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.