually TWO "credit card companies" involved - the card ISSUER is the company who gave you the card and send you a bill every month. The card AUTHORISER  is the one that the merchant deals with - they provide the terminals in shops, process the transactions and then send the bill on to the appropriate card issuer. In most transactions, the two are different companies.

Definition: Credit Card Association (Which I have been referring to as the CC Company): An association of card-issuing banks such as Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club, American Express. that set terms for merchants, card-issuers, card users and everyone else along the chain.
So despite there being lots of little companies along the way the rules are consistent.
 

 

 

Nothing says irony like spelling ideot wrong.

  daltanious

Hard Core Member

Joined: 4/19/08
Posts: 1973

11/19/09 6:57:09 AM#49
Originally posted by SnarlingWolf

I'll say the same thing I do to all of these threads, blame the fellow players.

 

If sad little players didn't feel the need to buy gold so they could be the uberest in the game, then there wouldn't be a market for gold farmers and none of us would have these issues.

 

Do us all a favor and STOP BEING LAZY AND BUYING GOLD.

Agree and for this never buyed. I hate goldsellers for what they do to economy. But also paying 5000g for epic flying mount is madness. I'm not saying should be free .. must be some effort involved to get satisfaction ... but what is to much is simply to much! No mater economy and free market ... there should definitively be some max price that one can request. Seeing that 15.000 g for SINGLE piece of purple equipment I can not immagine how can anyone buy that only from gold he got from playing. And some buy nearly all.  think some automated system should investigate all purchases above some limit. Or make some max value.

And when they catch some gold seller ... should ban ALL accounts that received any gold from gold seller without transaction with some really good eqiupment. I guess is something wrong if somebody purchased 1 healing potion paying for this 10.000 gold.

  Centhan

Novice Member

Joined: 2/17/04
Posts: 485

11/19/09 8:10:47 AM#50
Originally posted by dterry

I'll probably get flamed for this but....

 

1.) No trading between characters/accounts at all. You sell or give your item (acquired by crafting or looting) to an NPC or an NPC auction house and they resell it to another player at a fixed rate(or variable based on in game availablity of the item at the time of sale) - and then send you back the money.



I've always thought this was the one and only solution to the whole RMT thing.  Make money and items untradeable (except maybe to your own alts).  Never get spammed by these slime again.  Problem solved.

  Whyspre

Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/07/08
Posts: 64

11/19/09 8:56:15 AM#51
It's a hard core solution and takes a lot of guts - but the only REAL answer is to ban the buyers.  As some one who works with computers all day everyday, I KNOW it is possible to track and monitor EVERY account. So, one strike a warning, two strikes, reset [as in back to zero], the account, three strikes permaban the account. And MAKE SURE EVERYONE IN GAME KNOWS IT.  90% of the players I know in Aion [at least Elyos, I've not played as Asmo] play the game straight up. That said, it is demoralizing to have to race bots to quest mobs - repeatedly [see Heiron]. To put up with "hey hey hey" from xcvfgcg a gold selling bot set up in the Hall of Prosperity in Sanctum... advertising where to get the cheapest ki.  And watch as the price of critical mat slowly climbs as the bots reduce availability and watch as the price of gear made from those mats climbs and watch as the general price increase + gold buyers results in a fractured economy and watch as players - real players, not the casual player, leave in 1000s. You mentioned that you work for NCSoft. Rightly or wrongly, they have the worst reputation in the botting, rmt and gold selling. [L2 anyone?] After waiting 2 years for Aion, I am less than three months from cancelling my account. The gold buyers are enabling the bots, the bots are ruining the game and NCSoft seemingly has no way of getting a handle on things. I would suggest they ban the buyers, create insta-ban for botters [if you abuse or misuse, then YOU get insta-banned]. And - gasp... sell ki in game themselves. Think... they are in the roll of the central bank and these bottom-dwelling, scum-sucking algae eating bots are pirates and parasites. It takes industrial sized cojones and a willingness to engage in some outside thinking. It's a certainty that if they don't, great game or not, Aion will fail. And speaking for one, I will NEVER play another NCSoft game again. I am paying premium price for this service, to find an apparent reluctance [no offense, you are one person, there are multiple servers] on the part of the company to address this in a meaningful, substantive way only reinforces the opinion that you mention, that the company *somehow* is profiting from the situation. I know that in my Legion, I am starting to see my senior officers logging in less frequently - and these are hard core players.... but when you have played fair and hard, and get in a fight with someone 15 levels under you but who has solid gold gear, armor and weps - someone who's character SCREAMS "I cheat" - meh.....
Urantia - BG - Valkyies, Israphel
Originally posted by Stradden

MMORPG.com Columnist Scott Jennings returns this week to talk about the gold farming problem in MMORPGs and addresses three of the most common myths about gold farming and how MMO companies react to them.

