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I decided to do a Rift social experiment a while back, in which I wanted to bring up what some would consider extremes, in an attempt to see how the community would respond. For this test, it took place on the server Wolfsbane, Defiant side. The results are not what I expected!

Leading Events

I actually got this idea due to an event a user on our server named Martika was hosting. Her event was based on giving away movie quotes and giving out rewards to the first person who could name either the actor and movie or the character's name and movie.

The total she gave away? 31.5 Platinum. Now, while this may not seem like a lot to some, for others this is a significant amount of gold. Especially for newer players. As a result, it gave me an idea… Setup

I had to come up with something to really test players on how they would react to a moderately extreme situation. To make this work, I wanted to really push the bar, so to speak, so the following was done:

  • This took place on a lesser-known character of mine, Raglow. This one doesn't really have much of a reputation yet, so it increased the “risk” involved with what I was going to do
  • I've been extremely active in-game the past couple days, which has allowed players to see me on. I've also been extremely chatty, playing around and having fun with others on the server. This helped to build some rapport
  • The offers I was making were manageable for others, however the question was about how manageable?

As for the offer, you might wonder? It took a while to come up with a good solution to this and I ended up landing on a double your money scenario. I looked at it as being much like playing the high/low games with dice that players have been known to take part in. The difference being that this time around there was no game involved.

The Process

I started out asking if anyone would send me 5 Platinum and I would send back 10 Platinum in return. As one might have guessed, this did not go well, at all. The result was either condescending gestures (things like “…”) or just flat out ignoring the offer.

I decided to raise it up a bit more. At this point I offered 20 Platinum in return for the first person to send me 10. Things did not get better, but then again they weren't expected to. After all, now the risk is even higher (granted, so are the rewards).

The next step was to offer both up a few more times, along the lines of 5-for-10 or 10-for-20, whichever someone wanted. It was at this point that a player by the name of Ac stepped up and stated that if he had this much he would. For the record, he was a level 9 Mage at the time, and that was his only character, so it was believable. But it still didn't get anyone else to step up.

The next time, another addition was offered. In addition to 5/10 and 10/20, Defiant Resolve Cores were thrown into the mix. Someone who gave 5 Platinum would get 30 and 10 Platinum would be 60 (as I had 60 at the time). Still, no bites.

I had to do something even bigger. So this time I started sifting through my items and found a Sandcovered Robe and some Sandcovered Boots (both of which are costume parts). I checked out the values on the Auction House and they were, combined, going for about 51 Platinum. At this point I decided to raise the risk up a bit more, to a total of 15 Platinum, while giving the much larger reward.

It was at this point that something unexpected happened… after a couple of minutes I see “You have mail.” My thought at the time is “yay, something else I listed didn't sell yet.” But I open it up to see mail from a player named Uparrow. While he had been engaged in our chat for a while, I didn't think too much of it. And then I read the title: “15 platinum….” I stared at it for a little while before opening it, wondering if I truly wanted to be trolled. It would have been a good troll, too! Sending mail with the title of “15 platinum…” and then saying “Well, I sent you the Platinum!” But finally, I decided I had been outsmarted and opened it to see what the text was.

What was in the mail? Attached was… 15 Platinum. Yes, he actually sent it. After offering 5/10 and 10/20 nobody was biting, but once I offered up an even more expensive one, he did. This left me completely lost as to what to even say. He had, for all intents and purposes, trusted a complete stranger with 15 Platinum, under the “promise” to return items to him. As a result, I returned his 15 Platinum in addition to the items. To me, game or not, that took a lot of courage and I felt it should be rewarded.

I ended up giving Ac, mentioned earlier, 5 Platinum as well out of good faith for saying that he'd have send gold if he had it. Hopefully that helps him get along a little better!

Interview With Uparrow

Raptorak: “How familiar were you with me prior to sending the Platinum?”

Uparrow: “None at all. Aside from seeing you around in the chat.”

Raptorak: “Were you worried about losing it? How much did you have at the time?”

Uparrow: “No, I wasn't worried at all. I had 41 Platinum on this guy and I figured if I lose it, I lose it.”

Raptorak: “What made you decide to give the 15 Platinum? Why choose that instead of an earlier one, such as 5 for 10 or 10 for 20?”

Uparrow: “I was actually in a dungeon at the time of 5 and 10. And when I got out you were offering the 15, so I went for it.”

Raptorak: “Anything else you'd like to say/comment?”

Uparrow: “^”

Conclusion

In conclusion, unexpected things can happen. We constantly hear the bad about different players, but people rarely take the time to talk about the good as well. This whole event and Rift social experiment has really opened up my eyes, and I hope to do more social experiments in the future. It was a fun experiment and it helped learn a lot about how people view online currency in games.

On a side note, I have received a lot of criticism for this because I could have just as easily scammed Uparrow out of his gold. This really was not something I was thinking about at the time, but it does make sense. In my own mind, I already knew that this was going to be a legitimate offer. So for me, there was no risk involved. I do fully understand where the problems from this arise though. If it is any consolation, this has not worked a second time (done in a different game to get a true variation), so players are pretty wary of what may or may not be legitimate. Of course, some like the gamble and will do it just because (while ensuring they are not risking more than they can afford to lose), but that does not appear to be the case with the Rift experiment.

One thing that I hope does not occur is people using this “trick” to get people to send them gold. If anyone else wishes to run a similar experiment, please do it legitimately. Do not use this just so you can steal from people – trust is something that we should be able to give out automatically, and it is kind of sad that it has already gotten to where you can not put trust in to anyone without having to constantly worry about whether or not you made the right choice. This is one of the reasons I like to run these experiments; to help show that people are not always evil and that not everyone is always out there trying to scam everyone out of everything they have. Does this still happen? Pretty much constantly. But as long as you are using due diligence you should be able to cut down your losses or even eliminate them all together.

As for what my next experiment is, who knows? One of the best parts about doing this is that nobody will know what I plan to do, or even when or where I plan to do it, so it comes up as a surprise every time. This helps with trying to cut down on people knowing what is up and jumping on it just because they know (or have a good feeling that they know) who is running the test, or even that it is a test.

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