Tag Archive: RMT
Newsflash: MMO’s make you grind.
(That new, informative and ground breaking statement should win me a blog-pulitzer, or blog-nobel, I am certain of it.)
Follow Up: People tend to not like grind.
MMOment of Truth: Grind equals profits for companies (both in the form of longer sub fee collection, and minimizing development costs)
Sad Truth: Inclusive of the above statements, MMO companies don’t treat their customers very well. [insert any analogy here that shows the longer a company forces a customer to wait for something, or to receive their item, or charges more to one customer for the same item than another customer, etc etc – the poorer the customer feels]
Solution 1: Develop a fun game that doesn’t have grind as it’s core, “innovating” feature (not going to happen anytime soon)
Solution 2: Enhance the experience with Real Money Transactions (community has a hard time accepting the current iterations of the model)
Solution 3: After the break! (oh, how I love cliffhangers)
Last post I talked about having a peek at LOTRO again, the current darling of blognation. I was drawn to give it a shot because of the handy dandy free trial after their new expansion, Mines of Moira. I had no delusions of grandeur of seeing the new content, but rather was curious of the trickle down effect to what changes this game has gone through since it’s release. I was especially excited to try out their new Warden class – reminded me very much of the 300 spartans – shield and spear. I dl’ed the trial, signed up, and off I went.
Really, gaming subscriptions are just different ways to ‘eat’.
1) The Frozen Dinner: This sub option is any game that you pay for the box and pay nothing afterwards. The subscription cost is the cost of the box itself. The beauty of the Frozen Dinner is that if you can’t stand to eat another one you can sell it to the guy down the street, or trade it for a different Frozen Dinner flavour. Unfortunately you have to serve yourself.
2) The Buffet: Pay once for all you can eat. You get a set number of food choice items, but you can take as much (or as little) of each that you can fit into your belly. It’s all you can eat! Bad news is, you effectively pay 8x more than the chubby fella who takes 8 plates of food to your 1. I know that hardly seems like fair value, but what are you doing ordering buffet in the first place? Doesn’t the restaurant have a normal menu as well? This menu option is optimal for those who have a lot of time to hang around the restaurant. The more time, the more digestion, the more room for more courses.
3) A la Carte: Order what you want. What really satisfies you. The prices are clearly listed on the menu, so make sure you stay on budget. Eat as little, or as much, as you like. Don’t look at what the person at the table next to you is eating – your personal satisfaction has nothing to do with what he is ordering. Make your own choices and enjoy your meal. If you want, you can just sit around and drink water and eat free pretzels and peanuts – but do that long enough and you will be longing for the steak. That is actually a good thing, because restaurants can’t survive giving away pretzels forever.
All subscriptions are RMT, even the $14.99 a month ones. Why does A la Carte get such a bad rap?
With the spammy-gold-spamertons all over WAR there is a lot of coverage in Blognation about RMT and what to do with it. I covered my thoughts on RMT here before, and to summarize – if games mechanics are made so poorly that I can only enjoy the game by buying gold then something needs to change. There are all sorts of arguments about it, from the MMO ‘morality’ (if you buy gold, you probably don’t walk little old ladies accross the street), to the upper class of gaming (people who can afford to buy gold have an unfair advantage – because you make more money in real life shouldn’t give you an advantage in a online world where all are created equal!) to [insert typical argument here]. What we need is some sort of solution. An obvious one, but one I haven’t seen or heard much about (I don’t read every blog and website out there, so sorry if it has) is the simplest one of all. Make gold bind on pickup. Eliminate it from the equation altogether. How can we eliminate gold changing hands, without eliminating item trading? Enter the lovely world of leasing.
UPDATE: Check out the BanHammer counter on the WAR herald – cute 🙂
Obscure musical reference. Probably sad that I think that is obscure. Free comment post to whoever figures that one out first.
Real Money Transfers. The Yankees, Bill Gates, and Jack Thompson loathe of most MMO gamers. You will probably add my name to the loathing list when I tell you that with a few changes, the underground RMT model would actually be good for gaming. Whoa! was that a tomato you just threw at me? That’s okay, I’ll make a RMT sandwich with that, a slice of bacon, and two pieces of whole wheat bread.
