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

Michael Parker aldacron at gmail.com
Fri May 13 14:24:19 New Zealand Standard Time 2005


On 5/12/05, Sean Marshall <muddev at gmail.com> wrote:
> Jaycen wrote:

>> 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?

> Whenever this topic comes up I usually point out that the same
> situation exists in RL. Take golf, the very rich can afford the
> best equiptment, the best green fees, the best caddies, and
> trainers. They can attend camps. They are edges, huge ones, but
> those edges can be overcome and often are.

But who wants RL to intrude upon their virtual world? Many play
these games to escape RL, or to be/do things that they cannot be/do
in RL.  Someone I met in DAOC told me that one thing she enjoys is
that, after having mastered 3 crafting lines, she can afford to buy
anything she wants in game - something she cannot do in RL.

It's nice to reason the problem away by saying that this allows
working professionals the opportunity to catch up to those who have
an abundance of free time (as someone else did in another post). But
haven't players shown over the past few years that the path of least
resistance is the preferable one? That means those with an abundance
of free time AND and abundance of money will have the opportunity to
surpass everyone else. Whether or not this can be called 'cheating'
is a matter of personal preference, but people with less time and/or
less money will (and do quite frequently on fan sites) complain
about the 'fairness'. Using DAOC as an example again, the 'buffbot'
issue illustrates this quite well. Those who have the means to
afford two or more accounts and the hardware to run them
simultaneously can have a significant advantage in Realm-vs-Realm
combat over players who cannot afford to do the same. It's a huge
advantage. A fully buffed character facing an unbuffed character is
no contest. Is this fair? Or is this an issue separate from that of
the item/currency market? I see them as the same.

The only way to prevent the sale of items/currency outside of the
game is to design the game from the beginning such that it either is
not possible or gives no benefit. I think anyone setting out to
design such a game would certainly end up with something unique
(like Puzzle Pirates). Most of the MMOs on the market now (and
several on the horizon) are not too different from a high level,
hence most of them are subject to this 'rich kid vs. poor kid'
phenomenon. Pirates of the Burning Sea is a game that is breaking
the mold not just in terms of genre, but also in game mechanics. It
will be interesting to see to what extent RL money affects gameplay
there, as there hasn't been anything quite like it on the market
yet.
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