Thursday, October 8, 2009

Buying Kinah Isn't Justifiable

As you've probably already read on Aionic Thoughts and AionSource, NCSoft is going to start taking a much more hardline approach to gold spam in Aion. Honestly, after reading this I was in a much more upbeat mood... but then of course I just had to read "that one post". The post that just really gets under your skin, and makes you want to deck the author. I'm not going to link it or reveal where I read it, but put simply it went something along the lines of this:
"I have a life and job. Hence, I can't afford to play Aion 24/7 like some people. That's why buying Kinah is justifiable and fair, because it allows me to catch up to those 18 year old d-bags."
Let's review shall we? "Its okay to purchase virtual currency because it reduces the gap between hardcore and casual players in a game." Yea... that's what I thought you said. Now then, before I explode in a righteous fury equivalent to 10,000 Abyss Cores, lets discuss why the above statement is absolute bullwaffle.

First and foremost, you're playing a MMO. You're expected to only receive as much as you are willing to give. Buying gold doesn't just magically level the playing field, it completely skews it in one direction. Not to mention, it goes against the very purpose of a MMO, which is to live a life as your character. You don't see me magically obtaining money out of thin air in real life do you? So what makes that suddenly acceptable in a MMO? Nothing, that's what.

Second, you're hurting other player's experiences. How can you be okay with "buying 1337 gear and pwning faces" or "jacking up your server's economy because you can afford to". It isn't fair to other players to have to live with you're cheating ways. You're having a direct detrimental effect on other player's enjoyment. How would you like it if I farmed your waffle 24/7 in the Abyss just because I had better gear that I didn't even work for?

Third, in the end, you're cheating yourself. I hate to say this, but I actually feel sorry for the people who buy gold. They're the ones who won't ever feel the sense of accomplishment that we true gamers feel. They won't be able smile and reflect upon all of their hard work when they finally max out their crafting or get that one last piece of gear.

Finally, I have living proof that disputes this statement. Check by Multiplaying or go ask other honest casual gamers who have lives and jobs of their thoughts on buying kinah. I can say with 100% certainty that not a single one will tell you its justified. Buying gold because it lets you catch up in a game so you can play with people who actually worked and earned their waffle doesn't make you a gamer. It makes you a parasite, one that I intend to squash as much as possible mind you.

So... what're your thoughts about buying Kinah reader? (I promise I won't explode in your face if your thoughts are different than mine :P)


  1. I will admit that I have bought "gold" from companies in various games and once even tried power leveling services. This is how I justify it.

    When I buy these games, it's because of the lure of end game sieges, guild wars, arena battles, raids... etc.

    After coming from work, I play MMOs to entertain myself, relax and have a good time. Thus, mindlessly hacking at 10000 mobs so I can get my next level doesn't fulfill those needs, it become a second job in order to reach the point where the game becomes fun for me (end game).

    Also, I value my time. It makes more sense to me to pay someone 2 hours worth my salary than play 18 hours for equal benefit.

    The fact that I have to buy these 3rd party services for me to enjoy the game, in a twisted way, can be viewed as a failure in the companies’ part to not adequately design the game to be fun and cater to the average/casual gamer.

    I actually wrote a full article on this topic, check it out and leave me your comments and impressions. =)

  2. I understand where you are coming from, but is your time worth more than mine? I could just as easily purchase said services, but instead I slug out the grinds, graveyard runs, and node farming. It just feels like a massive shortcut to me that is extremely unfair towards the general populace.

  3. You know, I hate mindlessly hacking at 1000's of mobs just to get to the next level too. So I don't do it. Instead, I find something to do that I find interesting, which sometimes also results in leveling me up. Are the quests interesting? Acheivments? PvP? Exploring? Grouping up with people to conquer a dungeon?

    If none of that in the game is interesting, then maybe you need to play a different game.

