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BadSpock's Logical Conclusions.

My random thoughts about MMORPGs. A bit of critique, suggestion, debate, and insanity. Enjoy.

Author: BadSpock

Do you deserve to be competitive?

Posted by BadSpock Friday April 25 2008 at 12:54PM
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I just see something wrong with not having enough time to work at something so instead you purchase your way up to equal footing.

To me, it's unfair.

You buy your way to the top.

If you don't have the same amount of time/effort to put into the game SHOULD you expect to be as good? To be as able to compete?

My answer is no.


I think this is the fundamental issue behind the RMT market, gold selling, item malls, etc.

People feel that they DESERVE to stay competitive in the game even if they don't put the same time / effort towards the game. That they DESERVE to have the option to spend their real life money to stay competitive. 

I don't think that you do.

In most every MMORPG, time invested = power. You gain levels, gain skills, gain money, gain rep, gain items, etc. etc. etc. All of these things take time. Time is the one comodity that we spend more of then anything towards a MMORPG.

The monthly subscription fees are peanuts in the grand scheme of entertainment.

Imagine you pay 15 dollars a month to play 20 hours a week. That's 80 hours a month. 15 dollars for 80 hours of entertainment? That's not a bad deal.

Now imagine you spend 80 hours a month at the movies. That'd be hundreds, if not thousands of dollars a month.

So the REAL investment we give for our MMORPGs isn't the money, it's our time.

Using real money to get ahead in the game INSTEAD of investing time is NOT fair.

This is why I am 100% against RMT, gold selling, item malls, etc.


Now a good point was made to me earlier,

The multi-million/billion dollar RMT market exists. We can't deny that it exists. Wouldn't we rather the money that is generated go towards the game companies themselves instead of 3rd party groups that just spam chat channels?

Yes, I agree. Might as well keep the money internal and use it to improve the quality of our games.

But the real solution is the Blizzard solution.

AGRESSIVE stance against all things RMT, gold market, item malls etc.

Item malls create a Tiered system of gameplay. It's like the big debate over adding payment tiers for content on the internet.

It's bringing real world socio-economic concerns into the online space. Imagine you and your friends all play the same game, but they never invite you to their group because your family doesn't have that much money, so you can't afford to buy all the newest upgrades from the item mall to stay competitive.

There is already enough economic stratification in the world, why expand it to the virtual space?

I dunno, argue if you want to, you'll never get me to agree with you.

I don't think that people who don't put in the same time / effort DESERVE to stay competititve. It's a byproduct of the whole new-generation of "Whaaa whaaa everyone get's a Gold Star everyone is Special and Unique" and no one can handle admitting their own shortcomings anymore.

E1io writes:

 I agree but in-evitably everyone wants equal rights.

 Someone sees epic armor they go 'I want that armor too!'

Fri Apr 25 2008 1:16PM Report
BadSpock writes:

It's not equal rights. 

It's equal access. They feel because they don't play as much, they don't have equal access to the same content / gear.

My opinion? Too bad. Play more, or embrace reality.

It's like practicing your sport an hour a day instead of 4 hours a day like your opponent. Then when the game starts, you pay the referee to bias the play calling so that things are more 'fair' for you, the slacker who didn't work as hard.

Fri Apr 25 2008 1:26PM Report
E1io writes:

 That is true but alot of people don't embrace the 'I will spend as much tiem as that person' mentality when it comes to mmos.

Fri Apr 25 2008 1:28PM Report
JB47394 writes:

heerobya: "There is already enough economic stratification in the world, why expand it to the virtual space?"

Why indeed?  Why are games structured such that competitive advantage can be purchased?  That's not an argument against RMT but rather one against the very design of current MMOs.  They are designed to have in-game accomplishments sold.  Of course MMOs have RMT.  It's like sprinkling sugar on the ground outside and not expecting ants to swarm all over it.

MMOs predicate success towards achievements on equipment and elapsed time.  A more horrific recipe for tempting the people towards RMT I cannot imagine.

When MMOs implement something other than skill-less personal achievements, the appeal of RMT will wane.  I prefer to see either group achievements that require minor player skill, or indiividual achievements that require significant player skill.

Equipment should be relegated to serving as an enabler to access to a game activity.  If you have skates, you can skate.  If you have a gun, you can shoot.  Current games set things up so that there are $10 skates made of tin and $100 skates that are made of laser-micrometer-balanced tungsten boron, but that's exactly the structure that so places the focus of success on equipment, producing RMT woes.

