Game talkSOE whitepaper on Station Exchange

 Posted by (Visited 20798 times)  Game talk
Feb 072007
 

SOE has released a whitepaper covering how the Station Exchange service has gone. Lots and lots of good detailed info in here. Edit: there’s an interview and summary on Gamasutra, along with a link to the full whitepaper in .doc format.

    • One piece of platinum trades for $7.35 when averaged for the year.
    • 34-year-olds spent the most money on virtual goods, accounting for nearly $39,000 in purchases.
    • The zip codes with the biggest buyers and sellers are both in Levittown, PA.
    • A high level character in EverQuest II is worth as much as $2,000.
    • A single seller made $37,435 from 351 auctions in the first year.

But those are just the fun stats. The really interesting stuff is in the analysis.

Running Station Exchange has massively cut down on customer service calls.

40 percent of customer service time was spent on disputes over virtual item sales. Since the debut of the Exchange, the overall customer service time spent has dropped 30 percent.

You don’t get occasional purchases and “spiky” usage — instead, the service gets used constantly and consistently.

…the net cash collected each day was predictable to within $100.

The folks buying tend to be in their late-twenties to early thirties, while the folks selling tend to be in their early twenties. There are, of course, way more males than females participating, but the gender breakdown seems to match that of the service as a whole. And men and women spend the same amount of money each month.

The top buyers are not the top sellers, which suggests that it’s not being used for arbitrage by the top sellers.

There don’t seem to be many differences in gameplay between how the game is played on Exchange-enabled and non-Exchange servers. Guilds are a tad bigger on the one, levelling just slightly faster on the other. People do have more cash on the Exchange servers, and therefore have more pets and house items.

Most critical, IMHO, is “why they trade.” The vast majority of sales happen as instant purchases.

…players are choosing to purchase at auction in order to fulfill an immediate desire. A player realizes, for example, that he needs a particular type of armor in order to defeat an enemy in a quest. He also knows that a crafter inside the game can make the armor for 10 platinum. The player then visits the Station Exchange, instant purchases the platinum he needs to buy the armor inside the game and continues on his quest.

Movie concessions offer a useful metaphor here. A patron pays for tickets, and rushes to buy popcorn and a soda before the feature. The moviegoer knows that the price of these snacks is far more than their actual value – sometimes as much as the tickets. But that doesn’t stop him from buying the popcorn, or filling up on snacks beforehand.

It’s also to show off:

players enjoy strutting around and showing of their wares in front of a live audience. Further proof of this comes from Phil, the armor crafter. The most popular pieces of armor across all tiers of the game are for the chest, leg and shoulder, he says. “Why? Because those are the most visible pieces in the game.”

And of course, people buy in order to be able to keep playing with their friends who outlevel them. The bottom line according to the whitepaper:

  • The majority of people paying real money for virtual items are not part of a criminal underground that is preying on the player base at large. They are not “farmers” looking to make a quick buck.
  • Station Exchange traders are not radically different from the rest of the EverQuest II player base.
  • Station Exchange is not an extension of game play. It is a utility. It offers a fundamentally different approach to play: a means of skipping the boring parts. (emphasis mine)

Disclaimer: I had some involvement with getting this whitepaper project going back when I was at SOE, but I haven’t really been involved for quite a long time, for obvious reasons.

  71 Responses to “SOE whitepaper on Station Exchange”

  1. リンクをいくつか。 SOEのプレスリリース Synthetic World News「Sony Releases Virtual Trade Statistics」 CNETの英語ニュース「Real-world success with virtual goods」 Raph Kosterのブログ(ここにはフルバージョンのレポートへの直リンクがあったのだが、今見たらリンクが切れてるっぽい) SOEのJohn Smedley社長のコメント。 “The Station Exchange White Paper results demonstrate beyond a

