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Alexey Makarov

Trades between players with real money?

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Hey,

 

I have an idea which seems pretty unconventionally for MMO games: allow players to trade in-game goods for real money.

 

Key points looks pretty simple:

- (!) I'm talking here only about game design itself, not about legal issues (FYI: theoretically it's possible because, at least, guys from Entropia Universe are doing the same things and seems they don't have legal issues)

- players can trade in-game goods between themselves for real money

- the game does not sell anything by itself (e.g., no cash-shops and so on)

- the game itself become a kind of marketplace (e.g., a kind of eBay)

- the game is taking some fees from each trade

- the game protects the trades from cheating

 

It will not be able to turn into P2W, as I see, just because ANY in-game goods/gears need to be earned with in-game methods. So, no items/gold/etc will be inserted into the game from nothing (as it happens with cash-shops).

 

What do you think about such money mechanic?

What issues do you see for in-game economy?

Should such game try to make any protection from out-of-game trading between players? If so, which ways do you see to detect such things?

 

Again, I'm not talking here about possible real-world legal issues and so on – only about in-game things as economy, gameplay, etc

Edited by norlin

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It will not be able to turn into P2W, as I see, just because ANY in-game goods/gears need to be earned with in-game methods.

 

 

That doesn't stop it being Pay-To-Win, it just adds an extra roadblock in that buying what you need to win requires someone else to have already found it themselves.

 

A system like this creates large incentives for players to grind, mine, farm, etc - all so that they can earn real-world money from rich players by selling what they've found or created. Some players will not engage with your game except in a purely utilitarian way, as they are treating it as a job, and they will spam and inconvenience other players to achieve this. You'll have taken gold farming and extended it to the whole game economy - so if you're not familiar with how gold farmers ruin many existing games, read up on that first.

Edited by Kylotan

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There certainly are massive legal issues to be aware of. In some parts of the world you could find yourself in jail for making this kind of game without collecting the right kinds of taxation information and withholding a cut for several governments... There's companies that facilitate these kinds of systems for games if you want to offload a lot of the legal risks onto another company (in exchange for them taking a cut)... Another side topic is that whenever real money is involved, you're making yourself a target for hacking and cheating -- and not just people trying to hack your game/servers, but also people hacking your players and stealing accounts, which means you need a big customer service team to deal with all those complaining customers :( Even something like WoW has a real-money black-market, so Blizzard has to use two-factor authentication to reduce the number of customer-service staff required to deal with stolen accounts.

 

Some players will really like it, and others will dislike it so much that they will avoid your game because of it...

Most micro-payment games are quite unethical in that they target a very small number of people, get them addicted, and convince them to pay huge amounts of money... e.g. most people pay $0, a lot of people pay $1, and a handful of people pay $10000 (yes, that happens on shitty mobile/facebook games)... which is very exploitative.

On the other hand, this kind of game has the potential to be nicer, where the people who get 'addicted' to the game might actually make money from it.

 

From a game design perspective, it will be hard to design an economy that doesn't collapse or suffer massive inflation. e.g. markets will get flooded with commodities, driving the price down to whatever the minimum is (e.g. lots of CS:Go skins are stuck at $0.05 price tag, because they can't go lower)... or supply is restricted and the game becomes pay-to-win.

It's a very fine line. Some successful games actually hire experienced mathematicians and economists to help the game designers with these problems!

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That doesn't stop it being Pay-To-Win, it just adds an extra roadblock in that buying what you need to win requires someone else to have already won it themselves.

Not exactly. The paying player still be required to progress his character as non-paying player. So, he can only make his path easier (not faster).

 

In this sense, It's almost the same as in EVE online: players could buy ISK for real money, but no one calling EVE p2w-game (AFAIK).

 

 

 

suffer massive inflation. e.g. markets will get flooded with commodities

There will be no additional inflation because all items still must be earned by in-game methods only. That's why I've specified no cash-shops and strictly pvp-trades (the game itself does not generate any in-game goods for money).

 

For now I see only one major possible issue – if the game becomes popular, it could be a kind of job for ?hinese/korean gamers who can ruin the balance with massive grinding. But I hope there are ways to prevent this...

Edited by norlin

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The paying player still be required to progress his character as non-paying player. So, he can only make his path easier (not faster).

 

That is the same argument that has been made against microtransactions and gold farming since day one. It doesn't hold up. The player is skipping a part of the gameplay by paying someone else to do it. That makes it both easier and faster.

 

There will be no additional inflation because all items still must be earned by in-game methods only

 

This is also incorrect. The "In-game" concept doesn't change anything - if you provide a monetary incentive to create goods for sale, more people will work on creating them, meaning more get created, and the price of those goods drops.

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The player is skipping a part of the gameplay by paying someone else to do i

Well, ok. But in my case, player basically can't get any advantages in comparison with non-paying player – that's my point.

Any gear could be grinded/crafted/whatever with no money. And it will take the same time as for seller to earn it.

 

From the other side, gold-sellers are exist in any case, just in most games it's not official and leading to cheating/fraud/etc.

 

more people will work on creating them, meaning more get created, and the price of those goods drops.

Agreed, but after some time it will be balanced automatically on some level (depending on how much the game popular, how much money players are ready to spent and so on).

(Also, the game should have a ways to "destroy" in-game values somehow).

 

I can only refer again to Eve Online which is working pretty good with official money selling. I think it's exactly because those money goes strictly from players, not just injected by the game into a database.

Edited by norlin

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But in my case, player basically can't get any advantages in comparison with non-paying player – that's my point. Any gear could be grinded/crafted/whatever with no money. And it will take the same time as for seller to earn it.

 

Swap 'player' for 'person' and think about the real world. It's like saying a person in the real world with more money doesn't get any advantage over a person in the real world with less money because everything they buy had to be made by some other person in the real world. The fact that you transplanted this into a game doesn't alter that dynamic at all - people who start out with more resources are at an advantage.

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It's like saying a person in the real world with more money doesn't get any advantage over a person in the real world with less money

But this is not an issue. It's exactly what I'm going to make in a game – a living "real-like" world, in some sense.

 

Diablo 3

Diablo is not MMO game. It does not have any common economy system nor any persistent world.

Edited by norlin

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Whether it's an 'issue' or not is up to you. But you can't claim that being able to buy things with real world money will not give advantages to players that do so.

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