A reader alerted me to the fact that my big discussion with Raph on whether you could eliminate RMT by blocking asymetric trades was actually a bit late. Runescape did exactly that on December 10. Unbalanced trades in Runescape are blocked, that is you can't trade money or items unless the value of the things traded is similar. If the difference in value depasses 3000 gp (sorry, no idea to what that would correspond in WoW currency, I don't play Runescape) the trade is blocked. In a development diary article the devs explain that with these changes they hope to remove RMT from their game. I wish them luck with that.
Will this completely eliminate all possible forms of RMT and "cheating" using real world money? Of course it can't. But it certainly will significantly diminish the the amount of RMT going on in Runescape. I made a mistake by taking up Raph's expression "eradicate RMT" when I wrote my post about asymetric trade. "Decimate" would probably be more correct. I was just too exasperated by his claim that game companies should join the RMT bandwagon because RMT can't be eradicated. Sure, you'l never be able to remove the last guy doing it. But if RMT goes from widespread to rare, we have already won a big battle. And how widespread or rare RMT is is a design question, because it very much depends on how easy it is to transfer funds in an asymetric way. Runescape blocking unbalanced trades is going to help a lot.