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IGE On Why Power-Leveling Is Like Day Care 86

simoniker writes "In a rare interview with the COO of MMO item-selling giant IGE at Gamasutra, topics discussed include the ownership of in-game items, why gold selling can be a "great business opportunity" for Chinese suppliers, and why power-leveling (paying other players to increase your character stats) is something IGE will be moving into." From the article: "Clarke also noted that, in pure economic terms, paying people to level your character is 'a market which tends toward commoditization.' Of course, those handing over their character have 'a high degree of sensitivity' to what's happening to their virtual avatar — the COO quipped: 'It's almost like day care... you'd be amazed how much they check in.'"
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IGE On Why Power-Leveling Is Like Day Care

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  • by black6host ( 469985 ) on Friday August 25, 2006 @03:53PM (#15981001)
    I don't understand why folks don't just enjoy leveling up. It's part of the fun. Power leveling is like wishing your life away. It's not like the developers put all the good stuff in at the higher levels and just offer garbage in the beginning...
    • by C0rinthian ( 770164 ) on Friday August 25, 2006 @03:58PM (#15981047)
      I'd agree with you if it's your first character in a game. However if it's a re-roll then the levelling process can be VERY tedious. I've gone through the barrens on 3 characters in WoW, and I'd be happy to NEVER do that again. I don't agree with power-levelling, but I can understand the desire to let someone else do the grunt work for you...
      • I don't buy that at all. I used to play Everquest. Once you've got a toon to level 60, it takes about 40 hours to get the next one to 55, incluing doing things (class specific quests) you didnt do with your last toon. Now if all you do is play the best XP/hour or gold/hour zones and camps, then I guess it'd get pretty boring. But there is a lot of detail and fun to be found in other places. For example, take a group of 6 18-20 players and work the ogre camp in WK - that's a fun camp. And do you know w
        • I've got to level 60's. A hunter I mostly soloed up, and a Priest that I levelled with a group of friends. We did tons of questing, hit all the instances, and took time to PvP at all brackets.

          I didn't rush to 60 by any stretch, and if I rip to 60 on a new char, I won't be missing much. (unless I switch factions)
        • by lewp ( 95638 )
          It takes 72+ hours to get to 60 in WoW, minimum. That's the shortest amount of playtime I'm aware of, and it was done with a group of people specifically trying to see how fast they could get someone to 60. Powerlevelling in the traditional sense just doesn't really work in WoW. Solo grinding is pretty much the fastest way to level, disregarding the fact that you'll get ganked quite a bit if you solo grind in populated places on PvP servers.

          Experienced players mostly get to 60 in about 7 days of playtime (w
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      True. It kinda defeats the purpose of playing the game if someone does it for you. Okay, so your a level 60 badass. Did you have fun getting there? Oh wait, you wouldn't know.

      If the game means enough to you to want to get a high level, then it should mean enough to earn that level. Otherwise, why are you playing? If the game play sucks at the low-levels, then why bother continuing?
      • by Morlark ( 814687 )
        I completely agree, and it's not just about earning your level, it's about learning your class. In my experience, people who haven't gone through the levelling experience for themselves invariably do not know how to play their class competently. In some cases I've met people who were ignorant of some of the most basic aspects of the game.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Probably because in every MMORPG I've ever played (and I've played a whole lot of them), leveling is the most repetitive, dull, mind numbing time sink in the known universe?

      There's no entertainment in killing slightly different colored sprites for 50-60 levels. It's a treadmill, and god awful boring.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 25, 2006 @04:16PM (#15981225)
        I've never understood this mentality. If the game isn't any fun, don't play it and do something that is fun instead. Basically, if one thinks a game is the most dull, repetitive time sink ever (which a lot of them are) maybe paying a monthly fee to pay someone else to do the "work" is a horrible waste of money. By paying someone to powerlevel a character, the power-levelee is just admitting they've fallen victim to an enormous bait and switch: the odd concept of "end-game." The really mind-numbing thing is that the end-game is almost always just more and more grinding! People are paying a monthly fee to pay someone else to level a character only to do the same thing all over in the end-game. Stupid consumerism, yay!

