Curiosity Almost Killed the Guardian
Destiny is a sci-fi first-person shooter, set 700 years from present, in an post-apocalyptic environment, post a golden age era. Players, called Guardians, are embodiments of living dead, awoken past the decline, and tasked to join the light, fight the darkness, the enemies, and bring back the renaissance. The enemies are different types of aliens, each with their own agenda, features and strengths, have concentrated in our Solar System, on their path to rule and control the universe.
While doing so, the Guardians are to practice combat tactics in different scenarios, best performed in Guardians fighting other Guardians. This player vs player (PvP) activity is named Crucible in the Destiny world. For players it provides a place to combat other real life players, as opposed to artificial intelligence enemies, a.k.a Players vs Everything (PvE).
The Destiny franchise, developed by one of the well-known and most reputed game studios in gaming history, mainly due to their Halo franchise, created a lot of buzz and millions of players have become addicted fans. As any franchise, a lot of aftermarket merchandise has arisen. Bungie’s Destiny official merchandise is quite limited, but fan made artifacts emerge and are being sold. Mostly these will turn up on eBay for the more popular ones, as well as Etsy for the more unique merchandise.
Then there are the digital “items” for sale. Most interesting ones are raid completions, and the current pinnacle of end game activities – Trials of Osiris flawless run.
Interestingly there are web sites selling the service of “mercenaries”. The term “Carry” is pretty well-known in the Destiny Universe. A player joins two other, highly skilled, players where those two will “carry” the less skilled player thru 7 to 9 wins on a perfect scorecard, bringing that player the Lighthouse, where Trials of Osiris loot is rewarded.
A less well-known term is “Recovery”. This is where a highly skilled player logs into someone else’s account, and plays as-if it was that player. Joined by two other skilled players, the task of completing a perfect scorecard is easier for the carrier.
About a year ago, I caught an episode of Guardian Radio Podcast, for the first time, the hosts were chatting about pay-for-win. A term that was new in the Destiny Universe. End game activity that started with the House of Wolves expansion required very highly skilled players. Mainly two, Prison of Elders at level 35, also known as Skolas, and trials of Osiris, a player vs player activity of three against three, requiring a 9 win streak in an elimination playlist. Since completing those activities were the top challenging end games, the majority of players could not easily complete those. A little later on Bungie announced that completing Year 1, Moments of Triumph granted a special emblem. However you would need to beat Prison of Elders at level 35.
Trials of Osiris granted the best awards back then, as well as bragging rights. This created an underground scene of players selling their services. Those virtual “guns for hire”, found outlets, either by self promoting through their own websites, word of mouth, or commonly using eBay to sell their service. eBay provides a sense of comfort for service buyers, with protection, guarantees, and feedback.
These services have flourished under eBay. Unlike other markets, eBay doesn’t make it easy for buyers to find sellers easily, but simple searches and lots of feedback reading, can help match a buyer to a seller. It is interesting to see the variance of prices for the same service, from $10 to $300. The more end game activities Destiny has to offer, the more services sold. From Raid completions, to Prison of Elders, Weekly challenges, to training and walk-throughs.
Was it worth it for me? Not really. The end game loot was not that important. For many these are very important, and probably the main incentive to buy this service. The stress of someone else controlling my PSN account was too a bit too much for me. I’ll leave it for the reader to think about horror stories, such as access to pre-saved credit cards attached to the PSN account, and deliberate data wiping, such as the story posted by Gamespot about a Destiny troll. There are many more horror stories, all may be due to handing someone you do not know your account. I was lucky to meet someone trustworthy.
Some players want bragging rights and are willing to pay for those. Is it wrong?
As human beings we like to dress up, cover up, make up, accessorize, drive with, live in, and so much more, items that are bought from someone else’s hard labor. We sometimes want to face off the real world with assets that may not be all self earned. “I work hard for the money, so I can buy _this_ “ is culturally accepted. I have a lawn mower of my own, yet a pay a guy to mow my lawn, and he does a better and faster job than I do. For some reason, it is not accepted, when it comes to the gaming world, specifically the video gaming world. Why is a digital item bought with real-world money, from another player, is regarded as not commonly accepted? Is it the discrepancy between the real and virtual worlds we live in?
Who are those players selling these services? Many teenagers and players in their 20s, either in high school, or post high school. Some have day jobs, some college students. I have not conducted such a survey, but seems there are more male players selling these services, as opposed to female players. This is totally unrelated to proficiency, maybe more issues around trust.
For a service that may cost the buyer a mere ten dollars, it can lump up in a weekend’s activity to $500 worth of labor. For a student in college, earning $2000 a month, for dedicating only weekend nights, this is a great return on investment. Much easier and worth it, than many other jobs awaiting students.
If I have no issues paying a student to mow my lawn, isn’t this service a bit of the same?
So why is this perceived as something wrong? I asked some fellow players and the variance in responses is intriguing. From those who do not have the time and rather someone else complete game tasks for them, to those that some activities are just too hard. Some players oppose to selling such services, mainly feeling the game’s integrity is broken.
As an experiment, it was successful. Would I do it again? Definitely not. Would others do it? Absolutely. To each her/his own.
What does Bungie say regarding handing our account credentials? Quoting DeeJ’s, Bungie’s community manager, tweets: “I never give my logins to anyone, and neither should you. People are always asking me to undo terrible misdeeds. Safety first is job one! I’m doing my part.”
What does Sony say about this? Sony’s Code of Conduct notes: “You may not sell, buy, trade, or otherwise transfer your Online ID, Account or any personal access to PSN through any means or method, including by use of web sites.” . As such, this process is on the verge of activity against the CoC, and can result in a ToS violation, and even a ban.
What should the reader do? Homework. Research the service, the sellers, the consequences, and weigh in the risks vs rewards.
The author nor Radio Press Gaming is endorsing or condemning such actions. This article was created for information purposes and the research conducted was required to provide an accurate account.http://radiopressgaming.com/2016/09/curiosity-almost-killed-the-guardian/http://radiopressgaming.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/KTG-2.jpghttp://radiopressgaming.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/KTG-2-150x150.jpgPS4Bungie,Destiny,Pay to Win,Trials of OsirisDestiny is a sci-fi first-person shooter, set 700 years from present, in an post-apocalyptic environment, post a golden age era. Players, called Guardians, are embodiments of living dead, awoken past the decline, and tasked to join the light, fight the darkness, the enemies, and bring back the renaissance. The...Red TurnerRed Turnerred@radiopressgaming.comAuthorRadio Press Gaming