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Buying Virtual Currency

Editorial By Joe Iuliani on February 08, 2007

Buying Virtual Currency
By: Joe Iuliani

Editor's Note: Joe Iuliani writes to give his opinions on the ups and downs of the Secondary Market.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of MMORPG.com, its staff or management.

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“Pssst, Pssst, yeah you, you over there, if you keep this quiet and don’t tell anybody; I got some gold, for ya. Ok, gold not your thing, how bout some platinum? No, what about Infamy, Credits, Scrip? Ok how about some Zuly, everybody can use some more Zuly.”

Virtual gaming currency is an essential component to any successful MMORPG character. Although the time dedicated to generating this currency at most times is just ridiculous, hence the scenario above, it feels a little bit like it’s out of a cheap 40’s gangster film.

There are number of obstacles that face a growing percentage of MMORPG Players (the twenty five and up players). Jobs, families, hobbies and children certainly take a huge amount of time away from gaming. Time spent playing a game should be geared toward playing the game, not just working on generating gaming currency. It’s bad enough that time is wasted grinding for faction (You games know who you are).

Gaming currency allows players to stay competitive amongst other players and the gaming environments. Whether it’s financing gear, repairs, mounts or maintaining property in game items cost a substantial amount of loot. Hey, City of Villains players, those secret underground lairs don’t come cheap. Generating enough gold to purchase and upkeep a house in DAoC takes almost as much time as it takes some folks to work to pay their mortgage on their homes. Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but I hope the point isn’t lost.

A number of folks have been flamed by their peers and had their accounts banned from companies for partaking in purchasing virtual currency. The big question I, and I know many others have is, “What’s the problem with buying virtual currency?”

I work hard to afford and subscribe to games. In doing so, I lose the ability to dedicate an extra four hours a day to farming for cash. If companies and individuals are willing to do the work for me, where is the problem in me purchasing that service from them? Hell, I love grapefruit juice, it doesn’t mean I’m in the mood to farm them, juice them and serve it. I just go to the store and buy it. It’s the way of capitalism, if you can afford something you buy it. There are plenty of sites that have done the work for us, should companies really have say in how you spend your own money. Would Blizzard or EA Mythic really care about the $200.00 I spent on a Juggernaut statue? Should they really care that I would want to spend the same money to enjoy their games? In fact, by purchasing currency players spend less time on servers which can free up room and shorten queues. It sounds like an all win situation to me.

The main issue is that farming for gold should not take you the better part of a month in game time to get what you want. As the MMO player base gets older and finds real jobs, they will have less time to play. I think the future will hold games that have some form of a payment system which will balance player time and money in a reasonable fashion. Obviously, if you put more time into a game you should get more out of it, but if I am able to have someone put time into a game for me because I can’t do it on my schedule; then it is no one’s fault but the developers. They create the game; we find ways to play it as best we can on the time we have. If someone is willing to provide a service to help me achieve my in-game goals because the developers made them impossible to reach on my own…so be it.

Games like Rappelz allow free gameplay. They support their game through payment that allows players to purchase better equipment and progress more easily. Other options are to have games supply a currency purchase program. I’m sorry that having more money may allow folks to get in game items with less effort, but that’s the way the rest of the world works.

Virtual currency should be no different, and yet it is treated as such. Does it really give people an unfair advantage? Or, does it allow people with limited play time a chance to experience many aspects of games that they may not have time for?

Warning, those responses from folks not maintaining a forty hour or more work week are discouraged, since you have the time to farm (No, school does not count unless you are studying to be a neurosurgeon). In fact, if you have some surplus gold, drop me an e-mail, I think we can work out a deal.

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