        I play an MMO that is notorious for it's lack of end-game (City of Heroes). I play it because I enjoy it (a concept apparently foreign to many-a-player), not to prove anything to anyone, gloat about my uber-high level characters, or make money in some zany e-bay scheme. The entire concept of games being fun is lost on a large portion of the MMO community because they're too competitive to realise they aren't having any fun (or even playing the game, I guess).
        • A lot of players make cyberfriends in their virtual worlds which makes it harder for them to leave. That's why they stay.
    • by linuxkrn ( 635044 ) <[moc.nigolxunil] [ta] [nostawg]> on Friday August 25, 2006 @04:06PM (#15981139)
      It depends on the game.

      I do droks runs in guild wars for a few reasons. I've not only been the runner, but been ran by others myself. In guild wars the lvl cap is 20. You are free to change your secondary class as much as you want. But you cannot change your primary class. This means there are several other builds you could try out. However, before Factions, it took a very long time to get where the good stuff was. Droks armor is highest in stats (not best skin/but AC rating), plus the skills trader has more advanced skills.

      If you've already played the game through say 4-5 times then doing it again and again for each new character type is boring and painful.

      And before factions, we were limited to 4 characters per account. Which meant you had to delete your old ones before trying out different classes. Guild wars isn't a level grinder like most other RPG games. After you hit 20, that's it. You just focus on better skill combos and different areas. Why make the players go through the entire noob areas again?

      If you look at factions, this is what the game devs did. They made it so you can level up to 20 in two days with 3000+ XP quests. In GW1 it took week(s) at 250-500XP per quest.

      And finally, running is a quick, not always easy, way to make some money. They have nerfed all the good farming areas and made it so money is much harder to aquire. Granted green/gold drops help, it's a pain trying to do player-player trades. In one droks run I make 10-15k in 35 minutes. When a full suite of nice looking (15k) armor cost me 150k it's still hard work.

      And if you're wondering, playing with skills and builds is what it's all about. I just got my ele to do 2,672 damage in one spell hit. (4x-668 damage to lvl 5 guys). =)
      http://www.linuxlogin.com/public/2672damage.jpg [linuxlogin.com]
      BTW, that's wine 0.9.19 running a test this morning. Why health bars overlap.
      • by acvh ( 120205 ) <geek@m s c i g a r s.com> on Friday August 25, 2006 @04:17PM (#15981243) Homepage
        but I have no idea what you just said.
      • by geniusj ( 140174 )
        For all the complaining some people do about Factions, I do like the fact that it's so quick to level in it. I first started playing when Prophecies came out, and it took me a while to get to level 20. It's nice being able to do that again without running through all those areas again.

        My opinion on why they designed factions that way though was because there were a ton of level 20s, they were selling it as a separate game, and they wanted the vast majority of the content in factions to be applicable to th
      • Some games allow a "respec" with less work than re-leveling all the way. Examples:

        -Neocron has "LOM pills" you can use to delete some skills and then re-spend the skill points. You will have to re-level a small part of the skill points, and LOMing it takes time. But it is way easier than starting a new character.
        -In Tabula Rasa, a backup of your character will be saved at each major fork in the skill tree. You can then replay from that point.

        I think this solves much of the problem.
    • by brkello ( 642429 ) on Friday August 25, 2006 @04:22PM (#15981279)
      Usually it is enjoyable the first time up. After that it becomes very tedious. Not that I would ever pay for this service, but I can understand why people would do it.
    • by Jaeph ( 710098 )
      I think you are taking the wrong perspective on this. The question is why don't the companies look into the reasons players skip the content to get to the end-game?

      I think part of it is the same reason I eat an entire cheescake even knowing it will make me sick. :-)

      However, part of it is that levelling is still boring. It's fun for awhile, but at a certain point it gets old.

      I'm waiting for the day that you can level up in "battlegrounds" (keeping that vauge) until you reach high-level. All advancement do
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by hazehead ( 316081 )
      Power leveling is the opposite of wishing your life away, it's like taking steroids. Same results as everyone else, but you get there so much faster!

      The two MMOs I've played (FFXI and EverC) I would have paid decent money to skip certain segments of wandering through the same places, fighting the same monsters, over and over...
    • Same MMOs make the mistake is practically offering you everything early on (such as Planetside or Guild Wars), the bulk of content mid-game (such as WoW or City of Heroes) or throwing nearly everything at your at the end-game (such as FFXI or Everquest.) Very few games successfully balance the spread of content throughout the experience. (And before any complaints about tier 1 and 2 gear sets in WoW, the 'game' doesn't start until 10 when you can finally choose talents and more or less ends at 40 when you g
    • Levels are lame. They've been around forever, but they're still lame. They're a barrier to playing with your friends, even in progressive games like CoX where you have sidekicking and exemplaring, since someone's character advancement gets killed if the gap widens. In games like the Everquest series and others they're the collecting point -- everyone moves towards the level cap, so everyone tends to collect there, and that's where all the groups, raids, and new content ends up.

