Lost Pages of Taborea: Safer diamond gifting

The crazy, fast-paced leveling done over the second anniversary raised safety concerns over player-to-player diamond trading. There were droves of players reaching either level-cap or close to it when Frogster multiplied experience gain by five for Runes of Magic's second birthday. I'm sure it made a lot of players happy (including me). I gained over 20 levels on my secondary. As a residual effect, it has allowed many new players and diamond swindlers to get multiple new characters to very high levels.

Until Runewaker hashes out a way to allow diamond trading back on the auction house or creates an alternative system, players have to enter agreements involving trust. This work-around is the gifting feature that lets players buy and automatically send cash-shop goods to another player. Two players agree on a gold-to-diamonds price, one gifts the item directly to the other player, and the buyer has to mail the gold to the player. There's no security blanket on this approach. The buyer could send his gold and never receive the item, or the sender could gift an item and never receive payment.

There are some natural deterrents to being ripped off, and players have taken it upon themselves to reduce the risk factor. A player can very quickly get a bad reputation for dishonesty, and that makes it nigh impossible to get into a guild, siege war, pick-up-group or any content with others. Players liberally share info and keep track of reputations to help ensure they don't lose any diamonds or gold. New players will still come and go and not always fully grasp these unwritten safeguards. Today, I want to take a look at ways to better protect yourself, ways that can reduce frustration and allow you to concentrate on enjoying your time in Taborea.

None of these tips is fool-proof or written in stone. New players come and go every day and want to sell diamonds just like the rest of us. These tips are just a guideline that I recommend using along with sound judgment on a case-by-case basis. Ultimately, you need to be aware that you are taking a risk. Any in-game agreements you make with other players are your responsibility.

High-level or low-level

Players are more cautious when a low-level player starts selling diamonds. The chances the character is a nasty goldseller or hacker go up as the character's level goes down. It's very easy to quickly level a character to the teens or even early 20s. There will still be plenty of legitimate, low-level buyers and sellers, and I'm a good example. I regularly use a level 29/29 character to sell diamonds. The recent leveling bonanza has also made it a little bit harder to judge by levels with many new characters appearing at high-level so suddenly. This probably won't be such a big problem for very long. Most of the regular buyers and sellers are already weeding out the sudden influx of new phonies. The names will make the rounds throughout the servers, so the threat level will go back down to what it was before.

Don't ask a crook if he's a crook

Whenever I announce I'm selling diamonds, I'm asked whether I'm a scammer. It's so frequent that I often wonder whether the other player thinks he is employing social engineering tricks to find out the truth from me. The truth is that if a person were trying to rip you off, he wouldn't tell you. That's it. I've told this to players online, and some have answered that they know this, but because there are so many scammers on these days, they just can't be sure. It's not a matter of the question's being less fruitful than other methods. It's not a last resort or fall-back option when there's no other way. Asking someone if he's a crook just won't work, no matter what. Using the question for any form of deception to learn the truth is not going to yield any results. The best option is to ask other players. Typically, if someone I've never dealt with before asks to buy diamonds, I check what level he is and ask in world-chat if anyone will vouch for him. I weigh those two factors in helping me to decide. If 20 people answer with a solid yes, then I may not care so much about the character's level. If I get a very mixed response or little response at all, the character's low level becomes more important to me. Yes, he may just be a new player wanting to get into the business of buying or selling diamonds, but that's the nature of the beast. If that's the case, you need to put up with the trouble of finding someone who will deal with you and keep track of names.

Your friends list can be your business list

Part of finding buyers and sellers whenever you want is building up server trust. Keep track of players who have good, proven track records by adding them to your friends list. You could write them down on paper or put them in a spreadsheet if you want to go the extra mile, but I've never felt the need to go that far. I've built up such a nice handful of names in my friends list that I almost never have to waste a world-chat when selling. Most of the time, the players on my list are online at the same time as I am. By the time I get through the list, most or all of my diamonds are sold.

Drama will only confuse the situation

I've noticed world-chat is much more lively with scammer-drama lately. If you are serious about wanting to buy or sell, your best bet is to largely ignore all the drama. This is a very tricky tip, because world-chat can help you when you're asking others to verify whether a player is trustworthy or not. But in those cases, you'll typically be answered in a whisper, so you won't be engaged in a lot of back-and-forth world-chat conversations. There will always be players yelling that another player is a scammer, and that player will start shouting back about lies and misdirection. It will take some time to learn the ropes, but eventually you'll develop a sixth sense about world-chat and drama. In the meantime, stick to asking for verification, weighing the answers you get, and staying away from people trying to pull you into a conversation about who said what and when.

Conclusion

Buying or selling for the first time feels very risky. I stayed away from it for the better part of a year. If you find yourself wanting to start, proceed slowly and diligently. Take into consideration the other player's character-level, ask in world-chat whether anyone will vouch for his honesty, don't ask the other player if he is honest, and keep a list of reputable players. Remember that you're dealing with real people and this is not a video game manual that will yield the same results every time. The longer you play and pay attention and use your own good judgment, the better you will get. I've reached a point where I still know that I'm always taking a risk, but I feel a lot more confident than when I first started.

Each Monday, Jeremy Stratton delivers Lost Pages of Taborea, a column filled with guides, news, and opinions for Runes of Magic. Whether it's a community roundup for new players or an in-depth look at the Rogue/Priest combo, you'll find it all here. Send your questions to jeremy@massively.com.
This article was originally published on Massively.