Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Resellers, Scammers, and Leeches

MMORPG's, which stands for Massively Multiplayer Online Games, have a recurring problem of resellers, scammers and leeches. While its only annoying in games where credits are only monopoly money... In games tied to Real Economy its more then that, its a cancer that eats the game from within. In Entropia Universe, reselling and scamming is quite a problem. Why?

10 PEDs = 1 Dollar


Reselling is a double edged sword. While as an owner of a coveted item, I will see its value grow in time due to the reselling of other copies of the item. But as a potential buyer, I may be priced out of something I want due to the rise in value that reselling can cause.

There's also a growing curve that is stepper on high end items, due to their rarity. For mid-market items, the curve is smaller, but some resellers will strangle the market with some agressive techniques, forcing you to pay fortunes for an average item.

Why then, would you buy it, you ask?

Simple. Progression. In EU, as you build your character and evolve in skills, you will want better and faster gear. As in any other game. You will also want to hunt bigger creatures, and mine better resources. This means that some milestone items in a player's rise will be driven to insane prices because resellers know players will want them.

Natural inflation is one thing. But in my opinion reselling inflation is ruining the game, cornering players budget's and halting their progression. If players sold their items to others that would use them, then inflation would be natural, showing their true value. But the big problem is that resellers buy items cheap from players that want to get better gear, and sometimes sell them for double the price.

They act like personal pawn shops, which are never good in my book. They profit out of people's desires to progress their character, and other people struggling to pay their prices. Most resellers in Entropia don't even play the game as it was meant to be played. They just limit themselves to buy and sell things, placing a virtual tax on players' progression.

Eventually, you will see most items you desire in their shop at outrageous prices. If players that would sell the same gear to others wishing to progress offer theirs at a lower price, resellers would immediatly buy those as well, forcing players to pay their prices.

Its a hard problem to dodge, and everyone resells once or twice eventually. There really isn't a problem with some indirect reselling. But people that do it for a living are ruining the game in several levels.

Lets take an example. Marber Bravo, a popular long range rifle choice for tag-the-mob. This gun had an ongoing price of TT+30 peds just a few months ago. Right now the value has gone up to +250, and its rising. I've looted a few of these, meaning that I am a beneficiary of that inflation. But, someone else wanting to get one is going to pay overpriced because of the market choke Bravo's are suffering at the moment.

While I may enjoy getting +200 peds then usual due to some reseller buying all the Bravos and trying to sell them for +300, I believe this kind of practice (Market cornering) is wrong, and its being done in all levels in EU. Next time I want to upgrade my gear, I will be looking at something that's been artificially inflated to the price of rocket fuel.

If you become a dirty reseller, you might earn money, but you will also be making everyone's game experience more expensive, which means you have no soul, and few people will like you.


These come in various colors and flavours. Even as best friends for years that stab you in the back and leave you hanging while they run away with thousands of dollars worth of equipment.

Many have been the stories of players that have lost whole set's of gear due to these backstabbing s.o.b's. Its sad really. Most players will lend their gear to their friends out of goodness of heart, and all they get is a nice whack in the head, a "thank you sucker". And that's too bad, because in 99% scamming cases, Mindark will not help.

MA doesn't help in scamming and hacks as a way to protect themselves. Makes sense, as they can't verify the authenticity of the scam/hack and most of the times, by the time they do it, the gear has already been sold and resold.

There are ways players can use the system and play MA for a fool. Im not gonna mention them, but most of them are rather logical. Therefore Mindark cuts the problem by the root. So, if you don't want to lose your stuff, don't lend it out. Even if its to someone you've known in game for two years. It doesn't matter. People will scam. If a deal sounds too good to be true, its because it probably is. Be cautious.

A common trust based scam is when someone says "selling skills, you provide the transfer implant." Scammers can then take the ESI and run. Might be funny, but with today's ESI's, you might lose hundreds of dollars in one go. So get some collateral before handing over anything of value.