      They suck the life out of PvP
      • by L7_ ( 645377 )
        uhh levels haven't been around forever. Ultima Online didn't have them. Neither did Asheron's Call. 2 of 3 of the "Original 3" MMORGP's.
        • Uhhh gaming predates the internet, let alone MMOs. Regardless, Asheron's Call actually had levels called, appropriately enough, levels, that let you allocate skills but still fostered pure numerical advantages between characters. UO I am less familiar with, the skill system is a step in the same direction, but I heard it was still a big grind.

          The major point is not the "level" semantics in and of itself, it's that grind (or camp)-for-mo-power is almost the solely existing paradigm. Planetside has two major
          • by k_187 ( 61692 )
            yes, and we can call that sword technique, Sword Tech Level 1. And then the next Sword Tech Level 2. All levels do is give a numerical representation to amount of skill that one has in any given skill. Would it be better if you were given differently colored belts instead? Levels aren't the problem, its gameplay that is focused on them that is the problem.
            • yes, and we can call that sword technique, Sword Tech Level 1. And then the next Sword Tech Level 2. All levels do is give a numerical representation to amount of skill that one has in any given skill.

              Okay, you're making a pedantic semantical argument. Yeah, you can shoehorn the level terminology into any game. But the entire point of my example was that the ultimate system is one in which you gain skills in a non-linear manner, where one is only situationally better than the other. There is no Sword Tech
              • by k_187 ( 61692 )
                eh, its still levels of something. you're just describing a much expanded skill tree. nothing wrong with that, just different metaphors. I don't think its possilbe to decouple these types of games from "levels" In either of our examples, they're simply a way of saying that you're better than you once were. Whether that's represented by having Sword Tech level 8532 or a 10% speed bonus is irrelevant.
    • Because there are hundreds of people that don't want to enjoy the trip. They want to have that lvl xx toon right now, so they can brag about what they have.

      Why do you think people buy accounts on eBay?

      Heck, folks call anyone that can't seen to play their class worth eBayers. We just assume they either bought the account, or their friends played the toon to top level.

      You see them in every game. In other words...

      Keep moving, people. Nothing to see here!
  • by Parallax Blue ( 836836 ) on Friday August 25, 2006 @03:57PM (#15981044)
    People who use power-leveling services are in somewhat of a quandry: on one hand, they want to be the best (even if it means hiring someone to do all the work for them) but on the other hand they're worried about being ripped off (understandably) and losing their character/avatar/items/gold etc. Basically, their desire to be the best is at war with their obsession over the game and how horrible it would be to lose stuff due to a scam.

    Then there's the amount of money invested in the service, which is usually a couple hundred dollars. Combine those two and it's not surprising to hear that they check in often.

    • I don't think getting ripped off is the biggest concern. It's your reputation that is. As far as the rest of the playerbase is concerned, that is you running around levelling. So you will need to deal with the consequences of the power-levelling services actions.

      If the guy levelling your character gets you a bad reputation, you're screwed.
    • by Morlark ( 814687 )
      On the contrary, I don't believe that there is a quandary. People that make use of power-levelling services (almost) by definition can never be the best, because they lack the knowledge and skill that they would have been picked up during the levelling progress. Add to this the fact that other players will often shun those who make use of power-levelling services (partly because of the lack of skill, and partly just because of the power-levelling) and you find that there are very few sensible reasons for po
  • The world of online games is chock full of people trying to be clever by seeing how they can draw analogies to the world before online games. Or be even more clever by trying to be the first to spot something "totally new!" Get over yourselves!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by brkello ( 642429 )
      Actually, I agree with you. The reason we have analogies is so that we can take something complex and hard to understand...and make it easier to understand by comparing it something that another person can easily identify with. Power leveling is not complex. It makes sense they check in a lot since they have paid a large chunk of change and that the other person could be ruining their account.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by steveo777 ( 183629 )
        Pretty much why I just have my brother do it for free. I just let him keep most of the spoils. He'll call me and tell me he's gained two levels on one of my char's every once in a while. But he's the kind of guy who enjoys the grind. And I am not. I like the interaction, and getting things accomplished. So I level my main, but the alts don't offer much of anything new except editing your strategy in killing different MOBs in WoW. Just my 2 cents.
  • by GundamFan ( 848341 ) on Friday August 25, 2006 @04:01PM (#15981084)
    Gold farming, loot farming and power leveling suck the fun out of all MMOs. I don't care if someone is making a living off of it, I don't care if it is so commonplace that most players accept it and even use these services and I don't care if you think I am being snooty. Don't sit there and whine about a broken economy... DEMAND that it be fixed!
    • by SatanicPuppy ( 611928 ) * <Satanicpuppy.gmail@com> on Friday August 25, 2006 @04:14PM (#15981203) Journal
      That's got nothing to do with the game economy, that has to do with the real economy.