  2. as $2,000 for the right to use a single EverQuest II character and one seller earned $37,435 from 351 auctions, according to the report, entitled Station Exchange. http://news.com.com/Real-world+success+with+virtual+goods/2100-1043_3-6156925.html http://www.raphkoster.com/2007/02/07/soe-whitepaper-on-station-exchange/

  3. of them – last week it decided to prohibit sales of virtual game goods although it exempted Second Life, saying there was “an open question about whether Second Life should be regarded as a game.” [More analysis of the Station Exchange figures from Ralph Koster and the Indiana University crew. And some good overall MMOGH stats are available here, though they haven't been updated for several months.] Posted by Kate Mackenzie on February 08, 2007 in Games

  4. Well not giants, but Raph at least. Raph posted a great analysis of the Station Exchange white paper. Go read it now. I’ll wait here after the Jump. The most telling quote, with Raph’s emphasis: “Station Exchange is not an extension of game play. It is a utility. It offers a fundamentally different

  5. SOE Whitepaper on EQ II Trades → Games * Design * Art * Culture | Feb 8th 2007 | 10:40am PST [IMG] Some commentary today (from Raph and Terra Nova on a whitepaper from Sony Online Entertainment about item trading on Station Exchange. Background for those who haven’t been following it: Sony set up some (but not all EQ II) servers to allow legal item and plat sales, via a trading

  6. same, the willingness is obviously there. If players have the option to circumvent playtime, they will. All these hours of lovingly crafted content are, through the eyes of around a quarter of the playerbase, obstacles to get around. Both Damion and Raph, two guys who should know what they are talking about if anyone does, specifically phrase RMT as ‘a means of skipping the boring parts.’ [IMG SOE Exchange]This is disconcerting, to say the least. I know a lot of folks are rushing through

  7. same, the willingness is obviously there. If players have the option to circumvent playtime, they will. All these hours of lovingly crafted content are, through the eyes of around a quarter of the playerbase, obstacles to get around. Both Damion and Raph, two guys who should know what they are talking about if anyone does, specifically phrase RMT as ‘a means of skipping the boring parts.’ [IMG SOE Exchange]This is disconcerting, to say the least. I know a lot of folks are rushing through

  8. Some commentary today (from Raph and Terra Nova on a whitepaper from Sony Online Entertainment about item trading on Station Exchange. Background for those who haven’t been following it: Sony set up some (but not all EQ II) servers to allow legal item and plat sales, via a trading

  9. to be of great interest. I remember first thinking that somebody should do something like the Exchange back when I was working on UO2 nearly ten years ago, but even so, I’m glad that someone else took the slings and bullets for the idea. Sara and Raph both have good commentary. My own thoughts: I’m surprised the revenue earned was so low. Less than $300K in revenue earned in a year is a significant amount of cash if you’re a small company, but it risks being mistaken for a financial error in an

  10. Sony Releases Virtual Trade Statistics Edward Castronova Sony has released data about the first year of Station Exchange, its experiment in sanctioned RMT among players. First report by Dan Terdiman here; Raph Koster’s analysis here; full press release here. February 8, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (14)

  11. Raph / Raph’s Website: SOE whitepaper on Station Exchange

  12. ). Even so, as suggested in the C|Net article, detailed data may change some rabidly anti-RMT minds if not some actual design documents. We’ll see. {Just wanted to point out that somewhat expectedly Raph Koster has posted an entry on this topic (Link)}. Posted in meatspace, virtualspace | No Comments » February 7th, 2007

  13. This whole thing reminded me that Sony announced that a free MMORPG would be released or announced last Fall. Significant, because that announcment was tied to early indications that the Exchange program was going well, and this game was to generate its profit through the sale of virtual goods. Any idea if they’ve announced it? If so, what game is it?

  14. “The majority of active SE buyers and sellers – close to 18% in both categories — are based in northern California.”

    I better close my virtual sweat shops and move to China pronto! :)

    @Raph:

    I might have missed it but did they address if the SE servers have less/same/more gold farming?

