Wednesday, October 7, 2009

About Real Money Trading

If you've been playing Aion lately, you know that the hot-button topic right now is real money traders. Gold spammers. Shitheads. Whatever you want to call them. "Aww, but those poor Indonesian children are just trying to earn a meal," you may say. "Bullshit," I reply. They're working their poor little fingers off so that some fat cat can sit back and live an average lifestyle for little or no work.

That's right, if you're buying gold, kinah, experience, kidneys... online, then you're totally slaying small Indonesian children. Slaying them from the fingers down.

Maybe that's a little extreme, but if you are purchasing in-game benefits for real life cash, you're certainly enabling the practice. For my part, I'd like to yell at you, "CUT IT OUT!".

There is nothing good or glorious about RMT'ing. You cannot justify it. It is bad for the industry, bad for the players, and bad for the developers. Right now, NCSoft is, I'm sure, wasting a whole bunch of time and energy on solving the "gold spamming" issue instead of developing. I'm sure Blizzard has put some time and money into the issue as well. In fact, name your game, and if it's at all popular, it's probably had to be regulated against RMT'ing in some way. Unless that's part of the game I guess. Still, how do games deal with the spam?

Spooner over at does a wonderful job of keeping us up to date. I'll link over to him for the latest communications from NCSoft regarding gold spamming. Read it if you'd like, but it's not necessary for this small rant. It's just the current problem.

The rant is nothing new, however. Even back in my days of FFXI, RMT'ing was a very real problem. It's been around since MMOs have gained popularity. How do we, as gamers, deal with it? How should developers deal with it?

I'd love to have your thoughts on perhaps some clever ways of dealing with it, because while we know what developers have done in the past, I'm sure there have to be some better ways. I know, I know, for Aion's part they just need to make it a bit easier to report these buggers, and have done well making blocking easy, but they could do more. Blocking and reporting are really the two tried and true methods. I think we'd all like to see something more...automated?

My suggestion is to put something in place sort of like Gmail's spam filter. Basically, let a user "block" another user as a "RMT" (a different designation from a normal block). When a certain number of users do this, it confirms a RMT identity and will be automatically blocked from everyone else. Each user could then go in and disable their RMT scanner, or even "unblock" individuals that they claim not to be RMTs. This could be highly automated, and if someone gets mistakenly RMT'ed (which would have to have been done by like 100 peopleganging up on them, which might mean they should be blocked for all anyways), they could simply send a personal email to a GM or an in-game ticket, explaining what's going on. RMTs don't contact GM's, so that would be simple as well. Periodically, the devs could even go in and ban accounts that have been caught by the "spam filter". Gmail can do it, why not an MMO?

That may or may not be possible, but from the perspective of the gamers, though, I have two suggestions:
  1. Don't buy it! - I don't care what "it" is, if you are giving money to anyone, you are encouraging and basically "voting for" their behavior. You are an enabler at that point. In a capitalist market, you money is your vote.
  2. Just block it! - Stop carrying on for 20 minutes in general chat about it, just hit the block button and get on with life. By complaining in-game for hours on end, you're giving these people even MORE air time. You're not really helping the issue unless you're trying to help others learn how to use the block feature. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
That's it, it's really that simple from our POV. Don't buy it, just block it. A slogan to live by in MMOs. If we all did that consistently as gamers, the practice of RMT'ing would go away. Since there will always be some people enticed by the "leg up" that money can provide, realistically it will probably never go away. However, by following that simple slogan, we can minimize the impact on all of us as a community. Hopefully developers will learn to use the community to help them as well, sort of like a neighborhood watch. I mean, who of us wouldn't spend an hour wielding a mini-ban hammer if it meant something as simple as maybe a free month, or just to kill gold spammers? I mean, think of the POWAH! Obviously, it'd have to be regulated somehow, but the point is that a lot of us want to help, we just aren't able to.

Don't buy it, just block it. Words to play by.


  1. Just wanted to add a little something... a friend of mine (who shall remain nameless) bought gold precisely once. He and several of his friends had started fresh one server, alliance side, after having played horde side for years. He purchased the gold to buy a guild bank for the guild, since they were all fresh level 1s.

    He has regretted it ever since. He constantly gets tells from gold spammers that no one else gets.

    When my account got hacked, it really wasn't that big a deal. Blizz was great about it, got me all my stuff back, I learned a lesson. But now? I get whispers repeatedly trying to scam me. It's not the gold selling ones that my friend gets - its from fake blizz employees, or people trying to "sell" me TCG mounts. It's like, you know, I fell for it once in an idiotic greedy moment... I'm not falling for even worse attempts. Yeesh.

    So I don't know how, but you get on A List when you get yourself hacked like an idiot, or buy gold. So at least there's a little bit of punishment in it!

  2. I dont buy gold, but buying gold is no different than buying any other commodity from a lousy third world country. How many items in the typical household are made in China?

  3. @anon - I know what you're getting at here, but none of those Chinese produced items I own are against the EULA of the United States. I can't speak for all countries, but in America it's perfectly legal for them to sell me sporks. What I do with the sporks is another matter...

    Also, China doesn't "spam" me to buy their stuff... the American companies that sell them do all the spamming. It's sort of like if NCSoft and its affiliates were doing the spamming for the gold sellers (the gold sellers just producing the product, not marketing it too). If that were the case, then the analogy might hold up and we'd have a completely different story on our hands.

    So I'll have to disagree, I think buying gold IS different than buying Chinese goods, though I can get rather Patriotic about things at times.

    As a side note, is China still considered part of the "third world"? Honestly, I don't know. Is Indonesia even? I don't know much about Indonesia, so maybe that was an unfair plug on my part. Stereotype fail?

  4. @ Anon

    The difference is that you can avoid buy gold. I guess you could really avoid buying anything from China as well but the thing about that is your life would be pretty miserable because you couldn't drive your car, use your computer, breath your polluted air, play many of your favorite video games, watch some of your favorite shows, play many of your sports, etc, etc, etc.

    You can easily play WoW & Aion without every feeling pressured into buying gold or Kinah because there was no way to play the game.

    Living the lifestyle that we Americans & EU enjoy could not be possible if we did not buy Chinese products.

    Do I feel that it's fair that we, as a coutry are so dependent on Chinese & other Third world countries for our cheap goods? No way but that is the mess that we get when we chose to follow a Capitalistic ideal.

    I'll sit back & enjoy my Cheap bananas & enjoy driving my foreign car thank you very much.



  6. Honey, I love you, but your spelling makes me want to go get those sporks... XD

  7. To all of you non-Geographers...

    There is no such thing as a "third-world" or "first-world" country anymore. that is no longer the terminology used. zomg get out of the 80s, good lord.

    no, don't ask me what the proper terminology is. I fell asleep during that part of class.

  8. "There is no such thing as a "third-world" or "first-world" country anymore. that is no longer the terminology used. zomg get out of the 80s, good lord."

    I've been to 20 different countries on 6 continents in the last 10 years. When you visit a buildsite in rural China with a "death budget" for the number of people they can kill during the build, your opinion of 1st vs. 3rd world will change drastically. It is a 15 minute drive from the high rises in Rio or Capetown to people living in houses with no windows built from shipping pallets. The third world still exists even if it isn't popular to call it that.

  9. But... But... they still use the terms in movies! *pout*