[MUD-Dev] SOC: Will company sanctioned cheating hurt the MMO community?

Jaycen Rigger jaycen.rigger at sbcglobal.net
Sun May 1 18:55:44 New Zealand Standard Time 2005


<EdNote: Please keep replies away from the player rant aspect of
this post.  MUD-Dev is not (properly) host to player rants except to
the extent that they illuminate and inform design and implementation
decisions.>

  (Will MMO's die out after the decent players get disgusted and
  quit, leaving the people willing to buy their way to the top to
  only compete with each other?)

Everyone knows Sony is now officially condoning the sale of in-game
items via an outside site that is maintained by the company. Instead
of encouraging players to deal with someone in-game, the creators
and maintainers of the game are actually encouraging players to
break context and cheat.  Apparently, some players are willing to
pay real-life money in order to get a jump on other players in these
games.

Aside from the fact that this is sad and pathetic, it's really
annoying to players who feel that they worked hard for what little
they've been able to achieve in the game. Since every player must
pay the monthly subscriber fee to play, it's unfair that some
players are able to pay a little extra in order to circumvent the
mechanics of the game.

Sony calls their service 'Exchange', as if it were simply another
place for player characters to congregate and trade goods and
services. Except, it isn't. Sony thinks that by offering certain
'Exchange-enabled servers', and servers that are not
'Exchange-enabled', they can avoid pissing off their non-cheating
player base, and cheating will actually go down on the servers where
it isn't specifically condoned.

This seems like a non sequitur, but I'm finding a lot of industry
people (a.k.a. designers) are acting as cheerleaders for this
mentality. I think that G. Gordon Liddy said it best,'How do you get
more of a behavior? Subsidize it.'

The same people who have pushed the Broken Windows theory in
reference to bad player behavior now act as though the theory
doesn't apply to this behavior. This blows me away after reading
several accounts of the "virtual sociopath". The virtual sociopath
thinks it's okay to kill other player characters for personal
enjoyment because the game implicitly makes that behavior
legal. After all, if it wasn't built into the game, you couldn't do
it, right? That's the kind of logic I see in the Sony Exchange
fiasco.

My question to the industry is this; Why not just let players buy
anything they want to buy directly, in-game? You could have a window
that's always available and just scroll through the list of possible
junk in that game and rack up a charge on your credit card at any
time to buy something for your character. You could even pay $2.50
to do an automatic 50 points of damage to a creature you're
currently fighting. That seems like it would cut out the middle-man
and the need to leave the game to go to some other web-site. It'd be
a hell of a lot more profitable, too.

What the hell is the point of playing if the rich can do whatever
they want, while the rest of us have to slog through the normal game
mechanics to get by? Buying virtual property outside of the game
mechanics is cheating, pure and simple. Sony could police it if they
wanted to, but they're too damned lazy and greedy to do it.

Congratulations, Sony. May your blackened souls rot in digital hell.

Thanks,

Jaycen
http://rpgdesigner.blogspot.com/
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