      How do you plan on fixing that?
      • Easy Fix (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TubeSteak ( 669689 )
        The game occassionaly asks for random digits/letters from your credit card number + CCV, bank account number, home address or some other bit of information you used at signup and are not going to pass around lightly.

        The gaming company already has it, but do you really want to tell a power leveler that kind of information?
    • by brkello ( 642429 )
      Power leveling has nothing to do with the in game economy. It makes a lot of people have no clue how to play their characters, but it isn't really a problem as most people who play WoW don't know how to play their characters (from my experience anyways) :)
      • With respect to the specific WoW problem... the reason most people don't know "how to play" their characters is because the game setup encourages bad habits. For example, I got to 60 with a warrior by dumping everything into damage. My reasoning was simple: kill it before it kills me. But once I got to 60, I had NO idea on how to keep aggro contained... and I had a very rude awakening while trying to tank.

        My entire skill set had to shift from dealing damage (while solo-ing) to taking massive amounts of d
        • If you soloed to 60 then you avoided all the content that would have taught you to tank. (Instances) The learning curve is there, you just aren't forced to learn it.
    • by ad0gg ( 594412 )
      Broken economy in games is caused by people like me who buy up a certain good on the market to produce a shortage and then jack the prices up. When you have tons of gold because you played wow from the start, its very easy to make gold.
      • I may not agree with that tactic but at least you are playing within the rules.

        Part of the reason prices inflate like that is the glut of farmer gold in the hands of people who haven't "earned it" and don't assign any in game value to it.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    If you really want to stop gold-farming and power-leveling you have to design your game in a way where skill, rather then time invested, is the primary attribute that determines advancement in your game. Consider (for a moment) that you're using a Mouse/Stylus or Wiimote to draw Runes onto your screen in order to cast or choose your combat action, with this setup you can have hundreds of possible actions you could perform at any given time; if rather then 'auto-blocking/resisting' you have to draw the appro
    • by brkello ( 642429 ) on Friday August 25, 2006 @04:35PM (#15981405)
      Congratulations, you have just created a game that no one would want to play! There are games that exist that require skill to play...they are called FPS. We are talking MMORPG...and WoW actually does do a very good job of making it so that farmers aren't really a big deal. The best drops are things that you can only get when you are in a group with other people running instances. You can not sell these things so they are meaningless to the economy. These items are much better than things you can purchase. People still buy gold because they like a shortcut. And even in FPS, people use cheats to get ahead. In your game they would just get a program that recorded mouse movements so that they could create the runes with a single click thus removing all skill from the game other that the small amount of strategy left (which will already be figured out what is the best thing to do and probably be scripted).

      There is only one way to curtail (and that is the best you can do) gold farming/selling greatly. And that is to ban the people who BUY the gold. The gold sellers will always come back with new characters to sell gold. But if their market is too afraid to buy because they will be banned, then they can't make a profit and go find something else to do.
      • the only way to get rid of it is to remove unfun time sinks. I swear, people would play WoW just as much if there were no

        = pots to farm for
        just retune the encounters to make pot-mandatory encounters not pot-mandatory or, even better, just have vendors sell the pots for free: you're ridding Azeroth of dangerous monsters (theoretically), the populace should be happy to support you!

