Critical Hit | Real Money Trading (RMT)
It's probably something most of us MMO players have come across at one point or another. Exploring the luscious tropical zone in your favorite MMO game as chat is spammed with annoying-character filled text attempting to sell you gold or items. Real Money Trading (RMT) is the act of accepting real currency in exchange for virtual items or in-game currencies, and is usually frowned upon by developers and publishers.
Although not prevalent in every type of online game, RMT has become a severe issue for many titles; with some even totally redesigning in-game mechanics to combat the problem. Runescape suffered with it so badly that it actually removed its trading system in favor for a more balanced feature, although this done little but to piss off legitimate gamers who could no longer aid their friends.
World of Warcraft is another victim of this provocative act, with practically every zone flooded by new accounts and RMT traders. Blizzard has also taken a variety of actions to minimize the negative impact it can have on legitimate players; but they didn't go quite the length that Jagex did.
It's almost impossible to stop RMT activities without impacting players in some form or another, mainly due to the fact that there are still an alarming number of countries that don't see it as an illegal activity. It's a multimillion dollar industry and it doesn't show any signs of slowing.
Some games have taken ridiculous lengths to counter the issue, practically automating the entire game in the process. There's a host of titles that allow players to automatically walk or teleport to a quest destination and some have gone even further allowing players to automate combat.
What are your thoughts? Do you think it's as damaging as the publishers make it out to be? Have you ever paid real cash for a virtual item outside of micro-transactions?