The Daily Grind: When should MMO companies intervene in borky MMO economies?

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It’s a question that’s courted controversy in the past, and it’s a question that continues to face the MMO industry today. When should MMO companies intervene in borky MMO economies?

Most players agree that the economic systems in MMORPGs are a lot more fun to play around with than the traditional MMO quest grind. Crafting and gathering are often the most engaging activities in these games, and the ability to play them however you want is a major part of the draw. However, as The Elder Scrolls Online has recently found out, completely leaving an MMO economy to its own devices can have pretty disastrous results.

The recent gold selling scandal in World of Warcraft was just one of the latest in a long string of events that shows how the virtual world can be just as corrupt as the real world. As companies like Blizzard struggle to prevent exploits and keep their virtual economies honest, it’s always tempting to give up and let a few players profit unfairly at the expense of many. But that’s only a temporary solution, and the problems inevitably come back, bigger and more complex than before.

word-image-10306 In this week’s MassivelyOP podcast, Justin and I answered the question of whether MMO studios are required to monitor and influence the in-game player economy. The example given was the mystic coin market in Guild Wars 2, which was blown up for unknown reasons. It turned out that these reasons had nefarious intentions and that the story was much darker than we had imagined. As MOP reader Godnaz noted, the Guild Wars 2 Exchange sabreddit has apparently unmasked and exposed the trade baron, who is now accused of actually cheating. The moderator explicitly states that the main reason for posting was to ensure that the duplication issues would be resolved – in other words, to ensure that ArenaNet would step in if it wanted to. We have strong circumstantial evidence that Casiano scammed for over 30 million in gold (about $2 million if you buy gems) in valuables, as well as evidence that he is involved in gold sales/trading in real money. We heard about the fraud situation after Casiano’s arrest on the 4th. May accidentally put her personal guild bank on her streamer. After this accidental revelation, he spent the next hour getting revenge and telling us to delete the video (which he did), which not surprisingly only drew more attention to the problem and increased our suspicions. I don’t think that’s up for debate; it’s clear that studios need to address real fraud, and duplication falls into that category. But what if it hadn’t become a cheating scandal? Should ArenaNet have done something about the wild MC market? When exactly should MMO companies get involved in the MMO economy? Where is the border? (Thanks to Tom and Godnaz for their question and answer, respectively). Every morning, the editors of Massively Overpowered, accompanied by mascot Mo, ask MMORPG players sharp questions about the genre of massively multiplayer online role-playing games. Grab a cup of your favorite drink and try to answer the question in today’s Daily Grind! word-image-4109 ViewIf you’re an avid gamer, you’ve probably had a frustrating experience in a multiplayer game–in some cases, you’ve been stuck on a quest that everyone seems to have completed or can’t find a rare item that everyone has in their inventory. In other cases, you may be disappointed with the economy of your favorite MMO: player-run shops seem to charge outrageous fees for items, and your hard-earned game funds seem to disappear into a black hole. “geeksplayinggames” is your home for advice on how to deal with the annoying things gamers and game developers do, and how to find the best video games. See more at our website , or follow us on Twitter @geeksplayinggame.. Read more about new world and let us know what you think.

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