Saving another old discussion about my fancy ideas.
How do we “solve” the “problem” of RMT?
Really, solving this problem is extremely easy and can be done in hundreds of ways. What lacks is the will to do so.
To explain some more my idea (that is just one of those hundreds other possible ways):
I divide the “objects” in the game world in two groups:
– Player-centered tools
All the objects in the first group are the traditional loot we have in other games. Weapons, armors and other stat-enhancing items. Since these objects are directly tied to the PvE experience, they are cut out completely from the economy. They are not tradeable.
The concrete form of this idea is that the magical items develop personal paths. Think to WoW talent tree, a similar system will be used for each object and it will be the object itself to provide more skills and powers to the player. So there’s a personal tie and uniqueness between one item and its owner. If the item is traded it will lose all its proprieties and the player will have to restart the path. So no twinking, the PvE experience and its patterns are untouched and cannot be messed from the outside. There’s no external intervention.
This first system is completely closed.
Then there’s a second group. The objects in this second group (the “commodities”) don’t hold a value for the single player (they aren’t used in “solo”) but they are meaningful for the wider community. For the guilds and for the realm. On The PvP conquest system the players will have to manage their territories, gather resources and move them between places, commerce within the borders of the realm and outside (think to elements of an RTS joining the PvP metagame to simulate a world).
This is the level that already by design is “shared” and communal. So it’s this level that will be flagged as “tradeable” and so part of the economy (while the first level above is completely precluded from an economy). In this case the trading system doesn’t affect nor can ruin the PvE experience of the players. It’s not an external violation of something that was supposed to remain closed (the PvE, the fights, the quests, loot drops and so on). It’s instead the REAL commercial level working properly along with its premises.
The players will commerce those goods that have an effect on the meta level, those goods that are already designed to have a communal use, so already designed to be shared and reused. The economic system exists outside the single players, where these players gain a status already dependent on their role within the community.
This is how the PvE experience is preserved without being violated by an external, unexpected intervention, and how the economic system remains stronger and even more deep and meaningful because already part of that “shared endgame” that is usually completely lacking from this games (where everyone just think to himself and his uberness).
This system is completely impermeable to something like IGE because it would require them to play the game.
If there is a market for something, someone will provide that service or good. In other words, so long as someone is missing something they want (be it a game item or a new car), someone else will be willing to provide that to them. I think the real question isn’t ‘What’s the problem?’, but rather ‘Is there a solution that doesn’t make a game less fun?’
The fact is that the example is a recursive system that doesn’t seem to possibly work in another way. It’s a paradox because it recursively implies itself, so there’s no escape (as you said).
As for every paradox the only way to solve it is to break the model. If you break the model you’ll see where the paradox was blind.
The paradox, in this case, is that in a game where only the single players has a value (is a goal) nothing can be accepted from the outside. Because this disrupts the experience. That experience that the players is supposed to live instead of “buy”.
An economic system (that doesn’t suck), can exist only if the game has already shared/truly-communal processes. Right now the games have nearly zero persistence and depth, so nothing matters outside the personal level and the economic systems we have now are often “exploits” to break the game (twinking, for example).
EDIT- I anticipate discussions. Some relevant points also in the comments here below.