“RuneScape” puts a brake on actual trading of game resources


Publisher Jagex Gets Down, With New Effort to Eliminate “Real-World Commerce,” or RWT, in Its Long-Running MMO RuneScape.

Exchanging virtual currencies for real money can be a problem for many online games, upsetting in-game economics, unbalancing player experiences, or turning games into pay-to-win scenarios. In RuneScape, trading in its digital ‘gold’ has been a particular problem, leading to robots exploiting the resource, and even accusations that the ability to buy in-game ‘bonds’ for real money comes back to play.

Now Jagex has come up with plans to tackle the problem. In a new blog post, credited to “The RuneScape Team,” the publisher states that “Gold purchased through RWT is a problem in any online game that features redeemable currency”, and that although its “Anti-Cheat Team has done a lot to tackle RWT sellers both in and out of the game, ”he will take stronger action with immediate effect.

Citing a “growing team and improved tools,” Jagex said he would no longer only target gold and resource sellers through RWT, but buyers as well. The intention is to stem the demand, as well as the supply.

Credit: Jagex

Jagex says he will be sending “messages to players we have identified as committing to RWT” in “the next few hours.”

“To everyone who has been involved, we want to be clear – this is your one and only warning,” he added.

Other measures the developer will see as punishment for RWT activity should include the removal of wealth – essentially the removal of ill-gotten gains from server-level player accounts – and possible bans.

RuneScape The PvP element, called Duel Arena, will also see more stringent rules put in place. Jagex says the feature “has been a flashpoint for this toxic behavior,” and that 38% of all RWT activity bans so far have come from this aspect of the game. He says this already equates to ” thousands of bans per month ”.

As a result, the developer appears to be taking the nuclear option, claiming that “in the long term we are considering phasing out the Duel Arena from RuneScape entirely.”

Credit: Jagex

Until then, he will be implementing “some short-term measures” to clean up PvP “until our development teams can deliver a major update that will completely replace the Duel Arena next year.”

These will include a cap on the number of GPs, or Gold Points, that players can wager on a match in the Duel Arena. Players will be able to bet “no more than 50m GP per duel”. The other measures have not yet been detailed.

Jagex says “a whole new experience that will be part of the ongoing Elder God Wars story” will replace Duel Arena in early 2022, but no further details have been provided yet.

While the impact of these changes remains to be seen, they appear to be some of the strongest a studio has taken to tackle external abuse of its systems for real monetary gain. If successful, similar metrics could be seen in the MMO space in the future.

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