Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Nobody forces you to read this blog!

I'm getting sick and tired of people telling me what I am not allowed to write about on my blog! There was that wave of people telling me that I couldn't interview the gold seller because that would be advertisement. And there are some people (or one anonymous guy posting several comments, who knows?) telling me that I should stop asking questions about my warrior. Newsflash: You don't get to tell me what I can write about! If you don't like a particular post subject, don't read it. It is not as if the content of a post with the title "interview with a gold seller" could come as a surprise to anyone. Of course the gold seller is pro-RMT and would like to advertise his business. And the same is true about the "WoW warrior question" thread, you could see the subject from the title and if you don't want to read about that, just stop reading!

For all I care, if you think that my opinion on a subject, or me asking questions sometimes instead of preaching invalidates my whole blog, feel free to not read anything here. If all you do is complaining, you are not a valued customer of this blog. I'm not making a lousy cent of any of my readers. I am writing my blog for those readers who value my opinion, and especially for those readers who are willing to engage in intelligent discussion about various subjects, mostly centered around MMORPGs. Posting about controversial subjects and asking questions is very much part of trying to engage my readers in that intelligent discussion, and not an invitation to trolls to tell me that I'm not allowed to post that stuff.

My opinion on RMT has remained broadly neutral and unchanged over the now nearly 5 years of existence of this blog: I would like RMT to disappear by better game design. If grinding an exchangeable currency wasn't part of MMORPGs, RMT wouldn't exist. Having that sort of gameplay element and then trying to forbid RMT is hypocritical and doesn't work, because game companies basically try to regulate something that happens outside of their sphere of influence. If I send you 1000 gold because you are my mate, it is perfectly legit. If you in return and outside of the game give me $50, both of our accounts theoretically should be banned. But first of all the game company has no right whatsoever to meddle in the real world relationship between you and me, and second they have no way to control whether you gave me $50 or not. As it is, game companies make millions of dollars from gold farmers replacing banned accounts, and nothing ever changes. If Blizzard or any other game company really wanted to stop RMT, they could easily do it. Hey, my warrior got 3 epic flying mounts, one for gold and two for reputation. If mounts never had cost gold in the first place, and you would have to grind only non-tradeable reputation to get one, instead of tradeable gold, the RMT companies would have lost millions of dollars of business. So I do think that the responsability for RMT is a shared one between the game designers, the gold selling companies, and the gold buyers. Making that a taboo subject on which there either is no talk at all allowed or only rants against gold sellers is counterproductive. After all the RMT debate touches on the much deeper subjects of virtual property rights, and the influence of game design on player behavior. This will come up again and again on this blog, so if you don't like it, feel free to either ignore those posts or leave. But if you are willing to argue your point about the evils of RMT in an intelligent and polite manner, you are more than welcome to do so.

On the subject about me asking questions, about my WoW warrior or other things, I actually think that the threads evolving from those posts are among the better ones of this blog. I certainly don't want a blog about me preaching ex cathedra and declaring my limited knowledge and opinions to be absolute truths, with my readers all posting "I agree" comments. Even after spending thousands of hours playing a wide range of MMORPGs, there are still a lot of games I haven't played; and even in WoW there are a lot of classes I only played through to level 30ish, so I can't possibly know about lets say paladin raid healing. And I'm only human: I do arrive at situations in game where I don't know what to do, feel a bit lost, or could use some help. Admitting that one doesn't know and asking for help actually takes more balls than keeping up an illusion of being all-knowing (which is actually a typical immature teenage behavior). And I am quite proud about the high quality of the responses I got to my questions, revealing that my readers are no less knowledgeable than me. It also revealed how easily some people are willing to accept simple messages as gospel, like "you need 490 defense", and are also willing to spread these simple messages as absolute truths. Only a few people did dig deeper and came up with a more nuanced message of how you could replace one point of defense by two points of resilience and still remain uncritable. Both the subject of resilience (why is this considered to be a PvP-only stat?) and me asking questions will come up again in the future. If you think that me asking questions is so lame that you don't want to read my blog any more, bye bye, and don't let the door hit you on your way out. If you just aren't interested by detailed theorycrafting, just skip those posts. And if you have detailed knowledge and are willing to share it, it is that what makes you a MVR, a most valued reader. :)

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