Aggro Me: Nice Job
"A few hundred 'bot subscriptions just aren't worth the money when compared to keeping the game fun for hundreds of thousands of people." -EQ II Senior Producer Scott Hartsman"Clean your finger before you point at my spots."
Being relatively new to MMORPG's I don't have the built up ill will towards SOE that some do. I have often given them the benefit of the doubt when more experienced players have not. I gave them kind of a free pass on the Froglok nonsense.
I have been willing to accept their mistruths and missteps and have always tried to take everything in a light and humorous way.
But not today. Not on this day.
For years I have listened to SOE and other MMORPG companies vilify IGE and the secondary market to the point where they have become the devils that cause all that is evil and wrong with online gaming. Whether this is true or not is a matter for another debate. But now I know why SOE was bashing IGE. Not as an enemy, you see, but as a competitor.
I watched as SOE lauded themselves for their victorious war on farmers and botters. "Not in our game," they cried. "They will not interfere with our precious sanctity." Sure, when the coins are going into someone else's coffers. When it's your own pockets that are getting filled then it's a service.
The funny thing is, things were working. According to a source I trust, IGE has had almost no currency for sale on any EQII server for some time now. A friend of mine who belongs to an "exploit" forum reports that it is basically dead because there are no exploits to speak of. So what do you do when you're the corrupt sherrif of a town? First you drive out all crime. Then you hit up the townsfolk for protection money.
The hypocrites fully intended to enter the secondary market themselves and are now preparing to do so. SOE will be taking a "service charge" on each transaction. If they are really doing this for the good of the game, why not do it for free?
The new Exchange website is full of scare tactics. Beware the Secondary Market! They will steal from you and murder your children! And that's just before breakfast!
Now, I happen to have two friends that guiltily admit to using IGE. I don't judge my friends. I polled them last night on their experiences.
"A few months ago I bought a few plat from IGE. They delivered each time in under 2o minutes."
"I bought 3 platinum a month ago (from a smaller IGE competitior) and it was delivered in 10 minutes."
Again, I'm not trying to say they were right or wrong. But they certainly didn't have any of the issues mentioned in SOE's propaganda.
Of course, if you try to buy plat, accounts or items from the more shady venues out there, you may get scammed. But the same could be said for buying anything on Ebay. You pay less but there are some risks. Order from Amazon and there are no risks but you pay more.
For those who say, well this is only for new servers, for those who say, you can play on them or not, it's your choice, I say, "Read carefully."
"Over time, we will look at possibly enabling Station Exchange on current servers based on the desires and activities of our communities."
Oh, but if they make your server an Exchange server you get a free transfer off! Wow, what a deal. Say goodbye to your friends, guild and community. But as Brenlo says, a server is just a piece of hardware, right?
The most frequent comment I got while playing last night is that this will put the botters in one place. My first reaction was the same. But on further reflection, I don't know if that will happen. Not everyone who uses the secondary market is going to suddenly leave their guilds and friends to transfer to a new server. Thus, there will still be demand on the non-Exchange servers for plat-selling. And where there is demand, you will find secondary market companies and their botters and farmers. And let's say you are a botter that works for a secondary market company. Why would you work on an Exchange server that has no need for such a company?
I'm afraid we've all been so conditioned to hate botters and the secondary market that we've forgotton why we hate them. Let me remind you. It's because they ruin the integrity of the game. SOE has used this hatred as a way of gaining support for their new cash cow. But SOE is ruining the integrity of the game on a higher level than any botter and doing it with a smile. If you hate botters and the secondary market, why would you possibly support SOE doing the same thing?
Smed talks a lot about the future. Is the future a place where real world money is the only thing that will count in gaming? Will you feel the same accomplishment finishing a difficult quest and knowing someone bought the same reward for five bucks? When easily transferrable real money is on the line, how many people will play just to make a quick buck, making the "game" a hunt for the quickest exploit or farming area? Is the recently announced PvP going to be a fun round of who has the fatter bank account?
SOE loves to blather on about the storied history of Everquest, it's greatness and purity. But they sure are quick to sell out that history for the sake of a quick buck. For a company that has always held itself up to be something more special than its competitors, they have no qualms about being first to dive into the muck.
Are subscription fees, game sales, adventure packs, and expansions not enough ways for them to make money? Apparently not. I can just see a board of directors meetings in which some SOE suits proudly brag about the "new revenue streams" they will be creating. "Okay /pizza got us a few bucks, but wait till you see the profit margins on this one!"
The devs are apparently under orders to post it up on the new Station Exchange Forum and they have really been churning out the feel-good nonsense. I don't blame them, it's a job. I might even buy a used car from them. But I'm not buying this one.
If companies want to try this model, let them. But I didn't sign on to play Project Entropia. I signed on to play Everquest II. And I listened to them slam the secondary market forever. They are not only sullying the integrity of their own game, they are setting a precedent which underminines the future legal rights and integrity of any other companies that make MMORPG's.
I don't even mind corporations being greedy whores with no morals. I think in the era of Enron and Worldcom we are all sadly used to it.
What I mind is SOE's disgusting hypocrisy. They are whores who villify their fellow whores and dress themselves in holy garb. Whatever good will they may have built up, they just irrevocably damaged forever with this truly sickening announcement.
Here are some links for further commentary on the story:
Wired Magzine: General news coverage. My favorite quote: "The move is surprising because SOE has been one of the fiercest and most vocal opponents of MMO players who spend real money on virtual assets."
Adventuring with Ark: Good commentary. My favorite quote: "It's such a bad idea, even Moorgard's old website, Mobhunter, thinks it's a bad idea."
TerraNova: Argument on both sides. My favorite quote: "If eBaying isn't a problem, why sell objects at all? Why not just give them away to anyone who wants them?...because it SPOILS THE GAME. "
Vanguard Crafters: They have an unofficial poll up as well as an editorial.
Aggro Me will eventually return to it's usual light commentary. Thank you for reading.