I often talk about games with multiple rule sets.  I see no reason why a game couldn't do things both ways and let the players decide how they want to play.  Let those who would buy gains buy them, but only on certain servers.  The company can then set the prices for all such gains, players can buy them willy-nilly, and those who aren't interested in being around such antics can stay on RMT-free servers.

Fri Apr 25 2008 1:43PM Report
Giddian writes:

I am one who doesn't Buy gold or Items. I can see were it would be an Issue in a PvP server but Those who play in a PvE Server, I don't see an Issue.

So I guess I see both sides. I think too much is made of this issue. Thats just my opinion.

Fri Apr 25 2008 1:48PM Report
BadSpock writes:

As usual JB is right.

The issue is broader then just the money, it's the motivation behind acquiring the stuff in the first place.

I have always been a huge supporter of player choice. Making RMT servers and non-RMT servers is a good idea. EQ2 does this.

You just have to ENSURE that the non-RMT servers are gold selling / RMT / item mall free, which is the hard part.

You can't mix the two together in the same place, it's not fair to either group.

Fri Apr 25 2008 1:49PM Report
BadSpock writes:

PvE can be competitive too Giddian. It is more often then not I'd say.


Fri Apr 25 2008 1:50PM Report
Giddian writes:

Yes, BUT your not realy faceing other players were it would effect the outcome. I do see the point I just don't think it would matter that much on a PvE server. On a PvP server I think there is NO way it should be aloud

Fri Apr 25 2008 1:58PM Report
BadSpock writes:

True, for PvE it's more of a pride thing. Bragging rights.

I did this first / my guild did this first etc.

But isn't pride important?

Wouldn't you be upset if someone beat you to something, some goal because they bought their way there and you worked for it?

Fri Apr 25 2008 2:07PM Report
Giddian writes:


I want to make the Goal on my own. to me, They only cheat themselfs. I dont care one war or another unless it effects me....Like in PvP.

Fri Apr 25 2008 2:23PM Report
Anofalye writes:

I really don't care if OTHER peoples use different means to be competitives.  They can use RMT and I will even be happy to group them and their RMT sponsors (depend on many things however, such as how they behave on a social level).


However, I care a LOT about ME, MYSELF and I.  Can I progress with MY CHARACTER without using these, without playing lame-o-gameplays?  I found the answer to be positive only in CoX, and this is the reason CoX is the only MMO getting monthly fees from me.


Pride isn't important, gaming life is however.  If I can't reach the TOP, then there is just no point for me to even play.  I am an achiever.  If the peoples who are better than me, many of these achieve it the way I play, then I will keep going on, advancing throught my gameplay.  If the peoples ahead of me earn it outside my gameplays and I don't see how my gameplays could bring me there or even better than they are, then I will just NOT play.


RMT never really annoy me.  Raiding, PvP and RvR however are ALL unacceptable if they yield better rewards...

Fri Apr 25 2008 2:57PM Report
Ascension08 writes:

Perhaps some people work hard in real life and get what they deserve, get what they earn. If they want to play a game, they want it to be relaxing, fun, and they want the rewards as quickly as possible, since it's a game and they're paying for it.

To those people: MMOs ARE NOT FOR YOU

Fri Apr 25 2008 3:27PM Report
elvenangel writes:

Ascension08- Fri Apr 25 2008 3:27PM

Perhaps some people work hard in real life and get what they deserve, get what they earn. If they want to play a game, they want it to be relaxing, fun, and they want the rewards as quickly as possible, since it's a game and they're paying for it.

To those people: MMOs ARE NOT FOR YOU

I take offense to this..since I work hard in RL and I want to play a game and have fun but i do not want my Rewards handed to me on a Platter and I certaintly wouldn't give some farming cheat enabling company my hard earned cash.  

I'm not hardcore and I'm not casual though some would call me casual because my M - F play time is limited to 2 to 3 hours or less but my weekends are 5 to 8 hour or longer.  I expect what might take a hardcore person a few weeks to gain ... will take me a couple of extra weeks but not completely impossible. 

I hate when games like WoW give you only 2 goals to achieve, its extremely limiting and frustrating.  I could care less for Raids and Side Game PvP.  I want that I have a goal that meets my personal version of achievement.   There should be more goals then just Rep & Raid Gear.  Will it destroy cheaters permantly? No their will always be people who cheat.

I felt robbed when they added hardcore raiding into WoW but no other goals to achieve besides crap rep grinds and told playesr to Raid or Die.   That mentality alone made it easier for farmers and power leveling companies to sink in and make a ton of money.