        = time-based PvP grind
        go for skill instead (it seems this will happen in BC)

        = repairs/durability
        it's just a gold sink, again, the
        • by brkello ( 642429 )
          Uhh, that would do nothing. If you remove the cost of everything, the economy would be flooded with too much gold causing insane inflation. How do you measuer skill in PvP under the current system? Kills? Certain classes will have an insane advantage over others. Gold sinks exisit for a reason. Rep grinds I do hate, but they put those in place for all the people ahead of the curve...they have something to do until the next dungeon. But make a game as fun as you can, there will still be people buying
      • Congratulations, you have just created a game that no one would want to play! There are games that exist that require skill to play...they are called FPS. We are talking MMORPG...

        I'm looking for a new MMORPG/FPS hybrid after I gave up on Neocron due to too many unfixed bugs (years after release). Might try Planetside...
        anyway, the reason is that I find Click&Wait combat boring. Since fighting is a large part of most MMORPGs, I want combat to be fun and challenging by itself. Can only be done by requirin
    • That's why I play a Fantasy Role Playing Game. He's got an intelligence of 200 sumthin sumthin, so he can do all that runey stuff. My character is also a lot braver than I am, which is why I'm not interested in a game in which my Real-Life chair is wired to jolt me with 500 volts every time the on-screen bad-guy whacks my avatar. My character, he's brave, and that's reflected In his thousands of hit points, so he stays and fights even though he's getting shot by lightning bolts while his nuts are being e
    • You just described Puzzle Pirates, which while it still has equipment, often pales in comparison to the skill needed.

      Good on you!
  • Just so you know, IGE are also the people who own the QJ/PSPupdates sites who have also tried to buy out sites like PSP News [dcemu.co.uk]. The QJ sites charge 3 dollars a week to forum users so they can remove ads/popups (which firefox moves ok), Like IGE they are buying out the competition, the recent buy was a Podcasting site, they have also Paid Homebrew coders Like Fanjita for exclusives and threatened Legal proceedings against PSP Homebrew sites who didnt link to them for the release. For the "premium forum acess
  • by Dachannien ( 617929 ) on Friday August 25, 2006 @04:12PM (#15981187)
    It's almost like day care... you'd be amazed how much they check in.

    He makes it sound like people are checking in because they love their characters like they love their kids. I think a more accurate assessment is that they're checking in to make sure they aren't getting ripped off.

    • "He makes it sound like people are checking in because they love their characters like they love their kids. I think a more accurate assessment is that they're checking in to make sure they aren't getting ripped off.

      Uh, have you ever played an MMO before?

      Many people who get freakishly into it do "love" their characters in that way - it's very scary. The "ripped off" part is just a piece of it; it all boils down for their love of "living" in a world that does not exist and mommy/daddy/girlfriend (let's

      • Uh, have you ever played an MMO before?

        Since 1999, and I played MUDs before that for another five years. You know, like most people on Slashdot.

        Many people who get freakishly into it do "love" their characters in that way.

        The people who pay for levelling services don't love their characters like children until the levelling service is done with them. Feeling parental love for your character happens because you spend such a huge time playing a character, which usually implies that you are no longer in the
  • Clarification (Score:4, Informative)

    by Soul-Burn666 ( 574119 ) on Friday August 25, 2006 @04:29PM (#15981338) Journal
    Powerleveling isn't necessarily paying someone else to buff your stats, but rather using "unlimited resources" to gain exp and thus levels faster.
    For example, to buy a load of mana potions to be able to spam your strongest spells early on and repeatedly, at prohibitive costs for a standard character of that level.
    Some people make calculations as to the exact best way to level, "normally" and by powerleveling. Knowing which mob has a good respawn rate compared to how much time it takes to kill it compared to how much exp you gain from it.

    Surely sometimes the fastest way to level includes different players who party with you so you get some of their earned exp.

    The point still stands that games that force you to grind are probably not that fun, but rather just addictive.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Powerlevel services, huh?

    You'll get a level 60 character you have no clue how to play, and you'll have trouble finding a party to go to any instances after you gain a reputation for being an idiot who wipes your party. That is, if you can find a group in the first place. Likely, people won't party with you since they've seen your character running around in a bot-like manner and an inability to speak English. Your character will likely already have a bad reputation, in other words, because people who hav
    • A good player can get a character from 1-60 within 3 months for their first character, 1 month for alts. That's for a normal person with a full-time job.

      Considering an average of 16 days /played from level 1-60, to hit 60 in three months you're looking at six hours a day, five days a week. That's pretty extreme for a normal person with a full-time job and basically impossible for anybody with a family.