  4. Damn wordpress login.. twice I loose my post:)

    To make it short I don't do it and I agree it's cheating. That said I don't see why it's unfair or for that matter what the whole issue is with "my time is worth the same".

    I mean what does it matter that someone else is taking a short cut? I don't play to compare myself to others and what other people do don't matter much to me. I don't know, I just don't see what does it do to you. You don't lose anything and your achievment for doing it without cheating isn't lessened at all..

  5. You pretty much mirrored my opinion on gold buying.

    I can't help but think less of anyone who stoops to such a tactic. I also think anyone who's ever bought gold or leveling services better not be complaining about any spam currently infesting Aion. They are the ones directly financing such spam tactics and have nobody to blame but themselves.

  6. I want to take the opposite point of view since so many before are against gold buyers. (I love debates and I totally wrote a paper about this last week! xD)

    Whats the difference between a game that doesn't sell its items or currency in it now and days and a game like Maplestory or the dozens of other games even CoH they sell complete character customization for money.

    People have spent $1000 of customizing how their character looks and the items in MS don't even give stats they are just for appearance only and only last for 90 days.

    Is ToS really all thats going to stop these gold buyers or sellers? It hasn't for the last decade of online games.

    My point is, it is obviously 'popular' to buy currency for those who 'don't have the time' - etc. But would you be opposed if they did allow buying the coin? I think eventually it's just going to come down to that. Maplestory did this and it reduced its number of people buying currency from online sources.

    Just realistically it's very hard to block all the sites outside the game until then I don't really see a solution.

  7. My only objection is the support buying Kinah directly lends to account hackers.

    If you buy gold and don't take adequate precautions you WILL get hacked (my bro, for example, had to wait a long time to get enough inventory for it to happen to him but it happened, they WILL keep an eye on you). If you bought gold then thats a good thing, but the hackers don't restrict their activities to ex-customers.

    As part of any community I believe we should try to protect those too young, old, naive or just nice from malicious *@$*@#ds.

    And that means saying no to bought gold, sorry if this is inconvenient.

  8. To Anikka, (I love debates too! :D Let's just make sure to keep it a healthy one everyone.)

    Buying items for looks is very very different from buying items that directly influence your standing in your gaming environment.

    I just don't see the point in actually working towards a goal in a MMO if person X just used a credit card to get to where I'm at instantaneously.

    Why should I have to deal with more competition on the AH, rampant undercutting and inflation, and twinked characters? MMOs shouldn't be about who has the deepest pockets, it should be about who has the biggest drive, passion, and commitment.

    I'm sorry for people who can't play as much as the rest of us, but buying gold/leveling to catch up just isn't fair. It completely undermines all of the effort that everyone else puts into the game.

  9. You buy the Game to play it and have fun....You pay 14.99 a month to continue to have might have upgraded to CE for 10 have fun...Seems like a logical conclusion that alot of people will buy have fun

    Am I missing something?

  10. "Am I missing something?"

    Yes. The fact that subscriptions and CE's are sanctioned by the company that produces the game and every penny goes towards them. Or is having fun more important than following the TOS?

  11. This is a very touchy subject, and I believe you need the gold buying/selling to keep the game economy alive. I don't buy gold myself, but I am sure gold buyers have let me make alot of gold in games by paying high prices for my gathering mats. If I couldn't make money than guess what? I wouldn't waste my time gathering which than means less people making blue armor/weapons, and its a downward spiral for the game economy.

    Take for example WAR. They decided at the beginning that they weren't going to tolerate it. You know what happened? Well, you couldn't sell anything in the game. No one bought stuff off the AH. The economy was literally dead. The gold you had rotted in your bank because you had nothing to spend it on.

    Now look at Aion. The economy is vibrant. Almost anything sells for a great amount of money on the AH or personal store. It creates a community. Players rely on each other for supplies. Why? Most likely because people are buying kinah, and stimulating the economy. It's no different than the stimulus money we got a year ago in r/l. Putting extra money into the economy helps everyone.

