Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Obituary for the Human Race

I really, really dislike Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs). Yes this is a free country, yes you have the right to choose your form of recreation (unless it's on The DEA's schedule), but I also have the right to abhor your form of recreation and lobby against it.

I want MMOGs on DEA Schedule 1, it's out of control.

Slashdot posted a question to Ask Slashdot about the ethics of buying gold (not the prescious metal, but the virtual prescious metal in the fictional game world). Stupid as the question was, some of the answers make me want to schedule a pogrom:

Damn right he is stupid. This guy just sent $60 of his money to the same people who are responsible for his skins being worthless in AH. That is the problem with gold farming, it makes gathering skills worthless by having two seperate effects, first the raw materials are oversupplied so they sell very cheaply affecting people like this guy who can no longer earn any reasonable amount through skinning, secondly they artificially inflate the prices of items by giving plenty gold to clueless nabs who throw it around like theres no tomorrow. Pity this dude was too dumb to realise that he is basically rewarding the people who created his problem.

I'm sorry, are we discussing the value of manual labor in a fictional world? Is there a new kind of Virtual Calculus to find the rate of change of the fictional market-forces, or does the Calculus we have work in Weirdo Universe??

You appear to be thinking that people buying gold won't spend that gold on raw materials in order to raise their profession skills. At level 42 in WoW, I decided to learn cooking. It took me a great deal of cash to get all the materials to level my cooking skill up, but I got to 250/300 in about two evenings. Now, I used a great deal of my own cash to do that. But, I could have just as easily gone out and bought gold farmer cash to do it as well.

Even so, you can't both blame inflation and deflation on the same group of people. That seriously makes no sense.

The fact is that you have no idea how these gold farmers are making money. The likely thing is they're using multiple means of getting gold. Sure, they could be overfarming, driving down the price. The problem with that though is once the prices are down, they make no money from overfarming. So, like everyone else, it is in their best interest not to overfarm. Further, economies on servers tend to improve over time as players level up. That would suggest that a bad economy has nothing to do with gold farmers and everything to do with the number of higher-level players overall.

I swear to Ford, you don't hear debate like this in 300 level Economic classes, but nerds on the internet are discussing the economics and market forces of a fictional economy. This isn't me playing Sim City and being like "my city is broke" or simple supply and demand, this is just sad.

Why is it sad? These people have been waiting for a chance to discuss this. They had to:

  • Play this game

  • Learn the rules

  • Develop morals, values, and ethics around this fictional world

  • Reach a proficiency to be able to debate the morals, values, and ethics of this fictional world

All when they should have been:

  • Taking a shower

  • Going on a date

  • Not calling in sick to work

  • Being a participating member of society, perhaps as a meth addict

This Slashdot post is 26 hours old as I blog, and 448 people have taken time out of their day to comment on the exchange of real money (which, admittedly, is an abstract itself) for fake online multiplayer bucks.

These people need interventions. These people need rehab. MMOGs need to be schedule one drugs and policed by the FDA. That will give those 'tards in ONDCP something to wage war on.

Google Video has more on this here.

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