    I thought it was interesting, that they cited registration as a barrier to entry, that enabled a “trust” based system of commerce, SL could probably take some lessons here…

    It’s also interesting that the ROI seems to encompass not only the revenue generated but the cost savings associated with reduced CS demand. They could have applied some cost metrics related to this and given a total sum ROI for the company as a whole, I imagine the cost saving of having 20 CS reps rather than 30 is pretty significant.

    Also it looks like they could improve margins, reduce costs to players and increase profit by:

    Increasing the number of SE servers
    Making SE a cross server market

    Overall a great paper, I would love to see a dump of the raw data to play around with. That would be some mucho-pivot-table fun….

    Anyhow I’ll give Sony a grats on this one for validating what players already know: RMT is going to happen anyway, and players would rather it be sanctioned, and facilitated by the game company.

    It also looks like they got the system balanced, fair and well designed programatically based on thier reported data.

  15. ::Plug::

    There’s an interview with Smed and the full, downloadable white paper at Gamasutra. Man those graphs are ugly.

  16. Whoa. Sorry. You updated while I was writing my comment, somehow. Are you sure you shouldn’t be PsychicPenguin?

  17. they stated that they wished they started swg with station exchange.

  18. raph are you planning a “areae exchange”? :P

  19. Sony announced that a free MMORPG would be released or announced last Fall. Significant, because that announcment was tied to early indications that the Exchange program was going well, and this game was to generate its profit through the sale of virtual goods. Any idea if they’ve announced it? If so, what game is it?

    It remains unannounced.

    did they address if the SE servers have less/same/more gold farming?

    Not exactly — they said it was difficult-to-impossible to determine who much gold farming there was on the non-Exchange servers, so the comparison was hard to make.

  20. From the Gamasutra Interview:

    Smedley: “(rather than gold farming) Make it about creativity. Make that the source of rarity. Then I think we’re on to something huge.”

    Um…Whoa…hold on…Smed it’s going to be difficult for gamers to hold an illogical grudge against you if you keep talking like that….

  21. The top buyers are not the top sellers, which suggests that it’s not being used for arbitrage by the top sellers.

    It seems pretty obvious that this would happen if you look at the pricing structure. With a 10% + $1 overhead to any transaction, all arbitrage income is pretty predictably going to SOE. Especially when you consider that most trades are for a commodity product (platinum), the fair market value is going to settle pretty quickly. If SOE charged nothing for coin trades I suspect that the actual arbitrage would drop below 1%, well below the minimum 10% enforced by the system.

  22. Um…Whoa…hold on…Smed it’s going to be difficult for gamers to hold an illogical grudge against you if you keep talking like that….

    hard? not really. do you enjoy having to EARN all the stuff you accumulate
    in game? do you work hard at it? how would you feel to know people could go around your local crafter or hard work to “achieve” goals?
    the main thing that keeps people playing mmos and grows a community
    is a player based economy, which is tied into decay,debuffs,etc.
    an “official store” leads to eliteism in my eyes.

  23. I have said for a long time that the way to combat gold farmers and e-bay scammers is to EMBRACE the trading of online items and create company-owned ways to facilitate this.

    Not only that, but a wise MMO developer would realize that this is a viable content stream. Throw off the stigma of selling characters, or gold, or items. Become part of the process.

    Game designers think that investing our time in a game is the only way to get us involved. If we invest money, we save the time and feel no less invested in our characters. It gives casual players a way to keep up with the masses. That, and Cha-ching.

    Oh, and the “illogical grudge” is hardly illogical.

  24. [...] Zenke over at MMOGnation was the first I saw with the news.  Raph has the link to the full downloadable whitepaper with all the details, and Gamasutra has a full Q [...]

  25. The majority of people paying real money for virtual items are not part of a criminal underground that is preying on the player base at large. They are not “farmers” looking to make a quick buck.

    I wonder how they can make this claim since….

