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Apr 12, 2005



Mmmm, nice sax!


Nice talk too! Listening to this I'm reminded what a seriously weird circle we're trying to square with MMORPGs: Provide a mainly PvE experience which uses earned advancement as a hook, then add player to player trade which allows advancement to be bought, then ban people from buying advancement.

Seems like a very weird combination. If earning advancement is really that important, don't allow player to player trade. If it's not, allow people to choose how fast they progress through the game by selling them help directly.

Hard core players might choose to earn their way through the game with time and a flat rate subscription, casual players pay the same money, but in a shorter space of time and get to see the sights.


Excellent resource. I grabbed a few more conversations by Will Wright while here (hear?).


No mention of my company or my game for my nickname? ;)

Just to clarify, the opinions expressed aren't necessarily our own deeply held opinions. Daniel James and I arbitrarily chose our positions as forming a continuum from rabidly for (Mr. Salyer) to rabidly against (Daniel James). Although, my position in that discussion is pretty close to my own point of view. There's room for direct sales, but it really depends on the game. I think any game released since EQ should have designed for external sales to be an influence.

Have fun,


Brian, you already have a nickname. Adding your company and/or game would just be gilding the lily. Show some restraint, man.


I loved listening to this, but I was horribly disappointed to hear basically EVERYONE on the panel finesse the excellent question posed by Cory re: twinking (at 13:30 in the audio).

As I've argued on TerraNova numerous times, rampant twinking without developer intervention/punishment seems to heavily undercut the "un-level playing field" argument offered by those opposed to commodification. When you allow rampant twinking, it seems obvious that you don't really want a level playing field at all, and it is certainly no surprise when someone injects cash into that equation as a substitute for large blocks of time or social capital.

That being said, I'm currently developing a working paper outlining a fairly unified game-economic model (a la KidTrade) that can be (1) At least somewhat recognizable when compared to current MMO crafting/economy models, (2) Still fun and rewarding to play, and (3) Entirely resistant to unwanted item/currency commodification (assuming the developer either doesn't want it, or wants to maintain control of the revenue stream).

I think it's possible to still have a fun game with many *aspects* of economies, trading, and player crafting without having to open the flood-gates to item/currency commodification.

A good model should allow for developers to enforce *by design* that they don't want people to buy their way to success, diluting the perceived value of difficult accomplishments... regardless of whether they buy it with cash or personal favors (as happens with major twinking). This is much more in line with the true "level playing field" that some claim they actually want.

If the code doesn't give you the mechanics to commodify OR twink, it won't happen... because it can't. The challenge is to preserve the interesting/fun aspects that arise from today's in-game economies without allowing players to override the developer's intent by injecting out-of-game cash.

This would also pave the way for developers to allow player commodification only on selected servers, or to directly capture/control the revenue stream from out-of-game purchase of in-game power.

I'm planning on submitting it to SSRN when I'm done... any other suggestions for good locations for peer critique / analysis of the working paper?


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