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May 13, 2007



Those repeated references to "abnormal" game-play make me cringe at the absurdity.

Most players don't hit level 70 in WoW. Working that hard/that long is not normal for the value of the reward. Is doing so, which is abnormal, therefore literally illegal and punishable by jail time?



(Or rather, is selling the products of reaching level 70 therefore illegal, since it's not a normal act within the play structure of WoW?)



Keep in mind it's a translation from korean, so we don't know what the legal definition of what he's translating as "abnormal" is.



Just a guess, I suspect that 'abnormal' may have a more specific meaning under Korean law?


‘Abnormal’ in this context makes me think of ‘statistically abnormal’, as in “more than x standard deviations from the norm”. With that kind of definition, detecting the acquisition of abnormal amounts of gold through gameplay would become a programmable statistical test. It would also be easy to warn players when they are straying near the line.

I don’t know if the Korean word being translated has any of the statistical reference it has in English though.


If it walks like an abnormal duck, and talks like an abnormal duck; it is an abnormal duck.


At least they took their head out of ****** /sand , wich i cannot say the same about us. You protect the RMT mafia in game and often colaborate with the bad guys , as GMs , devs and owners , you condone all the bad things that ruins the games , you 're practicing double-standards and you actually invite the bad guys in your games , the exploiters, the hackers , the scammers , for a very simply reason : you get your share from their wrongdoings. And then you come here and wonder "...whaaaa...what could we do to increase the number of paying customers , what could we do to make them stay in game and pay for the game ..." Guess what : the vast majority of decent players wants regulated games, games where the owners to be enforced to apply their own EULA , to police their game, to take responsibility too, not only advantages and profit. That Act is a good start wich i hope will clean at least a part of the game's cancer : bot -farming, exploits and RMT mafia.Not to mention the covered Online-Casinos. A game is supposed to provide you fun and joy , not money.


A game is supposed to provide "fun and joy"--- yet different players find "fun and joy" through different avenues. It seems Amarilla is saying RMT is inherhently not fun. A personal preference perhaps- and a perfectly valid one held by a large number of people and thus important. However, an MMO offers a multiplicity of ways to play, allowing for the possibility of divergent play. MMOs create no single way to "play" the game but rather provides a medium and framework yielding many expected and unexpected results. Virtual simulated economies appeal to those who find "fun and joy" in those economic aspects of everday life. As this simulation becomes more real the greater the joy that is derived from it for these particular players (however it is safe to say that not all economy-loving players like RMT). My point is that there is no specific way to really play the game or dictate how it "should" be played. Normative vs. Positive views on regulation here.

My question is this: In all the talk of RMT regulation- what ways are players- those actually being governed- being given the tools to govern themselves? It seems that virtual worlds should should be governed by consent of those governed. An idealistic view to be sure, but one that could yield the maximum benefit to the whole of the gaming community.

Anyone here know ways in which developers are attempting to put the power into the hands of players? Just imagine, you're on a non-RMT server and you come across a farmer. You call up an anti-RMT guild- a coalition that proceeds to arrive on scene and anahilate the criminal-- Democracy by the people for the people. A fun way to promote the goals of virtual world society....Or perhaps player generated quests....I just recall back in the days of CounterStrike the team vote feature...You want to change maps...put it to a vote....By putting the power back into the hands of gamers, perhaps we can find a more efficient way to approach the RMT problem. This said, virtual goods and services "legitimately" obtained are fair game and a good way to recycle value as players enter and exit these worlds.

What do terra nova dwellers think?


The korean word that i translated into 'abnormal' is '비정상적(非正常的, in chinese letters)'.
By the dictionary, '비정상적' means unusual, abnormal, or irregular in english.

As for the korean legal context, to my best knowledge, this is the first case that the word be adopted for puninshment clause. The definition of the '비정상적' will be reified by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and be tested in courts ultimately.

According to the relating infos, the examples of the '비정상적' are (1) illegal use of other's ID, (2) use of some BOTs that evade Copyright Act.

Core question will be whether game-playing not for fun but soley for money belong to the category of '비정상적'

ps. The Implementing Decree of the Advancement of Game Industry Act is not yet published officially. I got the abstract from the press release of Ministry of Culture & Tourism last week.


It's interesting, I was in Seoul last week giving some metaverse talks to government and virtual world researchers and I snapped this picture of a short article called "Ban On Cyber Asset Trading Clouds Game Industry" that showed up in The Korea Times when I was there. You can read the article in English in the photograph.

I asked around but no one I spoke with had much information about it at the time, though a couple of people brought up stories of physical violence over RMT as some of the most notable prior events in the public. For my part, I did talk quite a bit about Second Life and how it's set up as a non-game platform where people create content, own the IP, and are encouraged to exchanged Linden dollars for US dollars and vice verse. I also started the talks with how I really got drawn into virtual worlds, starting with Ted's paper on the economy of EverQuest, following my nose, then hearing Second Life's IP/RMT policy at State of Play in 2003 and going, "Aha! A virtual world as a real platform for open communication and commerce where people aren't going to get sued or banned by the operating company." Maybe I'll get some more feedback from my hosts on how those concepts went over and if I do I'll share it here.


