Anyone who performs MapleStory

  • Anyone who performs MapleStory--an online multiplayer game created by Maplestory Mesos South Korean developer Wizet--soon learns to despise what gamers call "looting." These monsters, once vanquished, depart behind in-game money and all kinds of valuable or key items--which the player that is successful is then obliged to wander over and click on a button to collect, or "loot." Thousands of monsters populate the match Maple World, each one carrying something for players to catch. Countless hours might be frittered away in this insistent pursuit. Looting, for its dogged MapleStory player, becomes a bothersome chore.

    But MapleStory also features what it calls a Cash Shop. There, excited players may exchange real-world cash for a number of in-game items--including, indispensably, an electronic pet that provides companionship whilst at the same time taking care of their looting, typically available for approximately $5 every 90 days. "The pet follows you around as you perform, and items near the pet magically jump off the ground and into your stock," explains Uzo Olisemeka, a longtime lover of MapleStory who claims paying to not need to loot an item hundreds of times each hour is "a sneak." MapleStory is officially free to play, and nobody is required to spend money in the Cash Shop. At least in theory. "The game is practically impossible to enjoy at higher levels without a pet looting for you," Olisemeka points outside.

    But what exactly does a player of MapleStory own when they spend money on their digital pet? The issue is becoming more and more important at a time when more and more of our property is present in the digital world: digitally downloaded movies, television programs, Kindle novels, MP3s. We know perfectly well that when we trade money for physical products--to get a TV or a fridge or a pair of jeans--which a tangible transaction has been conducted. Namely, we know that, having given money to another party and having received merchandise in return, the cheap Maplestory 2 Mesos products in question today belong to us at a definite and legally protected manner.

    If someone steals our TV or our fridge or our jeans, then we safely assume a crime has been committed. However, what about an item in a video game? What happens if it's stolen, or when a glitch in the program makes it simply vanish? Did this item ever actually belong to us in the first location? The scenario is not hypothetical. In-game valuables are stolen all of the time: They're the items of cons and swindles, often sought by swindlers and grifters--like a briefly notorious heist in the popular MMO EVE Online, where thieves made off with in-game merchandise worth more than $16,000 offline. Game economies that involve bartering can even make people vulnerable--from the real world--to malicious ruses and unjust trades. It can be possible to swap real cash for, say, a powerful magic sword.