RuneScape Adding Auctions For Banned Players’ Stuff

RuneScape [official site] players will soon be able to buy the possessions of banned players by bidding on them in Storage Wars-style blind auctions. Players will bid on a banned character’s possessions as a job lot, a sealed box containing… who knows what? It could be treasure or trash. Maybe Bank Bidders will be be a raffle rather than a police auction; they’re not sure yet. Point is, this is the strangest bit of virtual justice I’ve heard of since, er, well, Cobbo’s article on MMO prisons earlier today.

Developers Jagex announced Bank Bidders feature during their annual RuneFest event in London on Saturday. Lead designer Dave Osborne compared it to Storage Wars, a ‘reality’ TV show about auctions on the mostly-unseen contents of storage lockers whose owners haven’t paid the rent for a few months. It’s a bit of that, and also a bit of a police auction of impounded goods. Osborne explains:

“We’re only going to tell you a little bit about these accounts. We’re going to tell you maybe the age of the accounts, what they liked to do, maybe their skill levels, and then we start getting you – we’re still talking about it, maybe there’s a raffle system, maybe it’s a bidding system, but ultimately one of you will win that account and whatever is in it.

Osborne showed a concept with a player banned for macroing woodcutting, who might have riches galore. Or might have trash.

He added that they’re thinking about a ‘high roller’ version with even riskier accounts, which they’d livestream.

Bank Bidders is due to launch in November. Skip to 1:46:00 in this archived livestream for the full scoop.

Jagex announced way more than this during RuneFest but ah, this is the bit I really like. If you do play RuneScape, you might be more interested to learn about Elder Gods and bank reworks and things.

The intangibility of virtual goods creates all sorts of problems and legal questions that aren’t fully settled yet, so I’m fascinated by a developer getting a bit playful and treating virtuagoods as if they’ve actually impounded real objects. What interesting times we live in.

Ta to PCGamesN for pointing this out.

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  1. Pneuma_antilogias says:

    Ιt’s worth noting that, in shows like “Storage Wars”, they select only the very successful or interesting cases (where some unusual of “silly” item is found in one of the units).

    Most units do not turn a profit and many people have lost some significant amounts, motivated by the fiction that all those units are “goldmines” waiting for people with cash to grab them.

    So, if I were the devs, I don’t think I would choose to liken my practices with such an iffy situation.

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      Yeah, this sounds like yet another way for companies to spice up what is essentially a pig-in-a-poke situation. It’s so very interesting and exhilarating to (probably) waste your money on unknown stuff. With all info being readily available nowadays, it’s like companies want back to the good old days when you barely knew anything about the product you were buying. Informed decision making is so much more dull than going in blind.

    • ButteringSundays says:

      They don’t select shit, the whole thing is staged from top to bottom; it’s barely a pastiche of reality. In fact, rather ironically, any television that bills itself as ‘reality television’ is almost assuredly not. Because that’s what a documentary is.

      • Yontevnknow says:

        The closest to “reality tv” that i have heard of lately was a traveling US history show by Ozzy Ozbourne an his son. It worked (kinda i guess)because it was self aware, more than likely heavily staged/scripted, but actually covered history.

    • King in Winter says:

      I always thought it was plain to see for everyone that Storage Wars (and imitators) is scripted from start to finish. Like how there’s a single “interesting” item (or collection) in a storage bin. Not two, not three, not more, always one. The only thing I ever wondered about was, where do they get all the items for the episodes? Until I had an epiphany: from the same damn people they go for “appraisals” – see, free publicity for loaning an item for the bin.

      As for the MMO auction, brilliant idea. Let’s just hope they don’t script it like reality shows.

  2. Chillicothe says:

    “cna i hav ur stuff??/”

  3. geldonyetich says:

    Insidious. How do you get a competitive person to care about getting banned enough not to succumb to their temptation to cheat? You threaten to give the spoils of their work to someone else if you’re caught.

  4. Jediben says:

    They could just delete the stuff as it is no cost to them. How is this any different to just selling items for money anyway? It’s worse because it even deprives buyer of knowledge. This is shady as fuck. “Oh the £30 you spent in the auction won you two pieces of wood and a set of brass balls? Better luck next time!”
    Who ensures this is above board, who verifies the account contents were actually the content that was banned? Why on earth are they retaining banned account data in the first place – surely if they are so confident that the ban is not going to be lifted, it should be deleted? What recourse process does a banned account have before it all gets “sold”.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      It’s in game money though so I don’t see the big deal. You aren’t using real life cash.

    • Mrice says:

      1) the auctions are for in game money
      2) Who verifies that literally anything, in any game, is “above board”. Nobody. Partly because the developers have no motivation to arbitrarily cheat their players.
      3) they always keep banned account data for a while so that the account ban can be appealed and possibly repealed. They will probably do this after a set period of time where the account data would have been deleted anyway.

    • hungrycookpot says:

      Why would the developers lie? If they wanted to siphon off a bunch of imaginary money that they invented, they could literally just take everyone’s money straight from their inventories. They made the game.

    • Koozer says:

      I don’t see a problem if it’s in-game gold. It’s just another rather inventive moneysink.

  5. vorador says:

    This is like gambling, but with in-game money. The stakes are always against you.

  6. Moonracer says:

    I just imagined someone using bots or whatever to grind money in alt accounts in order to bid on these accounts just for the self-aware humor of it all.

  7. Yglorba says:

    I’m guessing at least part of the reason is because the game has a lot of limited-edition or no-longer-obtainable items in it, and this lets them keep them in circulation.

  8. DThor says:

    I don’t understand why they wouldn’t aim a little higher and instead mimic a cop auction, be open about the illicitly gained items and hold a general auction…
    Oh right…because tv…

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