So I guess the question is; are they talking about bot-farming and hacking, or sweatshop farming and extreme catassing?



Advancement of the Industry is a really hilarious euphemism for more totalitarian restrictions to freedom. Orwell must have many dedicated fans in Korea.


Lavant: policing farmers isn't fun. It happens in Eve online to a certain extent, but it can't make much more than a small dent in the total amount of farming.

"C.D.": it's advancing the industry in the same way that laws against rigged casinos promote the casino industry. Also, I think the South Koreans know a bit more about what real totalitarianism looks like than you do.

As to who gets to define "abnormal", I'd say the game company's TOS does.


'abnormal' practice in RMT could be defined by the MMOG publisher's TOS but also by the comparatively large amount of the transaction in RMT mediating companies. Based on the data collected from the RMT mediating companies, Korean government is tracking the large 'farm' owners and brokers. Eventually, those who have 'abnormal' accounts which have huge amount of transactions would be face a heavy taxes plus some kind of penalty as they have high possiblity using 'abnormal' way to farm the virtual currency.


@Lavant: For many people, a critical feature of “games” is that you have an arbitrary set of rules that everyone plays by. There are specific dictates on the way the game should be played. You are free, in a democratic society, to join the game or not. But once you do, you have implicitly at least, agreed to play by the rules.

MMOGs are complicated by having a “world” face as a well as a “game” face. In the latter aspect, you have issues of democratic governance. In the game space the default should be that the designed rules apply unless otherwise agreed. Any change in this agreement should take place outside of the game space, not by players deciding they don’t like a rule and cheating.

In this context, I think the game company gets to decide what is “abnormal”. It would be wise to listen to its player base though. And listen to the people who would play the game if the rules were changed, but currently don’t. This latter group is much harder to find and listen to, but in the end might have the biggest payback.


Lavant said, 'Anyone here know ways in which developers are attempting to put the power into the hands of players?'

See Entropia Universe.


This doesn't sound like it's meant to be enforceable. It feels more like a first step, the type of law that a government enacts when they think that there might be a problem in the near future, but when there still isn't enough information to act decisively (a la C.A.N. S.P.A.M.).


@ Lavant, do you have any ideea why some Counter Strike servers are more populated than others ? Ever crossed your mind, that maybe the players actually really enjoy more and pay more for a space where the admins are doing the job they are paid for ? Do you really think that a wealthy player, one willing to spare $ 50- $ 100/month in a game , is also willing to do YOUR job ? I pay your salary, so, i expect YOU to police the game ; and you are not a " governor ", but a servant. Your PR is the same with thoreau's one. Btw, it's your name " Kostabi ", by any chance ?


@Amarilla, Je détruis rien! My point is that perhaps a good way to begin looking at the problem of RMT (and it is that), is through the notion of player governance. This doesn't mean players would be forced to become servants- paying to serve the role of referee. The point was to offer an alternative to "magic circle" loving prohibitionist sentiments that favor one type of play over another. It should be impossible to define "abnormal play." I offer player created quests as a middle ground: players out source the work to those players that enjoy/willing to do the work, offering what its worth to them to see the problem taken care of. And this is not at a cost of $50-$100 per month, but a few gold, platinum or linden dollars here and there...Of course such Bounty systems as found in Eve Online need not constitute the norm, merely an option. The work of art in the age of digital reproduction is surely one of variety. Amarilla, why the limited view on how virtual worlds should be governed? The point is this simple: provide more options and the problems dissipate (not disappear) as users sort themselves based on preferences. At least thats the theory. Do we really want to project one type of play onto the whole of the gaming community?...By the way, I’m far from advocating anarchy if thats what your Thoreau and Kostabi comments hinted at. The idea is not to destroy your play or the magic circle, but create a multiplicity of magic circles so that it can in fact be magic for everyone involved. Let us make virtual world governance more democratic.....give players the say and the ability to govern themselves. It may be a fantasy, but it is surely not one in which everyone wishes to submit to totalitarian rule. Fantasy/narrative or not! On another note, as virtual worlds become legitimate places, perhaps the democratic move would be for game companies to out source their governance as they do customer service. Blizzard GMs work for a third party information service co during the first three months of employment prior to being evaluated and hired on by Blizzard... Those who profit from the governance are perhaps not the best keepers of freedom. What does it say when real world governments step in to eliminate the uncertainty unilaterally, without considering the costs of such choices as we are seeing in Korea. It seems fear is the driving force.


@ Shania Twain : " That don't impressing me much ".
"Those who profit from the governance are perhaps not the best keepers of freedom."
Whispering sweet nothings. That is a sugar-coated , meaningless and contradictory in itself phrase , if reffered to the real world . Because the governed ones, the populace, are " those who profit " , and at the same time they are the " best keepers of freedom " thru democracy and vote . This is why the democracy is an Utopia , both IRL & in games.

