Why Permanently Ban RMT

I think it goes without saying that bots are an enormous issue to both the economy and the longevity of the game. I love this game and like most of you have spent countless hours into this game, and I hate to see it die. I created this post to explain in a logical manner why most of the players believe banning RMT is a probable solution to the bot issue.

First off, in order to fix the bot issue we need to understand why they exist. I believe most bots exist for the sole purpose of profit. If I spend $5 to create a bot and the bot makes me $10, I just earned $5 in profit. Picture another scenario where I spend $5 to create a bot, but this time it generates $20. I have now earned $15 in profit and have an even greater incentive to create bots. Now multiply these profits by hundreds/thousands of bots, and I can easily make a living off of these bots. Here is the relationship I want to draw from this point:

If the gross profit of bots increases, then the number of bots will increase.

Imagine another scenario where I spend $5 to create a bot, but this time it only generates $4. I have a net loss of just $1 per bot. Multiply this by hundreds/thousands of bots, and I am looking at a huge net loss. This will discourage me from creating more bots. As we can see from this example, the inverse of the first relationship I drew is also true.

If the gross profit of bots decreases (or becomes negative), the number of bots will decrease.

This is obviously an oversimplification of the true relationship between profits and bots but I hope my general point gets across. Now Lost Ark is currently a F2P game. What costs are there to maintain bots? Electricity bill for the PCs that maintain the bots is one cost I see to the game. People have also suggested adding a monthly fee or a one time payment to play the game which reduces the profit margin of each bot. As profit margins decrease, we can reasonably conclude that the number of bots will decrease.

However, I argue that altering the cost is not an effective solution to the botting issue. I believe you cannot EFFECTIVELY change the profit margins of each bot by altering the cost without hurting the general playerbase. We can see examples of this in other MMORPGs like WOW and FFXIV. Both games have a low monthly subscription fee and even a one time payment cost for each expansion, and yet they are also littered with bots (albeit not at the same level as Lost Ark, but enough to still be problematic and upset the general playerbase). I believe they face similar bot issues because the gross profit is barely affected by the low cost. You can then argue for increasing the amount of monthly subscription fee to lets say $100/month, but I’m sure a vast majority of the playerbase would reject this idea and quit the game before this idea is implemented.

Another option to hurt the profit margins of each bot is to target the revenue, aka RMT buyers. I’m sure you’ve heard many people call for harsher sanctions on RMT buyers, including permanently banning anyone involved with RMT. I share their sentiment, and I strongly believe that the number of buyers will decrease if you threaten players with permanent bans. Currently many players are under the impression that RMT buyers face no severe punishment other than a 3 day ban. CMs have even admitted that the severity of the punishments are variable and depends on the magnitude of the transaction. As a player that is interested in gearing up and progressing my character, what is stopping me from simply spending $50 to max out my character’s progression and skipping the grind? Why would I buy gold from the in-game store if RMT prices are 10x cheaper and there is no daily limit to the amount of gold I can buy? With absolutely nothing to discourage me from RMT other than a “3 day ban”, I almost don’t blame players for going the RMT route. If AGS/SG made it completely transparent that they will ban anyone involved with any level of RMT, I believe this will discourage many players from even considering RMT.

When you reduce the # of buyers, you reduce the revenue. When you reduce the revenue, you decrease the gross profit of bots which will then decrease the amount of bots in the game.

AGS/SG has made attempts at handling the bot situation directly. However, none of these attempts address the gross profits made from these bots. When they made chaos dungeon loot drops bound or removed gold reward from rapport, the number of bots actually increased. Why? The demand for gold from players was still the same. But the amount of gold that each bot can generate was reduced. To combat this, more bots were created to earn more gold to keep up with the high demand. So instead of one bot farming chaos dungeons to produce 100g, two bots were created to earn the same 100g from the guardian raid questline. There is no feasible way to fight bots effectively head-on. You can ban VPNs, add phone number verification, 2 step login authentication, etc. Bots will find a way as long as it’s profitable.

Now I will admit that actually spotting an RMT transaction is not an easy task. RMT is completely untraceable when the buyer gives money to the seller because the transaction occurs outside of the game. And the seller giving gold to the buyer mostly occurs in the Auction House (since trading gold was restricted to trusted steam accounts). This is where I suggest AGS/SG regulate the Auction House. No tier 1 or tier 2 items should cost over 10k gold. As for tier 3 items, only relic and possibly legendary accessories should be regularly sold at a high prices. Now, for an RMT buyer, they can easily overcome this limit by selling multiple items at just under 10k gold. There needs to be a GM that has some knowledge of how the game works to help regulate this market. A player gaining over 200k gold from selling multiple tier 2 accessories in a span of a week should be seen as highly suspicious similar to how my real bank would mark me as suspicious if I suddenly made a 1 million dollar transaction overnight. Not even the Argos/Valtan bus sellers are making over that much gold in a week. The only players you would hurt by regulating the market are the RMT buyers/sellers. Another suggestion may be to create a weekly roster limit to how many things you can buy/sell in the Auction House but this idea would be very difficult to implement correctly and I can foresee a lot of issues arise with this method.