If gear wasn't the only measure  of success in PvE atleast we wouldn't have some of the problems we have today.  Of course some people are never satisfied ... some think that everything must be 100 percent equal... life isn't that fair and I doubt games will be either.  But atleast life has different ways to measure personal success.

Fri Apr 25 2008 4:29PM Report
Ascension08 writes:

Yeah sorry I left the part out where hard-working people expect to be handed their rewards on a silver platter...just because it's a game they shouldn't have to work hard. If you can't do the time, don't play the game? =P

Now that last comment may sound like I'm against casuals, no, I'm not. I'm all for a game that can balance long-term goals that hardcores want with the feeling of accomplishment for people who only have a few hours. But if anyone feels like they should have all the stuff without earning it, they should play a single-player RPG.

Fri Apr 25 2008 5:30PM Report
gandales writes:

I find amusing all this time-rewards fairness comparison with real life. I wonder if most people realize that in most thing that happen in real life time spent is not the only factor into sucess. Some people can study an hour before a test and get a better grade than someone who was cramming for a week. I have seen it many times. Bottom line life is not always fair so these comparisons are not really holding much.

Sports comparison doesnt hold either because in most sports(car racing is kind of an interesting exception, maybe you can get your analogy from this one)  the gear is the same for all contestants. I dont see that the pro swimmer gets a jet ski for his competition.

I havent bought stuff since I consider kind of silly putting money on virtual stuff just for feeling superior to someone else. However, there are more than one way to look things so if people want to leave their lifes for a game so they can brag about how they got their ultimate epic, go ahead with my blessing.


Fri Apr 25 2008 6:25PM Report
Tron420 writes:

I am on the other side of this argument. I bought gold in WoW and I am glad I did. Here is my stance.


I have a full time job, go to the gym after work, have a girlfriend and attend various other social functions. This makes my time short. Being an online gamer since 1996, I really enjoy the hobby, but I just dont have the time to go waste my time farming gold. I bought gold so I can stay competitive with the raiding environment. I earned my gear by killing the bosses, but I bought the consumables that enabled me by buying gold with real money. Hey, my time is worth $35 an hour and if I can save myself several hours of gold farming by spending $50 or whatever, then its money well spent.


The bottom line is that I don’t have time to spend countless hours farming for random crap. I don’t play MMOs for that; I play them so I can hang out with my buddies doing raids/PvP/instances. If I can pay real money to avoid doing the stuff I don’t want to do, I will.


Let me put it in jaded gamer / forum trollz speak: I can’t farm because I have a life, just because you (you meaning the “buying gold sux” crowd) don’t have anything better to do than farm for gold for hours and hours on end doesn’t mean you have to drag me down with you.

Fri Apr 25 2008 7:45PM Report
fansede writes:

Some people may not want to be competitive at all but enjoy the game where it thrills most. Near the max level. Some people, like Tron, have done the level treadmill far too many times to appreciate the smidgeon of nuances one MMO claims to have over another.  Go to the guy with a icon over his head, accept his task which usually involves farming something and get reward. So, the market for RMT emerges.  They don't want to be uber, they want to run in the dangerous dungeons, beat on the fabled Bosses and survive the insurmountable.  Then move on to the next game.

Fri Apr 25 2008 8:44PM Report
Gishgeron writes:

I think all of this is moot when you realize that, in the end, the moment a ton of your players start looking to RMT to skip have FAILED in game design.  No debate, no is fact.  If your players, even a handful, are trying to skip content because it is not enjoyable or even remotely timely....then your game design is crap.

There should not be one moment in a game where the player feels he would rather be doing something else.  That is the very foundation of game theory...and most CERTAINLY the foundation for MMO structure, as you want players to always want to play your game to ensure future revenue.

RMT exists because MMO design always has and always will favor the company.  Everything is made into a massive timesink, because they have no creativity in which to make a reason for players to play outside of blowing away time in boring ways until they GET to have fun.  RMT is the most visible and deserved punishment for the poor design we have had to endure for the last 10 years in this market.

Fri Apr 25 2008 10:47PM Report
Melf_Himself writes:

I think you've all missed an important point.

Why is it that buying items gets you ahead??

Because items = power.

This is a BAD, albeit ubiquitous, game design philosophy. If the power of characters in PvE AND PvP were minimally affected by items, the need to use RMT to get ahead would be reduced greatly.

Guild Wars, for example, has a system where getting max gear is very cheap, but you have to pay for gear that actually looks good. RMT is not absent under this scheme, as people still want to look good... but the effect is less severe than in say, WoW or most other MMO's, because it doesn't affect your performance.

