This will break the game. And no, I'm not trolling.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Bubonic, Jan 22, 2014.

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  1. Bubonic

    Bubonic Avatar

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    @darkstarr @richardgarriot @chris @dallas @firelotus

    Ok. So most of you on the forums probably recognize me, I've been around since day one. I usually do my best to be a logical voice of reason, and not complain too much (but I have made my feelings known, on occasion!). I am not normally prone to hyperbole or exaggeration... for the most part.

    The title of this thread was designed to get attention, yes, but I also believe it to be true.

    Yesterday afternoon, in the #sota chat room, Darkstarr came in and answered some questions regarding the subject of buying gold with real cash. Here, cloaked in a spoiler tab, is part of that chat transcript:


    *edited for content ~ FireLotus
    I find a huge problem with this.

    Again, I've been here since day one. I pledged because I believed the hype, and I believed in Ultima, and I believed in Richard Garriott. And I still do, mostly.

    But I want this to be absolutely clear:
    The Executive Producer of Shroud of the Avatar telling me that buying in-game gold with real money isn't "pay to win" shook my belief in Portalarium and this project to its very core.

    It is.
    It IS pay to win. By its very definition. And it will break the game.

    Here's why.

    1) It adds an unrestricted, unregulated amount of money to what is supposed to be a closed, self sustaining economy.

    2) It creates an unfair advantage to those who are willing to pay for it. If im level 20, or whatever, and the guy next to me is also level 20, but has much higher quality stuff because he paid real cash for it, then that is an advantage. If you can't see that, or refuse to see that, you're only kidding yourself. The argument that it doesn't matter because the gold is "going to another player" doesn't hold water, because at the end of the day the user next to me has an advantage, simply because he paid more than I did.

    3) It breaks immersion, and removes the validity of the world. What do I mean by that? If i know that the awesome sword my neighbor is brandishing can only be acquired by hard work and some serious adventuring (or in-game business dealing), then I'm impressed. I want that sword, I covet it. And im gonna try and get something as good, or better. It makes me excited, and gives me incentive to play. But if you can buy gold with real money, he might have just bought that sword with the 15 bucks he had in his wallet. I now no longer care about that sword, or who made it, or where it came from. In other words, meh.

    4) It encourages gold farming. Some people in the chat yesterday argued that it would DETER gold farming... but that also holds no water. Let's break it down: Say I can buy 100 gold with 10 bucks. So, I'm about to open the store and purchase some, just to get that fancy shiny thing. Lo and behold, a gold farmer walks up to me and says "hey, buddy, psst! I'll sell you 100 gold for FIVE bucks!" Hmm. Which should I choose?

    5) In my opinion, this is the most important point of all: Not only does it break the game physically, it also breaks the IDEA of the game. It goes against what Lord British and Shroud of the Avatar are supposed to stand for. Everyone knows LB stated very clearly that this game would NOT be pay to win. Shroud of the Avatar is supposed to be more than just another online game. Its an ideal, a standard for other games to live up to and follow. THAT was the hype that I bought into.


    So I ask you, Lord British, and Darkstarr, please.

    Please reconsider.
  2. PrimeRib

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    I'm not sure what you expected.

    If a game is grind to win, it's effectively pay to win...someone just has to use outside channels.

    The solution is to not make the game grind to win.

    Guildwars is an example of this. The gear didn't matter...it was all cosmetic. LoL is similar, you get cosmetic stuff from either the shop or earned.
  3. Innessa Lelania

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    Although I sort of agree with you for the most part, I will say that if portalarium doesn't offer it, other services will pop p instead to do so. It happened in UO and it will happen here. Even if those services aren't allowrd , they will happen. So I think you need to realize that either way, gold selling/farming will occur, either legally or illegally.

    Sent from my SGH-I337M using Tapatalk
  4. Dermott

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    I'm generally in support of RMT (assuming of course it's of legally obtained ingame items as in not Exploited/Duped/Scripted) as a general aspect of a Free Market agreement between two people.

    However, companies directly selling ingame gold, even for their own game, is very close to Duping in my book as it's creating ingame gold from nothing also creating it above and beyond ingame means.

    Keep the cash shop for useful ingame items, but DO NOT consider selling ingame currency.
  5. Dermott

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    The difference is that the third parties have to acquire the goods via ingame activities, thus the currency/item is already ingame. The game company simply creates the currency from nothing.
  6. Innessa Lelania

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    That's kind of true, but instead people will find ways to farm using macros etc instead, so its really not all that different in the end.

