Real-money trading. Is RMT in games safe to use?

Real-money trading. Is RMT in games safe to use?
RMT, Real-money trading, cheats, cheat engines, game hacks
Written by Wilbur Woodham
Real-money trading, or RMT, is a form of over-the-counter relations between the players of a certain game. They suppose gaining in-game goods or stats by paying real money to the third party. RMT is a very risky thing, and not only because of violation of terms and conditions of literally any online game.

The biggest RMT market has formed around MMORPG games, and is localized in China and Japan. Huge benefits for just playing online games attract enormous amounts of people, and they don’t shun to use cheats and other illegal software. Thus, paying to get the item or skill without doing anything is not only a hard hit upon game economics – it is also a big stimulus for cheaters.

What is real-money trading?

I can explain the real-money trading essence in just a few words. Just imagine that you struggle to pass the hard level in your favorite game, so you pass your gamepad to your best friend. He passes this level for you, and then you take the gamepad back. The only difference is that you don’t know this person (likely), pay money to him, and pass your account’s credentials. The last two actions of that event are generally prohibited by game rules.

Real-money trading

The example of EULA where RMT and similar things are forbidden

Which items are sold? Levels, rare loot, things that cannot be obtained in an easy way – all these elements of a game are for sale. Of course, that plays a cruel joke on the game economics. People gain the items, spending no time in the game, which scatters the in-game balance and devalues these things.

Several words on MMORPG conception

The time spent in the game is one of the most important metrics for MMO game players. When playing fairly, they spend hundreds and thousands of hours to reach the top level and get the best loot. To keep the players in the game, its developers try their best on creating the quests, tasks and locations. The more time the gamer plays this title – the more the chance that he/she will donate, or bring referrals to the game.

It is a pretty hard job to keep the players in the game, especially when its gameplay is concentrated on grinding. You can count such titles by the fingers of one hand – they already last for more than 8-10 years, constantly attracting new players.

RMT dangers

People who make these actions do not think about honesty and fair play. They are making money in an illegal way – so cheats, hacks, bots or other stuff are not something out-of-the-order. People who gain money in that way are 100% clean for the game – they do not use their own accounts for that. Instead, RMTs launch their nasty stuff on your account – and only you have a risk of getting a ban. If this happens while executing the order, the crook just disappears – and you lose your account and your money. Moreover, there is no guarantee that they will not vanish exactly after receiving your login and password.

Player was banned for cheating

You will not like to see such a message after a “successful” RMT

Even attempting to use RMT may expose your account, or even your computer. The way these services are advertised – through the in-game chat – usually supposes the link, or a keyword to google. Both of these cases may lead you to a malicious website, which may exist only to phish your credentials. In the worst case, such sites will inject malware into your system – and there are several ways to make it even without your clicks. Following the strange links was always a bad idea, and it is even worse when we talk about illegal activities like real-money trading.

Don’t think that the only safe side of the RMT is the exact players who gain money in such a way. Cheat engines, along with all other stuff they use to conduct this nasty job are a pretty popular source of malware. Moreover, constant use of these hacks requires the disabled anti-malware solution, so the computer becomes exposed.

Is real-money trading dangerous for the exact game?

That is not pretty obvious, but yes – games also suffer because of RMT. And we are talking not only about crowds of cheaters on the servers. The in-game donate system exists not only to be the way to get more comfortable gameplay. Game developers gain money in such a way, and if it is the only way of monetization of the project, they must keep an eye on money flows. When most of the donations go to RMT dealers, developers may struggle even to pay for the server hostings.

It is important to correctly evaluate cheats-related problems. When the game is flooded with cheaters, they not only force the old players to skip the game. New players will either avoid playing, seeing that there is nothing to do without illegal software. Regardless if those guys use cheats for RMT or just for fun – they make the game worse, and their damage is exponential to their number.

How can developers restrict RMT?

The ways of stopping the real-money trading are pretty simple, but cannot work properly when applied separately. To make the game clear of this form of fraud, or at least minimize the problem, you must think of all possible ways, and implement a complex solution.

  1. Low level – low abilities. RMT dealers often have multiple accounts (that is often forbidden by the game rules), and they physically cannot grind them all to high levels. Restricting the list of items low-level players can obtain and own is a great way to cease the p2p trades – when one player just passes the item to another.
  2. Anti-cheat mechanism. The main source of RMT abilities in MMORPG games are cheats. There is no way to skip hundreds of hours of grinding besides the software that allows you to get an illegal boost. Another thing that must be in the anti-cheat is the anti-bot system. Looking semi-legal, bots make the game boring, just like when everyone on the map is an NPC. Bots can either do cheats, as well as perform attack combinations that are physically impossible for people.
  3. Decrease the gap between new and old players. This advice is more about gameplay than about technical details, but it is still pretty effective. The biggest temptation to use RMT appears when you consequently fail because of high-level players. It is not pretty interesting to play when you cannot do a thing to your enemy, even if you are more skilled. Reducing the high-tier loot abilities, making the skill more important than the loot you wear – that are not all ways of decreasing temptation.
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Real-money trading. Is RMT in games safe to use?
Real-money trading. Is RMT in games safe to use?
Real-money trading is a good way to get your account banned, or hijacked. This sly way of receiving in-game benefits supposes the usage of cheats and bots.

About the author

Wilbur Woodham

I was a technical writer from early in my career, and consider IT Security one of my foundational skills. I’m sharing my experience here, and I hope you find it useful.

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