      It's taken me the best part of a year to hit 60, but that's ok. I like questing out in the world of

  • I've played MMORPG's for years (from EverQuest, to Dark Age, to WOW these days) and it becomes very easy to tell the difference between a player who paid for power leveling services (or just had a friend power level them, as was the case in EverQuest and DAoC more often than not) and someone who actually played the game from level 1 to MaxLevel. Almost without fail, the person who was power leveled has no clue how to play their character and knows nothing of common game concepts (pulling, tanking, whatever

    • by Lectrik ( 180902 )

      It's not uncommon for power leveled players to "ninja loot" (steal an item that drops for a party, then immediately leave the group) and cause other forms of grief to others.

      heh, earlier on in WoW i remember when us warlocks were the rarest class... and there'd always be that one person, on the rare occasions that I would group, that would tell me to not ninja all the soul shards.

      These types of players end up getting a bad reputation eventually, so it becomes easier to avoid them; however, it's still a gian

  • Did anyone actually read the article? It doesnt read like an interview at all. After reading the first paragraph, i knew that this was going to be simplified down to the level of "clueless n00b". I tried to skim and read ahead, but couldnt find anything but a few quotes spliced in here and there. Im not going to read 4 pages of gold farming 101, so can someone actually reprint the interview here? I simply couldn't find it.

  • by Onan ( 25162 ) on Friday August 25, 2006 @04:57PM (#15981625)

    The viability of powerleveling/goldselling/etc as a business is directly proportional to how much of the game is simply not fun for players.

    The real solution is not to try and enact policies and game systems to make powerleveling difficult, but instead to design the game to make it undesired. If a leveling/farming market springs up, that's your cue that this is an area of the game which needs reinventing as something that players actually _enjoy_ doing.

    • As long as people continue to differ on what they enjoy, the problem cannot be solved by making a particular aspect of the game more enjoyable. 'Enjoyable', you see, is neither constant nor universal.

      To put the point another way: there will always be a percentage of people who simply enjoy cruising around with an uber-powerful not-home-made character, and so a market will do its darndest to arise to fulfill that desire.

    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by Guppy06 ( 410832 )
      "directly proportional to how much of the game is simply not fun for players."

      There is no reason for any game company to go out of their way to please everybody. If there are some players that don't find the game fun any more, it is time for those players to move on to something else that is fun. Blizzard (et al) are making enough money that they don't need to cater to such people, especially when doing so could seriously harm the playing experience of everybody else.

      The world does not revolve around you.
  • Another Analogy (Score:2, Insightful)

    Wouldn't it be more like,

    "Leaving your child with a felon who runs a crack lab, and if the felon gets busted you lose your child and all parenting rights forever"

    Since if your character is caught hacking/botting/being power leveled it can get the account banned.

    Does IGE have a garuntee in case the charcter is banned?
  • by Xiph ( 723935 )
    Powerlevelling is good, because it lets people play the part of the game they enjoy, and that's what gaming is all about.

    I know some people don't like it, they say that people don't work to get their character to level 60 or whatever is max.
    I say that's a lie, i say people choose to work at their job, instead of doing what many consider a chore (ingame) to get those stats.

    If you have 3 friends playing WoW and they're all maxxed out, but because you just started in a lawfirm,
    it'll take you half a year to get
    • by Guppy06 ( 410832 )
      "Powerlevelling is good, because it lets people play the part of the game they enjoy, and that's what gaming is all about."

      How much enjoyment could you have with what is essentially somebody else's high-level character? A good deal of the enjoyment of having such a character is remembering the effort it took.

      "I say that's a lie, i say people choose to work at their job, instead of doing what many consider a chore (ingame) to get those stats."

      If it is such a "chore" that you equate it with "work," then quit
      • by Xiph ( 723935 )
        "How much enjoyment could you have with what is essentially somebody else's high-level character? A good deal of the enjoyment of having such a character is remembering the effort it took"
        If it's made according to how you wanted the character made, You paid for it, it's yours.

        "... then quit the game."
        There ARE aspects of the game payers like, why not just let them play those parts?
        Their subscriptions help pay improvement of the aspects you like, just as much as yours does

        "[Your argument is] nothing in the g
        • by Guppy06 ( 410832 )
          "If it's made according to how you wanted the character made, You paid for it, it's yours."

