Awesome article TS_Stormrage. I always look forward to what you write, as I am always assured of a well written piece, even if I don't always agree with the premise. I would like to point out that I don't think the compassion between WWII and an online MMO holds any real validity, as one could simply say then that anytime one takes longer to give up then another it links to WWII, the point is at least gotten across. I am simply pointing out I don't believe the link is valid.
This week's article on the bot nuke was interesting. Although, as a pre-law major, I don't believe Jagex had any legal grounds to sue iBot (Or at least none under the access portion of the DMCA) I can agree that making a strong stance against bots and botters was needed.
On the the "added value to farming" bit. UGG just no. There is still an inextricable link between material prices and farming. As mats go up in value, adding to their value to farm, so does the cost to train skills. There is no real benefit. Its roughly a zero sum gain. Look at a comparison in WoW. When ore was 40g/stack I could sell gems for 150g/ea and profit. Now that ore is 100g+ a stack, I have to sell gems for 320g+ to make less of a profit. Levering costs more even whilst farming provides more income.
Now onto the manipulation part, RS really needs to decide how to handle this. An excellent IRL friend of mine is a anti-trust lawyer, and its always interesting listening to stories about what qualifies as a monopoly, and the like. Clear guidelines need to be set, or else Jagex needs to decide to take NO interference in the market. Either way would have interesting outcomes. When the "middle class" players decide to hold onto their goods until the price is right, its ultmatly irrelevant. The rich can afford to wait. The middle class/ poor can not. The middle class, IMHO, will never control the market.
On to the 2nd article.
REALLY? Most of the content in the game is accessible to the mid level player. Maybe they can't solo GWD, but they can do it. Maybe they can't solo DKS, but they can duo. Maybe they can't slay abbey demons, but they can camp for black masks or snap seeds like I used too.
All in the all, the articles premise was simply demonstrably false. There is a well known dearth of true, end game content. Such is not the case with low and mid level players. If nothing else, in most games and almost all MMOs, the true gameplay is at max level.
The problem is not what the author states it as. The author is simply wrong when he says "This problem does not involve merely a lack of content for these mid-level players, but specifically a failure to create new content for them. " No. The problem is most of the mid level content is out of date. Temple trecking, temple repair, shade slaying, low level slayer (sub 80) crafting professions, monster hunting (KBD, KQ, Chaos ele, etc) and the list goes on and on.
This is even more true, however, for higher levels. You see, mid levels have end game content to look forward too. Once a high level players get past a point, however, it is no longer feasible to continue to engage in certain activities unless they find it "fun". Its simply not efficient, and I know many people enjoy doing efficient things to progress themselves faster.
TO summerize, Jagex needs to fix mid level rewards to make them more useful and profitable, not add more that will quickly fall by the wayside. I am with ALG in this.