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[P]
HOWTO: Make Money Off Your Addiction

By Imperfect in Internet
Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 02:58:55 AM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)
Internet

How to Make Money from Videogames in the Comfort of Your Own Home

So you're slaving 9 to 5 at a convenience store, dealing with the same inane customers day in and day out. Or perhaps you're up to your ears in debt; college was a bit much for you. Or possibly the job market in your town just plain sucks and you can't find anything to save your life.

It's not impossible. It happens. Heck, all three have happened to me over the course of my life. But how would you react if I told you that you could be earning up to $5 US per hour, and maybe more - just by playing videogames from the comfort of your home?

Now, I understand this sounds like a cheesy sales pitch, but it's not, I assure you. It's merely an intro the wonderful world of MMOG (Massively Multiplayer Online Game) sales.



Beginning - effectively - with Everquest, a new era of gaming hit the youth of the day. The ability to pick, play, and advance a fantasy character in a fantastic world filled with other people became available, and many people leapt right in. People began devoting their whole lives to playing their Everquest characters. People have even killed themselves over their addiction to Everquest.

Nor is Everquest the only one in its class. There's also Asheron's Call, Diablo 2, Anarchy Online, Neocron, Earth & Beyond, the upcoming Star Wars: Galaxies, and if you listen to the right people, someday Shadowbane. All of these games create fantastic environments for people to develop characters in and get addicted to.

Now, I'm not about to blame Sony or Verant for any deaths or real-life losses - blame is beyond the scope of this article. What I'm hoping to bring to light is the fantastic qualities that games of these nature have which we can use to make a decent amount of money from. They're addictive. They can consume large amounts of a person's life to obtain comparatively little gain. They tend to be safe from other forms of quick gain such as cheat codes or hacking, and even when they're not, offenders are generally swiftly punished while loopholes are fixed.

As a kind of analogy, think of a MMOG as a small country. Within this country there are certain rules and a specific currency. This currency may be gold, credits, platinum, or Stones of Jordan. Whatever, just something that is traded because it has worth. The key thing you must remember is that this currency has an exchange rate. You can exchange these currencies for US dollars. Don't believe me? Check eBay:
Sold yet? Well, if you're still reading this article, we'll assume you are. So let's move on to the next section.

Getting Started

The very first thing you'll need to do is choose a game. Ideally, this will be a game that you're already familiar with, but if you're not familiar with any, then you'll find that some lend themselves better to your purposes than others. Do a little bit of research on eBay; see which ones seem to be selling the best. Keep to the ones which have a lot of auctions with bids on them. Just because there's 600-some auctions doesn't mean any of them have ever sold. While you're there, you may want to check out the completed items search. This will give you an idea of how well this game has sold items in the past, so you can see if your particular game is on the way up or down.

Now that you've chosen a game, you'll need to read the EULA (End-User License Agreement). Sometimes this involves actually buying the game (or asking someone who has the game), sometimes not. Regardless, you should check to see if your new occupation is legal under the framework they've provided. Some companies fully allow these kinds of activities, and some fully prohibit it. More often than not, the EULA in question will have some words in it that would otherwise prevent you from selling, but if so, check eBay. If there's a lot of sales on eBay (and have been a lot of sales), then it's likely that the company in question has more of a "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Usually these sections of the EULA are merely there to keep them from having to get involved in any lawsuits about player sales.

The next - fairly obvious - step is to buy the game. Keep in mind that many of these games charge a monthly fee to play. Your first month is usually free. Also - shop around and check out eBay once again. You can usually reduce your costs for this stage of the venture, too. Oftentimes you can get a copy of the game ground-mailed to you for the same cost as going to the store to get it. It's not exactly cost- or time-efficient, but it sure sounds cool, and gains you bragging points.

Getting Into It

You've got your game, you've done your market and legal research, and you're all ready to go. NOW what do you do?

Well, this stage is actually rather game-dependant. Usually certain character classes are more efficient at gathering the "currency" of the world than others are. Usually there's a better place to gather that currency. And usually there's a prevalent tactic to use to enrich yourself. Learn these. Ask around in game, look on message boards, heck even hit up Google. Discover this class, location, and/or tactic and use it like mad.

Generally, it'll take a little time to get up to a point where you can effectively make use of the game to accumulate this currency, and up to that point you're just burning money and time. So be as quick as possible in your leveling. How should you do this? Once again, ask around. Someone out there likely knows.

If all else fails, do me a favour, however. Stop whining and look for yourself. You're looking at optimizing your time, sure, but don't be a whiner about it, and don't go out of your way to bother people about it. These people are more than likely going to end up your customers at some point, so try not to alienate them ahead of time.

Getting A Sale

Now that you've amassed a decent quantity of the currency in question, it's time to sell it. The easiest and quickest way to go about doing this is eBay. Simply go and sign up for an account (you'll require a credit card), but that's about it. Also, you'll want to sign up for a Paypal account to accept payments. Both of these will make it tremendously easy to sell in-game. No having to worry about setting up a web site, or accepting credit card payments. eBay and Paypal do this for you.

However, there are some tricks:
  • Develop a professional-looking sales template. You can take a look at mine here. I was for a brief period of time trying to run a powerleveling service (wherein I advance characters as fast as possible for money), and I was able to take the look of my site and incorporate it into my auctions. This makes it look like I'm a professional (I like to think I am), and that I'm trustworthy. I mean, are you more likely to trust the guy who spent 40+ hours on a site and registered a domain, or a guy who spent 40+ seconds writing up a description and can barely understand HTML?
  • Always be courteous, kind, and prompt with delivery of goods. Go out of your way to get them to the customer as soon as possible and in as convenient a location as possible. Remember, if you treat them like gold, they'll write that in their eBay feedback. Your eBay feedback will get you as many sales if not more than your sales template.
  • Include a "Buy It Now" button with your sale. This is one of eBay's options that allow a bidder to outright buy the item for a certain price instead of having to go through the bidding war. Set your bid price to about two thirds of your "Buy It Now" price, so you won't have to worry about losses too low if only one person decides to bid. Fear not, though. Every time I've set a "Buy It Now", I've sold the item within 24 hours of it going up, at the "Buy It Now" price.
Drawbacks

Of course, it's not the perfect life. I mean sure, you get to set your own hours and listen to music and relax in your own comfy chair instead of standing on your feet for eight hours a day, but it's not all peaches and cream. Let's take a look at some of the drawbacks to playing videogames for a living:
  • Ergonomics: If you don't have an incredibly comfortable chair, you could be ruining your posture and your back. Sure, you may not see any trouble with that now, but trust me - in six months when your back is wrecked and you can't sit anywhere, let alone at the computer, you'll wish you'd followed my advice. Buy a comfortable chair, sit up straight, and take regular breaks, or you'll break.
  • Fitness: You're not working a hard job, heck - you're not even working a vaguely strenuous job. You're working a simple desk job. And people who work desk jobs often have problems staying fit. So take up a hobby that involves getting up and moving. Watch (and work to) and exercise tape or two per week. Play some DDR. Whatever. Just get up and move.
  • Boredom: Yes, it is cool to be playing games for a living. And fun, too. For a while. Then, to be honest, it gets kind of boring. Occasionally you'll have to sit around and wait for some monster, item, or quest to spawn so you can continue making money. Occasianally you'll have to travel long distances (for some games you have to travel long distances a whoooole lot.) Eventually whatever game you've chosen will become boring. So read a book, crank up WinAmp, or buy a cheap second monitor and videocard and watch DivX movies in your spare time. Catch up on homework. Or write an article about your new profession for K5. ;)
Ethics

At last we breach the touch grey area of whether this is all moral. On the one had, these game were created to be a fun, recreational activity. They were not intended to be a job. They were balanced in an attempt to provide a steady progression from low levels to high levels and to make sure that everyone had a fairly even ride from class to class. When someone buys a million gold, a high-level set of armour, or even a full, high-level character, they bypass all that careful thought and planning and directly ignore the developer's vision, as well as the other player's right to play the same game at the same level. It is hard to compete with someone who has money to throw at the game as well as time.

But on the other hand, some people don't have time to throw at the game, only money. These people are successful in life, but would also enjoy the time to play Everquest or Earth and Beyond. Their problem is that they don't have enough time in between cases or patients to put in the hours required to build a character that can keep up with their friends and guildmates. Why should there not exist a service to aid them.

I'm not about to provide any final answers here, since we are all (grand assumption) mature adults, and we all have varying ethical positions. I've battled my own demons on this obviously, since I do it for a living, but to each their own.

At any rate, I am available to answer more in-depth questions beyond the scope of this article. I have some experience, as I've been living off of the preceding techniques since October or so. I'd only be too glad to help.

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Poll
Is it ethical to sell in-game items or services for real-world money?
o Yes, of course. 64%
o No, definately not. 6%
o It depends on the situation. 8%
o d00d, r0fl, g3t 4 L1f3!!!1 20%

Votes: 125
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Google
o Everquest
o killed themselves
o Asheron's Call
o Diablo 2
o Anarchy Online
o Neocron
o Earth & Beyond
o Star Wars: Galaxies
o Shadowbane
o "Earth and Beyond Credits"
o "The Sims Online Simoleans"
o "Diablo 2 soj"
o completed items
o here
o DDR
o lot
o Also by Imperfect


Display: Sort:
HOWTO: Make Money Off Your Addiction | 119 comments (113 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
Fascinating (4.50 / 8) (#3)
by rusty on Mon Jan 06, 2003 at 10:41:43 PM EST

$5.00 an hour isn't very much (depending, I guess, on where you live). Is that what you've actually averaged, you figure?

This kind of thing is fascinating to me, but I can't really explain why. I guess it's the level-crossing nature of the transaction. No, not the character level, I mean the way that creating a money market for "imaginary" currencies suddenly throws into relief the fact that all currency is essentially imaginary, and no less real because of it.

How long before someone creates an actual separate MMORPG money market, independent of eBay? I really want to see CNBC reporting that the US Dollar and Japanese Yen are both down against the Simolian. :-)

____
Not the real rusty

will someone try to automate it? (3.50 / 2) (#6)
by kpaul on Mon Jan 06, 2003 at 11:04:11 PM EST

Or rather, *could* someone somehow write a bot or script to log onto the virtual game world and pretend to be a human pretending to be a computer simulated pixel-esque human?

Now there's a business plan. ;)


2014 Halloween Costumes
[ Parent ]

will someone apply the rest of capitalist thought (4.00 / 4) (#14)
by turmeric on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 01:08:37 AM EST

first off, creation of 'joint venture' item-getting corporations (aka 'gangs') that go around doing this? with investors? and returns on that investment?

what about 'item futures' to guarantee prices ? will there be any commodity items? will there be an everquest board of trade? what about tarriffs from items crossing games? or price supports?

what about item exchanges where stock in these companies can be bought and sold?

[ Parent ]

Hoarding (4.50 / 2) (#50)
by Kintanon on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 12:44:19 PM EST

I'm waiting for people to start getting annoyed that their items are selling for less because the supply is up and beginning to hoard the item, kill other people who sell the item, etc... Mafia tactics...

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

you mean corporate tactics? (none / 0) (#80)
by turmeric on Wed Jan 08, 2003 at 10:39:44 AM EST

hehe

[ Parent ]
Bah! (none / 0) (#81)
by Kintanon on Wed Jan 08, 2003 at 11:00:36 AM EST

Mafia, Corporate, Potayto, Potahto....

>:)

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

Pindlebots (4.66 / 3) (#30)
by jayhawk88 on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 08:12:01 AM EST

Diablo 2 had this problem for a while. Someone figured out a way to allow characters to automatically run and kill a unique monster called Pindleskins (who has the ability to drop any item in the D2 world and is very easy to kill) over and over. Which is very easy in D2, as you simply have to create a new game to get a new Pindleskin. It damn near brought BattleNet to it's knees. I don't keep up with D2 that much anymore, so I'm not really sure if Blizzard whacked this or if it's still a problem or not.

Why, then, should we grant government the Orwellian capability to listen at will and in real time to our communications across the Web? -- John Ashcroft
[ Parent ]
Yeah, they did (4.00 / 2) (#42)
by BLU ICE on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 10:19:38 AM EST

Too much repitition gets you kicked now.

"Is the quality of this cocaine satisfactory, Mr. Delorean?"
"As good as gold."

-- I am become Troll, destroyer of threads.
It's like an encyclopedia...sorta: Everything2

[ Parent ]

What? (none / 0) (#109)
by ODiV on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 12:34:23 PM EST

Diablo 2 kicks you for repetition?!

--
[ odiv.net ]
[ Parent ]
www.simcountry.com (4.00 / 1) (#15)
by godix on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 01:45:35 AM EST

"How long before someone creates an actual separate MMORPG money market, independent of eBay?"

Try Simcountry. It's not exactly what you're describing, but once you get into the game you realize that the most impotant part of the game is the economic sim.

NOTE: I quit over a year ago because the admins like to change the rules majorly and with no warning. The admins made great efforts to make a semi-realistic economy and make building your economy more important that massing troops, but I hated how you'd wake up one day to find that limit players to 200 companies when you had 800 the day before...


Getting an education was a bit like a communicable sexual disease. It made you unsuitable for a lot of jobs and then you had the urge to pass it on.

[ Parent ]

There is a MMORPG that has a real currency (4.33 / 3) (#20)
by freespace on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 03:59:45 AM EST

A software development company from Sweden has recently lanched Project Entropia.

It is different from other MMORPG's because both software and playing are for free. You can buy local currency from the developer. The nice thing is however you can sell the currency back again. If you play it right you will have gained some money ingame and should be able to make a living playing it.

Check the P-E website here

rgds
Freespace

[ Parent ]

If we keep playing long enough... (3.00 / 2) (#54)
by skyknight on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 02:15:18 PM EST

We can all be up a little bit. Yeah...

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
all currency is essentially imaginary (3.75 / 4) (#28)
by wiredog on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 07:57:45 AM EST

Not all of it. Some currencies are still on the gold standard.

The greatest contribution of the internet to society is that it makes it possible for anyone of any age to become a grumpy old fart.
Parent ]
Which is as imaginary. (4.60 / 5) (#31)
by linca on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 08:18:11 AM EST

The gold standard is not less imaginary than current models. Gold gets its value from the fact that people are willing to exchange it for something else, which is true of dollars or credit too.

Gold itself is mostly useless in everyday life, which is why it became a monetary standard.

[ Parent ]

Yeah rusty (2.75 / 4) (#46)
by dipierro on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 11:37:50 AM EST

$5 an hour for doing virtually nothing from the comforts of your home isn't much when you compare it to $60,000 over 6 months.

[ Parent ]
True (4.00 / 3) (#47)
by rusty on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 12:05:43 PM EST

That's true. When you find that job that pays $120K a year for nothing please let me know.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Already had one (3.00 / 3) (#51)
by dipierro on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 12:48:50 PM EST

Well, $80K/year anyway, but I'd need a time machine to move back to 1999 to get it back :). Nowadays the only way I see to make $120K/year doing nothing is to already have $2.4 million or so.

[ Parent ]
Wired (4.00 / 2) (#58)
by anon868 on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 03:54:09 PM EST

If you haven't seen it yet, pick up the Jan issue of wired, there's a whole section on this, and was likely the inspiration for this article. Pretty good reading.
Open a window. No, not that one! One made from actual glass, set in an acual wall, you dork.
[ Parent ]
Next move (4.28 / 7) (#5)
by Tatarigami on Mon Jan 06, 2003 at 10:55:57 PM EST

The next step in your plan should be to move to another country, where the exchange rate can make you incredibly wealthy if you continue to sell things in US dollars.

A co-worker of mine at my last job did little other than play Everquest when away from the office. At one point he was offered US$10,000 for a character he'd spent eight months levelling. The US dollar was trading at about NZ$2.50 at the time, meaning the sale would have earned him an extra two local bucks per hour over his hourly wage for the same period of time!

Of course, that would have meant giving up his unique items, which he couldn't bring himself to do. I don't think he ever told his wife about the offer...

I live in Canada. $CAN = $US * 1.5 =) [nt] (3.00 / 2) (#7)
by Imperfect on Mon Jan 06, 2003 at 11:10:32 PM EST



Not perfect, not quite.
[ Parent ]
Um, maybe learn something about currencies... (5.00 / 1) (#71)
by petree on Wed Jan 08, 2003 at 02:51:39 AM EST

Ok. Lets have a quick lesson about currencies: Some currencies are worth less per unit than others. Lets say the New Zealand Dollar (NZD). Just because when you convert 1 USD to NZD you get 1.88NZD does not reflect anything about the NZD. In NZ for example, most likely (unless the currency is for some reason under/over valued) things cost about 1.9 as much in local currency as they do in the states. To give a more extreme example that works well, pre euro days one USD was worth 1,859 italian lira. That does not mean that the dollar was a better currency or that if you went to italy you could buy 1800 times as much stuff. It just meant their base units were different. So moving somewhere like NZ would get you nothing other than a bunch of sheep and the ability to travel/work in Australia without a visa. On the other hand, moving to a country in which the currency is actually depressed (Argentina, Turkey, Poland) might actually get you something. In these situations, there is such a risk of inflation in these countries and/or lack of economic interest by foreigners, this depresses the actual value of their currency. So that although you get 3.28 Argentinia Pesos to your dollar, 3 pesos will buy more real goods or services in Argentina that 1 USD did in the states. Don't confuse value of a currency the conversion rate to the dollar. It is silly.

[ Parent ]
Not to rain on your pedantic lecture but... (5.00 / 1) (#73)
by Surial on Wed Jan 08, 2003 at 04:48:39 AM EST

NZ is 'undervalued' compared to the united states and europe. I just came from there on vacation and prices were pretty much equal in flat numbers - eventhough you can buy almost 2 NZ kiwis for a dollar, and just about exactly 2 NZ kiwis for a euro.

8 thick slices of sushi for 3 euro. Maybe I need to move there.
--
"is a signature" is a signature.

[ Parent ]

Maybe learn to see the forest through the trees (none / 0) (#84)
by Tatarigami on Wed Jan 08, 2003 at 04:00:54 PM EST

I wasn't talking in terms of currency speculation or theoretical local value of goods, I was speaking from my personal experience that you can maintain a living stand equal to what you would have in the US for a third to a half of what it would cost you over there.

So you can argue as hard as you like that it's silly and wouldn't work, I'm still going to insist that I've been there and sipped the cappuccino.

So moving somewhere like NZ would get you nothing other than a bunch of sheep

That's really funny. I've never heard that one before.

[ Parent ]

Arbitrage? (3.00 / 1) (#8)
by jjayson on Mon Jan 06, 2003 at 11:48:16 PM EST

I worked on an arbitrage system a few years ago for a major investment company. I wonder if I could pull it out and apply it to this?
_______
Smile =)
* bt krav magas kitten THE FUCK UP
<bt> Eat Kung Jew, bitch.

My weak understanding of arbitrage says no. (4.00 / 2) (#33)
by HypoLuxa on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 08:34:26 AM EST

For arbitrage to work, you need multiple marketplaces. Since there is really only one marketplace for the goods (eBay), it wouldn't be possible to move goods to/from another market to exploit the price differences. Each game is incompatible for that kind of trade, since goods/currency from one game is useless in another.

I think the only place that arbitrage would work effectively would be within a single game that has disparate "geographic" regions with separate marketplaces. That would be easy to do by having multiple characters in each of those marketplaces, and some method of quickly transporting goods from one place to another. Since I'm not a player in any of these games, I don't know if that's possible, but it seems to me to be the only way to do it.

--
I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.
- Leonard Cohen
[ Parent ]

arbitrage (4.00 / 3) (#44)
by Frijoles on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 11:23:39 AM EST

You could do something like this in Asheron's Call 1. It's been a while since I was there, so if any of this is incorrect hopefully someone can correct me. Basically, the price of items depended on how many were in the store. You could 'exploit' it by buying a large amount of the items from one store, then running across the country to another store to sell them. However, the returns apparently were not very good, so I don't think it was done much.

[ Parent ]
Don't worry, I'm not the IRS (4.00 / 2) (#9)
by biggs on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 12:16:22 AM EST

But let's hear numbers. You mentioned $5/h... but is that sustainable? How long have you been doing it, and how much have you made so far? Can I actually pay rent and bills and party on the weekends?

--
"Rockin my 'hell I made it' wetsuit stitch so I can swim in elevators crazy wet through piss" -Cannibal Ox
A breakdown of the numbers (5.00 / 7) (#12)
by Imperfect on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 12:56:26 AM EST

This is where I give I way my patent-pending secret.

My own particular game of choice is Westwood & EA's "Earth and Beyond." In Earth and Beyond, the currency is the "credit." There is a class that gets benefits when trading as well as super-fast travel speed, and is basically built to amass large amounts of credits. Credits can be used for all kinds of things, like buying weapons or equipment from other players, or manufacturing weapons or equipment for yourself or other players. As such, they have universal value.

Through some quick calculations which would only be relevant if you'd played the game, I've discovered that I can earn a million credits with my two characters (I have two accounts) in about 4 hours. I usually sell 2 million credits for $40 US. A little more quick math puts this at roughly $5 US/hour.

Since there are roughly 15 two-day periods in a month, this means you can effectively earn a maximum of $600 US/month. Since I live in Canada, that's like earning $900/month for 4-hour days. If you want to extend that to 8-hour days w/out weekends, you have 20x40=$800 US a month or $1200 CAN.

My rent is $200 CAN/month, which covers rent, utitlities, and cable internet connection. I'm lucky enough to share a house with 4 other roomates. My other miscellaneous bills are probably about an extra $150 CAN a month, with $50 on food. (I cook from scratch, you save a bundle.) This leave me $500 CAN a month to play around with, since I just do 4 hours a day. Since I still have a rather horrible debt, I try to put that into paying it off.

Anyone who plays on the Pegasus server in Earth and Beyond is welcome to drop me a line, and/or do trade runs with me. My main character's name is Nyx, and my secondary character is Carrik.

Not perfect, not quite.
[ Parent ]
some people don't have the money (3.28 / 7) (#13)
by turmeric on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 01:03:39 AM EST

but they will buy stuff anyways. go into debt. spend their SO's/fmaily's/children's money.

ahhhh (2.50 / 4) (#45)
by CodeWright on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 11:24:32 AM EST

You mean the 'marks'.

--
"Humanity's combination of reckless stupidity and disrespect for the mistakes of others is, I think, what makes us great." --Parent ]
Yeah... (2.50 / 2) (#57)
by DanTheCat on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 03:46:31 PM EST

And?

Dan :)

<--->
I was in need of help
Heading to black out
'Til someone told me 'run on in honey
Before someone blows your god damn brains out'<
[ Parent ]

Fascinating (5.00 / 8) (#17)
by Jetifi on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 03:23:34 AM EST

I always knew that EQ, D2 etc. items went up on ebay. But that you're able to make a living out of it leaves me with a heavy dose of future-shock.

For what it's worth, I don't think this is unethical. Your customers know exactly what they're getting, and if you're honest and they're happy, where is the problem with that? I can't see one. The only issue some people might have is that you're not paying tax on deals done within Canada or internationally.

I do have a couple of questions. Firstly, making a living like this leaves you at the mercy of the ''gods'' of these universes, i.e. the people who admin the servers and their worlds, simply because they can wipe out the value of anything you can offer. You can protect yourself by diversifying between worlds of course, but that leaves you with increased costs for multiple subscriptions. Are there other ways you can protect yourself? This ties into my second question:

Is it really in your best interests too publicise the fact that you can make money from doing this? You're meeting a demand here, but your own actions - and giving away your tips - could act to increase supply, i.e. make more people available offering this as a professional service. This would lower the price you can charge and could make the whole thing uneconomical.

Worse still, if services such as the ones you offer become commonplace, admins such as the ones mentioned above may choose to actively combat this practice, while maybe offering their own branded services (''ready-made Ll6 mage, only $40!'') instead of (doing what I would do) accepting it as a natural outcome of a healthy MMORPG.

--
Tigers are nimble
and light on their toes
my respect for tigers
continually grows



Ethics (4.66 / 3) (#22)
by MugginsM on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 04:54:35 AM EST

> For what it's worth, I don't think this is unethical. Your customers know exactly what they're
> getting, and if you're honest and they're happy, where is the problem with that? I can't see one.
> The only issue some people might have is that you're not paying tax on deals done within
> Canada or internationally.

The main issue I have with this sort of thing is that once lots of people start doing it, it throws the game world out of whack.

I cancelled my Dark Ages of Camelot subscription, mostly because I got sick of trying to go adventuring with other characters of my level only to find they'd been bought and didn't have a clue how to play the game. So my character would get killed and wipe out the days advancement. It put a huge dampener on the game for me. If people hadn't been able to buy the characters or get powerlevelled by their friends, I would have been able to go adventuring with characters who actually had a clue how to play the game.

I do agree that the people with time vs the people with money problem is a real one and needs to be solved, but I really don't think this is it.

They should, perhaps, play different games.

Or maybe someone needs to design a game world with several aspects to it - maybe one way of playing that benefits the people with lots of time, and another way that benefits people with little - but which work well together, not one ruining the game for the other.

- Colin

[ Parent ]

I doubt he's making a living (5.00 / 2) (#27)
by Rogerborg on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 07:54:20 AM EST

A living wage is (for the sake of argument) $20K a year, and with (e.g.) 240 working days in a year, that's $83 each and every day, no skipping, no exceptions, no sick pay, no holiday pay, no other benefits at all.

Completed eBay auctions for SOJs show ending prices of between $2.99 and $50 per item.  And note that not all of them sold.  A cursory median estimate seems to be about $10 per item.  So you'd need around 8 such completed auctions, each and every day, to make your $20K a year.  

With 600 such auctions currently live on eBay, at an average of (e.g.) 4 days per auction, that's 150 per day, but not all of them get bids, so let's nip that back to 120 or so.  That's enough for 15, count them, 15 people to make their $20K a year selling this stuff on eBay.

Now, that's $300K a year just for Diablo II on eBay, but I suspect there are more than 15 people regularly trying to sell SOJs on eBay, and all of those casual traders will nibble away at the ones trying to make a living at it.

I'm not saying that it's impossible to make a living wage doing this, just that I suspect that we're reading an article by a young guy living in his parent's basement, with no kids, no mortage, minimal rent, no health issues or insurance, no pension or investment plan.

Imperfect, am I wrong?  How much are you currently making, how much do you think you can make, and what are your commitments?  Have you done at least these back-of-an-envelope calculations, and if so, do you get different figures?

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

Whoops, question already answered (5.00 / 2) (#29)
by Rogerborg on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 08:00:04 AM EST

here. The sums work out as given, but it doesn't look like a growth industry, especially if (when) bot clients start reaping in the game goodies, as they've been doing in Diablo II for quite some time.

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

Diablo 2 and making a living (4.00 / 1) (#49)
by Kintanon on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 12:32:33 PM EST

Shortly after the release of Diablo 2 a friend of mine who as in College purchased it. He played, he enjoyed, a group of us bought the game, we all played, we all enjoyed... Then my friend noticed that you could sell crap on E-bay from the game, and people would give you money. "Hot Damn!" he thought, "I can make money on this!" and he was right. For almost 4 months he was making 600$ a week doing nothing but play Diablo 2. That's 2400$ a month. It didn't last forever, but when the D2 economy died he moved to Dark Ages of Camelot where he made slightly less money but for a longer period of time. So it's certainly possible to make a decent wage at it.

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

Economics c/o Wired Magazine (4.76 / 13) (#18)
by opendna on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 03:35:14 AM EST

See Wired Magazine 11.01 (January 2003). Page 106, "The Unreal Estate Boom", begins an article on the Everquest economy and people who live off it.

According to the article one region of Everquest (or whatever it is) called Norrath has a percapita GDP of $2226 USD making it the 79th largest economy in the world (between Russia and Bulgaria). The unit of exchange PP, at $0.0107, is approximately on par with the Yen or the lira.

I'm done.



Link (4.88 / 9) (#23)
by Cameleon on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 05:29:09 AM EST

Here is a link to the article.

[ Parent ]
per capita GDP (4.25 / 4) (#38)
by makohill on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 09:56:25 AM EST

You can't tell much about the economy size based on the per capita GDP. You would also need to know the population before you could make this claim.

In any case, you might be able to say it was one of the richer (high per capita income) "states" but I'm not going to be convinced that the economy of one Everquest sector is larger than that of Bulgaria. No way.


Creativity can be a social contribution, but only in so far as society is free to use the results. --RMS
[ Parent ]
you meddling kids (2.25 / 4) (#41)
by turmeric on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 10:05:37 AM EST

always with the 'facts' and 'basic math'. what is it with you people?

[ Parent ]
$135 million/year (none / 0) (#61)
by opendna on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 05:41:45 PM EST

Sentient population is 400,000.



[ Parent ]

Population... (none / 0) (#119)
by vectro on Thu Jan 16, 2003 at 06:43:40 PM EST

... of the game as a whole, or of the particular rich region in question?

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
Dude... (none / 0) (#120)
by opendna on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 12:05:55 AM EST

Read the article yourself.



[ Parent ]

Sounds like a bubble economy to me (4.25 / 4) (#19)
by smartass on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 03:58:48 AM EST

Just like with the internet bubble this thing is only going to work as long as more people are joining than leaving.

Sooner or later (and probably sooner rather than later) the number of people joining an MMOG will start to drop. Those selling items will notice falling prices for their merchandice. Consequently they will flood the market with all their stuff at once, and that magical sword you used two weeks to obtain will now bring you only 5$.

SW:G has me frightened =) (4.75 / 4) (#35)
by Imperfect on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 08:42:09 AM EST

I'll be honest, the moment Star Wars: Galaxies comes out, my E&B sales are very threatened. The game will probably lose so many subscribers that it won't be funny, nor a sustainable job any more.

At that point, I'll just have to move on and see if SW:G is a viable place to continue this. At worst, I'll have to go back out into this "real world" I keep hearing about and get a convenience store job like my friends. =)

Not perfect, not quite.
[ Parent ]
Now where have I seen this before? (2.75 / 4) (#21)
by SoupIsGoodFood on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 04:53:52 AM EST

...Ah, that's right. Our "real" economy.

Hell, if you can make $ from selling nothing, I say good on you. Not an original idea though, just applied differently ;).

After reading post #18, I wonder how long it will be before we have our own virtual country.
Wonder how much longer it will take before it shows people what our own world is.

What about counterfitting? (5.00 / 6) (#24)
by weave on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 07:04:55 AM EST

Like real life, counterfits can kill the economy. You risk your efforts to the market's bottom falling out at any time due to some bug in the system.

Like, aren't all the SOJs in Diablo 2 from some duping bug battle.net had a year ago? I've been playing D2 for two years now -- too much -- with a few characters to around the 70s level, and have never once found a SOJ, yet some people seem to have whole chests of the things and trade them around freely.

Has already happened a couple of times (5.00 / 4) (#34)
by Imperfect on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 08:40:12 AM EST

In Asheron's Call, there was an issue where a player could buy an expensive item in one town, run it to another town, and make a rather hefty profit - much greater than that of killing monsters for it. The issue became so spread out among so many players that they had to do a server rollback (restoring a previous backup over the current database) to fix the economic damage.

Also, in Ultima Online, counterfitting (called "duping") was absolutely rampant in the beginning. Plenty of people had more gold than they could ever spend. This is why the gold piece in UO is practically worthless.

More recent games are generally safer, even if none are ever completely safe.

Not perfect, not quite.
[ Parent ]
Rarity (5.00 / 4) (#37)
by waveclaw on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 09:53:05 AM EST

Since they were *suppossed* to be rare, Stones of Jordan were a better standard of trade than the ever -flowing gold of Diablo 2. I've maxed out the 2.6 million gold pieces on many bankrupt characters in a single night of game playing.Using only honest, un-duplicated and un-hacked, items I've only found 1 SoJ ring in the entire game since I've played.

I've played fairly agresively, several times a day for weeks until this winter, since Diablo 2 it was released. Like many of the people who sell items in online games, I had to closely study the way in wich this item, the SoJ, was generated by the game and exploit the optimum strategy - killing only the right creatures in the correct difficulty with the maximum amount of chance of a unique ring dropping - to yeild one and only one item.

Basic economic theory holds that economies are based on sarcity. As long as honest SoJs are rare, they can be the basis for an economy. Flood the market with Fake SoJs or any equivalent items for your game, much like the U.S. or Mexican Government printing more money than they need, the economy crashes. At one point 1 SoJ on Diablo 2 could buy just about anything. Now realitivly poor, but rare items can be sold for 3 or 4 SoJ's, which are often hacked.

Hacked SoJs, increasing the SoJ's statistics, often is seen as increasing its value. However, for honest gamers - those wanting to earn their way in the game - they are worthless.

They were rare, and now can be bought by the dozen on eBay, but Stones of Jordan were and still are a means of doing business in Diablo 2.

[ Parent ]

Sneaky backdoor online gambling (3.66 / 6) (#25)
by ennui on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 07:30:39 AM EST

Sims Online casinos won't be far removed from the real deal, Simoleans will be like the chips real casinos use, or more accurately, like the stuff you win at pachinko parlors and then "sell."

<(='_'=<)
kirby loves you
Diablo 2 SOJ (2.00 / 2) (#26)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 07:36:25 AM EST

Man, are they still selling stones of jordan from Diablo 2? I remember 2 years ago when I was a D2 addict. I had like a level 80 barb with whirlwind and a good lance, I'd sell SOJ's and iceblinks on eBay. The problem is the game economy just keeps creating them so they get devalued. It was never a job, but made back the cost of the game a few times over. I wonder if my barbarian is still on B.net, did they ever wipe the servers? Maybe I could sell him for $10.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
battle.net deletion (3.66 / 3) (#52)
by eudas on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 01:05:20 PM EST

inactive battle.net accounts get deleted after 90 days of inactivity.

eudas
"Nothing is on fire, but the day is still young" -- Phil the Canuck
[ Parent ]

Ebay (4.66 / 3) (#32)
by evilpenguin on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 08:23:36 AM EST

Ebay now requires a checking account number before they will let you sell.  Yes, you used to only need to give them a credit card, but that has changed.  Unfortunately, there really is no other (viable) option for those of us who do not feel comfortable giving Ebay our checking account info.
--
# nohup cat /dev/dsp > /dev/hda & killall -9 getty
get a ssecond checking account (3.00 / 2) (#40)
by turmeric on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 09:59:42 AM EST

is the advice they give you on the ebay forums. you periodically transfer your 'internet checking account' money into your savings account or whatever

[ Parent ]
Problem (5.00 / 2) (#60)
by Valdrax on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 04:09:52 PM EST

It's not just a matter of the money in the account, it's a matter of credit rating.  Every attempt eBay makes to access the checking account can be met with a bounced check fee and a black mark against your credit rating.  I don't trust eBay enough with their history of security and bad fraud claims to give them a chance to ruin my credit rating for years.

[ Parent ]
i see (none / 0) (#78)
by turmeric on Wed Jan 08, 2003 at 10:38:55 AM EST

interesting. then again there are hundreds of thousands of people who sell on ebay.

[ Parent ]
It's not that easy to make money in Everquest (4.33 / 3) (#36)
by truffle on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 09:07:52 AM EST

The author makes it sound simple, but making money in Everquest today is quite hard.

There used to be a number of bugs that enabled you to make virtually limitless platinum pieces, but these bugs have generally been fixed.

Also there has been massive deflation of the everquest economy, as there has been massive inflation of player power. This means some items that used to sell for several hundred dollars, are now worthless. The items that are valuable, that sell well, like Fungi Tunics, are relatively difficult to play.

The few solid ebayers on Everquest these days tend to have multiple computers, and multiple Everquest accounts. You don't just play Everquest to make plat, you play three accounts at once. Doing this requires a huge investment. Multiple computers. Multiple accounts. Leveling up multiple characters (or buying them). You also have to be good at the game, Everquest requires some knowledge and skill. Chances are if you start playing now, it's going to take you a while to get up to speed, and by then Everquest 2 may be out and the economy may deflate again.

Making money in online games is still possible I'm sure, but at least in Everquest it's not easy right now, especially for a beginner.


meow

payed for by the everquest ebay guild? (2.00 / 1) (#39)
by turmeric on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 09:58:07 AM EST

nice way to protect your market, troll web boards

[ Parent ]
My apologies; I suppose I worded this confusingly (4.00 / 4) (#43)
by Imperfect on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 10:30:50 AM EST

It is easy to make money from online games, but perhaps not Everquest. I personally make mine from Earth & Beyond, which is relatively easy. I focus a lot on Everquest in the article since it's popular and more people know it than E&B.

The only people I know who are making money off EQ nowadays are mysupersales.com. It seems their technique of choice is to buy the account, strip it of items and plat, then sell the account off on eBay again, then sell the plat. Kind of like a junkyard for EQ characters. =)

But make no mistake, you're effectively going into business for yourself and it's not going to be an easy ride. A more comfortable ride with self-set hours, sure, but certainly not easy.

Not perfect, not quite.
[ Parent ]
Also Sony blocks online auctions (none / 0) (#117)
by Orion Blastar on Wed Jan 15, 2003 at 10:32:31 AM EST

so as soon as an action for Everquest stuff goes online, Sony finds out about it and has eBay or whatever knock the auction down.

If Sony was smart, they'd have their own online auctions in the game! :)
*** Anonymized by intolerant editors at K5 and also IWETHEY who are biased against the mentally ill ***
[ Parent ]

It does a pretty piss-poor job of it then. (none / 0) (#118)
by Imperfect on Wed Jan 15, 2003 at 06:41:45 PM EST

Check out MySuperSales sometime. They have a whole website dedicated to EQ sales. You'd think Sony would notice a thing like that, hmm?

Not perfect, not quite.
[ Parent ]
Micropayments? (3.28 / 7) (#48)
by dipierro on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 12:24:30 PM EST

At 25,000 Simoleans (Jolly Pines) <-> $10, that gives a granularity of $0.0004 with no transaction fees (though a $10/month service charge).  Sounds like a solution for micropayments!

And what about taxation?  If Simoleans are considered a currency, then you have to pay taxes as soon as you earn them, not just when you convert them into USD, just like Euros, right?  Can you depreciate sim-home improvements as investment property expenses?  If your buffet goes bad can you claim a casualty loss?

Can Really Ruin a Game Environment (4.75 / 8) (#53)
by CENGEL3 on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 01:32:28 PM EST

I was a longtime player of a text based MMOG called Gemstone3. When the game started out it was a small player community that ran only on the Genie network. It was alot of fun back in those days and there was a real feeling of community to it.

Later on it moved to AOL, Prodigy and then the web. The player base expanded hugely, and it wasn't long afterward that Power-Leveling, Scripting (i.e. running characters unattended through the use of automated scripts), and character/item sales for cash started to become rampant. I have to say it pretty much ruined the game environment in short order.

I don't really think the practice is unethical. Heck I don't blame a college kid for wanting to earn some real world cash by playing a game.
I do have to say it is the quickest and surest way to ruin a game environment though. It's a big part of the reason I won't play commercialy run MMOG today.

What always amazed me though were the people who bought game items/characters for cash. They just don't get it. I tried an experiment with couple of people who were always "greedy" for items and experience in an offline game I DM'd once. I almost instantly gave them anything they wanted...

[player] I want this...

[DM] Snap!...... you've got it... now what?

[player] Now, I want this....

[DM] Snap!.... now you've got that too.

It didn't take too long before....

[player] Wow, I'm really bored.

I think inevitably the same thing happens to people who buy stuff/characters in online games too. They just don't have a clue about what makes playing games actualy fun (or at least what can sustain a game as fun for more then a few minutes)... and unfortunately thier activities help ensure that the things that do make playing a game really fun are no longer possible in that environment. Kinda sad..... anyways just my .02

who? (4.66 / 3) (#63)
by MuteWinter on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 08:53:15 PM EST

Exactly, generally the entire point of playing a game is first to have fun, and second so you can say "I beat this" "I'm really good at that." My motivation to keep playing a game is to check out more cool weapons and monsters. When you get there, and you beat the game thats generally it. Sure you may still play it once and a while more, but the real fun has already been had.

With the overwealming success of first person shooters in online deathmatch, you normally get or have access to all the weapons immediately or within several minutes. The fun in those games comes from killing other people more than they can kill you. However, there is a huge, god aweful problem with cheaters. I'm not talking about campers vs. "come out and play like a man!" I mean people who use additional programs to give them things such as auto aim or see through walls.

I'll be honest, one day after being frusted with so many apparent cheaters on Counter Strike I decided to see how hard it was to cheat. I did a simple search on google and within seconds had found a working cheat. It was as easy as finding an mp3 for a popsong on a p2p filesharing application. So I logged onto a server and proceded (easily slipping by the numerous anti-cheat protections.) It was mildly humorous, I didnt get any ridiculous score like 20 kills to 1 death, but I got a decent score for a 28k internet connection. I experimented for about a week as CounterStrike got more and more boring. And then that was that, and I stopped playing altogether for quite some time.

What I don't understand is people who continue to play with cheats. If you can cheat at a game, where is the fun? Is there some sort of mental illness associated with gaming? In some cases its simple greed (cheating at gambling specifically), and thats a bit more understandable.

While I don't think buying an item on ebay is cheating, what makes a game fun when you log on and you are a level 50 (insert class name here)?

And who are these people who have $1000 to drop at a time on virtual real estate (Ultima Online) or a couple hundred for a sword?

Who? What about that guy who works 100+ hours a week, has little time to play online games but wants to mess around in a MMORPG for a few hours.

I see a future where the lower class of society will spend massive amounts of time in online games, and sell items and accounts to the well off. And ya, its already happening now.

Most of us look at some of the prices going for items on eBay and think damn, who would spend that much? Now think about the people who play 20+ hours a week. Think about that computer they bought (last I checked some new EverQuest expansion packs had some ridiculously high requirements), the monthly fees. All that traded in is worth a whole whole lot. $1000 for an account a guy spent a year or two playing on? Dirt cheap. The real monetary winners here are the guys who can put in a little time and pull in big bucks.

Theres an article in a recent Wired all about it...check it out.

[ Parent ]

Hey (1.00 / 1) (#87)
by spacejack on Wed Jan 08, 2003 at 06:03:39 PM EST

Maybe that would be a way for the addicts to break the habit -- just buy everything on Ebay until they get bored of the game. Sure, it might be expensive but it's better than committing suicide.


I wonder if anyone at Verant is selling items on the side... :)

[ Parent ]
I agree (none / 0) (#116)
by Orion Blastar on Wed Jan 15, 2003 at 10:30:15 AM EST

we did that in AD&D but it just meant that for each nice new thing he got, we had to fight tougher monsters that could take the blow of a +9 Sword or +6 Mace, etc. Like Dragons, Demi-God,s Gods, Demonds, Devils, and the like.

Before you knew it, you were in Hell, and sticking your sword into old Satan himself while he is begging for mercy. :) Ah the good old days.

But yeah, usually you get that old rusty sword your crazy uncle left to you, and you try to hit a Kobold a few times with it and he just laughs at you and hits you back with his dagger or sword, then throw a four sided dice a few times and you are dead. That is the alternative to not being given anything you want. You have to get at least something or at least one thing you want that is small, or else risk dying early in the game. I am not talking about super weapons, but at least a sword +1 or a Magic Missile spell/scroll. Something that can do damage to a Kobold or other "Level 1" monsters. Otherwise, "Knock knock knocking on Heaven's Dooooooor!" gets sung by all the members of your group, all killed by 6 hitpoint Kobolds.

A Kobold is sort of a wolf like creature that is a bit humanoid, but it can swing a mean dagger or sword.
*** Anonymized by intolerant editors at K5 and also IWETHEY who are biased against the mentally ill ***
[ Parent ]

sales template? (4.75 / 4) (#55)
by ethereal on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 02:50:33 PM EST

I dunno how professional it is; it appears to be dark red type on a black background from here. Hopefully your customers were able to read it OK and figure out what you were selling :)

--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State

I did it. (5.00 / 9) (#56)
by christonabike on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 03:37:21 PM EST

I probably wouldn't do it again. I made over $10,000 playing Asheron's Call. I stopped mainly due to declining popularity and game changes, but in retrospect, I'm glad I was forced too. Mainly because when you start playing the game for money, it no longer becomes a game, but just like any other job.

I made my money mainly by offering "powerleveling" services and also had written scripts to play my characters or others when I wasn't around. I also found myself, well, cheating. If a bug came along that would allow me to duplicate items or there was software that would provide me an advantage over other players I was unable to control myself. Why not use it if it meant more money? After all, it's "just a game." Activities like this will only induce hatred from other players. This in turn, created stress. I find my current $8/hr job (I'm still in high school) much more enjoyable, even though less profitable, due to the lack of stress and responsibility.

Everything in the game also began to have a monetary value attached to it in my eyes. I found myself unwilling to spend my time helping others, who I previously considered my friends, or to give away items because I felt like I was giving away money. These are just my experiences and there are others who have managed to turn games like these into a profitable experience while still finding them enjoyable. Just don't think you'll be getting paid to play a game.

I feel like that sometimes (4.50 / 2) (#62)
by Imperfect on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 06:56:48 PM EST

...however I really wasn't playing too much near the end anyway. My housemates and I all got into the game together, and we thought it was the coolest thing since sliced bread. But interest waned as it usually does, and we all started playing less. Now I'm the only one who still plays the same amount any more occasionally they'll come on and want to play, and we will, and we'll have fun. So for now, it's working.

But I will not cheat. I will not script and I will not dupe, and I will not abuse bugs. Not because I have these heighty morals, but because if I get caught, I'm ruined. I stand to lose far more than I can gain. And if I can gain a tremendous amount, the chances that I'm caught are far, far higher.

Of course, in AC I seem to remember something the devs said about never punishing players for bugs they (the developers) left in the game. As a developer, I think that's a tremendously silly thing to say, but in your situation I'd be all over it. =)

Not perfect, not quite.
[ Parent ]
a bug in the game is a supernatural presence (5.00 / 1) (#83)
by ethereal on Wed Jan 08, 2003 at 01:45:20 PM EST

I mean that literally - in an MMORPG, the entire world, physics, magic, etc. is constructed for you. Any defects in that construction are essentially the supernatural - bugs that hurt you are "evil", bugs that help you are "good". Or perhaps more accurately, defects in the construction of the world are amoral elemental beings. It's not cheating if Zeus gives you a bottomless wallet of X or an unbreakable sword, after all. It may not be so good for the other denizens of your world, but that's only a problem because the gods want the world to be "fair" so that all the other avatars keep coming back.

Game writers need to either make better approximations of reality, or else come to an understanding that sometimes flaws in the fabric of their approximation will occur and sometimes that's OK. Really, it's a matter of scale more than anything. If game worlds approached the size of the real world, the exploitability of certain defects would likely go down, reducing the power of the supernatural to what someone from 1000 years ago would consider to be normal. Right now, game worlds are so small that flaws which allow you to coin money overnight can significantly affect the economy. Bigger worlds would lessen the impact of this, and give the gods time to fix whatever hole in reality is distorting things.

Come to think of it, there is one other problem - game avatars can essentially communicate out of band faster than light, since they can pass on information about ways to exploit the game outside of the game itself. Which does make the impact of a newly-discovered bug somewhat worse. So how does one design a reality for a bunch of essentially immortal telepaths who can enter and leave reality at will?

My god, we've become Q, at least from the perspective of MMORPG NPCs :)

--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

WorldWinner (3.00 / 2) (#59)
by Silent Chris on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 04:04:28 PM EST

Why bother when I can earn upwards of 5-6 times my original investment beating someone in Solitaire at WorldWinner?  And in under 2 minutes?

Don't you feel awful? (3.66 / 6) (#64)
by RyoCokey on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 10:16:02 PM EST

I mean, you're making money off of human stupidity and arrogance at it's worse. What kind of human being would pay money to get characters so they can lord themselves over other people in this little virtual cock measuring contest?

It's like being a drug dealer. You're making your money from helping people indulge their most destructive vices, while ruining a source of (theoretical) entertainment for everyone who doesn't buy and sell items.



"Like all important issues, gun control is an emotional issue that will be resolved by politics, belief, and conviction, not by a resort to "facts'." -
Finally, someone who rags on me... (4.00 / 5) (#68)
by Imperfect on Wed Jan 08, 2003 at 01:42:33 AM EST

Although your argument is all based on an assumption, and a generally incorrect one at that. The people I sell goods and services to are generally not people who want to "lord themselves over other people". They're just people who are frustrated with the pace of the game, or are losing interest because they can't advance fast enough.

And about being a drug dealer... Well I fail to see how gaming is one of humanity's "most destructive vices", and how I'm ruining the game for anyone else. The ratio of people who buy and sell to people who just play thing game is phenominally small.

And yet the more I read this comment, the more I figure it's just a troll. My mistake.

Not perfect, not quite.
[ Parent ]
Incorrect assumptions... (4.50 / 2) (#75)
by Neros on Wed Jan 08, 2003 at 05:46:09 AM EST

Your initial assumption that the game makers approve of this behavior is the most incorrect statement here.  Have you emailed Turbine/MS, Verant, Mythic, EA to find out if it's acceptable to sell items out of the game for real money?

I wouldn't doubt that your customers are frustrated with the current generation of games - they do tend to reward the person who has played the most.  By purchasing items or even a pre-built character, your customers are seeking to find an equilibrium with that long term player.  In essence, their enjoyment of the game depends on being equal to or greater than those that came before them and anyone that came after them.  Thus, the "lording over" assumption is not far off and hardly a troll.

You say you can't see how you're ruining the game for anyone else.  Imagine going to a chess tournament to see who is the best on Kuro5hin.  You show up with your wit and skill at chess.  I show up with IBM's Deep Blue which I bought on Ebay.  Is that fair?  I have the money, now I have the power.  It's just a game after all, right?  Now apply this to a PvP* dynamic where your customer suddenly shows up with a max level character and unique weapons.  Do you see how this can potentially ruin the experience for those that seek to play the game as it was intended to be played?  

*PvP = Player Versus Player

-Neros

[ Parent ]

Yet More Incorrect Assumptions... =) (4.33 / 3) (#76)
by Imperfect on Wed Jan 08, 2003 at 10:14:48 AM EST

And have YOU done any fact-checking before you posted, or just assumed they DID look down on this kind of behaviour? I mean, I'll come clean - nowhere do they say they approve of this kind of behaviour. In some EULAs it says that they disapprove of it, but... I kinda discussed that in the article above. =) EA specifically - the people that run Earth and Beyond - have nothing in their EULA that prevents me from doing this in any fashion.

And the vast, vast majority of time the people who buy these high-level accounts and items are simple to beat in PVP because they never bought the skill that goes with them. One of the more common things I hear about bought accounts - or the accounts that I did powerleveling for - was that they had to learn how to play the account first. Typically, if you didn't climb up there yourself, you'll never reach the same proficiency as if you did in the first place.

Not perfect, not quite.
[ Parent ]
Some light reading... (5.00 / 2) (#88)
by Neros on Wed Jan 08, 2003 at 07:08:42 PM EST

Since you asked, from the EA.com Terms of Service linked from the E&B homepage.

Commercial Activity and Unsolicited E-mail. You may not advertise any goods or services on EA.com. Chain letters and pyramid schemes are not allowed. You may not use any area of EA.com to collect information, including login names, about EA.com Members, and use of such information to send unsolicited e-mail or for any other purpose is strictly prohibited. You may not exploit EA.com, or any games or services offered on EA.com for any commercial purpose. Any violation of these provisions can subject your EA.com Account to immediate termination (or result in revocation of Guest status, if you are a guest) and further legal action.[emphasis mine]

I imagine that if you keep it under the radar of those that are watching, you'll be free and clear to do whatever you want. Get big enough or exploit the game for your profit, like these guys and I imagine that you'll be introduced to the real world of the cease and desist letter and future legal hurdles.

-Neros

[ Parent ]
Ahh, but that can be read a few ways (2.00 / 1) (#93)
by coryking on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 02:05:15 AM EST

Let *me* add emphasis:
You may not exploit EA.com, or any games or services offered on EA.com for any commercial purpose
One could interpret this rule as applying to those who actually form a business around it, or helps make a business profitable. It doesn't say anything about casual sales.

That statement you quoted is pretty vague. It all hinges around your interpretation of the word commercial. This I suppose has a commonly accepted definition used in law that neither of us are aware of.

[ Parent ]

No it can't (3.66 / 3) (#98)
by El Volio on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 10:04:19 AM EST

Despite what many K5ers evidently believe from their posts, a comma is not just the verbal pause that refreshes. It has a grammatical meaning. In this case, "commercial" refers solely to the "games or services offered on EA.com". If there were a comma between "EA.com" and "for", then you'd be right. If there were no comma after the first "EA.com" then it would be really vague. As written, though, it's pretty specific and can't be read a few ways.

As it stands, in any case, selling the fruits of your exploitation of the games would pretty much be commercial, whether or not it supports a corporation ("business"). Then again, IANAL.

[ Parent ]

Depends was is is... (1.00 / 1) (#99)
by dipierro on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 01:14:40 PM EST

Surely the lack of a comma is a typographical error.  Otherwise how do you interpret "exploit."  Exploit how?   Exploit for pleasure?  That's illegal?  Clearly "for any commercial purpose" modifies "exploit."  The sentence makes no sense otherwise.

I have to agree with you that except perhaps for the player who occassionally sells an unneeded item which was acquired accidently, this would be considered commercial.  And it really doesn't matter whether or not IAAL, because the question being asked here isn't a legal one.

[ Parent ]

Business Model (none / 0) (#105)
by Elkor on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 05:02:26 PM EST

Ummm, is this a good time to point out that you did develop a commercial purpose?

Commercial meaning "Having profit as a chief aim" or "Of or pertaining to commerce" (dictionary.com) and commerce meaning "The buying and selling of goods, "

That clearly covers the scope of your activities.

As for your argument about your actions not being part of a business, a business is (again dictionary.com) "The occupation, work, or trade in which a person is engaged" That would be Professional Game Player in your case. Or it could mean "Commercial dealings", in which case we see above paragraph about "commerce"

Keep in mind, you are using this occupation to earn your living.

Not saying I disaprove of your activities, but I have to agree that you are in violation of the EULA.

Personally, I don't see it as any worse than being a butler, or gopher. You make someone elses life easier/convenient in exchange for financial compensation.

Regards,
Elkor
"I won't tell you how to love God if you don't tell me how to love myself."
-Margo Eve
[ Parent ]
Er... That wasn't me. (none / 0) (#108)
by Imperfect on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 02:05:35 AM EST

I wrote the article, coryking responded to that last comment. I'll fully admit that I was "got" there, but check my above comment on the validity of EULAs for my rebuttal.

Not perfect, not quite.
[ Parent ]
Damn.... (none / 0) (#110)
by Elkor on Mon Jan 13, 2003 at 08:52:47 AM EST

All those pesky "userids" it gets hard to tell who is who sometimes. :)

Ok, I guess my comment should be read with the words "he" instead of "you", or something like that so that it makes sense.

*Sigh* K5 needs a "edit" function for comments.

Regards,
Elkor


"I won't tell you how to love God if you don't tell me how to love myself."
-Margo Eve
[ Parent ]
Official vs. Unofficial / Validity of EULAs (none / 0) (#104)
by Imperfect on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 04:09:02 PM EST

Officially, the EULA has condemned what I do. I'll concede to that, as I suppose I haven't noticed that line. (Odd that I noticed that I wasn't to use EA's service to advertise my sales, but not that I couldn't. Ah well, willful eyes read what they want, eh?)

However, in a dev. chat a while ago (copies are kept on fansites out there, and I haven't the urge to go hunting for the example in question), the question was asked whether EA or Westwood had any plans to do anything about people who sell acounts or items on eBay.

The official answer was something to the effect of: "Just make sure you use EA's account-transfer service so you don't get ripped off! =)" So unofficially, they may not perhaps condone it, but they at least tolerate it

It's a very, very grey area. Also, it may be a moot point. People have had very good luck recently challenging software EULAs in court. Many of them are far, far too broad, and most attempt to take rights away from the users that cannot be given up. In cases like that, the EULA is sometimes declared completely null and void.

Of course, if it ever came down to it, I would quickly give up and roll over before any legal challenges. No way am I willing to commit to court time and costs over giving up my silly little $5/hour job.

Not perfect, not quite.
[ Parent ]
Entertainment is what your selling (none / 0) (#113)
by FatHed on Tue Jan 14, 2003 at 09:14:08 PM EST

you're making money off of human stupidity and arrogance at it's worse
Umm, Hmm, he/she is selling items related to entertainment, which is the largest and most profitable item to sell. By your statement, your calling people who want to be entertained dumb, and everyone wants to be entertained, by movies, games, books, and television.

Intelligence is a matter of opinion.
[ Parent ]
all well and good. (3.75 / 4) (#65)
by /dev/trash on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 10:32:11 PM EST

Then the various games change some code and that "house" you are trying to sell is worthless.

---
Updated 02/20/2004
New Site
yup, it happens (3.66 / 6) (#67)
by ZorbaTHut on Tue Jan 07, 2003 at 11:46:04 PM EST

I've got a character on Anarchy Online, and if I wanted to, I could have made a nice tidy profit by now - and I haven't even been trying. I found a spell ("nano", in AO terms) called Grid Armor Mk3, which sells for a whopping $200 on EBay (here is a link to a closed Grid Armor Mk1 auction, which is much more common and not very useful, I'm told.)

I'm not selling it - my main character is a Fixer, which is the class that can use GA3. And it'll make me near-invincible to things anywhere near my level for quite a while :P But . . . yeah. If I wanted to, I could be blitzing items and selling them, working my way through the game economy, and probably making a good deal of money off it.

Once I get bored, I won't sell my character - people know this character, it's Me. I'll just let it lapse. Probably waste a few hundred dollars too, judging by auctions like this one . . . but I'm not doing this for the money. I guess that's the philosophical difference.

I've been tempted by some of these auctions (for example, ten million credits for $5.50), but what it all comes down to is, if I bought my character that way, I wouldn't have the accomplishment of doing it the real way. So, I don't.

Oh, and if I found another GA3, it wouldn't go on EBay. It would go to a friend who could use it.

Money Laundering in the 21st Century (4.66 / 6) (#69)
by rusty on Wed Jan 08, 2003 at 01:49:37 AM EST

I just had another thought. How long until some enterprising hackers set this kind of thing up as an easy money laundering operation?

Think about it: you and a few accomplices set up a dozen or two dozen characters each on several games. You take some dirty cash from your shady clients and put it in an offshore bank account in a place where questions are frowned upon. Hop on eBay and start buying up goods for the various games you've got players in. When you win the auctions, pay via paypal funds transferred out of your bank account. Take your virtual property and spread it around between your multiple characters a few times, then sell it again. Take your now-clean cash and give it back to your clients, less whatever fees you charge for the service.

Either I'm an evil genius, or someone's already doing this. Casts a whole new light on "what kind of people would buy their way up in a game," doesn't it? Does anyone think this is even remotely on law enforcement's radar?

____
Not the real rusty

This might work... (3.00 / 1) (#72)
by Jetifi on Wed Jan 08, 2003 at 03:38:48 AM EST

You wouldn't want to sign up to (e.g.) UO using an account from the Caymans or something - it would be too obvious. More likely you'd transfer the money from your small Caribbean bank to a checking account in somewhere like Luxembourg, and sign up to eBay/Paypal etc. using that.

You'd have to choose a world where item depreciation is fairly limited, inflation is not too high, and economic bugs are rare. OTOH you could invest in unreal estate (as in the Wired article) which (in UO at least) would appear to increase in value over time, but long-term in-game strategies would lead to higher inventory and delayed ROI. I can't believe I'm talking like an savings & loans salesguy...

WRT fees, it's a while since I looked at money laundering in any detail, and IANAC (any DoJ accountants care to step in?), but IIRC the average cost of money laundering can be anything between 15% and 5%, depending on how much it is you're washing.

I'd wait until an MMORPG goes live with items and money based on digi-cash, i.e. using decent crypto, before trying to put any of this into practise.

--
Tigers are nimble
and light on their toes
my respect for tigers
continually grows.



[ Parent ]
Sounds like it would work for a little while... (4.00 / 2) (#77)
by Wah on Wed Jan 08, 2003 at 10:15:16 AM EST

...right up until the Feds subpeona Paypal, eBay, and EA/Blizzard (this might be the loophole if they destroy/don't keep transaction records for item trades...any game admins in the crowd???).  Connecting the dots from there wouldn't be too hard, I don't think.

There could also be some honest money making in the deal if you are a thrifty bidder at the auctions.

But you do get 5 Evil Genius Points (non-transferable, no-cash value) for the idea.
--
The aim of an argument or discussion should not be victory, but progress. -- Joseph Joubert. ...
[ Parent ]

Backups (none / 0) (#95)
by Ranieri on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 06:46:51 AM EST

(this might be the loophole if they destroy/don't keep transaction records for item trades...any game admins in the crowd???).

We know they keep full backups, as we know of at least one instance where the world was reverted a few days after a particularly nasty bug screwed up the economy.
It would be a tough but not impossible job to search all the characters in the backups to see where an item came from.
--
Taste cold steel, feeble cannon restraint rope!
[ Parent ]

volume (4.00 / 2) (#82)
by khallow on Wed Jan 08, 2003 at 11:24:13 AM EST

These markets don't have the volume to launder serious amounts. Maybe that will change in the future, but I doubt it.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

You've given me something to think about! (3.00 / 1) (#70)
by Joe Tie on Wed Jan 08, 2003 at 02:47:24 AM EST

I might just give it a shot soon. I've been having bad luck trying to find part time work in my area, and this might be just the thing to fit in with my schedule.

I suppose I could do that (3.00 / 2) (#74)
by Nesian on Wed Jan 08, 2003 at 05:15:52 AM EST

Or I could go to the beach go for a surf and meet girls
~After all, if you stockpile a massive nuclear arsenal, it's only natural that people are going to want to go in and have a look around, maybe see what all those buttons marked 'detonate' and 'code red' mean.~
Girls and Money (4.00 / 1) (#90)
by ZorbaTHut on Wed Jan 08, 2003 at 08:01:17 PM EST

How to NOT get girls:

"What do you do for a living?"
"I play Everquest."

[ Parent ]

EA even got in on the action (5.00 / 2) (#79)
by Jaritsu on Wed Jan 08, 2003 at 10:39:19 AM EST

EA already sells advanced characters for one of the still most popular of all MMOGs, UO.

They also publish SIMS online and E&B, I wonder how long it will be before they offer this "service" for those games as well.

Whats even funnier is the logic they use is not far off from this authors:

Purchasing an Advanced Character is a great way to move quickly ahead in specific areas of the game without taking a character through every step of the building-up process. It is particularly useful if you are purchasing this character as an additional character on an existing account and you are already familiar with the development process but you want or need a specific type of character for your account. This service really helps to move you into the fast lane!

I am not a EQ player but I hear you can transfer an exsisting character from one server to another for a "transaction fee". Go ahead and try to tell me this isn't for the people who bought accounts. Verant knows people do, so they offered this service as a way to cash in on it.

"Jaritsu, have you stopped beating your wife yet?" - Kintanon

about buying/selling characters (5.00 / 1) (#96)
by truffle on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 08:30:54 AM EST

Some interesting factoids (I real-life know 2 people who work at Sony Online in Everquest customer service)

First Sony doesn't really care whether people buy, sell, or steal accouts or items. The corporate policy may not allow it, but the people don't. Like most of the 'rules' in Everquest, they're only enforced when someone complains, or when you piss customer service staff off.

The whole you-can't-buy-stuff-with-real-money started to reduce the customer service load on Sony. However, people were getting screwed constantly on online transactions (for example, sell a character, collect the money, then retrieve the character's new password through Sony customer service). These people would then complain to Sony, the only people with any 'power' over the world of Everquest.

By banning online transactions, making them illegal, Sony put itself in the position where customer can't complain. You bought an account and someone stole it? Why are you telling us, that's illegal! We'd just take the account away from you anyway.


meow
[ Parent ]

***Terrible*** example (4.50 / 2) (#85)
by skintigh on Wed Jan 08, 2003 at 04:01:34 PM EST

"They tend to be safe from other forms of quick gain such as cheat codes or hacking, and even when they're not, offenders are generally swiftly punished while loopholes are fixed." ""Diablo 2 soj" - 621 items" A player today has litterally a 1:1,000,000 of ever findinf an SOJ in his life. I never found one, and I played alot. I only ever found one ring even of that class. How, then, does something that only 0.0001% of the population will ever find become a currency? Why, by cheating, of course. As soon as someone found an soj, the hackers would dupe it thousands or millions of times so that all their friends could have them, they could trade them, or sell them on ebay. Every domain at the time was affected by this cheating, and nothing was done about it except to plug the whole after it didn't matter any more. Thus, per Blizard company policy, cheaters rule.

Zod Rune (2.50 / 2) (#86)
by Kuli on Wed Jan 08, 2003 at 04:38:04 PM EST

You're thinking of a Zod rune. THOSE are rare. SoJs are nothin'. You just need a good amount of magic find on a high level Firewall/Nova/Hydra/Meteor/TS/etc. Sorceress and have access to Hell difficulty Mephisto. I've had good luck finding rare rings with him and Andariel.

[ Parent ]
No, I'm not (none / 0) (#100)
by skintigh on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 01:45:40 PM EST

First of all, SOJ isn't a rare ring, it's a unique ring. I found tons of rare items, and many set items killing meph in hell and on the cow level, some of which I sold for SOJs. I had a lightning sorc with nova and e shield around level 35-37 with items for PKing and would wear 400mf in a group or 250 mf alone, and I NEVER found a SOJ. I must've killed meph 200 times. My goal became to max out on mf/res-all items, but one day I think I just realized how pointless the game was and quit, and now my chars are gone. Either SOJ's are easy to find now, or you are full of it. When I played, nobody said "sojs are nothing" unless they were lying or had mules full of duped ones.

[ Parent ]
By "rare" I meant hard-to-find, not yell (none / 0) (#103)
by Kuli on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 03:39:39 PM EST



[ Parent ]
stone of jordan commonality (none / 0) (#89)
by eudas on Wed Jan 08, 2003 at 07:19:33 PM EST

stones of jordan were common even before mass duping of them began. the full story and details of unique rings in diablo2 can be found at the following url:

http://www.diabloii.net/items/uniques/armor-rings.shtml

in particular, read the bottom section, entitled 'ring generation order'.

eudas
"Nothing is on fire, but the day is still young" -- Phil the Canuck
[ Parent ]

They weren't common, but... (4.00 / 1) (#101)
by skintigh on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 01:50:53 PM EST

they were much easier to find. There were 3 unique rings, and the first was easier to find. If you had that one, and found a second copy of the first "unique" ring, it automatically turned into the second flavor of unique ring. If you found a third copy of the easier-to-find ring, it would turn into an SOJ. Also, you could gamble for rings, which followed the same bug. This made them exist in unnaturally high quantities, but duping made them into a currency, a.k.a. common.

