Editor's Note: This is an edition of a weekly column by Staff Writer Dan Fortier. The column is called "MMOWTF" and will look at some of the stranger or more frustrating events in MMOs as seen by Mr. Fotier. The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of MMORPG.com, its staff or management.
As much as I am constantly telling myself that nothing people do surprises me anymore, I am occasionally slapped in the face with a story that reawakens me to the depth of human absurdity. One such story surfaced last month about a girl (a real one apparently), who offered to have sex with anyone who would give her the five thousand gold she need to buy an Epic Flying Mount for her World of Warcraft character. I realize virtual prostitution has been going on for years, but this is just blurring the line between cyber and real life a bit too much for my taste. Even if the story isn't true it, did get me thinking about what other virtual jobs could be out there for the taking if you have enough savvy or low enough self esteem.
I'm not really much for dressing a fop and controlling women, so the idea of taking a share of some RMT without having beat up deadbeat Johns all day sounds pretty good to me. Some guy in Sims Online actually did this in reverse where people would pay to have cyber-sex with virtual hookers in his nightclub. This would work in virtually any game, although without a physical threat to keep your 'employees' in line, it would be hard to collect your share unless you have the stomach to do the jobs yourself.
In games with a fairly open PvP system it would be very easy to become a 'made man' by: shaking down local merchants for protection money, breaking the kneecaps of the people that don't pay back their loans or even running a rigged gambling operation. I can already see myself in my Epic Armani Suit, hanging with the other Goodfellas, telling stories about how I ruined the life of some wise guy who crossed me. Now that I'm thinking about it, I think it's about time we had a Gangster MMO where I do a drive-by with a Chicago Typewriter.
What online community wouldn't have a need for a new religion? Whether you plan to convince the local populace that the local Raid Boss is a benevolent deity or choose to make up your own, you have to figure that it would be quite profitable to be the voice of a god. Anyone who is having trouble getting a group or a problem getting the drops they want from a certain spawn can change their luck for a small donation and a leap of faith! If folks get wise to your con, then making a quick getaway is as easy as switching servers! One hint though: the Faith Healing bit doesn't work too well in a game with characters who really can heal.
The Double Agent
It might not exactly be a life of danger and mystery, but being a spy is definitely a lot of fun. MMOs that have strong Guild tools are the best for this sort of thing since they give you the most opportunity to gain valuable intel, or rob a Clan blind. An even better twist would be to set yourself up as a Spy-for-hire who is willing to infiltrate and gain the trust of any group (for a price) only to betray them later when the time is right. Perhaps the best example of this would be the Guiding Hand Social Club in EVE that robbed several billion ISK worth of items and participated in the murder of the CEO and destruction of a very rare ship. Once you've made your getaway, remember to watch your back for revenge in the form of death warrants or radioactive materials.
With enough imagination, and a server full of imbeciles, this is only a sample of the shady professions you can create to make money or ruin people's virtual lives. If you don't have enough creativity, or you happen to be playing a game that doesn't let you have fun at the expense of others then I pity you, for it is better to have scammed and lost then to never have scammed at all. As always, I look for the rest of you to keep the ball rolling. Keep it real till next Friday.