Scott Jennings

A brief personal note: I’ve been hired (again) by NCsoft this week, to work as a developer and data analyst for their new Game Surveillance Unit. This CSI-sounding department is responsible for quashing botting and gold selling in their titles, some of which has been a bit of a problem of late. While this does introduce some potential biases in anything I might write here, I would hope that you, the reader would understand that I am already chock full of bias anyway, as would be anyone with strongly held opinions, and evaluate my writings accordingly. Especially when I write about something directly related to what I’m working on… say, gold farming?

Gold farming and selling in MMORPGs (the commonly used term within the industry being “RMT”, which stands for “Real Money Trading”) is, it’s safe to say, fairly controversial. A few games such as Ultima Online and Second Life embrace the blurring between virtual and real cash, but most games prohibit it, and most players (especially the more hard-core) claim to despise it. Yet, much like any other vice, there still seems to be a market for it.

Read Jennings: Real Money, Real Problems.

 

  zeuseason

Novice Member

Joined: 7/29/06
Posts: 65

11/19/09 9:15:16 AM#52

Simple solution:  Pay someone hourly to remain logged into the game with the authority to ban gold spamming inside of the game!  How freakin hard is it?!  We all see, it only takes 1 person to fix it.   Put me in, I'll do this job.

 

This would heavily curb gold farmers/spammers and force them to rethink their time.  They'll find a new loop hole, but it'll take a few years or more.

  133794m3r

Novice Member

Joined: 5/15/09
Posts: 174

11/19/09 10:41:08 AM#53

when i read this article. I thought of ONE game. Silkroad Online. You can't tell me that they're nto getting some sort fo kickback there. AS every sever is full of bots, and they just keep opening up more servers. Now you can't tell me they're nto getting some sort of kickback from this. B/c every server's full of goldbots. Almost all of them have less than 1% of the player population in them. So there's NO WAY they're making enough money to keep all of those servers up considering almost no real players are on any of the servers. Most of the games out there that have bots have them being "rapant" i've yet to see any of them. When i tried PW-MS which is by far one of the biggest failures of all time yet still somehow is still going, i saw 3 bots in game. In WoW during my 45days that i played it, i saw NO bots at all. I saw no one cheating, and everything was nice.

 

Now of course i've never played any NCSoft game, and that's simply b/c most of their games have never interested me. I'm probably going to try out GW2 since it looks really interesting.  Now about aion, i looked at some gameplay videos of the game, and well the animations poorly done, and the graphics just dont' seem to be that high. Tack on this talk about rampant bots and cheaters, i don't think i'll be trying it till it's under control.

  just1opinion

Smart-Alek

Joined: 8/14/07
Posts: 4933

11/19/09 10:55:49 AM#54
Originally posted by faefrost
Originally posted by Sovrath
Originally posted by dterry

I'll probably get flamed for this but....

 

1.) No trading between characters/accounts at all. You sell or give your item (acquired by crafting or looting) to an NPC or an NPC auction house and they resell it to another player at a fixed rate(or variable based on in game availablity of the item at the time of sale) - and then send you back the money.

2.) Force antivirus on the client - same as business VPN solutions - if your not running AV or it is not up to date,  then you fail the logon.

3.) Run your own scan after the AV check - looking for keyloggers or IP/MAC spoofing software on the client. - Do this in the open - not hiding it from the client.

4.) Ban people caught in RMT based on IP/MAC/credit card information.

5.) Enforce password complexity.

 

For starters...


 

No flaming from me. I've actually thought about #1 for quite some time. Sure, players who enjoy being in game moguls will get upset but there is no reason that every game has to be about every aspect of the mmo experience.

I've often thought that not allowing any direct transfers between characters is the way to go.


 

It won't work for more then a few hours. Many of the RMT transactions now are provided through in game auction services and similar. Dummy transactions used to mask the actual purpose.

 

I disagree that "it won't work."  The auction houses ARE a type of "direct transfer" between characters.  And yes, you are correct in that often gold sellers NOW are using the auction houses to set up dummy transactions. How many times have we all seen that grey item on the broker or auction house selling for 2000g and there are oh, say, 5 of them listed at the exact same price?

Sadly these online criminals have gotten pretty crafty at their crime.

Do I want to give up trading with guild mates and shopping the AH?  No.  But I do think that could work.