    Sent from my SGH-I337M using Tapatalk
  7. Bohica

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    pay-to-win
    Games that let you buy better gear or allow you to make better items then everyone else at a faster rate and then makes the game largely unbalanced even for people who have skill in the game without paying.
    "Dude, you've spent like 400 bucks on this game so you can beat everyone who hasn't spent any money. Pay-to-win noob!"

    Just saying.


    IMOP, buying gold has nothing to do with pay to win. You may be able to purchase items in game with the gold, but you are buying it from another player who in turn, gets the gold.

    Now, do I feel that gold buying would kill the economy? Well yes, I think it will kill the economy and is a very bad idea.

    The only way i think gold selling would work is if you are actually buying the gold from other players.

    Example: The cash shop could sell a token that makes your house rent free for a month. The items can be purchased by anyone, redeemable in game and trade able. I could purchase the token from the cash shop, and then turn around sell it to a player for gold. This is an effective way to purchase gold from players and would discourage gold farmers. SotA makes a few bucks, the token seller gets a little gold and the house owner doesn't have to worry about paying for house upkeep for a month.

    This is just a basic example but the tokens may do other things
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  8. Smitty

    Smitty Legend of the Hearth

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    Talk about sucking the motivation to mine and resource gather if you can just pay money for gold.
  9. monxter

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    I would prefer players having to play to get anything they want.

    I'll have digest this a bit before drawing conclusions...
    However at the moment, having gold for purchasing doesn't break my game. I'd say it's ecquivalent to World of Tanks selling credits, gold and premium tanks. You can either grind the hours or pay to get there faster. You can purchase tanks which you can't get by playing, they'll make you credits faster, but do not offer enhanced gameplay compared to other tanks in their tiers (in combat). Buying in WoT will save you time.

    I don't know how the crafting system will work if there's gold coming from RL purchases, gold needs to sink into something in game to balance things.

    Also it's not known what kind of advantage a level 20 character with purchased gold would have, versus a lvl 20 without it. We won't have WoW-like gear worship, as far as I know.

    People will earn gold in game too, or loot it, so if someone buys my stuff off a vendor and I make some gold, I don't think I'll mind if it's purchased or looted. As long as the economy doesn't suffer from inflation - they must have a system in mind, otherwise they couldn't consider selling in game currency.

    My thoughts on this are pretty much like about housing... if someone wants to save time to get it, it doesn't mean I've lost anything if they buy it with $$, since I'm not competing about it.
  10. NirAntae

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    To me, the defining point of "Pay to Win" - and what they are stringently avoiding - is when the best stuff is ONLY available in the store for real cash. Where you can not 'win' without spending tons of real world money.

    Personally, I agree with DarkStarr. I don't think that being able to buy gold with real world cash is pay to win. I don't especially like the idea, but I also don't object to it. But again, as long as you can't get anything from the shop (except cosmetics) that you can't get through playing, it isn't pay to win to me. Money has to come in somewhere, and I would rather someone with real world money but limited game time give me as a crafter in-game gold that they bought with real money, than they go and buy items directly from the shop. I've already had at least one person ask me if he could pay me real money via paypal for in-game crafting services since his time for gold grinding will be limited. Wouldn't it be better for his money to go to Portalarium for the running of the game while still allowing him to get the items he wants to enjoy the game, and help the crafting economy in the game? If something like this is not offered, they will still find a way to buy what they want with real money - it will just be through "black market", undesirable means. This would allow those who care about morality to have a legitimate recourse. Sure, the gold farmers could undercut it, but a lot of people would pay more to do such things legitimately if the option is available.
  11. Phredicon

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    If RMT hurts a game (which I believe it does) then the difference between a relative few people choosing black market methods to do so and the game makers themselves not only allowing it, but promoting it to every player, is huge.
  12. NirAntae

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    RMT?
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  13. Mishri

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    I agree with Darkstarr's definition of pay to win. I'm not buying the best items in the game from the store (as other pay to win games have), I'm not buying a fully leveled character with max skills (as other games do). At best buying in-game currency with real money means you purchase items from other players and then go level your character. Every MMO style game out there that I'm aware of has some sort of store where they sell items.

    It is not anywhere close to being a game breaker.


    I'd also suggest, they don't sell in-game currency but find a way to facilitate transactions from gold seller to buyer. Which is something RG mentioned he would like to help players in that regard, to reduce fraud, account hacking and the other issues that arise from your usual in-game currency game purchases. That can be tricky to do. However, I don't think it's impossible. Diablo 3 accomplished this, however, they got a lot of negative feedback, mostly because of items being sold for real money, not the currency. They also made good item drops so rare you HAD to use the Auction house.
    If it's in-game currency only I don't see this as being much different from eve: online's system where you can buy game time with in-game currency or real money, or you can sell game time for in-game currency. But it's between the players, they set the value.

