[MUD-Dev] Blacksnow revisted

shaver at mozilla.org shaver at mozilla.org
Tue Apr 23 17:52:50 New Zealand Standard Time 2002


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Original message: http://www.kanga.nu/archives/MUD-Dev-L/2002Q2/msg00280.php

On Fri, 19 Apr 2002 23:54:30 -0700 (PDT)
"Kylotan" <kylotan at kylotan.eidosnet.co.uk> wrote:

> Under these assumptions, I would say that asking online auction
> sites to stop a sale would be perfectly valid, as the 'seller'
> does not own the item on offer. One possible loophole remains,
> which is perhaps to sell the 'service' of handing over the
> item. The change of in-game 'ownership' would be a side-effect of
> the service sold, rather than what you are actually claiming to
> sell. But maybe there is a way around this too. (Do eBay et al
> even allow you to sell services, or just tangible goods?) I don't
> think you'd have grounds to tell an online auction site to stop
> such an auction, but I can see that it would still be considered
> reasonable grounds for terminating a player account if some sort
> of "no item transfers to be coordinated out of game" rule was in
> there somewhere.

Do we really want to outlaw me giving my housemate a shiny sword,
because he's my housemate, or mentioned that his broke?

What about fan sites that offer in-game rewards for fan fiction?

I'm not sure I like the idea behind this sort of prohibition because
inter-player trade is key to many interesting interactions, and any
such auction must be consummated by an in-game trade.  Why do we
want to prohibit certain _motivations_ for trades?  Many interesting
game activities (raids, guild promotions or other events, etc.) are
coordinated out of the game: why are item trades special here?  Just
symptomatic of over-dependence on items in current MMO games,
perhaps?

I also worry about the "common carrier" issue.  If game operators
start policing the motivations and legitimacy of some in-game
trades, will it create an expectation in the eyes of the users (or,
more frighteningly, the courts) that they ensure that _all_ trades
are "legal"?  Popular MMO CSRs must already be brutally overworked
just tracking violations to the existing TOS; who's going to police
the economy?

Personally, I think these companies might do better to join them,
since beating them is going to be very difficult.  (If the market is
there, some gnutella-esque peer-to-peer auction system will no doubt
spring up to fill the niche out of which Mythic and others seek to
legislate eBay.)  Provide auction services in game, or on the
website, and take a little off the top; maybe find a way to work it
into the game fiction and economy.

(Sincere apologies if this it too "MMORPG"-centric for the list;
I've not yet finished catching up on the archives, so I don't have a
complete feel for the list's "flavour" yet.)

Mike

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