          I can go down the street to the trophy shop and buy myself a trophy to my exact specifications. Heck, I could probably spend a little effort and get myself an exact replica of an Olympic gold medal. Does that make it the same? Does that mean it's worth as much to me as a trophy I won?

          "There ARE aspects of the game payers like, why not just let them play those parts?"

          If those aspects of the game were meant to be the
          • by Xiph ( 723935 )
            First off, the main difference is, that you see your character as a trophy of your achievement, i see mine as a tool for having fun.

            Secondly, you seem to think im referring to the particular game that you're playing, which i don't even know which one is.
            I admit that i might've been a bit carried away in my reply to your first post and have overlooked that you were being very specific.

            Thirdly you make the mistake of assuming that spending money on something is not a commitment. You're wrong, it is!
            I w
      • by Sodade ( 650466 )
        Your responses clearly indicate that you do not understand the basic level structure of WoW, which is, by far, the most popular MMOG out there. Being level 60 means nothing - you are defined by the quality of your gear, the best of which can only be obtained by long hours of raiding, which requires (relative to the game's parameters) a large degree of skill. When you inspect my level 60 rogue decked out in Tier1/2 epics, it doesn't matter if I paid a powerlevelling service to get there or not (I didn't). Ce
  • Perhaps a small part of the appeal of power-leveling (what a meme!) is that you are paying someone else to do stuff for you. You get to be the boss. It's a power relationship that might not otherwise exist in a gamer's real life.

    In fact, I'm trying to think of things in my life that I could "outsource". Aside from coding, which I actually like to do, I don't have many opportunities to hire someone. I have no need of a gardener, or a babysitter, or even a dog walker. I take a cab sometimes, but that's differ
  • by TheZorch ( 925979 ) <thezorch@gmailREDHAT.com minus distro> on Sunday August 27, 2006 @03:17AM (#15988474) Homepage
    Around December of 2005 gil sellers were killing prices on the Auction Houses of Final Fantasy XI. Prices were outrageously high. Not long after SquareEnix banned several hundred players and removed several billion gil from the game. After that prices returned to normal. A few months later I noticed some characters with funky names running around a zone farming mobs. They were moving like a highly trained squad. This was not typical player behavior. Their names were something like "BK1A, BK1B, BK1C" and so on and so forth. I asked around on my Linkshell about it and they told me they were gil sellers.

    Around that time wierd things started to happen in the AHs. Prices on items that players would normally put up there in order to make money were dropping rapidly. Someone was undercutting prices like crazy, and outrageous amounts of items were flooding the AH also. Take Fire Crystals for instance. Crystals are the basis of the crafting system of FFXI, without them you cannot craft at all. A stack of 12 Fire Crystals would normally sell for 8,000 gil were undercut to 1,000 to 2,000, and you'd see 60+ stacks on the AH. You'd think that a drop in price for these items would be a great thing, but for players who sell crystals on the AH to make money its a bad things. It makes it harder for players to make money needed for upgrading armor and weapons, and otherwise being able to buy other crafting materials. The overall economy suffered as a result and is just now starting to recover.

    To combat gil sellers SE implimented a number of countermeasures. The servers, all 32 of them, have packet sniffers which watch for bot programs that snif packets watching for NMs to pop. Now, there is a delay between the initial packet sent from the server to the client announcing the pop of the NM so that bot programs can't claim it first before the players can.

    Another countermeasure they did was to put an EX (Exclusive) flag on certain items dropped by NMs associated with popular quests. EX items cannot be sold on the AH or traded. Characters can only have one RARE flagged item in their inventory. This includes personal inventory, MogSafe, and Mog House storage. You can store then in the delivery box by sending them to yourself. Many quest items dropped by mobs and NMs have both the RARE and EX flags.

    Lastly, the amount of gil that can be sent to any character via the delivery boxes is limited to 1 million gil. All of this is common knowledge.

    Now that Chocobo Raising has been implimented and Chocobo Racing is just around the corner now comes the issue of rampant gambling. Gambling has been in FFXI for a long time thanks to the /random command. It lets you do a dice roll. Typically gil sellers aren't involved the in this form of gambling because Chinese gil sellers don't like drawing too much attention to themselves. However, gambling on Chocobo Races could easily be exploited by gil sellers. SE must decide to impliment a game-supported gambling system for the races or risk having gil sellers run even more rampent than they already are.

Loose bits sink chips.