4 Likes

coz they dont wanna~

It should be easier than monitoring weekly transactions and setting up an automated system. They should be able to see who posted the item AND who bought it. Meaning, they should be able to ban the RMT violators AND the bot account with all the gold…If you ban a bot with millions, repeatedly, and purge bots weekly… on top of banning any violators… They will eventually find it not worth the effort.

Also, consider either bumping up the royal crystals per purchase by 15-25% or altering the conversion cost. The reality is the game already has a " legal " RMT built in… It’s actually pretty beneficial to the person spending the gold too. Which is rare if we are being honest. I guess you could argue pheons, but we’re talking bots right now… Lets say they do a 20% bump. $100 is 12,000 royals currently. With the 20% it becomes 14,400. At 238:95 and 700g that’s 42,352 gold. That’s close to RMT value. Not quite there, but close. Now if we look at the same 20% increase and dropping the conversion to 200:95 the total for $100 is 50,400. That’s actually pretty good. Especially considering gold will start becoming more abundant from here. Also, giving the world buff to honing rates in conjunction would help also. Sure, people probably RMT to buy engravings… but for the most part it’s honing. Let’s be honest, it’s not like I can sell relic sets, engravings are limited, mounts and skins are cheap, so what else could they spend the gold on? Couple that with the constant permanent banning of anyone suspected and proven to be violating RMT policies… AGS and SG would definitely impact the bots and also, more than likely, gain more money because people don’t see the point in risking a ban for 6-9% more gold…

TLDR
I think permanent bans, hunting bot hold banks, reduction of conversion, a slight bump to royal crystals, and the world honing bump would have a huge impact. They should implement and test this. You will never completely eliminate bots, the goal is to make it less enticing to participate in 3rd party options. Thus, slowing them down and forcing them to diversify.

2 Likes

You actually provide very good points about why people RMT in the first place. The current rates that RMT sellers offer is much cheaper compared to the in game conversion rate and people want to hone more to do the interesting content. Honing buff and altering the conversion rates are great ways to discourage RMT.

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Right. They shouldn’t be so narrowly focused on the bots. All that does is delay them for 1-3 days. They always come back if the consumer is there.

Focus on the buyers, but diversify the focus. Ban anyone caught. Make it more enticing to use the shop. Release the world honing buff with Vykas. Etc. A single prong approach doesn’t do anything.

I think there’s 5 reasons why the bots are so heavily invested into lost ark versus other successful MMOs. Eliminate 2-3 of them, and the rampant RMT should go away. Dealer’s choice.

  1. It’s new
  2. It’s f2p
  3. It’s a rushed release schedule
  4. Players are trying to keep up
  5. Gold is heavily needed but scarce in ways to obtain

I think it’s hilarious people feel the need to rush, just to floor mat future content then cry for it to be nerfed.

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This comment is probably going to get me flamed but i really don’t understand why there is such a resistance towards implementing verification check with the social security number of each individual. Works perfectly well reducing the bots numbers in Korea. You (humans in general playing this game) are a nobody. No one is going to hack you (if for some reason, linking lost ark to your SS number allows that to happen) if your life consist of playing Lost Ark for 12hrs+ a day.

Just like how instead of imposing stricter gun laws or even better, a complete removal of all guns just as Australia did in 1996 after a mass shooting incident (no mass shootings ever since), you are happy for school shootings (bots) to happen because “FREEDOM!!!”

I digress, anyway, i agree that RMT is bad , buying gold from AGS’ official shop is okay since it supports the Devt. So far, making it more difficult for gold sellers by restricting their gold avenues only made the queues worse because they need to create more bots to make up for the loss.

Any further changes will need to ensure that it is difficult to create accounts to resume their bot activities. Also, as a compromise to AGS being afraid of losing 50% of their current real players (i’m assuming 50% if not more real players have already RMT already at some capacity) , let the strict ban (2 weeks ban for 1st offence after X date, gold to 0 etc ; 2nd offence perm ban) come into play as of X date with usernames/server/ilvl? of banned accounts listed in the official forum for transparency

1 Like