Sunday, May 11, 2008

Know your dupe fencer

People who tend to sell duped items use various arguments to rationalize their actions and also to allay the fears of potential buyers regarding their goods. The surprising thing is how easy it is to buy into this line of thinking. I have seen many people, who should know better, fall for it. Here I would like to point out some of these arguments,

1) "Everything is duped. Hence, there is no reason to talk about dupes."

This is my all-time favorite one. It is quite a brilliant argument whose sole purpose is to act as a red herring. Lets break it down! The first part of the sentence: "Everything is duped," is in fact a huge (and wrongful) assumption which relies on the cynicism of the target audience to pass it as a fact.

The truth is that a large percentage of event items have never been duped. The reason you never see them for sale is... well... because they are rare! Rare items are not meant to be for sale every other week. Most people hang on to them for months, if not years, effectively taking them out of the market. Something popping up for sale too often is usually the first sign that all might not be well.

The second part of the sentence: "Hence, there is no reason to talk about dupes," supplies the motivation for the preceding lie. The biggest concern a duper has is that everyone will find out that the item he is pawning off as a rare is not really all that rare after all. This will always lower the value of the item in question, even PvP rares (although they tend to not fall as fast). As such, they are not proponents of having information available to everyone. By making everyone think that "everything is duped" and calling on to the ever present cynical part in all of us.. "whats the point" ... they effectively discourage candid discussions about duping and making information about duped items easily available.

So to make the record clear: No, everything is not duped and there are plenty of reasons to talk about duped items.

2) "There is no way to prove xyz is duped."

This is often used for items for which we do not have clear information regarding its initial count or which were given in large enough count making it very hard to get current inventory. However, I reject the notion that you need to prove beyond doubt that an item has been duped. This goes back to what I touched earlier: information control. If veteran collectors are staying away from certain items because they believe them to have been duped then I have no problem letting this knowledge be available to the general audience! For certain, you do not want to be paranoid and wrongfully label an item as duped but the fact of the matter is that most of the experienced collectors tend to know what they are talking about. They are not known for their knee-jerk reactions and if a consensus is reached then it is an extremely high chance that they are correct. So, it is an acceptable risk of being wrong on a rare occasion if it means you can prevent scores of people from wasting their gold. The former situation can be fixed, latter cannot be.

So to make the record clear: Yes, it might be impossible to prove beyond any doubt that a certain item is duped. However, it is not impossible to prove beyond reasonable doubt.

3) "This is a video game. People should stop talking about morals and just play the game."

This is another one of my favorite one. The goal again is to discourage people from spreading information about duped items. The idea is to create an image of this cool person who is above petty pixel arguments and ask others to be like him. Why talk about pixel dupes when you could just buy them and enjoy the game? What you should always keep in mind is that, unlike most of you, this person relies on pixel scamming to earn their living. There is nothing cool about it.

So to make the record clear: Yes, it is a video game. We do not need to be the best by buying your illegal items. It is just a video game.

4) "Everyone owns dupes. Everyone sells dupes."

This is usually their last resort argument. When everything else fails, why not create a straw-man? It is better known as an ad hominem argument, because it focuses on the opposite person and not their positions. The goal of this argument, much like the others, is to discourage people from spreading information. It is pointless, everyone does it! You should too!!

Yes, I think a lot of people have owned duped items and also, often knowingly, sold them. However, I think there is a big difference between introducing duped items in the economy and one time trading of an item that is already part of the market, especially when you make sure the buyer is well-aware of its status. And guess what? EA Games, the final word on all things UO, agrees with me. They have made a clear distinction in the past between normal players and being a front for illegal items.

So to make the record clear: Everyone might have sold a duped item here and there. But not everyone makes it their business to mislead people into spending their gold or real life money into buying things that are obtained illegally.

Next time you see your favorite duped items fencer make any of the above arguments, take a deep breath and crack a smile. You can see right through it :)


Anonymous said...

"What you should always keep in mind is that, unlike most of you, this person relies on pixel scamming to earn their living. There is nothing cool about it."

wow you agree on one thing then, selling of items for cash is bad. :)


Tomas Bryce said...

Not quite. That is not what I said although I might agree with it (or not). Scamming others for real life cash by pretending that something is rare while you are actively duping it or facilitating the dupe is bad.