  12. Buying gold (or in this case Kinah) comes down to a simple exercise in economics. If player A makes $100/hr at his job his opportunity cost for playing a game for an hour instead of working is $100. I player B makes $10/hr at his job, his opportunity cost is $10.

    Say Player A works 12 hours a day and can only play 1 hour a day. He's outleveled his current gear and needs new armor, to the tune of 100,000 kinah. Let's pretend it would take him 1 hour to farm that. That 1 hour equals $100 for him, and also uses up all his play time for the day. If he could buy 100,000 kinah for $20 it would be economically sensible for him to do so.

    Say Player B works 8 hours a day and plays 5 hours a day. He's reached the same point as the other guy and needs new armor for 100,000 kinah. He can farm it in an hour, and still have 4 hours left to play. He could buy 100,000 kinah for $20, but that would be two hours of income, and not a sensible use of his time.

    Gold selling and buying is perfectly sensible due to the realities of MMO game design. Complaining that Player A should just play more is unjust (he works 12 hour days). Saying if he doesn't have time to "dedicate" to the game he shouldn't play at all is also unjust -- who are YOU to dictate how someone else spends their leisure time?

    I'm sorry, but Player A buying a new set of armor with real life money does NOT negatively impact YOUR gameplay at all -- you only feel like it does because he/she got the items for less in-game effort than you did. So what? It's a game. Would you complain if the tank that just brilliantly tanked an instance for you and helped you get great loot revealed that he used real money to buy his tanking gear? You benefited as well. Most games make sure that the very best items can only be gained by time spent in game (i.e. raids). Mr. Moneybags will always be 2nd best.

    The real issue is that gold buying/selling results in gold spammers and account hacking which obviously does negatively impact people's gameplay. The simplest solution is to follow in the footsteps of CCP and allow the sale of timecards (or similar) on the in-game AH. The vast majority of currency buyers would prefer to do it through a legitimate source, and will do so even if 3rd parties offer the currency cheaper (see the massive reduction in ISK selling in EVE post - PLEX).

    Just for the record, I am not a currency purchaser as I'm far too poverty stricken, but I completely understand the desire of people to do so. If games developers truly want to eliminate RMT they either need to stop designing games with time/moneysinks or provide legitimate routes to advance characters without dealing with 3rd party spammers.

  13. You know, gold buying is one thing. What it causes is another. I don't care that much if players actually buy the gold... there's not much the game can do to prevent players from buying gold from other players. It's been going on for years, and the economy adjusts to the prices on the broker (if you're experienced at buying/selling). I prefer people not to buy gold, period.. but that's not what I have the big problem with.

    It's what gold-buying causes that makes me so upset. Spamming chat channels and PMing players is absolutely wrong in everyway. If you have to go to a website to buy it, then post advertisements and pay to get your site listed first on Google. It will make everyone much happier to quit spamming chat. People know they can buy gold... it's been done for years.. just go on the web and search!

    Bots - this is ridiculous also... inconveniencing EVERYONE... making it a pain for someone to craft.. for someone to do a quest... for someone to get gold on their own. And on the part of the bot-player, the game loses enjoyment and becomes a show instead of a game. Everyone loses here too.

    I've bought gold a couple times before when WoW first came out, but that was before I realized how much pain it caused on the community. I wonder how it would work out if NCSOFT started selling gold to the players at prices cheaper than the farmers... while continuing to delete their bots and spam. I would MUCH rather players support the game and the servers by paying NCSoft for gold (which wouldnt have to be farmed since they are devs) than to support some scheme in china.

  14. Good discussions, its interesting to read so many varying opinions. I suppose it largely an ethics vs. economics debate, and the balance in between. (I think its fairly obvious where I stand) Nice to see so many people taking the time to comment, appreciate it.

