hey, I’ve seen far worse business plans

You know, I bet I could make a lot of money setting up a business that power-levels other people’s characters for money.

For example. I could hire a number of people, each with two computers and two accounts to whatever MMORPG I had decided to make money from. It would have to be a game that I had never played or owned personally, so that I would not be bound by any of the legalities surrounding the game itself.

All money would funnel through me. People send me their account name and password, and a payment for the amount of leveling they wanted done to their character. I pass this information on to one or more of my employees, who does the actual labor in granting the character in question more experience, money, etc.

Why do they need two computers and accounts? Well, I figure any one person can effectively play about two characters max. If I have a moderate (10-20) number of people in my employ, I figure they should be able to group together to maximize experience gained per time. Alternately, these employees could play their own character in conjunction with a paid character, albeit at half the pay.

Naturally, the person paying for this service would need to change their password once the transaction was complete. I would also need to make appropriate satisfaction guarantees that equipment, money, etc would not be taken from the characters during the transaction.

Who, pray tell, would be willing to be my employee in such a scheme? Easy. There are millions of college students addicted to these games. If they could make money while playing them, I would have them and all their friends signed up in a heartbeat. Who would pay for such a thing? Gamers are a lazy lot. They would be more than willing to pay small fees for leveling.

Is this lame in terms of game ethics? Yes. Most people agree that one should have to work in order to be afforded the glamour/honor/prestige/whatever of being high level in a given MMORPG.

Be that as it may, in the real world, this seems to me to be a decent business plan. I perceive there to be a large market and I have a huge raft of players from which to choose employees. Startup costs would be minimal. Really, I could simply require each employee to aquire and maintain their own two computers and game accounts. I could pay them based on actual work output (experience gained, money gained, etc) or else based on time put in. There are some technical issues with time, but I’m sure they could be worked through.

Muhaha. I do honestly believe that if I put in the large amount of time that it would take to implement this, it really would be profitable, for me at least. The employees may not make a whole lot at it, but they are playing games and making a little bit of money. What do they care? (:

  1. Don’t know if it still happens, but you used to be able to sell your characters on e-bay for hundreds of dollars.

  2. It still does happen. That’s what Bourg & Co. did before they started DAoC.

  3. One of my mother’s friend’s sons actually does this as a quasi-part-time job. He powerlevels characters and then sells them on Ebay.

    And hey, it’s getting to the point where you can sell some *items* in the game for hundreds of dollars on Ebay.

  4. Yeah, there are companies that do this already.

  5. One of the former roommates sold his “Sarnak Battle Shield” for $75 American a little while back. No ebay either, he was broadcasting in zone “WTS Sarnak Battle Shield, 20kpp (that’s 20,000 platinum for the non-eqers)”, and some guy send him a tell asking if he’d take cash. It’s amazing! We actually calculated it out one time, at the going rate for plat, we could make about 10 bucks an hour, just farming platinum and selling it on ebay. Of course, thanks to everflation, that value’s down a little bit, but there’s some items that could probably sustain that kind of income, averaged out.

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