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7-30-2011 @ 7:18PM
I don't know anything about Eve, for better or worse, but I know a lot about Second Life.You could say that everything you can spend real money on in Second Life is cosmetic - since there is no leveling in a pure sandbox world, everything you buy is mainly for enjoyment or to socially impress others. When you buy things in Second Life, you are paying other players for their RL time (with the possible exception of land owning). In that sense, it is quite fair to have a micropayment model - and Second Life does have a true micropayment model, with Linden Labs making some of its money by managing the exchange and the money supply/sinks. But basically, when you buy something from another player in Second Life you're compensating them for their time - time spent building items, or doing other creative work, often outside the game in a tool like Blender. You are buying virtual 3D artwork or scripting work in most cases.This is pretty un-gamelike in a lot of ways, and Second Life compares more to something like Minecraft or the old MUDs, or to buying art from a place like DeviantArt, rather than something like WoW, where in an artificial way leveling and gear grinding have set up a competitive situation where it's now possible for buying items to become "unfair" - or would be, except Blizzard wisely limits what can be purchased to the cosmetic.I think it's a fair balance. In the same way, buying and selling L in Second Life is a legitimate part of the user activity, while in WoW buying gold creates destructive and dishonest situations, such as the promotion of account theft.It's fair to play the stock market, but not fair to cheat at poker.
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