Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Gold Farmer Crackdown and /anon on

Pretty much everybody has figured out in LOTRO that if they type in "/anon on", then the spam from Gold Selling websites goes to practically nothing. This is the grassroots effort to silence the annoying tells that look like these:

It doesn't stop there . . . they also like to send you annoying in-game mail, just like back in good ol' WoW.

I've been collecting these screenshots just to kind of illustrate how nuts it is when you're playing and don't have /anon on hiding you from their sight. The problem with this is that when you turn /anon on . . . you're invisible to your friends list and to the zone you're in. So if you have friends outside your kinship, /shrug . . . who knows if they're online or not. Not me! /shrug

I've turned my /anon off, and here's why: I'm cracking down on these fellas thanks to the "spam" reporting feature. Here's what you do, the moment you receive one of these, find a safe spot, hit escape, select "help," open a ticket, click spam as the type of report you're submitting, and type "spam message from www. wherever the link" and the person's name that sent you the tell. So far I've reported at least 7 names in the past couple of days, and I will continue to report this nonsense . . . but I have to tell you this feels very much akin to "There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root" as Thoreau put it. I feel like a branch hacker.

So what's the root of the problem? Oh man, it goes deeper than I dare shoot in this blog. MMOs have to make games challenging and they have to make earning money somewhat difficult. When things are difficult, they take time. Some people see these games as a type of "work," and therefore buy gold because their time is worth more money to them.

How deep do you really want to go with that?

This whole discussion could also be looked at from a ladder of abstraction view because the root of the problem is a long root . . . where do you cut and why?

I mean . . .

you could blame a particular programmer for not being energetic enough to develop a "cure" for these advertisements that don't involve the player base.

you could blame that programmer's boss for not directing that programmer.

you could blame Turbine for introducing the refer a friend program, which means gold spammer advertisers get 5 free accounts to spam me with.

you could blame MMOs in general for how their business models are.

you could blame the 3rd level of Maslow's hierarchy.

on and on and on ad nauseum. But, for now, what we have in the LOTRO world is a spam reporting feature. I guess I'll take it and use it.
Although, one warning, when you report spam . . . you get spam . . . thanks Turbine, what in the world are you thinking with this deluge of e-mails to my inbox?