The Hidden Effects of RMT

It started (this time) with Lum, and then spread to Psychochild and from there to Grouchy Gnome, Moorgard, Cael, and Nick over at My 2 Copper: Real Money Transactions.

For now, let’s leave out discussions of my feelings on RMT’s effects on games, let’s leave out discussions of game design, let’s leave out the possible reasons people do it (lack of time, boredom, etc.). Instead, I’m going to talk about the hidden effects of RMT, specifically one that no one talks about.

I have two friends, well, I have more than two friends, jeez, I’m not a recluse, but for this discussion it only pertains to two of my friends. One of them is like me, we play the games for the games themselves, if something takes twenty hours it takes twenty hours. The other one buys gold. Basically, the second friend is usually a late adopter of games, or he’s distracted by other new games and “falls behind”, so he buys gold to catch up. He also does so once he reaches the “end game” because he doesn’t like farming. To sum up, one of my friends RMTs call him Brad, and the other doesn’t call him Mike.

The three of us are sitting in a bar talking over a table of beers. Mike and I are laughing and telling stories. Quests that went wrong, encounters that went down the shitter, PvP where we were handed our asses, funny monster pathing stories, and basically everything under the sun that comes from playing the game the boring traditional way, most of it involving failures of spectacular effort on our part. “This one time, I was out pulling in Mistmoore and I didn’t realize I’d agro’d a second mob from up top. So the group is fighting along some extra pulls from the front when the entire freakin’ Castle comes charging out! Holy Christ! There were like three hundred mobs and it was total chaos, so I grab agro on most of them and start running in a big damn circle…” Hilarity ensues. Brad nods, listens and laughs. He even has a story or two of his own, but Mike and I completely dominate the story telling and largely because most of our stories come from all the game that Brad skipped because with his bought gold he didn’t need to play it, or the uber items he scored with his bought gold made the encounters so easy the only story he could tell is how he sliced through everything like a hot knife through warm butter and he almost died when that mob ten levels higher than him showed up and he almost ran out of hitpoints on the three minute run for the zone line.

Now, of course this isn’t true in all cases. Once we finally all get up to raid level in games, the field levels a bit, because you usually can’t RMT past “end game” content unless you are buying characters, which Brad doesn’t do.

Why do I care? Brad comes to me one day and says, “Man, you guys always have great stories to tell. I wish I had those.”

There you have it… RMT ruins the time you spend with your friends drinking beers and talking about the game. And really, you have a job to get ahead in life, aren’t our games and hobbies intended to be done for the memories? Of course, that can go both ways… if I RMT’d too, Brad and I might be talking about all the high level content we were killing while Mike sat there with his little stories of low level quests, loser. So, in the end, my conclusion is… RMT or not, it doesn’t really matter, but make sure that you and your friends are all on similar pages so that no one gets left out.


  1. Psychochild says:

    The alternative, of course, is that your friend Brad might not have been able to play with you at all, assuming his time was limited outside of the game. He would have to sacrifice some other part of his life so he can spend more time in the game in order to have those stories. For some people, they can’t just quit their jobs in order to make that happen.

    Not all RMT has to cause this particular problem, though. While playing WoW, a friend of mine bought some gold for his epic mount. He spent about $300 for the 1000 gold for the mount (this was a while ago, price have dropped since then), and got a speedy mount. However, he still went through instances and could share in our stories about the pull in Scholomace that went bad, etc. The interesting irony here is that the character was a Paladin; he thought it was easier to buy the gold instead of trying to do the difficult (and still expensive) quest for the Paladin class epic mount. In the end, he didn’t feel like farming or getting really lucky in order to buy his mount or do his class quest. The money spent was worth it to him.

    Note that I’ve never personally bought any items, but mostly because I’m super-cheap. 😛 Well, I also prefer to try to conquer the game on my own terms, but that doesn’t mean that people willing to pay a bit more are “playing wrong”, they’re just doing something I wouldn’t.

    Another perspective.

  2. Jason says:

    Well, as I said, Brad was just a late adopter, or playing “too many” games at once, while Mike and I tend to just play one or two games at a time. Brad buys gold to buy items to make exp churning faster to catch up for the fact that he’s been farting around with fifteen games… in all of which he spends money in order to get over the fact that he doesn’t devote enough time to them. And then, of course, he complains that he’s broke all the time and that he “has” to spend money to play… all arguments that he should just play a couple games are met with a blank stare.

    City of Heroes worked great for us… Sidekicking and Mentoring meant that he didn’t feel left out. Besides, there was nothing in that game for him to RMT except entire characters, something even he won’t do.

    And your paladin friend, since he bought a mount, he now won’t have the stories to tell of doing the quest. He paid money and as a result now has one less (or one different, if you insist on being absolutely objective) thing to talk about. Frankly, a story about a quest is bound to be infinitely more interesting than “And then I clicked the Paypal button and waited for the ingame contact for how to obtain my gold.”

  3. Psychochild says:

    he now won€™t have the stories to tell of doing the quest. […] Frankly, a story about a quest is bound to be infinitely more interesting than €œAnd then I clicked the Paypal button and waited for the ingame contact for how to obtain my gold.€

    Not really. The story would have been, “And then we wiped for the fourth time in a row.” 😉 The quest was pretty tough, at least back when we attempted it, so I really don’t blame him for buying his mount. Not that I would do the same, mind you.

    Anyway, my point was that he still had 99.9% of the same stories we could all share. Not to say your point is invalid, but it’s not as dire in every situation.

    P.S., you should increase the font size on the comments. Very hard to read, especially light gray on dark gray. A larger font would be nice. Take care!

  4. Jason says:

    We could easily go round and round on this… but also realise that your friend, buying gold once, for one item, is not the target audience for RMT based games. The target for an RMT based game would be someone who is likely to buy something on a more regular basis, be it gold, items, new textures, new dungeons… little charges so you are thinking “… it’s only 99 cents …” and not paying attention to the fact you’ve already spent $40 this month.

    Your example, of a one time purchase, while strictly RMT, is not really what people are talking about when they discuss RMT hurting games. Brad buys gold, in multiple games, every month, in order to “keep up”, even when he isn’t behind at all.

  5. […] a mere twenty months ago. Or the somewhat more civil but nonetheless passionate clash of wills occuring some time later […]

  6. […] a mere twenty months ago. Or the somewhat more civil but nonetheless passionate clash of wills occuring some time later […]

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