The Daily Grind: When should MMO companies intervene in borky MMO economies?

    
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On this week’s MassivelyOP podcast, Justin and I answered a question about whether MMO studios have a responsibility to monitor and nudge the player economies inside the game. The example given was the Mystic Coin market in Guild Wars 2, which had been ballooning for unknown reasons. As it happens, those reasons were nefarious, and the whole story is much darker than we imagined. As MOP reader Godnaz pointed out, the Guild Wars 2 Exchange subreddit apparently uncovered and outed a “trade baron” who is now accused of actual cheating. The moderator specifically says that the sub’s chief motivation in going public was to “ensure the duping problems will be fixed” – in other words, to force ArenaNet to intervene should it be otherwise inclined.

“We have strong circumstantial evidence to suggest that Casiano has duped 30+ million gold (roughly 2 million dollars if purchased with gems) worth of high value items and evidence that he is involved in gold selling/real money trading. We were initially made aware of the duping situation after Casiano accidentally flashed his private guild bank on his May 4th stream. After the accidental reveal, he spent the next hour trying to play it off/saying he needed to delete the vod (he did), which unsurprisingly only brought more attention to the issue, and raised our suspicions.”

I think this one is a no-brainer; obviously, studios should crack down on actual cheating, and duping falls into that category. But what if this hadn’t turned out to be a cheating scandal – should ArenaNet have done something about the wild MC market?¬†When exactly should MMO companies intervene in MMO economies? Where do you draw the line?

(Thanks to Tom and Godnaz for the timely question and tip, respectively!)

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed¬†questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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