[MUD-Dev] Re: Black Snow Revisited

Hans-Henrik Staerfeldt hhs at cbs.dtu.dk
Tue Apr 2 18:02:24 New Zealand Daylight Time 2002

On Mon, 1 Apr 2002, Caliban Tiresias Darklock wrote:
> You have to monitor every transaction in every realm on every
> server until you see the transaction happen, and even then how can
> you be sure it's not just some guy giving his friend 1000 gold? 
> Even if you know it's me, how do you know I'm not just giving
> someone 1000 gold and wasn't paid for it? What if I tell Biff to
> give the buyer 432 gold and then I give the buyer 568 gold? What
> if I put 1000 gold in a sack and give someone the sack? I mean,
> eventually, I'm going to figure out how to give someone 1000 gold
> without you seeing it happen.

Yeah, its real easy;

  a) Company man go to ebay, or where-ever you post your notice, If
  the trade is so much under-ground that its not to be located
  easily by the staff it not even an serious issue anymore.

  b) Set up a meeting with your (BSI-type company), asking to buy

  c) Notice your characters identity, and your IP number, ISP etc.

  d) Starts logging activity from that particular source.

  e) Tracks you for a week, locating the high-level characters that
  frequently 'looses' lots and lots of stuff to your mule or however
  you set it up, even monitor their activity explicitely (snoop
  snoop) finding out the buyers too.

  f) Kick them off the game. (or as i like, onto a shard where they
  can play by themselves)

> You CAN'T enforce this on the server. You CAN'T enforce this off
> the server.  All you can do is cancel accounts as soon as you
> identify the buyers and sellers, and even then it's pretty trivial
> to avoid identification. What if you *do* catch me selling things? 
> So you terminate my account and invalidate my credit card and CD
> key; big deal! All I have to do is go sell the CD as used and buy
> a new copy of the game, then apply for a new account; I get at
> least four credit card offers in the mail every day, so I can have
> as many credit cards as I need (provided I don't destroy my
> credit). All told, you cost me at most $30 for each account, and I
> can keep more accounts than you can easily track with very little
> effort. If I can make $600 in sales before you catch me, do you
> think I'll even sneeze at $30?

No, but you will sneeze up the price when you have to play up a new
character every day. (assuming the game mechanics isnt screwed up)
This will keep the commercial exchange to very low-level stuff but
with a higher price (because of the _time_ it takes to play up a
high-level farmer, and the effort that is lost when its kicked out).

> In short, Mythic wants to prevent something that is next to
> impossible to prevent. While they can certainly say it's against
> the rules and terminate the accounts of people who violate the
> rules, it is *not* going to stop people from continuing to violate
> the rules any more than tickets prevent people from speeding. It's
> a losing battle, and something other than saying "stop that" needs
> to be done.

I agree. Its never going to stop. (unless you have very different
game-mechanics than most such games anyway).

But you forget; Although you may not care for the extra cost in time
and effort, the _buyer_ would. If the customer risked to loose
his/her collective effort in the game entirely by the transaction, i
bet it would stifle the market considerably. Step e) ensures that
you pick up many of the customers. Although there may be false
positives, it beats the destructiveness on the overall gameplay
experience by the broad population of the game.

Between the deterrant from the buyer (would require low prices) and
the extra effort of the farmer (would require high prices), the
item-farming industry would die out (it would not pay off, simply).

A nice post on every eBay auction stating that you risked loosing
the entire account for buying would keep most people away.

Hans Henrik Stærfeldt   |    bombman at diku.dk    | work:  hhs at cbs.dtu.dk      |
Address:                |___  +45 40383492    __|__       +45 45252471     __|
DTU, Kemitorvet,        | Scientific programmer at Center for Biological     |
bygn 208, CBS.          |  Sequence Analysis, Technical University of Denmark|

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