  15. Another thing to consider is where are the Kinah sellers getting their Kinah to sell in the first place. In many games we are now seeing accounts being hacked, coin and gear being taken. These are not necessarily accounts of people who have bought coin. These include people who had less than great passwords, or had given their account details to guildies so that their character could be played if needed and such.

    It is like buying an expensive watch from the guy standing on the street corner. Please don't delude yourself that someone couldn't have been hurt in the process of getting you that Kinah.

  16. Yeah very contructive and interesting thoughts here, great job people for contributing on both sides. :)

  17. Well, discounting my own comments, this post has received 13 comments from 11 individuals. That's a new (IAAN) record! ^_^

  18. Lengthy reply here (that won't show as a trackback for some reason) -


  19. As a player, I don't like my game flooded with cheats. I don't personally care to use them, but, the only things that aren't “fair” are things against the rules, and the rules are written. Real life doesn't have any rules, and so, often appears to be unfair. We can't mix the two.

    You're using the ideas of hardcore and casual to defend, which are personal. "You're expected to only receive as much as you are willing to give" is also personal and subjective, flavored by the previous ideas. What do I give? What did the other guy? Why and how were these equal or not equal? What have we received? In this case, where/how the earning power was spent doesn't matter, if we received equal measure against our earning power (entertainment from this one source). It's business. Is it unfair for my neighbor to buy a Lexus on credit when I buy a used Honda with cash? Who can say. Perhaps my car will need pricey upkeep. Perhaps his interest rate skyrockets. Who knows. What's more likely to be a matter of contention is that I feel badly, as he appears to receive more social value. I feel I should receive more for being, imo, more responsible. But those are only my feelings. He and his car have nothing to do with them. What matters is if, as has been said, there is a law being broken.

    If a player should only receive as much as they've given in game it would appear as if all players cheat; The student with his superior dorm connection. The teenager on his family computer. The stay at home mom. The single bartender with so many alts he can send his main countless supplies. The two-boxer. The gamer who uses mods to get quests done faster. That kid in 1991 with a Nintendo Power. Each of those players leverage an out of game advantage.

    Yes, people do obtain trade similarly in real life. When we go to college, where does most of that money usually come from? When we get fired, where does unemployment come from? Is living your life as your character the purpose of an MMO? Do we believe this of the guy named Imadotyousucka who claims the game is “a fail waste of time” until “end game, when the real game starts.” What about the guy who logs on only to twink, then PVP for ten minutes? Those are a lot of guys. Are we here implying that their money and time are worth less? Finally, yes. It does technically level a playing field because we are talking about a literal playing field. RMT goes directly back into the game. Nothing is actually spent as far as the game is concerned and nothing is actually gained as far as the spender is concerned. The real world does not and cannot enter into the equation. Like it or not. This an old argument. I win no real world money. I do not win my freedom from jail, nor the right to become the next President.

    Say I pay for a subscription in USD. So does my friend in Croatia. My friend in Croatia actually pays more than I do. Perhaps he works five times as hard. Perhaps he's neglecting a bigger part of his life by playing with me at 5PM US Central. Is the playing field now completely skewed in one direction -- Mine? Or let's pretend I'm an average young adult with one hobby only. My MMO. At the most, I can be on 6PM-11AM my time. That's a lot, but say that my last three guilds have all run content mostly outside those hours. Despite being on so often I rarely see top benefit. In addition, the times available to me are high traffic. I would make more money scavenging, etc., if I could get on at low times, but I cannot.

    It isn't “fair” that the guys above get less because of circumstance, and a server's economy is far more jacked up by a guy flooding the AH with 300 undercuts than by a guy buying a horse which can't be traded by players anyway. What precisely makes auctioned goods unquestionably fair? What makes a walkthrough fair? What makes simultaneous reference fair? In these cases, what matters is that the design of the game makes these opportunities as equal as possible. My loot = your time = her kill points = his harvesting. Hopefully.

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