    So how can it work? I'd make it on the website, you log into your account, your bank gold balance is there, you can put it up for sale, it deducts it from your account, and holds/verifies information, then posts it for sale. Then buyers can go on the website and purchase whoever is selling at the lowest price, all or part of it.

    They can then give you options, convert the sale to add-on store money at a minimal conversion fee, or have it deposited in your paypal account at a higher fee. This is very similar to how Blizzard handled it. I think if Blizzard had only done in-game gold nobody would have cared, because gold only has certain uses, and most of it is gold sinks. (Item repairs, upgrading gems in D3, in this game, item repairs, taxes for houses, others/unknown, training perhaps)

    Even after I bought a bunch of items, gold, gems on D3 for real money (and sold some) I still wasn't "winning" anything. I still had tons of levels to go up, it just made it so I didn't have to grind as long or slowly. Many many players were way ahead of me due to 1) superior farming techniques 2) more time spent playing.
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  14. Phredicon

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    Real money transfer. RL cash for ingame gold.
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  15. mike11

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    Darkstarr stated multiple times that the definition of game/money relationship was not defined by other games but didn't give any examples of how his own thought or Portalarium definition of game/money would be defined.

    I don't want those things in the game either, last thing anyone wants to see here is a button to pay to get resurrected. That might work in some games but Portalarium has stated multiple times they are not doing that sort of thing...

    1) I don't think gold farming is a big deal. What's more important what the game is selling

    2) Purchased items could easily be 'shells' of items like games like SWTOR items with all the augment slots which dictate the real stat's of items

    3) Items sold don't have to be related to weapons and armor. Furniture for example.

    4) No indication that there will be only 1 type of currency. Maybe they can have 1 type just related to the store and player made stuff??

    I think we should all be constructive and offer what you think should be the best method to allow people to trade money for content that might reward a hard working home guy $20 bucks so he can go buy beers with.

    Balance and fun is obviously the most important thing, but consideration for accessing extra home developers and new things that Portalarium can offer is important too IMHO.
  16. vjek

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    Um. Every game that has any official (or unofficial) method of buying or selling real life currency for virtual currency (gold) turns into nothing but a front for money laundering.

    How is this not common knowledge?

    I buy the in-game gold with dirty real-life money. (via any mechanism)
    I sell the in-game gold and get clean real-life money. (again, via any mechanism)
    ...
    profit? :confused:
  17. Seir

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    We still need to see a complete picture of the game's economy. Until then I cannot say for certain whether this is good or bad (it's both to me right now).
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  18. Umbrae

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    Personally, in reading through the log posted I agree with Darkstarr on most of his points. Do I like the idea of buying gold with cash? No. Do I think it will break the game? No. Why? Because even games that don't have official ways to do it have this feature. There is NO EXISTING game that allows 2 players to transfer ANYTHING that does not have this market. So if this will break SOTA then by definition all MMOs are broken.

    In this scenario, at least Portalarium has some control over it and can make money to continue to support the game on it. Not to mention we have no idea what kind of ideas will be in-game. All weapons might essentially be the same, so it might just mean you can get that expensive sword that is blue and expensive, but does absolutely nothing better than the grey one for 5 gold. Until we have more information on the economy and other mechanics I don't think anyone can say the sky is falling.

    Pay to Win usually means you can pay to be more powerful, which in many case may only be available by using real money; however, I have been loaded with cash in many games and not had anything useful to spend it on. As such until there is more information, I am going to continue to trust they have a plan. However, unless they do not allow players to transfer items this just mean it will happen without Portalarium's oversight.

    Edit: I also don't see anything that say this is a done deal. More like something they will explore.
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  19. High Baron O`Sullivan

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    Although I'am too uninformed to make a conclusive statement, OP's concern definitely contains merit and should be explored further. Many pages do I sense in this threads future.
  20. Caska DiFumarate

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    More gold will never help me win the game. Offering gold for cash breaks the game for *you.* I wish you had come up with a better title. The only way I would be able to pay to win would be to be able to hand my husband some cash and he would let my character decapitate his. He plans to thwart me by only playing single player or SMO and not adding me as a friend.
    So all of you crying about pay to win or not having a house can suck it because I'm a knight and have already lost a game that hasn't even launched yet! Lol.

    sent from the future using my Coleco Adam
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