Raph Koster has been talking recently about RMT (real-money trading, or buying in-game items and currency for actual cash, often from gold-farmers) in MMORPGs. And beyond the basic principle of â€˜Itâ€™s not FAIR!â€™ I really donâ€™t see what the problem is.
That doesnâ€™t mean there isnâ€™t a problem. But the real impact of RMT to 99.9% of MMO players isnâ€™t the fact that player X is more powerful than he ought to be, itâ€™s gold-farmers and spammers in the game-world. And during a particularly over-spammed session in Azeroth this afternoon, I began to wonder if there isnâ€™t a solution.
Imagine the â€˜open a ticketâ€™ or â€˜summon a GMâ€™ box had a special button: â€˜report spammer/gold farmerâ€™. You target the offender and click the button. It links directly to a human moderator who can inspect the targetâ€™s behaviour or recent dialogue, and flag them as â€˜spammerâ€™ or â€˜farmerâ€™.
That gets theÂ offender account banned, of course, but it does one other thing: the in-world character instantly becomes a target, worth the same amount of experience points as a decent-ish quest to the PC that kills them. So what was previously a nuisance to PCs suddenly becomes an opportunity. And I reckon at the cost of a couple of modsâ€™ salaries, you could clear your MMO of offenders in a month.
Merry Christmas, one and all.