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.