It does have effects on the economy as well, and is also generally unfair seeming as heerobya pointed out. But at least it doesn't prevent hurt casual players that choose NOT to (ab)use RMT.

I agree with your comments in theory Gish, and would love to see a game where levelling up/farming for gold is not viewed as a grind... but I can't think of a good way to do it... can you?

Sat Apr 26 2008 2:36AM Report
Melf_Himself writes:

I just realised that you guys didn't miss that point, you in fact argued it quite nicely. Wish I could edit ^^ Lol

Sat Apr 26 2008 2:37AM Report
sniperg writes:

If we consider MMO a game, then it has a purpose. The purpose is to win. RMT's and all that don't give an "unfair" advantage. If someone has extra cash and wants to spend it to level the playing field it's up to him. The fact is most mmo players really  have that ego "I wanna be the best" attitude. So yeah if you go with that it's pointless from the start. If your goal is to "win" then yeah you'll spend cash and if you can find an easy way out not to spend 100+ hours to get what you want you'll do it. So sorry that you that "devote time" don't get it your way, but like in the real world someone can buy his stuff to be better or hire someone else to do it, so they will do it on MMO's. Get over it and play to have fun.

Sat Apr 26 2008 3:33AM Report
gandales writes:

I think the problem is that mmorpg design is based on an expected number of hours for a gamer to play. In games like wow were some players can make their characters to cap level in a few days, it is necessary to put time sinks all over the game so those player wont cry loud that there is nothing to do.

Imagine that you are in a class in college were the professor address grades based on the person with the most work and then set the rest of the grades down accordingly. If you have 75% of the class full time taking other 4 courses and 25% taking only that course and doing nothing else that working on that course. If the  course load and grades are to be designed based on  that 25% of the students, it would be a nightmare for the other 75% since if they put too much time on that course they could fail their other courses.

This is what happen with mmos, there are people that can burn content so fast that developers needs to fill spaces with time sinks.

Sat Apr 26 2008 6:55AM Report
JB47394 writes:

Gishgeron: "If your players, even a handful, are trying to skip content because it is not enjoyable or even remotely timely....then your game design is crap."

Dunno about the "even a handful" part, but certainly the more players who try to avoid playing a certain element of a game, the worse the choice of design.  I've said as much in relation to the use of macros; if players are using macros to avoid playing certain content, that's a sign that either the game attracted the wrong players or it gave them the wrong content.

Such is the danger of creating content where the entertainment is in reaching the destination instead of enjoying the journey.

Sat Apr 26 2008 11:35AM Report
secton writes:

I agree with him on RMT, Players must not respect the game AT ALL to do that, because what it does is, cheats, it also KILL ECONOMY, Makes SPAM, Pisses people off and drives them away, 0 good comes from RMT, The Guy who made this thread is wrong about ITEM malls.... 99% Of games with ITEM malls DONT REQUIRE you to use them to stay competitive!! Most ingame item malls just have extra goodies that are not required, and only give a slightest of edge on the oponents w/out it. And they are micro payments which is affordable to a hobo, if a hobo ever played a MMO... Also Item malls take away the subscription fee, so the people who want to invest in small items make company wealthier, while the poor who cannot pay monthly dont need too.... Its is an alternative method rather thank milking everybody. While you say no matter how much people argue your point you will not agree, you should be well aware that you dont need to agree with me, These are facts, there is no disagreeing... You can hate item malls and disagree on whether they should be around, but you cant deny what I stated. There needs to be more variety and options, freedom to choose what you want in a game, item malls is a variety, While you hate them, if ALL the MMO's took away item malls, I am sure alot of people would be pissed, would you smile? Are you for the player, or against them while sugarcoating ethics of right and wrong.

Sat Apr 26 2008 11:41AM Report
ChaosTemplar writes:

I believe in equal opportunity, but NOT equal outcome.  Everyone should be able to have the chance to play and improve them selves, but you shouldn't be able to purchase your way to a better player.  But then again, when you measure how good a player is through levels and gear, it is kind of hard to determine the player's skill.

Sat Apr 26 2008 12:29PM Report
grimfall writes:

I wouldn't have any problem with the gold farming/ buyes if :

1. The farmers don't compete with me for conent.  This was a big problem with EQ

2. The sellers don't spam me, which is a big problem in just about any game.

Too bad the Tron420's of the world exist, because the gold sellers are by far the worst thing about WoW.

If you can't keep up, play a different game or get your guildmates to pay for your armor repairs.  Your incompetence is detracting from my gameplay and that's not cool, any way you look at it.

Plus you can work out while playing WoW, no need to go to the gym.

