I’m a bit new here and so far I like what I see! I can tell that this game is the product of endless hours of hard work, followed by inspiration, followed by more hard work! Mind you, there seems to be an overall concern about attracting new people to the game, and, if I can ask for a moment of your time, I’d like to help. I believe, in taking up the aforementioned topic, that it might be good for the game and the community to revisit this. Of course there need not be anything as drastic as a complete revision, but perhaps a minor modification would not only not be as bad as had been feared, but will be beneficial for the game as a whole. Also, the first sentence of the original post does indeed express a desire to “understand issues”. So tally ho!
1) The example given illustrates the danger of a group of people hard-core farming with five accounts, all month, every month, destroying the economy as it exists. My first question is: Does this really happen? Have there been many problems with such epic multi-farming in the past?
If so, does it happen in such a pandemic proportion that the current Trade-Nothing-Ever policy is the only thing preventing economic collapse by a great hoard of obsessive-compulsive farmers? Even if this is so, wouldn’t this be easily detectable and best handled on a case-by-case basis? The question is hypothetical, but the policy is real, so, might it be considered that if such a problem does not and has not existed, might this possibly allow some leeway in the future?
2) The next problem suggested that such multi-farming would immorally propel someone onto a leaderboard. This line of thought is open to the same questions as above. Wouldn’t the kind of true multi-abuse that would be required to not only beat but shatter the current impressive records be easily detectable since the abuser would be advertising themselves? Again do we truly see a need for the whole to be punished for the abuse of a few?
The stories collected from actual players are quite interesting, but I believe that #3 might hold the most intriguing point of discussion: That is, the case of a player who simply wishes to experience the whole myriad of options that this game has to offer, and to do it in a way that threatens no one, and who “cares” about each account used.
Isn’t this the best case scenario for the game? If someone forms a “team” of 2-4 accounts and trades _moderately_ between them, when they inevitably purchase an IOTM, they will be tempted to get one for EACH of their accounts! “If one IOTM is good,” this person will think, “are not more better?” If this person simply enjoys managing their team, is on no leaderboards and bothers no one, and pays cash for each IOTM, isn’t that good for the future of the game to have someone so devoted? Can TPTB truly say that a minor amount of moderate trading between accounts would not be worth a sale of an extra 4, or 8, or 40, or 80 IOTM per month? If such a person is so obvious in their enjoyment and devotion to the game to have the passion to manage several accounts, might not this person develop loyalty? Might they even, after seeing the success of their growing “team” be motivated to advertise such a wondrous game to others? How is this bad?
(And, no, this isn’t hypothetical. I have multiple accounts in another game, and each of them has been enriched. I am on no leaderboards, and the devs have over $100 of my money. One might call that symbiotic.)
To use this opportunity wouldn’t even require a firm definition of “multi-abuse”. KOL currently has something akin to the legal definition of pornography, which is, roughly, “I can’t define it but I’ll know it when I see it!” Your policy states that this sort of thing is monitored. Okay, monitor it. If one account trades a digital rapier to another, that is hardly worthy of notice. But if they trade 1000 rapiers, might not the wise Powers That Be have enough astuteness to tell the difference?
Another post talks about “new players,” some of which were egregious, and were punished, and others were “reminded to stop.” Doesn’t this example prove that judicious monitoring is effective? Here we have very good evidence that anything outside the realm of “reasonable” can be caught and punished. So why fear it? Why prevent all activity of a certain nature when you have already proved yourself capable of catching and meting out justice to the most egregious offenders?
But we don’t need to talk about the abusers. We do need talk about the new people that were “reminded to stop”.
Are they still around?
And this, really, is the point that I’m getting to. In this example the broad net of the current policy caught some small fish and gave them a talking to for enjoying a game with self-monitored moderation, and told them that the manner in which they were enjoying the game was bad, and needed to cease, lest punishment follow. No one likes to be yelled at, and less so for doing something that harms no one. If all these new people stopped playing, turned away from the game with hurt and resentment into the fast-flowing stream of entertainment that exists outside this game, does that make it worth it? For a game that thirsts for new people, could it be reasonably said that this policy might, possibly, be more hurtful than helpful?
Of course the retort to this is: “But what they were doing is immoral! We need to stop all action that goes against healthy societal norms!”
Alright, let’s see what society has been doing.
I don’t think anyone would say that Blizzard has a failing business model. Yet with the genre-defining RPG monoliths of Diablo and WoW they not only don’t discourage multi-account trading, they encourage it. Using the mountains of fan requests after Diablo 2, both games now make use of a ‘common chest’ wherein equipment between characters can easily be swapped. Today the population at large is used to this option and simply believes that if one item held by one character would work better on another character, it is normal to make the trade. For this game to go against that might be to swim against the tide.
And that, essentially, is what I’m proposing here—that we turn a negative into a positive.
Obviously I’m not doing this just to troll. If that were the case I’d just let out a “dis game is teh SUX!!1!” and have done. But I’m not, because I honestly think that there is more gain than loss for this worthy game and the developers.
This won’t be the last word. Of course there may be some debate. There may even be other ideas that have sounds like “trading license” or “processing fees” or “trial period”. That’s fine, and there’s a place for that, so tally ho!