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BinhNguyen

What if a MMORPG offcially allowed purchase of powerful characters and equipment?

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What if a MMORPG offcially allowed purchase of powerful characters and equipment? To further clarify, imagine a well off professional who enjoys MMORPG but does not have much time. How would you feel if a game offcially allowed that player to use real world money to create a more powerful character at the start or to upgrade to a higher level character or item? I mean officially as I've read that people do, do this unofficially on ebay. How do you feel? Would this work? I discussed this with a friend and was heatedly told that this should never happend. To me it seems to make a lot of sense. --- ||Please try alpha002.zip(663k) [edited by - BinhNguyen on January 18, 2004 8:23:34 PM]

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It would work but it would depend on the game. A lot of the characters being sold on ebay had to be leveled by someone, they weren''t just payed for. I personally like leveling my characters. That is part of the fun of the game for me. On the flip side, it wouldn''t bother me if that was an option. I wouldn''t use it, but I am sure there are those exactly like you describe not to mention the ones that just want a powerful character and don''t want to waste time doing the work to get it.

"If you are not willing to try, you will never succeed!"

Grellin

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so a guy that has plenty of money but plays like shit could have an uber-character, lvl 10000 or whatever, in about an hour or so, while other guys would have great pain to bring their character to lvl 100 in one month?

sorry, but it sounds like crap to me... IMHO, this would completely annihilate the gameplay.

actually, I would see this the same way as cheating :| (even if it isn't...)

[edited by - sBibi on January 17, 2004 9:19:17 AM]

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perhaps you should have a look here:

http://www.nickyee.com/hub/addiction/home.html
http://www.nickyee.com/hub/relationships/home.html
http://www.nickyee.com/hub/

there are examples of everquest players (and others), it''s a bit old, but anyway, you see there that real world social status doesn''t influence the ingame social/level status, and most of the time, things are the other way round. paying to get levels would completely destroy that, and lots of other things...

you can do it if you want of course, but I really doubt it will have a great amount of popularity...

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Ultima Online does something similar to what you described, the advanced character service. However this only allows you to buy a character that has mid-level skills, not fully trained characters.

When this was first announced I thought it was a terrible idea, but now I can see why it would benefit some players who don''t have the time to spend getting past those boring lower levels where skill gains seem few and far between.

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I think that makes people suspicious of all high level characters. There would be arguments and bickering when you can't tell who fought their way to high level vs those who bought it.

Another problem is that RPGs tend to have adventures that match various levels. What good would it be to go high level and all the world is boring?

Players with no life can advance in a few days, then get bored and leave. So the design has to make leveling slow and steady to keep their interest/addiction going longer. But there's not enough new stuff to do so they repeat the same hunts over and over until ready to go to the next level's adventures. This seems to work fine for that class of player.

Now imagine someone only has an hour or two to play the game every few days... that slowed-down rate relegates them to low level and gets boring compared with single-player games that have a faster rate of return. This turns off that class of player from your MMORPG, losing business.

How about balancing the experience gain based on quotas. For example:
- Each day, whether they play or not, players gain 1 hour high rate, 1 hour medium rate, and 2 hours slow rate. Unused hours roll over to the next day.
- if a player has any high rate hours left, set experience gains to 4x.
- if a players runs out of high and they have medium, then set gains to 2x.
- if no high or medium rate, set gains to 1x.
- If no hours are left, experience is frozen at 0x.

Players who can only play occasionally will accrue unused high rate hours, so they will be able to gain faster during the times they are available, requiring less repetition of adventures zones. Since they aren't available to play as much, it will still take longer but at least they aren't stuck on low levels forever.

Players with no life who put in several hours a day can enjoy the game but the experience gains drop down so that they don't finish everything too fast and completely lose interest in the game. However, they will still be able to gain treasure and items.


[edited by - 5010 on January 17, 2004 10:33:14 AM]

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Nice idea 5010, except that I would definitely reccomend against a 0 multiplier. The lowest should be 1.0 so normal players dont decide it is only woth playing X hours a day and then over time stop playing. You want them to start playing and never stop playing (ideally =-)
I would also change it around a little bit more: _X min of high-exp time, and _Y min of medium-exp time. Instead of just using as ''you get extra exp for this amount of time'', I''d make it work like charges that each last 1 minute. In other words, when you aren''t earning XP, you don''t use up time. When you earn XP, it uses up one charge, and the multiplier applies for a minute. If you don''t XP again for 30 minutes, then those 30 minutes don''t use up your XP multiplier time.
That way, just a few minutes of multiplier time can be more usefull, and doesn''t really favor those that go into combat immediately over those that choose to talk with friends, find out what has been going on in-game, etc when they log on.

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A major problem with a MMORPG that allowed players to use real money would be cheating. Cheaters could sell their cloned items and characters they leveled up exploiting poor design or bugs. By allowing players to make money from playing a game, it would change the game completely. Quickly reaching high levels would be emphasized far too heavily by players and the game''s structure would be nothing like today''s MMORPGs, assuming there''s a market for RPG characters...