"What does it say when real world governments step in to eliminate the uncertainty unilaterally, without considering the costs of such choices as we are seeing in Korea. It seems fear is the driving force."
It say: " Beware and behave , you stepped out of the magic circle into the real world ". Thank you Korea .

"Let us make virtual world governance more democratic.....give players the say and the ability to govern themselves. "

You forgot to change the EULA/TOS first. And you forgot to enforce them . This is where and why the govts are stepping in .

Oh and keep in mind : the players and the alts are two separate entities. It's there in EULA.


Today(16th May) the decree is published & take effect immediately in S. Korea.

There are also articles about confiscation and reward for accuser with relation to illegal RMTing in the Act & its decree.

The Minstry of Culture and Tourism are going to create a task force composed of game industry, Korean IRS, police, and RMT mediators to manage this act.


Leaving aside the absurdity of a neo-prohibitonist approach to RMT (with its proven record of failure), I don't see why a government, haven taken time to legislate this would be content to leave it in the hands of the games companies.

Quite apart from banning several sorts of MMO transactions and types of gameplay (and incidentally, /roll in WoW is gambling...), I don't believe for a second that they're concerned for the games companies. Where are they trying to profit off it? (I'm thinking asset seizure and fines...)

Something like a scam in Eve I simply cannot see as any government defining as normal gameplay.

So, Koreans, better start asking Blizzard to make all items you /roll on in WoW BoP and unsellable.


"Amarilla, why the limited view on how virtual worlds should be governed?"

Because it IS limited to the pov of the owners and the pov of govt. This is how it IS since the industrial revolution and gonna be until the next global one.

"It may be a fantasy, but it is surely not one in which everyone wishes to submit to totalitarian rule."

It surely is a totalitarian rule : it's called EULA/TOS ; and yes, everyone who submitted actually wishes so.

Lavant , i can dissansamble your point of view and demonstrate its biased rethoric. But if what you're trying to say is : "....we should ..." , then i totally agree you : we should live in Eden.

The reality of Earth is that the Games Companies makes a big pile of money exploiting the players in any and every possible way , above and under and aside and out of laws ; also on this " virgin " wild west environment strated to act and to perform actors of a concern for any govt. And even if the only purpose of a govt to interfere/intervene would be only the interes for money , that's a very good reason too. Everything is about money , starting with the game-makers and ending with govts wanting a chunk from there. In the middle is the honest,decent,old-fashioned player : Cindy Lauper, " Girls just wanna have fun ".


Amrilla said, "It surely is a totalitarian rule : it's called EULA/TOS ; and yes, everyone who submitted actually wishes so."

To a large degree it is totalitarian rule to be sure, but this is not to say that all players wish that to be so. Just out of curiosity, how do you personally know that *EVERYONE* wishes it to be so? To say that this is the way game worlds have and will always be is quite closed to the effect that players' wishes have on games-- on the EULA and TOS in particular-- especially in the case of Everquest Conventions. I highly recommend Taylor's Play Between Worlds and Julian Dibbell's Enemy of the virtual state piece in State of Play as a frame of reference....My point is-- yes there is a way virtual world governance is- but that is hardly how it always has been or always will be. We are seeing it changed through policy direction leaders such as Raph Koster and Edward Castronova daily.. And this is a good thing...Yes games need rules....and very much so....but players will ultimately decide what these are and with their wallets in particular...The more developers can appeal to the broadest specturm of gamers.....well you get the rest...$


" but this is not to say that all players wish that to be so."

they wish, they wish , those who keep paying for the totalitarian environment. The others are unsignificant . How do i know the obvious ?! Well, you pay for that shit, don't you ? If you don't , then your presence in game is just bandwidth consumming, wich ofcourse can be a good thing too, as a mean of vote : you waste Company's resources :-) .
Raph and Castronova wont change this ; only the Company or/and the Govt. I'm awared of and gratefull for Raph and Castronova's work .

I have two major problems with MMOs , regarding their EULAs/TOS' : 1- the maker reserve the right to do whatever their ass wishes , at any time and for no ( sic ! ) reason , including to change the terms of the agreement; this is illegal, immoral and unethycal in any sort of contractual relationship , the more in one involving real money transfers. And 2 : - the lack of any regulations for false advertising, unauthorized disclosure of personal ID/infos , child abuse , sexual harassment , discrimination, corruption, money laundring, terrorist propaganda ,funding and recruitment , tax frauds , and the list is almost endless. You gonna say : " ...but is not the Company who's involved in all these ..." and i gonna answer : sure, not the Company, only its CEO, staff and employees. With regards and protection not from Govt but only from some ppls working there. If you think that's a conspiracy " theory " , just look around.

In the matters of public policies , including the matter of money transfers , there is not such a thing like " virtual " ; when about money, everything is for real .

What can players do ? Political pressure to their govt and boicot against the Company's game until the things goes back to the normal path. What is " normal " ? That's up to the majority to decide; until now it was the Company , expressing its power ; starting now , Korean govt stepped in.
Oh, and the interactions between MMOs and society are faster and deeper than Julian's thoughts .

So, to me it looks like everybody agrees on principles , the hard task comes when about implementing....

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