Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Sirlin rides again.

More insightful comments down at Sirlin's corner of the world.
I absolutely adore his MMO money discussion:
Buying Gold in MMOs
Buying gold in MMOs such as World of Warcraft has been a hot topic for years. It's all over the forums on www.worldofwarcraft.com right now. One side thinks "I've worked so hard to earn my gold, why should someone with real-life money get to buy it?" The other side thinks, "I have a job and can't play 15 hours per day. Why should kiddies with more free time get to mindlessly grind gold? They have more time, but it's worth it to me to spend $1 to get over 10 gold, so I do." Neither side can seem to understand the other.

I'm not sure why one side sees grinding gold as some amazing accomplishment that they earned. Farming gold is just as retarded as buying it on ebay, really. A lot of these complaints are coming from the angle that buying gold makes the playfield uneven in the competitive game of World of Warcraft. Newsflash: World of Warcraft is not a real competitive game. I think I've covered that one. There is no beginning, middle and end to a game (except in CTF matches), and people don't come to the table with the same resources the way they do in chess or Street Fighter or tennis.

This is the part where some of you write me mail about how people don't come to the table with the same resources in those games either because some people bring skill and others don't. Or maybe you'll say some people have more time to practice tennis so they get to bring more skill. Surely you know how bankrupt those comments are. The whole point of competitive games is that skill is the one uneven thing you are allowed to bring into and otherwise even match. Some people need lots of time to develop skill, and others don't. But no one buys skill (directly).

Also don't write me about how tennis gear or Magic cards cost money, so people bring different things to the table based on money in those games. No they don't. If you are a real Magic tournament player, you can get any card you want by trading or buying. A certain amount of cash or connections is needed to even play for real. Similarly, tournament tennis matches don't happen between people with $9 gear and people with $9,000 gear. Tournament tennis players have access to reasonably similar amount of gear and get ot compete based on a combination of skill, strategy and stamina.

MMOs are inherently uneven playfields. Unemployed kiddies grinding for gold vs. wealthy professionals buying it only highlights this issue; it doesn't create it. I guess I'm saying you can't really complain about people bringing different amounts of resources into a game that's entirely based on uneven playfields in the first place.

You know who the real loser is? Blizzard. Why aren't they finding a way to make money off this? Sony is. They have new servers for EverQuest that are flat out labeled as 'gold buying' servers. You know going in that you can trade real money for in-game money, and so can everyone else. If you don't like it, go on another server (where it happens anyway, btw), but at least Sony gets to make some money off it.

If you're still upset over this issue, maybe take up a real competitive game such as chess, Street Fighter, counter-strike, Magic: The Gathering, or...I don't know...Scrabble. No one will ever trade US dollars for extra letter tiles against you.


No comments: