Sunday, September 20, 2009

Quickie update, and a study in the impact of the RMT fuckers...

Quickly:

WHM 40, probably going to get 42 Real Soon Now to get Teleport-Vazhl and my AF weapon.

BRD 19, if I didn't say that already.

DRG Merits FINISHED. 5 Angon, 3 Deep Breathing, 1 of each of the others in Level 2. Going to cap XP on that mother in Campaign this week, then start on getting DNC to 75 and breaking the latent on my Destroyers.

More Besieged Bullshit. SSDD. Square-Enix really needs to cut skill-ups out of Besieged, like they did in Campaign.

Sunday Dynamis: For the life of me, I can't remember what we did -- not that I wasn't there and didn't participate...

Wednesday Dynamis: Low-manned a Windy run, til we got to the Death House. Then, OOPS!!! Yeech.

Was going to do a Garrison run in Saruta, but my roommate needed me before they could finish the preparations.

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From time to time, I check up on some of the other sites, and had made some very pointed comments about the RMT stuff posted on JPButton.com

Let's just say it wasn't taken too well, but someone actually came up with a link to a developers' blog for another MMO, EVE Online, which discusses actions taken against RMT on that game.

I'll give you guys the link, and have this up as I go through this, because I do believe that's proprietary information and I'm not sure I can put the images of the charts up here if I wanted to: http://www.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&bid=687

Meet "Unholy Rage" -- the effort by EVE's developers to continue to deal with RMT and all that stuff. Leading up to a stated point on June 22, 2009, the developers of the game kept an eye on RMT, trying to deal with not only the demand for the in-game currency, but how to eliminate the illegal selling of same and acquisition by those parties of same.

On that date, "Unholy Rage" deleted 6,200 paying accounts. (Paying attention, Square-Enix? These were actually accounts that were being PAID FOR already. No trial account bullshit, at least not in that number. Consider this about the equivalent of the Salvage bans on FFXI precisely five months before this.)

What they found afterwards was very interesting:

1) The number of maximum users at any given point dropped about 10% instantaneously, even though the number of actual accounts banned only represented about 2% of the paying customer-base.

2) The amount of resources each user used on average dropped THIRTY PERCENT.

What these two things mean is very simple: High-level RMT takes a tremendous amount of computer resources away from the legitimate play of an MMO.

If you don't believe me, consider that if all users on that game were to use the same amount of CPU resources, EVE Online would be using FIFTEEN TIMES the amount of CPU resources it currently does.

(And I'm sure you could find the same results in FFXI, WoW, or any other place a similar study would be done on.)

Basically, what this showed was that a very small number of accounts, by illegal acquisition and selling of in-game items and currency (which is theft from the company, because those are proprietary online property of same), were using a tremendous amount of resources.

This doesn't even account for many of the other foibles of the Square-Enix War Against RMT (which they are indisputably losing), such as hacking into the servers to steal credit-card information, etc..

Now, consider one particular area of the game (one "solar system", as they call it), as they give the access of the Ingunn zone just before and after Unholy Rage.

The chart effectively shows that, once the RMT accounts were deleted, except for one large blip and a couple smaller ones, Ingunn basically disintegrated as a relevant area of the game.

I would take one issue with what the developers said in their blog: I don't see that as an "improvement".

I see that as a revelation that there may be very little need to keep the Ingunn area in the game any longer.

I said, back in January, that I believed that there was so much abuse in Salvage that they needed to shut that game mechanic out completely.

It is a situation such as demonstrated in the EVE blog's second chart to which I refer in saying as such. There was essentially (barring a couple small blips) essentially NO LEGITIMATE PLAY WHATSOEVER in that zone. What used to have about 200 players or so at any real given time now had essentially zero in many points.

Any game mechanic or zone which shows this kind of (lack of) traffic, regardless of the game or the mechanic or zone, should be eliminated from the game entirely.

Part of what allows RMT to thrive is the ability to easily gain significant amounts of Real Money Saleable items (usually currency, but also in-game items as well). If it can be demonstrated that, through this or other illegal abuse, the entirety of play is essentially illegal conduct, eliminate the zone, for it's extraneous to the game!

The EVE developers then show one chart regarding a very popular addition -- a Memory Augmentation implant -- with respect to supply and cost.

This obviously was a very desireable item to sell for RMT, since the supply immediately HALVED on the day of Unholy Rage. The price, during the (1 month?) temporary ban period for some of the accounts, went up about 70% as a result.

The instant the temp-bans expired, the market immediately flooded and the cost dropped, but prices and supply have now stabilized at their post-Unholy Rage levels when essentially all of the temp-bans quickly became permanent.

(Do you honestly believe, Square-Enix, that any temporary ban for this type of misconduct (*cough*including the Salvage bans*cough*) would get them to actually act in concert with the rules? Of what value are the damned rules if there's no value in actually playing by them?)

This should be no surprise for people who saw all the little RMTaru shits basically running around and gardening their way to gil being under $20/million (to which it has gotten again -- maybe because of all the stripped/stolen account items, people???).

RMT destroys in-game balance, people!!! There is no polite way around this statement. Especially in the "factory" settings (if you want a real good indicator of just what RMT does and how they do it, check out this YouTube video from MTV, reporting on Chinese RMT factories: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ketOtwjAdO4), it is a true "rinse-lather-repeat" situation.

It should be no surprise that it would appear that there are not only RMT who are committing these acts, but other RMT looking for new ways in!

This is why these people must be met with criminal prosecution and eradicated from MMO's (and probably the Net itself!) once and for all. This means prison time and LOTS OF IT.

The next chart has the developers making the claim that there's not that much impact in the in-game market, but it's clear, if you actually look at the chart, if you were to take out the designation of Unholy Rage (and the dates on the X-axis), it can fairly easily be determined as to when it took place. There is a significant (though, in no means fatal) correlation between the Unholy Rage event and the reduction in the amount of in-game currency involved, with the one spike up towards prior levels when the temp-bans were removed.

Bottom line: THE ONLY WAY TO GET RID OF RMT IS TO JAIL RMT. REAL LIFE PRISON, END OF STORY.

If you do not have the resources to do this, you do not have the resources to deal with RMT, and probably do not have the resources to put on an MMO in the first damn place.

There's one more interesting thing that EVE Online does, which is also kind of a matter at least designed to deal with RMT: Make EVE Online not "pay to play", but "play to play" -- for a certain amount of in-game currency (certainly not insignificant, I am sure), you get what's called a PLEX (Pilot's License EXtension), which gives you 30 days of "free" game time.

Effectively, that is your monthly fee. And if you can make enough in-game currency legally, you don't have to pay for EVE Online anymore.

Just a thought...

1 comment:

Volkai said...

SE already did much of what Unholy Rage did years ago, when the STF was new. That's why RMTs these days are pretty much down to stealing accounts and spamming tells. They can't monopolize zones anymore, can't really spam farm any items that NPC for enough for it to really be worth it... they're pretty weak compared to where they used to be.

Except, SE didn't have publish everything with specific numbers tracking like EVE did.