[MUD-Dev] Re: Black Snow Revisited

Jeremy Noetzelman jjn at kriln.com
Tue Apr 16 19:45:04 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

On Mon, 15 Apr 2002 amanda at alfar.com wrote:

> You misunderstand.  It is not the *items* that lose value--they
> have no value to begin with.

Here I'll have to disagree.  Everything, virtual or real, has value
to someone.  Value, of course, is in the eyes of the beholder.
While an item on a MUD may be valueless to you, it's clearly not
valueless to those people spending hundreds and thousands of dollars
to buy them on a 'secondary' market.

If virtual items had no value, I'd wager that Matt at Achaea wouldn't
be doing as well as he does.

> In a game that is structured in such a way that certain things
> (level, stats, items, whatever) denote in-game accomplishments,
> commerce in those rewards devalues the time and experiences that
> people spend earning them in-game.  It makes it *less fun* to
> solve an in-game puzzle if I can just purchase the "I solved
> puzzle X" T-shirt on eBay.

I don't buy this one either.  If I'm playing a game, take Jedi
Knight II (since I've been playing that one recently) and I complete
it legitimately, is my experience in any way, shape, or form
devalued by the fact that my neighbor used God Mode to experience
the game?

Again, remember that while the value of the game may be in the
accomplishment of solving Puzzle X for some, for others, they have
Goal Y in sight, and solving Puzzle X is a boring sideline on the
way to that goal.  In which case, many of them would love to bypass
Puzzle X all together and obtain the T-shirt from someone who
completed the puzzle.

Out of curiosity, do you feel the same way if I buy a quest item
from someone ingame, with ingame items/gold?  If my friend has an
item obtained from a quest, and I want that item, and my friend is
willing to trade it to me for 100 gold, does that detract from your
sense of reward and achievement?

> Now, there are certainly other ways to structure a game--the
> evidence to hand suggests that a game could be structured to allow
> play at any "level" from the start and have some appeal to
> players.  Want to go do a quest with your friends?  Create a level
> 35 mumble foo and play it.  The game company added additional
> newbie content that you didn't get a chance to see when you were a
> newbie?  Create a level 4 mumble foo and go have fun.  This could
> work quite well, and would make "powerlevelling" and "twinking"
> irrelevant.

No arguments here.

> If I buy a marksmanship medal on eBay, does that make me a
> marksman?

No, but if it's worth the money for me, how does it detract from
you, who legitimately won a medal?  It doesn't impart upon me the
skills, but it could let me 'play the part' until time came to step
up to the firing line.

Though, as a marksman myself, this is somewhat of a bad analogy, as
on most MUDs, buying an item or a character or whatever will enhance
your experience/ingame abilities.  Buying a medal does nothing to
keep your hand steady ;)

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