    Everquest II auction site Station Exchange handled transactions worth US$ 1.87 million (EUR 1.44 million) during its first year of operation, according to a new white paper from Sony Online Entertainment.

    while….

    According to economist Edward Castronova: “A good conservative estimate of global annual sales of virtual items for real money is $200 million a year.”[3]

    However, a recent Korea Times article indicates that the size of the market is even larger than expected in the West. “The size of the market was estimated at 1 trillion won, or about $1 billion, last year, according to the Korea Game Development and Promotion Institute. About 60 percent of such item trading company’s profit comes from the cyber money trade.”[4]

    Online Gamers Turn Tricks for Cash

  26. [...] and Raph both have good commentary. My own thoughts: I’m surprised the revenue earned was so low. Less [...]

  27. Amaranthar, I think they were referring only to the habits on the two Station Exchange servers, not the market as a whole.

  28. [...] and Raph both have good commentary. My own thoughts: I’m surprised the revenue earned was so low. Less [...]

  29. God, what a terrible idea. The vast majority of gamers I’ve heard from hate the idea, and have said so very loudly. They’re kicking gameplay to the curb to make a few extra bucks. And since they control the gameplay, and SOE is inherently evil, what’s to stop them from making it more difficult to obtain those items by normal means, and forcing everyone to shell out a few more bucks?

    There’s a difference between actively looking for sites that sell gold and items and having the loading menu offer to sell you them legally (and they’ll have it in your account by the time you log in!) Plus, to beat the gold farmer’s prices, they’re going to drop their’s to almost nothing. If they don’t, it won’t hurt the farmer’s business. If they do, it’ll kill the economy.

    If a system like this works for Sony, it’s going to be an awful year for gamers. It’d turn into an all out race to see who can screw their customers the hardest.

  30. The vast majority of gamers I’ve heard from hate the idea, and have said so very loudly.

    Then you need to broaden your social circle.

    Game designers think that investing our time in a game is the only way to get us involved. If we invest money, we save the time and feel no less invested in our characters. It gives casual players a way to keep up with the masses. That, and Cha-ching.

    /agree

  31. Amaranthar, I think they were referring only to the habits on the two Station Exchange servers, not the market as a whole.

    That could be, Jessica. Maybe they are making the point that their service is typically free from that segment, thusd further justifying the system. Which, thinking about it this way, does make sense.
    I might be about to pull a Kerry. :D

  32. Plus, to beat the gold farmer’s prices, they’re going to drop their’s to almost nothing. If they don’t, it won’t hurt the farmer’s business. If they do, it’ll kill the economy.

    I dunno Bissrok. Don’t the sellers set the prices? That still can lead to what you are suggesting here, though. But I don’t think it’s so much about fighting the farmers as to give average players a safe way to trade in the RMT. They only made a little under 300k in the year. Yeah, this would likely grow, but still it’s pretty small compared to everything else. I don’t see profits as a viable driving force yet. However, safe RMT is huge for the gaming industry, and much more likely to be the force behind it all.
    But still, how will it affect the games economy, this is an even bigger question for games that actually want a good economy. I don’t think any of these current games do. It’s just another “feature”. Otherwise they wouldn’t have gone with the level grind build, because that doesn’t really work for anything else, whenther it’s PvP or economy.

    But if there was a game that really wanted a deep and functioning economy tied to the game world, then this is quite an important question.

  33. I think the most important thing about Station Exchange, and the reason that this whitepaper is so helpful in showing how publisher-controlled RMT can work, is that the Exchange servers are seperate from the regular play servers. You choose if you want to condone this type of thing by playing on them or not. When the choice is available, we can argue morality all day long, but the end result is that if you don’t want to deal with it in your local game, you don’t play on an Exchange server.

