BitCraft considers how to manage its in-game free trade system against the specter of real-money trading

Touch wood.

While the dev blogs out of BitCraft can sometimes feel meager when it comes to expected information like gameplay feature deep-dives or release window details, they also tend to skew into very thoughtful commentary on the MMO’s design and the industry at large. That definitely holds true in the latest post about free trade and RMT as Clockwork Labs co-founder Tyler Cloutier ponders several problems on digital paper.

The vast majority of the post casts a magnifying glass over the practice of RMT and the methods in which other MMO game developers have tried to fight the practice, along with wrestling the bear of what is or isn’t pay-to-win, ultimately coming to the conclusion that having free trade in a game means some pay-to-win element is going to be inevitable. “In my opinion, it is the job of the developer to acknowledge that freely traded items are inherently a pay-to-win system in your game, and to treat, design, and balance those items accordingly,” reads part of the blog.

So what is BitCraft going to try to do about all of these things specifically? By leaning into the eventuality of RMT, especially since the MMO is about rebuilding civilizations and letting players trade among themselves to do it. This means creating a UI that will do everything it can to limit scams and cheating, not creating items that will grant experience or skills to characters, and making sure that item prices remain low so that there’s more incentive to use an item rather than chase a high-dollar value.

“We believe that if we are resolute in our dedication to free trade and equally resolute in our defense of those aspects of the game which should not be related to trade, we can create an ecosystem that mirrors much of the complexity of real-world economies and is just as fun and interesting,” Cloutier closes.

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