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What Is Your Opinion on Real-Money-Trade in MMOs?

Posted by AndyLee Tuesday October 7 2008 at 9:16PM
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The gold farmers in the MMOs are infamous to most players as they spamming in general chat channels and on various game forums. Designers and gamers alike are blaming them for the obstruction of gameplay and inflation in the game’s economy system. I used to agree with this point of view and thought that as a real gamer, one should not pay real cash for the virtual items. But as my gaming experience grows, my opinion has changed.

Game developers hate gold farmers as they may destroy the economy system in game, and consequently lead to efflux of players. On the other hand, the game designers, as the creators of the virtual world, keep adding new mounts, items, equipment, skills, scrolls and other dazzling items to suck gold from players. These items are usually essential for gamers to enter high-level/dangerous regions. Players have to spend more time on grinding (P2P) or turn into cash shops (F2P) if players want to continue their adventure. For example, Blizzard is constantly adding mounts and items to WOW and players who are hooked are spending uncountable hours to gather rare ores, herbs and other high value material to trade for gold. In this way, Blizzard is earning tons of money, the “real” kind of money. For those free-to-play MMOs, the status of a cash shop is even more critical as it is the only way that the game developers can earn money from the games. Look at Conquer Online’s cash shop, it has everything necessary to transform a noob into a superman –all you need is a wad of cash. So most game companies police gold farmers with an iron fist to protect their own interests. In a word, fundamentally, the game companies and the gold famers are just rivals who are trying their best to hook game money.

To gamers, rampant gold spamming is indeed annoying, as well as noobs with real-cash-bought super gear. However, maybe we shall observe the problem from a different aspect. As I stated previously, the MMO gamers are exploring a virtual world which is designed and controlled delicately by the game developers. To access the higher-level regions and new game content, gamers have to obtain decent items and experience, usually by grinding, to enhance their characters. But for those players who don’t have much time, like someone who has a real day job, they only have 2 choices: quit playing or find someone else to grind for them. If some extra bulk purchases can make the gameplay much smoother and help many couch potatoes to get a life, why should we still blame it.

I know many hardcore gamers are pissed off by the real-money-trade. But remember, in many aspects, the MMO community is just like the real world, where money can transform a zero to a hero in an instant. Don’t like trimming your lawn? Just pay someone to do it for you.