    What Station Exchange does for EQ2 is that it pulls prospective buyers away from the normal servers to the Exchange servers. This impacts the bottom line for the “farmers” by reducing demand. Buyers are more apt to spend money on a service where there’s a guarantee of security. Ultimately, it hurts the illegitimate RMT by recognizing that there are people who want to do this, and giving them a safe, secure, and most importantly seperate place to do it in. This helps everyone, whether they’re on an Exchange server or not.

  34. [...] out Raph Koster’s writeup on the whitepaper, which has all the links you could need.  So what do you think– would [...]

  35. [...] in sanctioned RMT among players. First report by Dan Terdiman here; Raph Koster’s analysis here; full press release [...]

  36. “do you enjoy having to EARN all the stuff you accumulate
    in game? do you work hard at it? how would you feel to know people
    could go around your local crafter or hard work to “achieve” goals?
    the main thing that keeps people playing mmos and grows a community
    is a player based economy, which is tied into decay,debuffs,etc.
    an “official store” leads to eliteism in my eyes.”

    As a gamer yes, actually I do enjoy crafting and economic aspects of MMO’s, and I agree with you about what grows an economy as well as longevity of items “decay” being an intrinsic part of economic activity or rather keeping “stickiness” with the gamers who play.

    What I dont enjoy is gold farmers ganking players to maintain thier gold farming activity.

    What hurts gamers and game companies are sites like IGE and farmers who send you in game mail “gawld-4-12.99″

    Would you have overt “elitism” (thats a loaded term) with control mechnisims in place or those who will use the black market to circumvent your hard work weather you like it or not?

    You cant have it both ways, and one way is much better than the other…

    In one case you can use legitimate channels to try and effect change, in the other you have ZERO control, the latter option is good if you just want to keep your head buried in the sand and not have to bother trying to do anything to help change the system.

    “Plus, to beat the gold farmer’s prices, they’re going to drop their’s to almost nothing. If they don’t, it won’t hurt the farmer’s business. If they do, it’ll kill the economy.”

    If the currency is allowed to float (meaning no controls and a free market) then buyers/sellers will set the prices, and GF will have to sell at a loss related to investment of time (or rather they make less) OR they will sell at the same or similar market rate. Then it becomes an issue of who the buyer wants to use:

    You can use a safe SE like system
    OR
    Gold Farmer site #3,456 that might rip you off

    And which one will provide you with CS and a remedy in case there is an issue in the transaction?

    IMO Gold farmers are active in games where the time/profit ratio is highest (WOW, L2) and the system can be gamed the most (Macros, 2-3-4 boxing) by running multiple accounts, not in games where a free market economy sets prices. What’s going on here is SE co-opted the GF system of exchange by legitimizing it and making it safer for gamers who are going to buy items/gold/accounts anyway.

    They might have even increased demand for crafted items from players, thats good for gamers who craft, good for gamers who buy crafted gear, bad for farmers who spend time killing for loot drops, and the barrier to entry to prevent a flood of crappy items from GF who do craft:
    $1.

    $1 in the US compared to most countries where GF is prelavent is a VERY HIGH barrier to entry. $1 to a 23 year old US college student or a 37 year old professional who enjoys crafting? Not so much.

    @Amaranthar

    I agree with what you posted, safe RMT should be the end goal for gamers and designers and game companies, everyone knows its going to happen it doesnt matter if people “like it” or not, all that matters is if people are willing to do something about it by keeping a dialouge open, making sure it’s a level playing field and the system in place is well designed.

    As you say economy for MANY players is not a “feature” it IS however the deciding factor on if those gamers will bother playing a game at all, and if that game economy is amenable to gold farming why invest the time and effort in the game at all?

    However, what of a system where RMT is an intergal part of the design from the outset, where transactions are safe, and in the case of SE where people can even earn significant money IRL from thier activity (again without selling to and encouraging or supporting a black market).

    Thats good for gamers, good for developers, and good for a game companies bottom line (which makes it good for gamers in the long run).