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quote:
Original post by Extrarius
That way, just a few minutes of multiplier time can be more usefull, and doesn''t really favor those that go into combat immediately over those that choose to talk with friends, find out what has been going on in-game, etc when they log on.


I agree, and that would prevent players from going berzerk each time they get new quota!

One problem is passive skill gains. For example: standing near some NPCs speaking a foreign language increasing your skill in that language. You probably want to only use the normal 1x skill rate, not tapping into the quota. So only certain types of actions would pull from the bonus rate.

Also if you do it your way, then you could receive a minute of medium and high every few minutes and spread it out instead of once per day. So offline, you accumulate it. Online, it comes in a regulated stream.

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A lot of you are making the argument that it would ruin the game. I would submit that it is already going on. You can already buy a high level character, items, and even gold on Ebay for most popular MMORPG''s out there today. His suggestion is only cutting out the middle man (ebay) and allowing the people who are going to do it anyway a chance to pay him instead of someone else.

Honestly, who cares HOW someone got their character to the level they are. If your enjoyment of the game is reliant on what everyone else is doing you should probably not play MMORPG''s becuase there will always be someone that will get around the system. But this is a great topic!

"If you are not willing to try, you will never succeed!"

Grellin

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Well, I think it would be okay. I don''t see why a lifeless 11-year-old should have an advantage over a hardworking 25-year-old just because he has neither job, nor wife, nor productive hobby. On the flip side, I think that there is a certain prestige and pride that comes with levelling your own character. So how about this:

When you start your account, you choose one of four "starting points":

Peasant ($10/month): You have no skills or stats beyond what you picked up working in the fields, but your eyes are filled with the light of adventure, and you set out with five gold coins and a mattock to find your destiny.

Soldier ($15/month): Conscripted at an early age, you were trained by the army for combat, and two other specialties of your choice. Your tour of duty is over, and you are set free to seek adventure with twenty gold coins in your purse and the equipment appropriate to your skills and specialties.

Elite Bodyguard ($20/month): Raised as a slave in the house of the King, you were trained in the use of many weapons, and received supplementary education in four specializations of your choice. Now, at age 30, you are freed from bondage and can wander at wil, seeking honor and glory as a liberated man, with twenty years of retroactive pay and fine equipment given to you by your former master.

Prince ($25/month): Second son of a foreign king, your training in all noble arts began before you learned to walk. Expertise in all forms of combat and general knowledge of all skill, you are highly trainged in six individual fields of specialization. Highly educated and wealthy, you were exiled when your jealous older brother ascended to the throne. Now, free of the chains of royalty and clad in the finest armor, you wander to a distant land in search of adventure.

When seven high-level guys get together, the peasants who pulled themselves up by their bootstraps can feel a certain pride at their skills and money-saving strategy, but the pricier characters can be glad that they didn''t spend 700 hours getting where they are today. It''s a win-win situation.

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There are many online games already that sell items and equipment to players as part of their business model.

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Hi everyone!

Excellent posts! It does seem like a system of paying for more powerful characters has the potential of ruining a game if not handled properly.

Iron Chef Carnage, I commend your suggestion. (Binh bows to da masta). What an excellent idea. I love the idea of characters beginning at different backgrounds.

I would like like to add the idea of having a public history added to upper social class characters that people can view. For example a player who begings as a prince will be said to have been born into royalty. The reason for this is that some people might like to change their background as they play. For example a peasant who through many adventures may be dubbed a lord and this should appear in their public history. Just click on a character and read about them.

Think of the history as reports compiled by the media just as what happens in real life.

Hi Kylotan! Are there systems that you feel handles this feature well and are there systems that you feel do not?

---
Today, is a good day to code.

[edited by - BinhNguyen on January 17, 2004 9:19:36 PM]

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That would be so stupid. There''d be no reason to try and do well in the game, because you could just buy a better character. And even if you didn''t, know one would respect high level characters anyway.

Selling characters now is different in that someone has to part with their character to give a better character to someone else.

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quote:
Original post by cowsarenotevil
That would be so stupid. There'd be no reason to try and do well in the game, because you could just buy a better character. And even if you didn't, know one would respect high level characters anyway.

Selling characters now is different in that someone has to part with their character to give a better character to someone else.


Hi cowsarenotevil!

It is possible that there will be people who see no point in trying to do well in the game, because you could just buy a better character and people who would not respect high level characters.

I believe that there are people who would take the time to build up their character. This would imbue them with a history. Imagine a peasant character who through many heroic deeds rises to become a great hero through blood, sweat and tears. I don't believe that many people would take the option of buying upgrades as it is expensive. If other people can click on them and read their history, this would really be a source of pride.

If I were a player who had built my character from the ground up I wouldn't mind adventuring with another person who has bought their character. Together we can go on and conquer the next challenge...

---
Today, is a good day to code.

[edited by - BinhNguyen on January 17, 2004 10:45:25 PM]

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Great idea... but it can''t be very very cheap. Cause then it would unbalence the game for the people who have too much money or the ones who like the game enough to spend more money on it..


