I’ve thought long and hard about this, and I’ve finally decided to write this article. It’s an issue all of you know about, all of you encounter each day. But it’s become so accepted in today’s eRepublik that nobody even blinks an eye anymore, let alone reports it. Admin endorsed cheating has become such a mainstay of our lives that we’ve just got used to it. I am of course talking about the trend of buying accounts from other players using real money.
Buying accounts is expressly forbidden in the eRepublik rules. Actually unlike most games, sitting, gifting or otherwise transferring an account is expressly forbidden. Back when I started playing eRep (when there was no such thing as a “temp ban”) any sort of activity like this resulted in a permanent ban. Yet these days most offences result in a temp ban. It says “investigating” but really regardless of whether the person is found guilty or not they will be unbanned.
For those of us who play the game legitimately, this is very annoying. It is essentially saying that “crime pays”, and that breaking the rules is worth the risk. Once, being caught cheating would result in your friends and fellow players condemning you. But it’s become so commonplace today that everything from multi accounting, to account buying, to scripting has become socially acceptable in our community. I think this is wrong, and point the finger of blame firmly at the admins for this change.
I’m going to illustrate my case with perhaps the most famous case of account buying in the last year or so. Max McFarland II was a very famous player in the USA during V1, and participated in many wars. He was famous as perhaps the first major gold buyer in the world- buying most of the USA’s state companies using his credit card. He was the first player funded tank as well. He is, without a doubt, one of the most famous players ever to have lived. Here is his wiki page and here is his dead account.
Lonestar was a very famous Swedish player who joined the game as part of Flashback in early beta. He spent almost 5 years playing the game at every level, from CP, MoD, alliance HQ and finally rose inside of eRep to become a game moderator. I know from when I was a mod myself that Lonestar was a level 3 game mod, the highest level. He had access to every tool available. He dealt with admins on a daily basis, communicating with them via irc, email, skype etc. Several had him as a friend on facebook. He was a guy they all knew.
Then he sold his account to Max. If you click the link on his wiki page (his name) it links to the ingame profile of Max McFarland 3. This account was born before Max 2 anyway, so it’s immediately obvious it’s a bought account. In addition, it is impossible to claim that it’s still Lonestar, since first of all he never made that claim (unlike other unscrupulous players who try to steal identities along with accounts), and secondly nobody would change their name to Max McFarland 3 unless they were Max. They just wouldn’t.
What makes this especially bad however is that the admins KNOW that Lonestar sold his account illegally, they KNOW that Max is using it now. It’s impossible for them not to know. They can claim ignorance with Scymex (yes the Scymex I fought with in 2009 is not the Scymex of today) or the other top tanks (Battalgazi...why did you sell your acc to such a moron onrche?). However it’s totally impossible for them to claim that they are unaware that their top mod is no longer playing, especially when he had to request they remove his powers before he handed the account over.
But that’s not the worst bit. Ambassador accounts, other mods, senior players who translated the game into their languages. Players holding these accounts have all left and sold their accounts on. And the admins just turn a blind eye. Now personally I don’t actually have a huge problem with passing an account on, though I wouldn’t do it myself. But the point is that once again the rules are applied differently to different people.
In parts of the world corruption is rife, and to get faster appointment at the doctors or jump the queue at a border, you can offer a “gift” or bribe to someone. The sad situation is that eRep has turned into a banana republic where different rules are applied to gold buyers and normal players, and the more you buy the more immune you are. When you buy an account, so long as you wash away the stain of cheating with enough euros you can get away with it.
So there you have it. I love eRepublik, and I’m actually becoming more interested in it now than I was a year ago. But I think we all agree that fair rules applied evenly makes sense, and if they don’t intend to keep them they should bin them. Either ban Lonestar’s account and let him rest in peace, or get rid of the ban altogether.
If you agree, don't just shout it, republish it in your own paper.
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