Crime Pays

Well, in EVE at least.  I wish I had thought of this:

Jita, The Forge – The prolonged depreciation in the value of common minerals has fueled the practice of ‘insurance fraud’.

When you build a big enough sandbox, then all sorts of possibilities open up.  Especially in a realm where its common for players to pit themselves against developers.  EVE’s devs have been good sports about this through the years, taking second looks at player “creativity” and trying to find ways to say “yes” to it.  A recent example would be the deep space safe spots and the debate that surrounded them.

I don’t know what will come out of the “trend” of insurance fraud (Wikipedia says that this qualifies as “hard” fraud rather thant “soft” by the way).  I do know its a creative way to make some money, th ough I would think it somewhat limited, or at least not as lucrative as other money making ventures.  On the other hand, it may be a good in-game-lore way to trigger a review of the process of insuring ships, something I was sure I had seen in a dev-blog or something somewhere, but now can’t find reference to.

In any case, there is an underlying lesson here for other MMO’s.  Don’t fight the current.  Go with it.  Are players exploiting something?  Why?  Can you mitigate the exploit while utilizing the trend?  A good non-MMO example would be the old XBox 360 game, Shadowrun.  The developers actually started by looking at what other players were trying to do with their cheats in other FPS games like Halo…and then they gave them to them on a platter:

We wanted to make a shooter that gave players more options during combat. We spend a lot of time brainstorming and testing ideas so that players would have more “verbs” to use. Some of the most successful ideas come from looking at cheats players use in other shooters. Abilities we initially thought would break the game, ended up being the most successful. For example – if everyone can use the Vision tech to “wall hack”, and there are counters built into the game, it just adds to the list of possible tactics.

Italics added for emphasis.  Pull back the camera a bit and think about it.  It makes sense right?  After all, when you line up players and developers, its hard not to acknowledge one simple fact – the players are paying  the developers salaries.  At some point the developers have to have some flexibility in their vision with regard to how players want to play “their” game.

As I said, EVE’s devs are good about this, and I think it contributes something to the game’s success.  Wonder what us players will come up with next…

PS – Let it never be said that I don’t quote my sources.   I had to dig awhile to find that Shadowrun interview after I remembered it.  Just in case someone is lurking on *my* little known blog site.