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Feb 08, 2013

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1.

Here's a related issue. In Guild Wars 2 they have a currency exchange market where you can trade in-game currency (gold) for microtransaction currency (gems) and vice versa. Yet, they still have gold spammers and problems with botters. I know that Puzzle Pirates had a similar market, and that all but eliminated the gold sellers and botters. I'm wondering why it persists in GW2.

One explanation is that GW2 is a much larger game from a well-known company that has botters and gold sellers in other games. The gold sellers just expanded to the new game when it was released. But, I assume they stick around because it's profitable to bot and sell gold.

The other reason is because the market seems opaque. In Puzzle Pirates you could put in buy and sell orders for each currency. In contrast, GW2 only allows you to buy or sell at the current rate, and it's not clear how that rate is established.

It just seems strange that people would buy the game, but then prefer to deal with risky 3rd party gold sellers rather than using the in-game system. Curious if you had any insights on this from your models and experience.

2.

I found it hard to work with GW2's market, it was not easy to buy and sell currency there. Not sure what was going on.

3.

They want payments and gameplay separate.

That, right there, is the key design lesson for F2P: The natural price point of gameplay is free. People don't want to pay for gameplay (as opposed to cosmetics, content, etc.).

--Dave

4.

"People who are hard-core RPGers and roleplayers are still mighty concerned about preserving fantasy and immersion in their games."

Yes we are, and it's why 10 year old games still have active communities - there are so few games released now that value player immersion since it comes at the direct cost of having a cash shop. Sadly you can't have both.

5.

I think where Guild Wars 2 is concerned it depends on how much lower the RMT shops can underbid the price in the official economy. I read an article back in the summer in which GW2 gold sellers were not happy with their margins, and that was before the big crackdown on bots by ArenaNet.

I've been following the 3rd party ISK market over the past 3 months and the ISK sellers are undercutting the price you get by doing your PLEX/ISK conversion in Eve Online's main market hub of Jita by about 25%. But I've found that some sites list their sell price for ISK for much more that players would play just going to CCP. I sometimes wonder if the sites just say they sell currency for a game, be it Eve, GW2, or WoW, to make themselves look legitimate but actually don't sell it at all because of their pricing.

6.

It may be that there's perverse people out there who will never do something legally if there's an illegal alternative option that doesn't risk punishment.

7.

1) Should we be reminded that some of the top tier MMOs, towards the end-game content that gold can't buy you gear development? Extreme cases like GW2, the tournament PvP everyone has equal access to all gears at the start.

2) ArenaNet also invested a lot of resource on banning bots and gold spammer (at least for half a year ago, i quit for a while).

3) People who have a lot of time to play, to the point that they obviously don't have school/work, means they are well off (either wealthy or living on minimal). So even if you prohibit RMT, it would still be an unfair experience to those who have work/school, "you're not wealthy enough to climb to the top of the social strata. keep grinding while economically suppressed by the top players". Only if there's RMT that people with real life responsibilities may pay to compensate the time disadvantage.

Ideally speaking, players who fall behind in game shouldn't be suppressed economically, or experienced ruined in any other ways by those who have more time.

Also ideally speaking, RMT or gold in general should give only enough boost in game but not completely OP. How much grinding is fair anyways? Classic example like Ragnarok, or maybe Aion, grinding was about everything. In GW2, you can grind all you want to get that super end game weapon, which only gives like minimal upgrade in performance, so it wasn't necessary.

8.

When you say that gamers don't want to pay for gameplay you are looking at what gamers say, not what they actually do. In games with cash shops the best selling microtransactions are the one that impact gameplay, whether it's stash tabs or better gear. And the gamers that spend the most money in the cash shops are the ones that are the most active on the game forums where the consensus is that paying for gameplay is bad.

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