[ Parent ]
Look to the currency issuers... (5.00 / 3) (#91)
by qon on Wed Jan 08, 2003 at 08:28:57 PM EST

Seems like the video game vendors could crush this market quite simply, by selling unearned wealth/weapons/spells/what have you on eBay, created deux ex machina... leading to hyperinflation, just as when Brazil and Zaire used to do the same thing. Eventually the prices might be driven down to a permanent low that only the vendors themselves could maintain a profit selling (since it costs them no labor or capital to produce). Even then, it might be a tidy little revenue stream. But the independents, like the author of this article, would be obsolete.

Another thought: wonder how many backdoors the software engineers put into the code, so they can dip into this particular well themselves? And would this really even be illegal?

Q

Concept isn't new; just the medium (4.00 / 1) (#92)
by Torgos Pizza on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 12:46:06 AM EST

This goes on all the time. First it's Cabbage Patch kids, then Furbies, then Beanie Babies, now Yu-gi-oh cards. Buying low and selling high isn't new.

My only comment is that the amount of money is laughably low. Minimum wage pays better. Oh, but you get to sit on your butt all day and play games. Well, playing the same game eight hours a day gets to be as boring as hell and ceases to be fun.

I should know. I got paid to test games full-time. For that matter, I was paid MUCH better and had benefits. But it does suck the fun out of playing.

Then what happens when the game du jour isn't popular anymore? Then you're stuck with an investment into a character that isn't worth anything and you have to start over again. It's a gamble every time because you need to choose the right game and do it early. Jump in too late and you miss the profit curve. What if you get sick and have to go to the hospital? Who is going to play your game and pay the bills (no company insurance remember!) Can't take a vacation because you wouldn't be able to afford the time off as a result of the lost income.

Doing this for extra income could be fun, but making a living doing what the author described? Forget it. It's too speculative, too time consuming and you'd be better off in the long run to get a full-time job in the game industry as a tester... at least until that burns you out.

I intend to live forever, or die trying.

Certainly not a long-term career... (none / 0) (#97)
by Imperfect on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 08:48:35 AM EST

However, I use it as a job while I'm in college and it serves me fine. Somewhere below I showed the actual mathematics on it, and I basically make around $5US/hour. I don't know how much minimum wage is where you live, but here in Ontario, it's $6.85CAN/hour, and I make a touch over that.

And yes, it is a gamble. And yes it ceases to be fun. It IS work. However, I'd far prefer to be working for myself, by myself, at home, and in comfort than for some mostly-incompetent-yet-largely-lazy manager at a convenience store yet again.

Besides, I can do my homework while doing this. I can't while at pretty much any other job. So it works for me. =)

Not perfect, not quite.
[ Parent ]
one thing. (1.00 / 1) (#94)
by burntfriedman on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 03:43:13 AM EST

If you made money playing games, that's great--its what games are all about. If you plan on making money playing games, that's gambling.

Re: one thing. (none / 0) (#107)
by juggleme on Fri Jan 10, 2003 at 09:47:53 PM EST

I don't know about that. Every time I've been in a Real Live Casino I've always planned on losing a twenty or so. Then again I probably have lower expectations than your average Joe, but still

That and using this setup he has no expectation to even possibly lose money. Time maybe but not money. Without that risk, it can't really be called gambling.

[ Parent ]

Career prospects. Arbitrage vs bug exploiting? (4.00 / 1) (#102)
by Anonymous Hiro on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 03:37:48 PM EST

The career path/ doesn't look that great. Plus the devs/co can make your life hell (that said the usual PHBs can do that too).

But if you don't mind, USD5/hour is decent money where I am - a Big Mac meal here is about USD1.80. But you can easily get a meal+drink for about USD1.20 (<USD1 if you know where). You can rent a room for USD50/month. ADSL is USD25/month.<p> Is it an honest living? Ethically it seems fine as long as you don't cheat or unfairly hurt others (as per the majority's perception - the majority set the unwritten rules in any game). If you beat people in a sport/game fair and square they are hurt sometimes, but they have agreed as part of the game to accept that.

Exploiting bugs where something happens that obviously shouldn't happen would be cheating. Usually the world has a certain consistency, and if the consistency breaks badly either it's a bug, or the game sucks ;). That said you can cheat without exploiting bugs. Auto aiming/full map view in some games does not really exploit bugs. But it's still regarded as cheating.

Also it's sometimes hard to tell the difference between arbitrage and taking advantage of a bug.

e.g. What if you find that if you buy something from A and sell it to/at B you make money? And normally it's not that profitable because it takes a LOT of time to get from A to B, but some new advance in Technology/Magic allows you to do it a lot quicker (not a bug, new item/spell).

This sort of thing often happens in the real world, and many get rich that way. Is that cheating? Not in the real world at least.


I knew this girl who. . . (4.50 / 2) (#106)
by Fantastic Lad on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 10:25:59 PM EST

I remember having a conversation with this girl in high school. She was about five or six years older than everybody else; returning to finish her education or somesuch. In any case, she'd seen more of the world than the rest of us, which was why I was spending time with her in the first place.

She was relating some story about a friend of her hers in France who made his living by taking post cards with pictures of flowers on them, adding some meaty strokes of acrylic paint here and there so that they looked as though he had painted them himself, and set up shop with a card table on the side walk.

I remember thinking. . , well, nothing much actually. Just absorbing the story, when she paused to think to herself, and decided to wag an warning finger at me. (In another example of the classic female ability to assume thought, depth and judgement where none exists.)

"And there's nothing wrong with that!" she told me firmly. "When you're out in the real world, anything you can do to make money is acceptable."

Sure. Like selling crack to ten year olds. Bullshit. --Of course, this didn't occur to me until years later. Though had it done, I suspect she would have quickly amended her statement with something like, "So long as you're not hurting anyone, of course."

Of course.

I know a guy who made thousands of dollars through playing 'Magic the Gathering' better than the next guy and selling his winning decks after tournaments. Fun and profit! Whoo-hoo!

As they say. . , you're likely to hold three or more entirely different careers before you retire. (I don't know what generalist said that, but it was worth blowing a sentence on here, I think.)

So long as you're learning something and not entirely self-destructing or wasting away on the path to your higher self, (if you're even on that path,) then who cares how you get there, I suppose? (So long as you're not hurting anyone, that is.)

But dude.

A computer game can suck the juice out of you faster than a community center blood-drive. I know that I feel like death on a stick after only a couple of days of wasting away in front of a video game. (They call those things "computer terminals" for a reason!) Though, as you point out, it beats the 7-11. Given the choice, however, I think I'd rather be smearing dollops of acrylic across Hallmark's line of contentless books, on some flooded tourist spot in France than grow zits and fungus in the warming rays of this goddamned cathode tube. I already waste more than enough hours in front of this fucking thing as it is!

And with that thought in mind, I think I'll cut this ramble short and go for a walk. . .

-Fantastic Lad

What about betting? (none / 0) (#111)
by prophecy on Mon Jan 13, 2003 at 05:44:03 PM EST

I've been using www.betchu.com to bet other people when playing games, it seems like this can be more lucrative because you can play games like pool or crib on yahoo that take 10-15 minutes per game and potentially make $5-10 USD per game (or lose that much ;-). But as long as you win 2 out of 3 games, you are still making more than $5 / hr.
---------------------------------------- prophecy
Forgot one! (none / 0) (#112)
by FatHed on Tue Jan 14, 2003 at 09:00:16 PM EST

Horizons, we should be lauching mid summer of this year. And Yes, my post is a sales pitch, as I do work for Artifact Entertainment.

Some of the other MMORPGS do not let you sell in game items for real cash, like Dark Ages of Camelot, so make sure you read the EULA before you pick a game to play to try to make a living.

Intelligence is a matter of opinion.
So... Does this mean I can sell stuff in Horizons? (none / 0) (#114)
by Imperfect on Tue Jan 14, 2003 at 11:14:30 PM EST

Dammit. Couldn't fit the smiley in the Subject field. Oh well, here it is anyway:

=)

Not perfect, not quite.
[ Parent ]
Good idea (none / 0) (#115)
by Orion Blastar on Wed Jan 15, 2003 at 10:15:49 AM EST

but usually the auction sites want a comission on the sale. I have a brother who plays Everquest/Evercrack almost 24 hours a day, except when he works, sleeps, goes to the bathroom, or showers. He eats and drinks at his computer and then finds someplace safe to camp at to take a break to go to the bathroom or take a shower. He logs off when he works, but as soon as he gets home, he is back online. He has several level 60 characters in the game that people would be willing to pay thousands for. He is one of the best Player-Killers in the game and has raided guilds and done other stuff and nobody can stop him except for the Everquest SYSOPS/Gods. I won't give you the server he is on or his player names. He wants to sell off his characters, but he doesn't want to pay a high commision to do so. D'uh! Why even bother with eBay when you can just offer the items and characters in the game and accept Paypal payment (which eBay also owns) for a character, item, etc. Yes $6USD for that Panda Firework Rocket, etc. :)
*** Anonymized by intolerant editors at K5 and also IWETHEY who are biased against the mentally ill ***
HOWTO: Make Money Off Your Addiction | 119 comments (113 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
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