[MUD-Dev] Blacksnow revisted

Patrick Black plblack at together.net
Thu Apr 25 11:29:08 New Zealand Standard Time 2002


Greetings,

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

I see the issue of being able to give your friends items or in-game
money as something different from the issue of selling
items/characters in an out of game setting for RL currency.

>From my experience working on a MMORPG I know that one of the
challenges is balancing the game, at least to an extent that there
are challenges to a wide range of player skill levels.  Part of the
balancing act is having some idea of what sort of gear the average
player will have when facing any particular challenge.  Granted,
this is only partially possible as there will always be times when a
new player gets gear from an elder player.  This could be an older
"sibling" handing down equipment to their younger "brother" or an
elder player befriending a new player and providing them gear.  In
each of these cases, there is a measure of work involved for the
player receiving the goods.  Either they have already earned the
items through normal game means (i.e. killed the critter that
carries it or killed enough critters to get enough money to buy the
item from an in-game merchant or what not) or spent the time
cultivating the friendship of the person doing the giving.  Both of
these, at least in my view, strengthen the game.  In both cases,
time was spent in-game by the player developing the character.

The problem I see with RL sales is that there is not investment in
developing the character.  Characters end up with gear simply
because they happen to have extra dollars to spend.  This can cause
any number of problems for the game.  It can alter the balance of
the game, enough so that it could lead the designers to actually
design the game challenges under the assumption that the average
player has gear that would otherwise be considered above their
level.  The game then becomes more and more unplayable for those who
either cannot or will not purchase items for RL currency.  Buying
items for RL money also does very little if anything to foster any
sort of community in the game.  For many games, at least for the one
I work for, the sense of community is what keeps many players coming
back.

I'm not sure whether Mythic, or any other company for that matter,
has the "right" to ask places like eBay to cease auctions.  As has
been pointed out, even if they did, other methods would simply take
their place.  However, the game companies do have the right to
maintain their game environments in the way they choose, assuming
they are not violating any law regarding discrimination.  This means
that if they feel that a players activities are detrimental to the
game, they fully have the right to ask that player to cease the
activity.  If the player chooses not to comply, the game company can
certainly suspend or terminate that players access to the game.

Regards,

Patrick


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