Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Reverse RMT

RMT stands for Real Money Trading, or as commonly known in World of Warcraft, gold buying. You use ‘real money’ (dollars, pesos, marks, euros, yen) and purchase something in game like gold or BoE epics. Some MMOs are actually based on this kind of selling for their business model. Instead of a monthly fee, they charge you real money for weapons, or mounts.

But what if the tables were turned? What if instead of spending real money to buy some virtual, you spent virtual currency to buy something real.

I got the idea from Veneretio of Tanking Tips. Vene and Tank Like a Girl are two of the best Protection Warrior blogs you can read. He ran this idea by me, “what if Blizzard implemented the ultimate gold sink. What if they allowed you to buy a month of WoW time for 10,000 gold?”

I don’t think this would ever really happen because it exposes the truth of RMT. You really are spending something of tangible value (your money) for something without tangible value (1s and 0s in a computer server somewhere). The Power Company that supplies Blizzard with power for its servers, and Blizzard’s ISP aren’t going to accept getting paid in WoW Gold, so as long as Blizzard must pay its bills in ‘real money’, so do we.

I personally have never had 10,000 gold. As soon as Honors is around 5k, I lose motivation to make much more. With 5k sitting in my pocket, I can gem and enchant any new piece of gear fairly quickly. Of course, then something like the BoE Ulduar gear comes out and I wish I had more.

But in this mythical alternate universe, Blizzard allows you to buy a game card for 10k gold.

First of all, Greedy Goblin, Just My Two Copper, and other sites that discuss making WoW gold get a big traffic jump. More people who play WoW would become much more interested in making gold.

Gold selling would see more customers. If 10,000 gold cost less than $15, it would make sense to buy the gold, and pay for your subscription that way.

I think the major effect on the game economy is everything would cost less, at least on the Auction House.

First of all, you would be taking a large amount of currency out of the system. A guy with 25k gold might not bat an eyelash at spending 8k on a Ring or 10k for an Ulduar BoE Belt or Boots. He certainly wouldn't mind spending a couple of hundread gold for a blue weapon for his 'twink' Rogue.

But now he has the option of spending that 25k on two months of gaming. He might be less apt to use the money on BoE Epics or twinking. There would be less buyers for the BoE epics, or twink weapons, and the sellers would have to lower their price so they wouldn’t be sitting on inventory. Granted the inventory doesn’t really have a carrying cost in game, but it does take up bag space that could be used for something else.

People would learn to play the auction house, and try to find some niche to make WoW gold. The number of Daily quests done would increase. You'd see more Level 80s advertising to run lowbies through instances for gold.

People who couldn’t find a niche would probably resort to farming.

They would be the hardest hit of all people. Since more people would be farming, there would be increase of goods on the Auction House trying to sell. This would end up lowering the price of all items across the board. They would have farm even more to make enough gold to purchase their subscription, but that would only serve to further reduce prices.

You could see situations similar to what happens sometimes during the Stranglethorn Fishing Contest, where an entire guild will take over the area and kill any fisherman of the opposing faction. You could see an entire guild try to take over Shaloazar Basin and kill any member of the opposing faction who might be trying to farm skins, herbs or ore.

But why stop at just purchasing game time. Blizzard could sell hats, shirts, key chains, mugs, and other merchandise for WoW gold.
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