President of The Marvelously Meowhead Fan Club

  Thachsanh

Novice Member

Joined: 7/02/05
Posts: 332

11/19/09 11:58:52 AM#55
Originally posted by reowens3 
It's a hard core solution and takes a lot of guts - but the only REAL answer is to ban the buyers.  As some one who works with computers all day everyday, I KNOW it is possible to track and monitor EVERY account. So, one strike a warning, two strikes, reset [as in back to zero], the account, three strikes permaban the account. And MAKE SURE EVERYONE IN GAME KNOWS IT.  90% of the players I know in Aion [at least Elyos, I've not played as Asmo] play the game straight up. That said, it is demoralizing to have to race bots to quest mobs - repeatedly [see Heiron]. To put up with "hey hey hey" from xcvfgcg a gold selling bot set up in the Hall of Prosperity in Sanctum... advertising where to get the cheapest ki.  And watch as the price of critical mat slowly climbs as the bots reduce availability and watch as the price of gear made from those mats climbs and watch as the general price increase + gold buyers results in a fractured economy and watch as players - real players, not the casual player, leave in 1000s. You mentioned that you work for NCSoft. Rightly or wrongly, they have the worst reputation in the botting, rmt and gold selling. [L2 anyone?] After waiting 2 years for Aion, I am less than three months from cancelling my account. The gold buyers are enabling the bots, the bots are ruining the game and NCSoft seemingly has no way of getting a handle on things. I would suggest they ban the buyers, create insta-ban for botters [if you abuse or misuse, then YOU get insta-banned]. And - gasp... sell ki in game themselves. Think... they are in the roll of the central bank and these bottom-dwelling, scum-sucking algae eating bots are pirates and parasites. It takes industrial sized cojones and a willingness to engage in some outside thinking. It's a certainty that if they don't, great game or not, Aion will fail. And speaking for one, I will NEVER play another NCSoft game again. I am paying premium price for this service, to find an apparent reluctance [no offense, you are one person, there are multiple servers] on the part of the company to address this in a meaningful, substantive way only reinforces the opinion that you mention, that the company *somehow* is profiting from the situation. I know that in my Legion, I am starting to see my senior officers logging in less frequently - and these are hard core players.... but when you have played fair and hard, and get in a fight with someone 15 levels under you but who has solid gold gear, armor and weps - someone who's character SCREAMS "I cheat" - meh.....
Urantia - BG - Valkyies, Israphel

 

Wall of text batman. But anyway, here is food for thought for both you and Lum if he is reading.

I know that NCWest might have a different attitude toward RMT and gold farming BUT what can you do (what can you could possibly do) if the main corporate in Korea keep having a neutral stance and even leaning toward approving this kind of behavior in the first place?

This might be a cultural different but RMT (meaning buying in-game items, golds with real money) is pretty normal and even standard act in Korea. A lot of people do this and they don't really care much about gold farmer really. They might be annoyed by the bots but farmers in general are approved. It goes so far to even become a bragging right for many players. This is particular true for NCSoft games (Lineage, Lineage 2 and AION). Yes, they pay a lot of money for in-game items and they will made it know publicly.

You see, rich people in America show it off by having shiny expensive cars, rich people in Korea show it off by shiny cars too and a dagger in AION they bought for 2000 USD (you read it right, 2000 us dollar, even more). Yeah, own a ultimate weapon of doom in one of the most popular game in Korea is a bragging right and even the godly amount of real money they pay for it too.

You see, in Korean servers, when you get in a fight with someone 15 levels under you but has solid gold gear, armor and weps - it does not SCREAMS "I cheat", it only screem "I am richer than you, I have more money than I know what to do with you poor bastard".

Why do you think the amount of botting and spamming went off the chart for AION US? Because they were using the Chinese version and the Korean version as development test bed for almost a year. Ever heard of professional made hardware botting devices? Heheh. And you wonder why the botting and spamming in AION US went out of control.

You can say all MMO have bots and farmers but you cannot deny this kind of behavior is particular worse in NCSoft games. It's because the root of the issue is left unchecked and frankly I don't think the effort of just NCWest is enough to resolve anything here.

  just1opinion

Smart-Alek

Joined: 8/14/07
Posts: 4933

11/19/09 12:37:17 PM#56
Originally posted by gunweapon123

Okay people here's a simple solution to stop gold farmers and advertising spammers. STOP buying gold and power leveling. You (mainly players in American and Europe players) keep on complaining of how they lag you and it's unfair and end up making racist crap about the Chinese. If you didn't buy their gold and power leveling systems they would run out of business. If you haven't notice America is known to be the laziest country and Europe are very racist. So since most of you are lazy you buy their gold or power leveling package, and later end up complaining. And most of them aren't Chinese, some players sell gold to obtain the money to pay for their account (average of $15 a month) for a mmorpg game. And if you play European server they make racist joke constantly about CHINESE GOLD FARMERS. I saw a EU Lotro movie on youtube title as "Noob Chinese gold farmers" and on the video a was a group of noob french players attempting to so a quest, and the one filming is assuming they are failed gold farmers. Even check the comments and they all agreed with the player. More than 60% of players on a MMORPG game all brought gold and power levling before so don't go dissing the gold farmers if you brought their gold and power leveling before. SO IF YOU WANT THIS TO STOP, STOP BUYING THEIR GOLD AND POWER LEVELING PACKAGE AND THEY WILL RUN OUT OF BUSINESS. COMPLAINING, MAKING RACIST COMMENTS AND BLAMING THE GM FOR BEING LAZY IS NOT GOING TO STOP THESE GOLD FARMERS.