Sun Apr 27 2008 3:55AM Report
BadSpock writes:

Like I don't have a life Tron?

I work 8-5, sometims more, have an active social life, gym membership, etc. etc. No different.

But I don't ever even consider buying gold or power leveling services etc. because I know it's unfair.

I think that's the problem. People feel that they deserve to cheat to keep up with the "kids with no life" but really they are just clawing blindly for any justification to make it sound "OK" to break the rules the EULA's clearly state.

If you have a life, a girl/boyfriend and job and responsibilities that's excellent. Good for you. But this ONLY means that you have less time to devote to hobbies like MMOs.

You aren't being cheated out of anything, you aren't somehow a "lesser" person because you can't play as much. If anything you are much better off because you have those things...

Cheating to get/stay ahead of the curve isn't justifiable. You people make it sound like you are the victim of your real life, and your MMOs pay the price so it's OK to cheat.

It's not.

Sun Apr 27 2008 11:19AM Report
Raspaloh writes:

I disagree JB.  Your asking for the perfect game where everybody is happy, and every mission is worth doing over and over again.  Never have and never will buy from one of these farmers.  My only gripe is the constant email and in game tells i get from these guys. 

Mon Apr 28 2008 8:13AM Report
sdozer writes:

Full loot ought to scare away the RMTers to some degree.

Mon Jun 16 2008 6:50PM Report
Tatercake writes:

Gold farming means that some regular player finds some particular activity in a MMORPG so boring, but necessary, that he is ready to pay somebody else to play the game for him … At some point in the future somebody will discover how to make a MMORPG in which all parts of the game are fun to play, and there are no parts to “grind” to achieve some result of virtual currency or level. And that game will have no gold farming. Not because it would be impossible, or because of being threatened with bans, but just because it wouldn’t make sense to pay somebody else to have all that fun for you. The impotent rages of game developers against RMT are really just a reflection of their own failure to make their games fun in all areas.”

Someday someone is going to make a perfect game, where things are always fun all the time? Can’t wait. I’ve played a few, sure … they were called First Person Shooters. Not a one had to entertain a player longer than, say, 15 hours. None had to entertain a player for hundreds the way even the most basic MMO is expected to.

Gold farming is the result of human nature expressing itself inside the designer’s world. Humans are amazing optimizers, especially when it comes to repetitive activities. Do something often enough, and we mentally do our own game design aimed at thwarting or subverting what’s already in place. This is why people buy gold and use powerleveling services - they’ve chosen the optimal path they see between themselves and their goal.


The problem with this, which Tobold is sort of brushing against, is that this level of optimization is destructive to the game. By subverting the game’s design to this extent, it become harmful for both the player who engages in this activity, and for the people around him. Power-leveling is, I’d wager, responsible for far more ‘hacked’ accounts than viruses and keyloggers. That leads to emptied banks and sharded epics - bad mojo all around.

All that said, I think it’s heartening that designers are working to lessen the impact of gold farming in their games. Several of the titles I’m most anticipating right now, including The Agency, Warhammer, and Free Realms, are doing their best to disincentivize farmers. They’re also making it so that farming and purchasing of gold just isn’t as useful an activity to engage in as in other titles.

They’re doing so by fundamentally changing some of the elements we recognize from previous MMOs, which I applaud. Non-static spawns, achievement through non-grinding means, microtransactions … they’re all working to get around this pernicious optimization.

And yet, sad to say, there’s still going to be RMT and power-leveling in those games. Warhammer is built-in with a number of tracking, anti-spam, anti-RMT measures, but it’s still so traditional in a number of ways that I’m dead certain there is going to be a thriving gold farming trade within weeks of the game going live. I think Mythic Entertainment is going to have a lot of success keeping the price of third-party gold high, but that’s all the success I think they’re going to be able to claim.

And still Warhammer will be a fun game. People will enjoy it, they’ll play it, and somehow life will go on. Because (again) gold farming isn’t the result of bad design. It’s a reaction to the baser reality of being a human. People are always going to try to dodge the system. It’s what people do. Getting all huffy and high horse about it is counter-productive; it doesn’t address the human element.

All of these games that are designing around RMT would be well served to approach that human element as a component of their anti-farming methodology. Educate the players on the risks of third-party services. Make it clear what their actions could result in. Ensure that people have the proper context for their actions, and you’re going to have a playerbase much less willing to engage in this behavior.

Game designers are smart. Players are smart. Categorizing either as failures is a losing proposition from the get-go.

Wed Aug 06 2008 7:20PM Report writes:
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