More sophisticated scams include tricks with trading window, so ALWAYS PAY ATTENTION to what you are confirming. Check, double check, and triple check your trade summary.

If you are a victim of scamming, you should report it to Mindark nonetheless. Even if they won't return your items, if they receive enough complaints about certain players, they will lock and eventually ban them.


"Can i have 1 ped? plssss i need to repair my items.."

Want peds? Deposit. Work for them. Go sweating. Find fruit and dung.

Other players are investing several thousand dollars a month in this game, most of them to pay the super inflated prices of item reselling.

Why should they give you free money? If you can afford a computer to play this game, then you can afford to pay for your own addiction. Because in the end that's what games are... Addictions.

He who wants to have an addiction, needs money to support it.

I rest my case.



MJB said...

Nice post Jor, major issue for me is resellers, I have a firm believe that items fundamental to avatar growth should be cheap to gain, or if not cheap at least take some effort on the part of the player to obtain. Everything high-end is way overpriced,due to agressive reseller tactics and market cornering.

My idea would be that most items that have been ingame for more than one year should be purchasable from MindArk trade terminals at a reasonable price.

If full shadow armor was available even a limited version, I would buy it and use it. Otherwise I can't ever see myself depositing 8.5 thousand dollars to buy something I have always wanted, and in the past was a fraction of the price.

- M

(On day 2 of my EU vacation :D)

Kipp Shives said...

marber bravo available for only +200 at twin mall shop level 1, 12s or level 3, 12s can't remember where i put it.

but it was looted. :P

great post, jor, my favorite part of it was the great little pics you doctored up for the post.

"you have just been scammed."

rolf, wish a message like that displayed to me the first time i got scammed in game.

Unknown said...

yeah that image was awesome. Scamming is definantly a big problem, although I personally think there are a lot more leechers than scammers, but that may just be the people I deal with, my News Agency caters towards those leechers, but we try and turn them into productive members of society. If nothing else, we keep them from annoying you guys =)


Unknown said...

Don't you people realize by now that it is Mindark employees doing the reselling/scamming in this game? It is Mindark alone that profits from this game. The "uber" players in the game are the ones that work for Mindark. I have noticed from the beginning how they operate. The day you download this program and get put at Port Atlantis you are immediately approached by employees of Mindark posing as old players. They shuffle you over to the sweat camp and show you how to sweat. You do that until you can't stand it anymore. Then they buy your sweat or you sell it to some other person for next to nothing, buy yourself a weapon and ammo from the trade terminal, go out and start hunting the animals, only to discover your ammo runs out and weapon breaks without you having made even 1/10 of what you need to repair them and buy more ammo. Then back to sweating, usually people who go through this cycle a couple of time will end up depositing money. The minute you do, scammers flock over and try to steal your money in some way or another. Make no mistake, there are mostly employees of mindark, they know EXACTLY when you deposit, and don't show their faces until you do. I have watched the tactics they use and see the light. The avatars you meet and put on your friend list are more times than not the SAME employee. Just watch how on your friends list two or three people seem to log out at exactly the same time. Then a minute later when their computer reboots they log back in at the same time, with a slight delay in between. Look at how the same avatars can't hold up individual conversations with you at the same time, they have a hard time trying to keep up with both conversations. I have actually seen one avatar answer a question that I asked ANOTHER avatar!! The staff of mindark sit around and create accounts all day, scam newbies, manipulate the market, get Hall of Fames to entice you to keep playing, and you are a HUGE TOOL if you play their rigged game. You are better off driving down the street tossing dollars out the window. You stand a much better chance of NOT losing your money than if you play this game. STAY AWAY FROM THIS GAME, DON'T BE A MINDARK TOOL!!!

Unknown said...

I have recently started playing EU and although I can agree with some comments regarding the scamming and leeches. I have so far not been approached by any one unsavoury. I am still finding my feet and spend most of the time mining with some small success. I have deposited some funds into the game but not much and have found they last quite well. All in all I have found the game to be very good,something different from the games I normally play.