Those Americans are so funny: Wired is praising There’s economy (well, at least, they’re dedicating a two-page article to it). Here is the official standing of There Inc’s CEO:
When people get together, one of the most fun things to do is congregate around the flea market. When you look historically at various virtual worlds or metaverses, the fact that they did not have (internal) economies was shocking and surprising to me. For us, it’s sort of an obvious natural feature. It’s sort of a requirement.
So I guess this settles the debate I tried initiating on There’s forums, in which I hadn’t found much support (even though most players I talked to in-game agreed with me). And yet I didn’t ask for much: I only wanted everyone to be millionaires. Because paying for a game in which I have to work in order to buy what I want, well… I have that in real life, thanks, and I’m already refusing to participate in real life, so you can imagine I won’t do it in a game.
It’s sad, because the whole universe’s design is superb. Avatars are beautiful, the world is as well, the chat management is quite elegant, and after two weeks of play I’m already thinking 24/24 in There emotes. The technology is uneven (there are far too much redundant data traveling between server and client, which saturates both the server and my dialup connection; as for their choice of mixing DirectX, Internet Explorer and Flash for the interface, well, I have nothing else to say than
God help them) but it’s a world you’d want to live in. Except that you have to take your wallet out all the time. Compared to an average American (let alone a California CEO), I feel like I’m a communist. What, giving money to everyone? Allowing every player to buy all the game’s gadgets, to have a house and decorate it? Are you serious? Capitalism, for Europeans, is a way of life. For Americans, it’s an ideology—no, it’s beyond ideology, it’s just not refutable, even for a virtual world where real-life constraints don’t need to apply.
As a result, as far as I’m concerned, and just as my first design got approved (well, half-approved, because the submissions process is in beta too) and you can see the first T-shirt mage by garoo on the picture, I’ll only stay until they start charging (which should happen soon, even though it’s far from ready—seems like it’s a common disease for online games). Because, as I wrote time and again in their forums, without much of an echo, I don’t feel like paying to be part of a world that frustrating (I mean, even if I could afford to pay—and the pricing plan for beta testers is expected to be particularly advantageous).
Note: If, when reading this post, you were thinking
But there are lots of online games where you have to build your wealth over time, that’s the point of the game! then you’re missing the point of the There world. (Well, it’s understandable, considering its creators themselves seem to have lost that focus at some point during development.) As their website puts it:
There is the first online getaway that gives you the freedom to play and talk naturally while having fun and making friends. It’s not an online role-playing game, it’s a meeting place.