With all the hubbub with the underground RMT world the sad truth is it is a market easily crushed – and while doing so, properly, could be a celebrated event for gamers. MMO’s are one colossal universal competition. My MMO is better than your MMO. My Guild is better than your guild. My toon is better than your toon. My Sword of Ultimate Truth is better than your Hammer of Justice. And so on. The problem with MMO’s is that to be the best (or simply just enjoy yourself) it isn’t solely about skill – it is about time. I guarantee you, if I could play 40-50 hours a week compared to your 10-15 hours a week I will be “better” at it than you. (Divorced, probably overweight, and dealing with a bout of carpal tunnel to boot – but still, “better”). Couple the time issue with those same competition obsessed players willing to spend money on in game things to get even further ahead and the disparity widens. Enter RMT to save the day.
I bought gold in WoW once. Probably from a company that hijacked you and your guild-mate’s account to provide me with that gold. I apologize for that. Honestly, I didn’t think I was hurting anyone and was actually supplying 10 year old kids with a much needed 30 cent an hour job to care for their 8 brothers and sisters. I felt dirty, like sneakily downloading porn while my wife knitted a sweater for her ailing grandmother but I did it, and it felt good.
To be fair, I did it before I really knew the ramifications, or even that it was “illegal”. I was falling behind in my gaming time, and instead of spending hours a week farming junk to make gold by making and selling different junk, I really just wanted to enjoy the game by actually playing the game, not doing my second job in it. Back then, it was dirt cheap. $99.00 for 3000 gold. Considering what I typically charge my clients per hour, I was actually making money by spending that little amount for something that would take me 30 hours in game – and spending those 30 hours making real money. It went to good use, and many a guild/server mate enjoyed the benefit of my newfound cash flow. The 3 months I was able to stretch out that purchase was the best three months I spent in game, because I could do things I actually wanted to do, instead of being forced to to do menial tasks. By the time it was gone I started looking at making another purchase – that is when I did a lot of soul and google searching and realized what exactly I was buying. Hacked accounts were increasing, and I realized it was teh bad. I took my little skeleton, put it deep in the closet, and never spoke of it again. Until now.
Since “time” is the ultimate qualifier for both your ability to enjoy, and in some parts excel, in any given MMO the playing field needs to be levelled. The best way to do that, while crushing the whole account hack/sweat shop issue, is for MMO companies to sell their own gold. To set the price simply scour the internet for what illegal companies are selling it for (it’s not like they are hiding) and cut that price in half. If they drop, so do you. Make it so it is entirely impossible for them to profit from it. Why would anyone buy gold from an “illegal” source and not be guaranteed of it’s delivery when they can get it from a reputable dealer? It would destroy the gold selling aspect of the underground RMT economy, and make your average gamer quite happy. If I was an MMO company I would do just that – however, I would balance it off with a lower monthly subscription fee. $10 a month (plus my set aside $5 a month for my gold) and hey, I am way ahead of where I am now.
On this argument some take the high road, saying they wouldn’t purchase or play a game that does this. I find it ironic that people would rather pretend the “company” is doing “everything they can” to stop the real issue and turn a blind eye to the problem citing moral reasons instead of fighting this head on in the only true easy and simple mechasim to finally put it to rest. You are still playing that game, right now, knowing this junk is going on behind the scenes – let’s bring it out into the open.
The other way to fix this problem is to remove the parts of MMO’s that aren’t fun (such as grinding for gold) so you don’t have to worry about the gold in the first place. Somehow I don’t think that would fly with the MMO’er, as I think we all secretly hate ourselves. MMO’s have become more life like indeed – in real life, we work our 50 hours a week to be able to have fun. In MMO’s, we actually have to work in game before we can have fun in that game. Our fantasy worlds have less rewarding work than our real ones!
I’m off to self-loathe about that one for a bit. Anyone care to join me?