For some reason, my character signature at the top of the page hasn't updated since level 46, it seems the website that hosts the banners is having technical difficulties, or something. In it's place: I'm now level 50.
The real bent of this post wants to be my personal stance on RMT, or for the less acronym-savvy or blogosphere-contextual, paying real money for in-game advancement, be it through game currency, specific items, or any kind of leveling service.
The short of it being that I don't condemn it, but I won't participate. The long of it is the explanation of the second half there.
As I see it, the wife and I already pay $30/month for the permission to play WoW. This 30 dollars is spent in the pursuit of fun, and is also pretty close to our allowed "fun" budget for the month that isn't spent on a nice dinner out once in a while. Even if we did have additional money hanging around, I have several problems with dropping extra cash on any game I've already payed for.
- The advancement in current MMO models more or less IS the game you're playing, so if you're now paying to skip some of that content, you're paying extra money for less game. I won't even begin to delve into how this designates bad game design or the need to move on for the player.
- I've learned to separate myself from the immersion of MMO's enough to realize that any value some item or achievement has in game context is completely negated when you log out of or turn off the game. Therefore, you're paying money for a contextually valuable return, and that value is entirely based on how much time you have to spend using said return (be it a special mount, heaps of gold, or a higher level character). Since the claim of most RMT proponents is that they have less time to put into the game and therefore want to spend their extra money to compensate, I find this a little contradictory. (Less time available to play devalues the purchased achievement the customer just made).
- Knowing that the value of an achievement in the game only exists IN the game, I can't bring myself to pay extra REAL money (which translates to: utilities, food, new clothes, etc) for something that I can achieve with a little patience in a system that I still enjoy progressing through. If I despise the rote and repetitive nature of achieving what I might instead pay money for, the game isn't worth paying the initial access fee.
I guess my opinion boils down to the simple matter that I don't value a video game's content any higher than the initial purchase price (or monthly fee in terms of MMO's). If I can't achieve an item, wallet size, or level via my own playtime, then that achievement is simply beyond my abilities. I certainly don't want an epic mount or flying mount enough to pay extra cash for the ability to afford it, but I'll gather/kill/quest to get the money for it while said activities are still enjoyable for me.