SOE continues to play Russian Roulette

You probably already read this and this. The short summary is that SOE is going to let players sell plat, items and characters, provided they get a kickback.

This attractive model* could be yours for just $500 dollars!
*Hat not included

There’s no place like home! There’s no place like home! There’s no place like home!

*yawn* I had such a strange dream. You were there Malth. And you Tyron. And you Smedley. Smedley?!? Aaaaaaaaaah!

Meanwhile, over at Scotland Yard:

As you know, catching people handling stolen goods is quite tricky. Did you know 40% of our time is spent chasing such activities? We’ve thought long and hard, and decided that’s it’s a bit unfair on thieves who get caught when so many others get away scot free. We also know that many members of the public enjoy the low low prices that only stolen goods can offer. So we’ve decided to legalise it for everyone! The same goes for muggers, providing they pay their bribes on time. A nominal fee, plus a percentage should do it.

– Chief Inspector Smedlock of the Yard

This service will be offered only to US players at this time. SOE will be looking to expand Station Exchange to the rest of the world in the future.

So to add insult to injury, only US players can legally have this advantage. If you live outside the US, and seek the same advantages, well you’re going to get hit with the banstick. You can expect that SOE will agressively defend its monopoly on in-game sales. This is massively discriminatory against non-US players. Combined with the built in discrimination against the poor, that leaves us with a change that only benefits rich US players.

I truly truly swear they’re trying to drive every decent person out of Norrath. Speaking for myself, I have been shaken by this news, far more so than I was at being lied to over Frogloks.

When it becomes simple to exchange game money for real money, everything within the game suddenly acquires an explicit real cash value. Need before greed will become history, as everyone will see every item as something of worth to them. Sharing with guildmates, and helping out younglings will become much rarer. In short, Norrath will become a greedier more selfish place, where every action has it’s price.

It wouldn’t be quite so bad if SOE wasn’t taking a cut, but the fact that they are changes everything. There is a lot they can do to subtley encourage the buying of platinum. Increasing the number of money-sinks in the game for instance. Even though money-sinks are needed, now whenever they add one, I’ll think of all the extra revenue it will net them. They have said that they won’t change the in-game economy to favour platinum and item buying, but I’m afraid I just don’t believe them after the last week.

And how do you know that that platinum for sale was offered by another player? It would be very profitable for SOE to put items and plat up for sale themselves. It is the natural progression of the line of reasoning which Mr Smedley appears to be following.

Existing servers will only become exchange enabled if the population votes for it. But the votes are being counted by an interested party. Are we really supposed to believe that even if every server has a majority “no” vote, that no servers will be converted? And even if it is done honestly will that be the final word, or will there be another vote every so often until they get the result they want? Given that the voting is to be done on a “one vote per account” basis, doesn’t that tilt the results in the favour of botters, hydras, and other people that don’t necessarily represent the majority of players, even if they might be the majority of accounts?

It’s such a bad idea, even Moorgard’s old website, Mobhunter, thinks it’s a bad idea.

Less surprisingly, EQ Vault’s staff think it sounds “fun”. I look forward to a hard-hitting “Ask SOE” on the subject.

I feel sufficiently strongly about this that I’ve cancelled my account. Chances are, in the absence of something I’d rather play, I’ll pick it back up when my current playtime expires, but at least for the time being it’ll add to the stack of permanent cancellers and give SOE more to think about. That is unless their calculations show that they’ll make more money from Exchange, than they’ll lose from subscription loss. In which case we’re screwed.

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