This Article is About
credit card fraud
virtual currency
enemy players
game developers
eve online
auction houses
Real Money In Virtual Worlds
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Real Money In Virtual Worlds

Many people now live part of their lives in virtual worlds. We make friends, kill monsters, get loot, and be generally sociable. These games become actual investments in time and money. People who play games like Eve Online and World of Warcraft even spend their real money for virtual currency and items.

The Problem of Farming

This phenomenon has given rise to real crimes taking place in virtual worlds. Criminals steal credit cards and game account information to use to make more gold to sell to players. Aside from real-world problems like identity theft and credit card fraud, these people also screw up the game itself for everyone else.

In their quest to make more real money, they flood the game with far more gold and items than there should be. If there’s too much money, you get inflation. Suddenly, items that should have cost only so much at auction houses and in trades cost many times their normal value. Items that should be rare are no longer rare. Gold is now worth even less, meaning the sellers have to offer even more gold for the same amount of real money. As you can see, it’s easy to get runaway inflation in an MMO. And it’s all because of the farmers.

Game Developers Respond

In order to combat this, certain developers are taking measures to protect the economies of their games. For example, CCP, developers of Eve Online, now offer what they call PLESK (pilot license extensions). People can pay for these extensions to their gametime with Eve’s in-game currency, ISK.

There are many ways to make ISK in Eve. These range from mundane tasks like mining ore to far more exciting ones like ransoming enemy players.

Players may sell PLESK to one another using ISK. Because they can do this, the developers have been able to shift real-money transactions away from the farmers and put them back into the hands of the players themselves. It pegs the ISK rate to whatever PLESK currently sell for, thus providing a stable real dollar value of the ISK. Rather than buying ISK to purchase PLESK, you can make your own ISK in the game and use that.

Jumping on the Bandwagon

Other games have also taken note of CCP’s success and have made their own models based on that. En Masse, developers of TERA, have announced that players will be able to buy and sell Chronoscrolls. These items are much like PLESK, in that players can pay for more game time using in-game gold. They hope to have similar results to CCP’s efforts.

Even games that some may not consider MMOs have hopped on this bandwagon. In Blizzard Entertainment’s upcoming Diablo 3, players will be able to trade for items, gold, and even characters using the Real Money Auction House. Blizzard has partnered with PayPal to provide secure real-money transactions so that players don’t risk getting ripped off through third-party services.

It All Comes Down to You

As a player, how does all of this affect you? Well, rather than buying gold from farmers, you can now use that gold yourself as an intermediary between the items you want and your real money. You’ll be able to buy and sell PLESK or Chronoscrolls, and you’ll be able to turn your virtual items into real money through supported auction house systems.

So, instead of purchasing your gold, find ways to make it instead. For example, with a bit of information and help you can play the World of Warcraft auction house to make gold. There are similar methods of working with the economy rather than against it for other games as well, like Eve Online.

No matter the game, there’s a way to make your in-game currency legitimately.


Street Talk

iZero  

even though this is a bit of a dated article, still the information is still strong. I heard about EVE's CCP system but didn't really understand what it exactly is and what it did. But thanks to you, I have some clarification on it.. Great Article ;D

Reply
  about 9 years ago
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