By Jeff Berger
Most online games involve competition, and some players will do whatever it takes to give themselves an advantage. One technique is to purchase virtual items, currency or character levels, using real money, instead of earning them through playing the game. Once you begin making computer games you can make sure your games are played by the rules. Earning a game design degree will help you balance your games and teach you how to deal with these kinds of controversies.
Online Games Become a Target
These virtual valuables are "farmed" by multiple employees of a gold selling company—who receive a very low wage based on how much gold, or many items they can acquire. The farmers try to increase their productivity by killing the most profitable monsters possible, but this also interferes with normal players who need to kill the monster to progress. Selling gold has a negative impact on the economy in the game, because it inflates prices of legitimate items and makes it very hard for new or casual players to keep up.
In most major games, this practice is banned in the user agreement. If someone is discovered participating in buying or selling, the game company takes action by deleting the purchased item, suspending the account, or even banning the account permanently. Companies making computer games consider all content within a game their intellectual property, and state that it cannot be sold by anyone other than the company.
Making Games to Reduce Cheating
China has been a popular target for gold farming and selling complaints, because the largest and most successful companies who sell the virtual goods are located there. Gold sellers use very intrusive advertising methods:
- Filling your mailbox in the game with spam
- Posting messages in chat boxes that are seen by everyone on the server
- Sending personal messages to individual players.
Completely stopping this practice may be impossible, but designing a game to be fun and rewarding increases the chances that the game will be played the way it is intended. Making computer games will let you decide how to balance the progression of your game, so players will not have reasons to cheat or use illegal methods to have fun.