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maybe you should consider only selling items that do require skill but are very powerfull if correctly used, perhaps with clubs for ppl that bought items,for example:

I have (real life) money and in your mmorpg, my character has reached his full potential, however, that annoying kid next door also has reached his and keeps attacking me (this is purely fictional ), what if I give you a fiver and you get me the --only avaible through purchase-- crossbow that I can only use on certain players (to make it fair), that way, annoying kid next door leaves me alone and I can enter the "guild of buyers", where I can fight deathmatches or gamble on other ppl''s matches for items, thus prolonging the experience

this is only an idea, and to be quite fair, if I had to give money to be able to play the game, I don''t think I would spend even more just to be able to say that I have this or that item...

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I don''t like having the in-game caste based on cash spent in the real world. Things like petitioning for immunity from a given character could be done in-game, and purchased with game money.

Really, I don''t think anything beyond starting point should be accessible through direct purchasing.

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Personally I don''t much like the idea of selling better equipment or advanced characters in games as it defeats my idea of what a game is about. However, one argument put forward is that it allows players with less time but more money to be able to play usefully with those who have a lot of time to put in. This might be especially useful in games where you have to be within a certain number of levels as someone else to group up with them, for example.

Let''s face it; most MMORPGs don''t require much player skill. They just require player time. If you''re persistent enough you can pretty much achieve anything. So it''s a straight trade-off of time for success. Therefore I can appreciate why some games may wish people to be able to trade money for success too, as long as there are some reasonable limits. It would be a shame if the only people who do well on a game are obsessed kids. Adding the secondary route to advancement might actually make the player base more balanced and mature, which is a good thing in many situations.

I''ve never played a game like this, nor do I think I''d want to. But they do work. Achaea is one such game, although it is text-based, not graphical. See the items they currently sell at http://www.achaea.com/creditsalt.htm. Note that the prices seem quite steep, but they do make a profit there. It seems that enough players enjoy this to make it viable.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
If you want to allow people to buy a good player then you cannot give them their good player overnight. How about they pay for say a level 100, and their level will gradually increase to level 100 over the period of time that it would take them if they were actually playing the game. This way some guy that just created his account doesnt have the best character in the game overnight and it gives the people who actually play the game a chance to compete with people with alot of money to waste.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Oh another thing, every player that bought their level should have some flag or marker to indicate that they did, so the real players can ridicule them.

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The problem is that if an MMORPG company officially allowed the sale and resale of characters, they would acknowledge that a character has a real value. This opens the door for lawsuits claiming compensation or damages in case of server outage, people banned for cheating, or against other players when their character gets killed in a PvP and loses 10% xp.

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quote:
Original post by Kylotan
I''ve never played a game like this, nor do I think I''d want to. But they do work. Achaea is one such game, although it is text-based, not graphical. See the items they currently sell at http://www.achaea.com/creditsalt.htm. Note that the prices seem quite steep, but they do make a profit there. It seems that enough players enjoy this to make it viable.



Some friends and I once discussed a similar system. We thought that items and equipment for a MMO game might be purchased with real world money. These funds would then be used instead of any subscription charge to the game. This would give some players the chance to play the came without the continuing cost of a subscription to the game. While other players would spend money on the game to purchase better equipment, furthering their progress through the game and covering the running costs of the servers, etc.

I imagine we decided that items would have to be purchasable with in game currency too, so that players not buying items with real world currency would be able to make progress.

Mostly we thought of problems with security since items would have a real value. Especially with respect to cashing out hacked items

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What if a MMORPG offcially allowed purchase of powerful characters and equipment?

already done, at least in regards to equipment. and you can always buy powerful characters on ebay.

https://www.project-entropia.com/news/Index.ajp

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Well, buying characters and items for RL cash, and even character sharing totally goes against the whole concept of RPGs, the history of which stretch back about 30 years.

One of the key ideas of online RPGs is the ''persistant world'', that is, the world has a set of rules and must be consistant. Now if a lvl 50 character suddenly turns up out of no-where because some fat business man has a fat wallet then thats some fucking messed up game world. I also dislike character sharing because you never know who you are dealing with and characters are not consistant. Players always use the excuse of ''oh it was my friend who PKed you'', and you get more trouble makers and cheats on shared, inherited or bought characters because the people simply didn''t have to work for them.

If you don''t have time to play a RPG on a level playing field with other people, and the game doesn''t provide enough to keep you interested at lower levels then DON''T PLAY!

Most games I''ve seen forbid character, item trade for RL cash and character sharing. Yes its hard to enforce but there again most rules are. Why is there always a set of people who say ''ohh I havent got time to play and level my character so I bought one or share one because its more fun''. Alot of the time these players are grief players and cheats and at the very least unbalance the game. Yes it may be fun for you for a while, but consider the other people who play the game according to the rules who are also trying to have fun.

Sorry getting a bit O/T there Well as for games that allow it in the rules. All I can say is that you can''t really even consider them MMORPGs in a true sense. In any case, I would never pay to play such a game. Games that have introduced schemes later in their life for buying characters and items are just exploiting players and trying to maximise their profits while stabbing existing subsribers in the back.

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