Friday, May 14, 2010

Virtual Economy

During my brief sojourn into unemployment, many different money-making schemes crossed my mind - but perhaps none quite so odd as the idea of making real money out of virtual labor.

Something the proliferation of high-speed Internet connections has created are 'virtual' worlds - online gaming communities in which you can have real-time adventures with hundreds, if not thousands of other online gamers. Massively multiplayer online roleplaying games, more commonly known as MMORPG s, involve vividly rendered 'virtual worlds' which you can explore and adventure in.

Nobody messes with gingers in World of Warcraft; because they carry axes!

It's basically Dungeons and Dragons, that old eighties role-playing game, for the digital generation. One of the most popular MMORPG games out there is World of Warcraft, which has a world filled with elves, orcs and trolls; clearly directly inspired by D&D.

And like with Dungeons and Dragons, one of the most enjoyable aspects of these games is creating a unique character and then developing their skills and experience through hundreds of hours on online adventuring. The more quests or missions you accomplish, and the more bad guys or monsters you vanquish, the tougher, stronger and more capable your character becomes.

But this development takes time; literally hundreds of hours of game play. This is how a burgeoning new business has developed, in which 'professional' gamers will create new characters and nurture them through the 'boring' stages of character development; before selling them off for real money.

This means World of Warcraft fans, for example, can
Buy WoW Accounts somebody else has done the 'boring stuff' on and delve deep into adventures they'd have previously only accessed after hundreds of hours of exhaustive gameplay.

Personally, I think it's ingenious. Even as a writer, I still marvel at the novelty of being paid to put words on paper in a pretty order. To earn a living playing video games takes that sense of astonishment one stage further.

Fortunately, it looks like my time on the unemployment line is coming to an end; but it's reassuring to know that unorthodox careers like that are open to me if I ever find myself returning there! As a Dungeons and Dragons obsessed kid, I always dreamed of making a living as a sword-wielding 'adventurer.' Thanks to the Internet, that dream is only a few clicks - and hundreds of hours of tedious online role-playing - away.

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