Swords of Uber 1337-ness and third-world goldfarming

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There’s this very well-written post on Kill Ten Rats discussing the dynamics of MMORPG economies, the progression of items gained, and inflation. Nothing you guys haven’t really heard of before, but what the article does well is discuss the processes involved as economies are built and destroyed in the MMO world. Here’s a nice quotable about the workings of it all:

That simulation breaks down when more money enters the economy than leaves it. A potentially unlimited number of players can spend every waking moment slaying an endless supply of immaculately conceived monsters, each of which is a walking bag of xp and gp.

Of course a few paragraphs later he asks this question:

some of this then encourages the gold farmers. Would you rather farm trash mobs for twenty hours or work at your job for a half hour and just buy it for cash? As many governments have discovered, big interventions in your economy create big distortions elsewhere.

So having mentioned those quotes, here’s where we ask you guys: How have those “big distortions” affected you? Have you ever been stricken by paranoia that the bunch of folks camping that certain river are paid to camp there and kill monster A so that they can pick up and sell for cash item B. Has that ever annoyed you? Do you feel angered?

Lord British and fellow game makers of course do not approve of this behavior. Saying that it ruins the experience and the authenticity of it all. In light of the Korean National Assembly to outlawing RMT, Edward Castranova had this to say:

I have the sense that gold trading is problematic only when amplified by the efficiencies of business. IGE and the gold farmers have created an entire industry of gold farming, that sets millions of man-hours to work on the gold pumps, day in and day out, enough to destroy what a game is all about. That’s got to stop. And this bill will stop it.

Before you guys comment away, look at the flip-side first. Third-world gold-farming literally feed people, as in their next meal depends on the items they farm. It’s a living for them. Also, is it really that bad that people are provided avenues to lessen their farm-time (thus allowing them to enjoy the benefits of “Real Life”) and at the same time increase the chances of their in-game avatar being uber. Economies are destroyed, people stop having “fun”, worlds are marred, but you’d still buy that Swords of Uber L33tness for 5 bucks just so you can spend Sundays with your family wouldn’t you?

What we all wish for of course is that game developers will come up with some system that will allow for things like this and still keep the games play-experience and economy intact. Perhaps something in-game. Whatever. Anyway, real world smart-people can’t even fix what the world economy, why should we expect devs to fix MMOs?

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There’s this very well-written post on Kill Ten Rats discussing the dynamics of MMORPG economies, the progression of items gained, and inflation. Nothing you guys haven’t really heard of before, but what the article does well is discuss the processes involved as economies are built and destroyed in the MMO world. Here’s a nice quotable about the workings of it all:

That simulation breaks down when more money enters the economy than leaves it. A potentially unlimited number of players can spend every waking moment slaying an endless supply of immaculately conceived monsters, each of which is a walking bag of xp and gp.

Of course a few paragraphs later he asks this question:

some of this then encourages the gold farmers. Would you rather farm trash mobs for twenty hours or work at your job for a half hour and just buy it for cash? As many governments have discovered, big interventions in your economy create big distortions elsewhere.

So having mentioned those quotes, here’s where we ask you guys: How have those “big distortions” affected you? Have you ever been stricken by paranoia that the bunch of folks camping that certain river are paid to camp there and kill monster A so that they can pick up and sell for cash item B. Has that ever annoyed you? Do you feel angered?

Lord British and fellow game makers of course do not approve of this behavior. Saying that it ruins the experience and the authenticity of it all. In light of the Korean National Assembly to outlawing RMT, Edward Castranova had this to say:

I have the sense that gold trading is problematic only when amplified by the efficiencies of business. IGE and the gold farmers have created an entire industry of gold farming, that sets millions of man-hours to work on the gold pumps, day in and day out, enough to destroy what a game is all about. That’s got to stop. And this bill will stop it.

Before you guys comment away, look at the flip-side first. Third-world gold-farming literally feed people, as in their next meal depends on the items they farm. It’s a living for them. Also, is it really that bad that people are provided avenues to lessen their farm-time (thus allowing them to enjoy the benefits of “Real Life”) and at the same time increase the chances of their in-game avatar being uber. Economies are destroyed, people stop having “fun”, worlds are marred, but you’d still buy that Swords of Uber L33tness for 5 bucks just so you can spend Sundays with your family wouldn’t you?

What we all wish for of course is that game developers will come up with some system that will allow for things like this and still keep the games play-experience and economy intact. Perhaps something in-game. Whatever. Anyway, real world smart-people can’t even fix what the world economy, why should we expect devs to fix MMOs?

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