[MUD-Dev] character transfer in EQ

S. Patrick Gallaty choke at sirius.com
Mon Jul 23 04:43:04 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

----- Original Message -----
From: "Derek Licciardi" <kressilac at home.com>

[.. much good commentary removed ... ]

> To me I would let players use E-Bay.  Hell, if I could earn a
> transaction fee wrapping a value added service around it then I
> would seriously consider supporting this type of activity.  From a
> pure business sense, do you really care who is behind the
> character in question?  As long as the character is having fun and
> paying the subscription it shouldn't matter. 

Unfortunately, it's not this simple.  This is a game where the
inflow of reward is finite over unit time.  The competition for
certain desirable items and the ability of certain types of
characters to effectively harvest those items leads to an unhealthy
and unpleasant distortion of the game world, where items are
vanishing into a sea of hands rather out-of-character by being
harvested by high level players to which an encounter is (or was) no
challenge and then sold via outside contacts to players who had no
legitimate claim to them in-game.  Thus, the reward for playing was
no longer as-designed.  The (sometimes exploitive) and often rude,
abrasive, pushy and out-of-character ebay item farmers have at times
been near plague level in everquest.

The (over)simple maxim of (they are paying, allow them to play their
own way) breaks down when any small number of people creates a
significantly large disruption of gameplay for the greater
percentage of players.  It's critical to remember that these
item-farmers weren't 'playing' by any sense of the word we might
ascribe to it.  This endeavor makes money, to some a significant
amount of money.

When money enters the picture, lots of other more delicate things
exit without a trace.  All hope of a player community with
compassion, cooperation, fairness, dignity.. and even respect are
gone.  What you have (and had) was a large number of players being
pushed about quite harshly by a significant minority to whom this
was a business.  If that business meant training (dragging monsters
onto players to kill them), kill-stealing, causing zones to crash,
causing players to crash, harassing, badmouthing, what have you.. it
was justified to them if it made turning product over faster.

When the items in the game became product and commodity, all
arguments about 'play' became moot.  It was disastrously ugly,
exceedingly unpleasant and the result of a spectacularly failed
design.  Like the automobile however, there are plenty of people
ready to point out that it's turning a buck.

- nox

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