    For the record: I am not a SOE fanboy, in fact as a gamer SOE has a way to go before they get my loyalty back as a customer but at least they seem to be trying more lately, and at least they are being proactive about a big issue, as a consumer/gamer I applaud them for this and I hope they keep at it.

  37. I’m not sure separating the servers would work, either. Are there really “legit” gamers that want to play on those servers, or is it just people that want to buy their way through the game? If not, what would really be the point of playing? To out-spend the other players?

    I mean, would anyone bother playing the game the normal way on one of those servers? Why spend a weekend trying to get a unique set of armor when the guy next to you just shells out five bucks for it? You couldn’t brag about it, but it might be useful in-game. But, then again, you’re paying not to play the game, so what would be the point of buying useful armor?

    And I don’t see this appealing to the ones that abuse this sort of system. Money and items would still be for sale on the other servers and, on those ones, they’ll be a lot more useful and a lot harder to come by. It’s not as safe of a transaction, but that doesn’t seem to be stopping people at the moment.

    This system might work for a shallow SOE game, or a generic Korean MMO, but this would probably kill a real game. There’s better ways to fight gold farmers, ways that would actually work. They’re doing this because it makes more money.

  38. @Bissrok

    I remember when Station Exchange was first announced, about 30% of the people in our guild hated the idea and thought it was giving into the bad guys, another 30% didn’t care, and the remaining 30% said “that’s cool, maybe I could make some money”.

    So there you go.

    As for safety, it only takes getting burned once to make a player crave a safe alternative. It would be really interesting to see a followup on this whitepaper next year, and see what’s changed.

    By the way, please define a “real game”. I don’t like WoW, I think it’s far too simplistic and easy, and lacks any sort of real challenge. Yet I would still consider it a “real game”. Heck, Runescape is a “real game”, even though I cringe when I realize just how many mid-teens are playing it because of the low cost.

  39. It remains unannounced.

    Though word of that unnamed pseudo-espionage game has me thinking we have a candidate. What better vehicle for virtual goods that appeal to traditional gamers than Bond-not-Bond items? Lots of opportunities in that one.

  40. Drawing the wrong conclusions…

    Talk about the Station Exchange whitepaper (http://www.raphkoster.com/2007/02/07/soe-whitepaper-on-station-exchange/) is making the rounds on the blogosphere. It’s actually quite nice to see SOE open up the kimono a bit and show us some numbers that …

  41. [...] through the eyes of around a quarter of the playerbase, obstacles to get around. Both Damion and Raph, two guys who should know what they are talking about if anyone does, specifically phrase RMT as [...]

  42. I think the most important thing about Station Exchange, and the reason that this whitepaper is so helpful in showing how publisher-controlled RMT can work, is that the Exchange servers are seperate from the regular play servers. You choose if you want to condone this type of thing by playing on them or not. When the choice is available, we can argue morality all day long, but the end result is that if you don’t want to deal with it in your local game, you don’t play on an Exchange server.

    …and combining this with game designs that actively thwart commidification attempts (in code), we can offer an entire spectrum of playing experience: from code-enforced prevention of unbalanced power transfers, to standard rulesets, to Exchange-enabled servers, and even publisher-direct sales of gold/items/characters.

    Players can then not only self-segregate, those that dislike the impact of RMT can play in an environment where it is actively prevented.

  43. Allen Sligar wrote: What I don’t enjoy is gold farmers ganking players to maintain their gold farming activity.

    I think you would have been enlightened by Ge “Jingle” Jin’s presentation at UCSD yesterday.

    csven wrote: Though word of that unnamed pseudo-espionage game has me thinking we have a candidate.

    It’s not that game.

  44. Oh I’m sure I would have been enlightened, I think his video footage is great and his project interesting. If there is a transcript/link to the talk I’d be interested in reading it.

  45. What bugs me as a player aren’t the buyers, but rather, the sellers. I can just ignore, ostracize or not group with the buyers (particularly those who have deeper pockets than skill) and — to the extent that someone skillful buys something, it really doesn’t affect me.

