Thursday, May 26, 2011

Gaming on the Chain Gang

Just a quick pointer to a story of interest.

Some of you may have run across this story in the Guardian already. Seems that hard labor in the Chinese prison system can mean more than just making little rocks out of big ones.

Seems the guards in the scheme described in the article had their own little internet enterprise going. After a hard day of work for the state, the inmates were put to work in the World of Warcraft universe, mining gold, building characters and collecting artifacts which the guards then sold for real money. Inmates were given quotas and the shifts were reported to run as long as twelve hours.

Mind, I've known some Eve players on the same schedule, but usually without the mandatory rock-breaking before hand. Plus they usually have the solace of alcohol and no one breaks their fingers if they don't make their ISK quota.

Makes you think, though. Has anyone else noticed how resistant the Drone Russians are to failscades? How they're always up for those alarm clock CTAs? How amazing their fleet participation is? It's like they don't have anything to do but play the game.

Hmmm.

8 comments:

  1. IN SOVIET RUSSIA, GOLD FARMS YOU!

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  2. I hate it when you make that grand association as if it could be taken for granted. That's a whoooole lot of speculation to get to that point with not nearly your usual attention to the the chain of inferences leading to the conclusion.

    Which is not to say what you imply is impossible or even improbable, but I'm one of many renters who I know in Drone Russian space. I can't help but wonder how far fetched it is to believe they could possibly do it without the RMT. I also wonder if, even if that is going on, it might represent only a very limited part of their success, a minority crowd? Finally, even if the Russians are entirely complicit and drenched in illicit isk for cash trade, it would be nice to see the greater Eve community - overtly known for its non-xenophobic, non-racist, non-hysteria prone, level-headed, careful application of reason - actually base its assertions off something more than a token assumption and declaring anything that POSes up without responding to shit-talking to be a bot.

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  3. "I hate it when you make that grand association as if it could be taken for granted. That's a whoooole lot of speculation to get to that point with not nearly your usual attention to the the chain of inferences leading to the conclusion."

    That's 'cause I was going for the lulz. You have dashed my dreams of doing stand-up comedy at next year's Fan Fest.

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  4. I LOL'd.

    Which might not exactly help your cause...

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  5. Aside from the mistreatment of prisoners, so what? I have played MMOs for a long time and still do not get excited about "farming" and RMT talk. Every game warns that gold farming will ruin the game. They cite examples of inflated prices and deprecated items. While there may be truth to it, there just hasn't been a demonstrable causal relationship between their actions and my gameplay. I haven't seen proof that RMT has caused the collapse of a game or its economy.

    There is also the benefit of so many paying accounts to the publisher. Does that help or hurt? EVE is probably the most sophisticated and monitored MMO and the comparatively few examples of sanctions against gold farmers makes me think it isn't such a big problem. I know they can easily identify many of them if they choose. If the problem is so widespread and the consequences dire, why have they not done more?

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  6. Which brings me to micro-transactions, which is CCP's current lodestone when it comes to revenue generation.

    The current literature says that's where the real money is in mmporgs and the Mittani confirms that's CCP's present direction. Subscription fees? Bah! Chump change.

    Will CCP turn purchases for things like faction implants and golden ammunition into cash micro-transactions?

    Discuss

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  7. "Will CCP turn purchases for things like faction implants and golden ammunition into cash micro-transactions?"

    I dunno. Even if they did, would that be so horrible? With game applied business savvy you could out-isk the PLEX buyers, right?....so, I'm not convinced it's godawful yet. Plus, I like the idea of doing my ships up with custom jobs (call me in touch with my feminine side!)

    I'm pretty much in the mordis mydaddy camp, as expounded above, on the general subject. As it pertains to microtransactions, I don't feel much differently, so far.

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  8. I can absolutely see a number of dangers in unchecked RMT. That said, as far as the possibility of golden ammo micro-transactions, I'm not so certain that's a bad thing.

    "Pay money to get the good stuff" is a common tactic on free-to-play online games, and it's a model that works. The annoying thing is that it gives people with real money to blow an unfair advantage, and that's even worse in a multiplayer-sandbox game like EVE...

    ...that is, except for the fact that if CCP goes the micro-transaction golden ammo approach, it's hard to imagine that they wouldn't allow it to be sold on the market for isk. As with plex, those with the isk to kill could reap the benefits even without spending any real life money, while allowing people willing to spend real life money to indirectly buy isk.

    It would ultimately serve as an expansion of the isk/real-money market to things other than subscription time. And while it would be a little bit shitty to drop a new amount of isk that non-payers must spend to stay competitive, CCP's handling of the supercap issues make me doubtful that they'll be unwilling to go that route.

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