 

Unfortunately the people who ARE buying gold....are not reading your dissertation. They're not likely hanging out on a game forum reading about gold buying and selling.

President of The Marvelously Meowhead Fan Club

  Tingtong1

Novice Member

Joined: 10/05/05
Posts: 21

11/19/09 12:44:31 PM#57

I think it's mildly comical that no MMO company has ever taken a proactive approach at directly prohibiting and fighting RTM. The flaw lies within the industry who cannot capitalize on a 1 billion/yr market they create. Point the fingers all you want, but here we are again... 3months after a major game release... and the game is almost crippled by RTM. Who's fault is it really? The people who buy gold? Time to shore up some responsibility.

  Sovrath

Elite Member

Joined: 1/06/05
Posts: 17756

11/19/09 12:54:59 PM#58
Originally posted by Ulfric_Draka
Originally posted by Sovrath


 

but you have to read his whole solution. And yes, this will not work for people whose main purpose is to buy and sell.

His solution is that you sell to npc's. Npc's sell to the players and at a controlled price point or price range.


 

That's not going to be at all popular - for this solution to work I can't give an item or a pile of gold to a friend or a guildie (or a random newbie) that I want to help out. You've just cracked down on RMT by banning generosity and altruism from your game. I can't think of anything quite as likely to screw up the social dynamic of your MMO - and in the long run, it's the social side that keeps your subscribers subscribing.


 

Yes, I realize that. But I would most definitely play a game (that I was interested in) that did this because to me, in the end, it's a game.

It does takeaway the "real world" aspect and makes it so that anything earned in the game is done through the efforts of the player. To get rid of rmt and farmers I would do it in a heart beat. And this is coming from a player who has given away millions of game currency to friends and new players.

It's sort of like monopoly. Yo umight be playing with friends and family but you aren't funnelling money to them.

  jsands7

Novice Member

Joined: 11/19/09
Posts: 1

11/19/09 1:04:47 PM#59

Admittedly, I haven't wread all of the other comments, I just don't have time, but here's my two cents that I ranted on my guild's forum:

For AION, at least:

"I really don't understand how the farming bots get so out of control though; why not do one of two simple options:

1) If somebody gets a certain number of /autohuntingreports (10? 20? whatever, pick a number): Have the game AUTOMATICALLY ban the account. Normal players don't accumulate autohunting reports, and itd be a really easy way to get rid of players named khjkdsfh. For real players banned by this process, allow them to quickly log in to their account at ncsoft's site and dispute the ban, reinstating the account to normal status until the dispute can be investigated. Bots aren't going to dispute their accounts, and even if the chinese kid running the bot disputes, an admin can look at it and go "Hmm, your character name is fgfd, he has never spoken a word, and has never done a quest. Riiiiighhht..."

or

2) Have us type in a random word once an hour/every other hour, like they are going to do to aether farmers. This method is a little more intrusive to the players, but I sure as hell wouldn't mind typing a word in every hour if it stopped the rampant devaluation of our currency.


Those solutions seem really practical and really easy to implement. Am I a genius or have these been tried before?"
 

Joey Sands
South of Heaven (Aion; Lumiel)

  skarwolf

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/22/09
Posts: 248

11/19/09 1:13:05 PM#60

From experience if a game company wants to limit the illegal gold buying and selling they should create an in game store of their own where you can purchase items for money.

An example would be DDO's Store.  You can purchase weapons, armor, potions, adventure packs by getting DDO store points that you buy with real money.

This pretty much cuts out any third party gold selling since you can do it legitimately.

In a game like WOW as long as the opportunity is there to buy gold from a third party source people will continue to do so.  If WOW were to implement its own store they would probably cut off the illegal third parties entirely.  The only reason they haven't in some cases is because I suspect some of the larger gold farmers are probably giving blizzard a percentage.  They could've solved this years ago and they haven't and from other peoples opinions are slow to react to obvious examples of gold farmers and sellers.  They claim having to deal with illegal gold farmers taxes their resources, BULLSHIT.  They claim to have over 11 million subscribers each of them paying 15 bucks a month.  Thats an enormous amount of resources so wheres all the money go ?

The only logical reason behind it is that they get paid off to ignore gold farmers.

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