    Of course, I’m well aware that there aren’t sellers without buyers.

    Three different situations:

    (1) Pickup group; something drops that I can use and someone else can use. Even if the loot rules are random roll, I am more bothered by losing a roll to someone who is going to sell the item than I am by losing to someone who is going to use it.

    (2) Semi-regular group of acquaintances (maybe, say, a pickup group among guildmembers, as opposed to a “regular group”). Here, it bugs me even more because it discourages “need before greed” loot rules (which I happen to like) and tends to lead to mistrust.

    (3) Guild raid loot. One of the factors that keeps guilds together is “what makes one of us stronger, makes all of us stronger.” When something drops and the awardee goes ahead and sells it, the group hasn’t gotten any stronger.

    **

    These are my personal views, as a player, and not necessarily the views of SOE or the Sony Corporation.

  46. So Andy, those are all issues with the social contract between you and those you play with, and not issues related to the actual availability or not of the service. Pretend it was something else, like a skateboarding tournament, or something. The prize is a badass set of themed and matched skateboards. Your team goes to play and win, hoping to have a beautiful matched set you can use in future tournaments. You win, but then one team member realizes that if he sells his prize board on eBay, he can get $10,000 for it.

    Right there is the tension that you describe. You all had an expectation going in that you were getting the prizes for one purpose; he had an expectation that his prize was his to do with as he saw fit. Is the issue with the ability to do commerce? No. Is it with the operators of the skateboard tournament? No. Should the skateboard tournament only make boards that are fingerprint-locked to the winner? That’s what we do when we soulbind, block account transfer, and so on.

    The issue is, at its core, your expectations of the behavior of other players that you were shoulder-to-shoulder with. In fact, not to be too geeky, but you feel betrayed because your Han Solo with whom you rescued the princess turns out to have been in it for the money. You want them to come swooping back in and prove they were actually there for the camaraderie, and not just for the money. But most Hans in most universes far far away do in fact take the money and run.

  47. And I don’t see this appealing to the ones that abuse this sort of system. Money and items would still be for sale on the other servers and, on those ones, they’ll be a lot more useful and a lot harder to come by. It’s not as safe of a transaction, but that doesn’t seem to be stopping people at the moment.

    This is why I believe it’s vital to move towards ruleset designs where it’s simply not possible to sell money and items (or so impractical that it’s easier to simply play the game), and have that ruleset design serve as the option where players who don’t like RMT at all can play.

    Without a code-enforced prevention, there will still be many of the same issues from a player’s perspective on the non-Exchange-enabled servers (albeit at a possibly reduced level). There will still be folks there cheapening the achievements of straightforward players by purchasing faked trophies.

    By stopping unbalancing transfers of unearned player power, the “display value” of achievement tokens can be preserved. Players will need to pass through the gates that the developers originally designed in order to achieve fame and notoriety, instead of bypassing them by purchasing the ability to “jump the line”.

    In standard contexts, those who bypass the game’s designed constraints are legitimately considered to be exploiters. I find it curious that other developers don’t see unapproved RMT in the same light. Treat it like an exploit, and code the solution that prevents it.

  48. [...] posted a great analysis of the Station Exchange white [...]

  49. In standard contexts, those who bypass the game’s designed constraints are legitimately considered to be exploiters. I find it curious that other developers don’t see unapproved RMT in the same light. Treat it like an exploit, and code the solution that prevents it.

    The game’s designed constraints do not forbid in-game gifts, then what rule has been broken? You feel the game design should forbid in-game gifts where the motive is tainted with otherworldly greed? How’s that to be detected? Or is it to be assumed?

    Eliminating gifting would be fairly trivial. Insist on minimally equitable exchanges in all transactions.

    But, MAN.

  50. they stated that they wished they started swg with station exchange.

    Fine, sure, throw one more feature in there why not.

