Recently had the pleasure to chat with Mick James, an active blogger with online RMT seller Epictoon. In the interview are a few questions related to Epictoon as a company, the RMT industry and their viewpoints on the current and future status of the industry.
1. Can you give us some background on yourself, your gaming experience and to what extent do you play MMORPG games?
I'm Mick James, a blogger at EpicToon.com and full-on MMO fan. I got into gaming back when I was in high school which continued on until college, focusing on consoles, and then I got hooked into World of Warcraft and never looked back. I basically try every new MMO that comes out and I'm always subscribed to at least two at any given moment - mainly World of Warcraft plus one "flavor of the month MMO" which is RIFT right now and probably SWTOR come this December.
2. How long have you been doing this? Did you start selling casually or has it always been a full time business?
Aside from blogging, I also help out in the affiliate marketing side of EpicToon.com, which means looking for fellow gamers who would want to earn bucks for recommending people to purchase our virtual currency. It's not a full-time gig for me, because I do have side projects that I work on, but it's a great way to earn some extra cash. I've actually recruited many friends to join the program since I joined EpicToom.com back in 2009.
3. What inspired you to start this business or venture into this industry? Is there some story behind your entry into this market?
When I first heard about EpicToon.com, I wasn't sure I wanted to be part of it because of all the negative things being said about RMT. But in the end, it's still a legitimate business that was started by a bunch of professional MMO veterans who wanted to provide a real good service - and I wanted to be a part of that. It took one question to get me fully on board: Will you leave MMO gamers to the mercy of Chinese scammers?
4. Have you ever come across any strange customers or business deals? If so, can you share one of these more weird experiences as a currency seller?
While I'm not directly involved with the actual selling or delivery of virtual currency, I do hear some funny anecdotes here in the office. Like how first-time buyers will follow up every minute because their order isn't there yet, unlike veterans who know it takes a few hours to a few days, depending on the server, to deliver it safely. And you won't believe the number of kids who sneak in their parents' bedrooms to "borrow" a credit card to purchase WoW Gold, Rift Plat, or what have you. It's always nice to see children so into a game (we were like that once) so explain to them that it should be their parents buying currency for them.
5. How have you handled fraudulent customers? How big of a problem is it in your daily work routine?
Fraudulent doesn't have to be malicious, as I illustrated with credit-card using kids above. But there are more serious cases that try to get away with big-time fraud. We have a specific unit who deals with those cases, which unfortunately I can't talk about more for security protocol reasons.
6. Being an investigator yourself, how do you see the gold farmers scam, ripping off innocent customers? What advice can you give?
As an American company, EpicToon.com has close contacts with other Western sellers and we know for a fact that most scams and rip-offs come from Chinese-run stores. My advice for customers is to judge a gold seller by its cover - if a website has spotty grammar, looks cheaply made, has no clickable third-party certificates like McAfee or BizRate - then stay away. Googling the store in question also yields all the dirt on them, so do some due diligence before swiping that credit card.
7. What is your impression on how friends and guild mates see RMT? Is it something that no one likes and yet everyone does?
Not everyone is gonna like RMT, but nobody can deny that it makes playing the game so much easier. The gamers who agree with me the most are those who have no patience to grind, and would rather spend what little time they have to playing the actual game. You know, like raiding or PvP or leveling, instead of mining a node for the nth time. RMT helps gamers who would otherwise give up MMOs to keep up in gear and still have a healthy game-life balance. Judging by the thousands who purchase from EpicToon.com each month, I'd say I'm not alone in thinking this.
8. Are there any future plans for expanding your company in this very competitive market? Any particular goals or predictions you can share?
We're always ready to provide virtual currency for the hottest new MMOs out there. One example is the new SWTOR game coming out in December. Epictoon.com is stocking up right now on SWTOR Credits so all the Imperial and Republic players out there don't have to farm an intergalactic age to purchase the best lightsaber or starship. We're always open to suggestions for other games that are not in our current roster.
9. What game do you think will be the next big MMORPG?
I personally think that the time of a single big MMORPG dominating the landscape is coming to an end. Don't get me wrong, World of Warcraft will still be a behemoth in subscriptions, but I expect to see titles like SWTOR, Guild Wars 2 and RIFT to have a bigger piece of the pie. This is a great time to be an MMO player, to be honest, because you have plenty of choices and all of them are darn good in their own special way!
Gold Seller Interviews: Open talks with Epictoon on the future of the company and industry
By Frank Lewis, Nov 16, 2011