  51. [...] through the eyes of around a quarter of the playerbase, obstacles to get around. Both Damion and Raph, two guys who should know what they are talking about if anyone does, specifically phrase RMT as [...]

  52. Please don’t misunderstand, Jeff. I’m trying to point out that the approach of trying to stop RMT via EULA creates an unenforceable nightmare, precisely because it comes down to detecting motive, which is a losing battle.

    As Randy Farmer pointed out in his “KidTrade” exploration, RMT is reliable and systematic twinking writ large. That’s why I’m approaching the problem in largely the same way that PvP and non-PvP are handled today… by code enforcement. The design on my current project handles (I believe) the prevention of RMT arising, while preserving the ability yo make reasonable gifts between players, keeps an in-game currency, utilizes a rich and intimate crafting system, has economic mini-games, and now even re-allows buying and selling of items in an auction format… while still preventing the out-of-game sale of currency and items, and preventing alternate currencies from arising as well.

    If we as developers feel so strongly about providing an RMT-free environment (for customers who want it) that we’ll write EULAs that enforce account closures against those who do so, then it’s high time that we show that segment of our customer base that we’re truly serious… and give them a fun enviroment where the game’s physics stops the practice of unbalancing power transfers for any reason. And it has to be for any reason, because we’ll never know the motivations behind all seriously unbalanced gifts between characters.

  53. [...] which is only accessible from two special EQ2 game servers. (Thanks, once again, to Raph for highlighting [...]

  54. Sony y las transacciones de dinero real…

    Phil forja armaduras por dinero. Puede parecer una extraña profesión para un joven de 24 años que estudia ingeniería eléctrica en Ohio.

    Sin embargo, dentro de Everquest II, Patterson es bien conocido por su artesanía. Los jugadores le pagan fue…

  55. [...] phenomenon. Sony is to be applauded for making these data available. Raph Koster’s analysis is here. The press release is [...]

  56. [...] in sanctioned RMT among players. First report by Dan Terdiman here; Raph Koster’s analysis here; full press release [...]

  57. [...] exchange service, they've not only found out it's profitable, but not very game breaking.http://www.raphkoster.com/2007/02/07/soe-w…#comment-108074I always said the way to combat it was to embrace it and undercut the competition. [...]

  58. [...] You’re entitled to your whatever sentiment floats your boat. Why don’t you go read Raph Koster’s white paper on Station Exchange and argue with the president of Sony for awhile. I’m getting bored with this, which is probably what [...]

  59. [...] los análisis más interesantes se encuentran el de Raph Koster, diseñador de Ultima Online, Star Wars Galaxies y una de las personas más interesantes de [...]

  60. [...] ir kitų žaidėjų, neperkančių virtualių žaidimų daiktų už tikrus pinigus. Rapho Kosterso svetainėje yra pateikiama įdomi informacija apie „Station Exchange“ portalą, kurį likvidavo „Sony [...]

  61. [...] notice that Raph Koster has a post on SOE’s Station Exchange that mentions one of the motivations for those who buy virtual loot is people buy in order to be [...]

  62. [...] More than that, there's a whole whitepaper with stats. I blogged the highlights here:http://www.raphkoster.com/2007/02/07/soe-whitepaper-on-station-exchange/ [...]

  63. [...] Raph Koster’s take on the document, with a link to the PDF itself. Click here_________________Quis custodiet ipsos [...]

  64. [...] And Sony clearly would be the guys who went and built Sony Station Exchange. And they issued a large whitepaper and talked about all the benefits of having that, as well as what the challenge is. So I think [...]

  65. [...] own gold as a developer. I read a very interesting article about this which can be found here: http://www.raphkoster.com/2007/02/07…tion-exchange/ __________________ ‘think for yourself, question authority.’ =dr. timothy leary { administrator [...]

  66. [...] virtualių žaidimų daiktų už tikrus pinigus. Rapho Kosterso svetainėje yra pateikiama įdomi informacija apie „Station Exchange“ portalą, kurį [...]

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