You know, sharing has always been a wonderful thing to do. The dictionary will say that it is something like the joint use of a resource or space, but it's more than that. Sharing a cookie with someone, for example, really means it's giving up half the cookie to that person. Or does it? Is it not really sharing the enjoyment (something unquantifiable) you get from that cookie with another? Keep this in mind for a bit.
I did a couple of small scale surveys amongst some people I got to talk to while playing RuneScape. From those people, most have had at some point a friend that plays RuneScape, or another RuneScape player turned into a friend. Well, set your faces to stunned; around 70% of these people admitted to have access to that other person's account.
The sharing of accounts is so rife throughout RuneScape and at the same time so low a priority for Jagex to combat it, you're going to wonder why it is a rule. Jagex states two reasons why a whole bunch of versions of account sharing and other activities that require you to hand out your password is not allowed; First of all, such accounts may in fact be stolen from other players. And second, your own account may be stolen from you, or that other person may break other game rules using your account.
Don’t get me wrong, I think it SHOULD be a rule. But not for the reasons stated by Jagex. First of all, I think that handing out your password causes a whole lot more trouble than it’s worth. Sharing accounts is often just the start of it all. It can branch out into the selling of accounts. It can be used for Real World trading (someone earning GP on your account), where obviously Bots can get involved. And it also encourages others to break rules as it is almost never a one-way street.
Second, it leads to false competition. And I don't mean other people doing a trip to the Fight Caves, or defeating Nomad for you. I mean this on a much larger scale. You would not believe how many people in clans will lend out their account to use in a war, just to get the extra edge. It is only a little comfort to know that it probably happens on both sides of the fence.
Third and finally, there are social issues. How often do you find posts of someone rage-quitting over being "hacked" and demanding their stuff back? I can almost guarantee you that this has been some idiot looking for a quick dose of XP or GP, and that there was no actual hacking involved. They either went on a key-logger infested site promising beautiful things, or bluntly handed their password over to someone claiming they can "trim their armour" or something like that. Trust me when I say that the game is better off without these people anyways.
Of course there is the odd case where stupid jealousy has crept between life long friends. I know of people that let their friends use their accounts to get around other (stupid or unnecessary) rules, like GE limits. And there it was. The lure of the pixel paper hat was stronger than their friendship. There was screaming, swearing, crying, death-threats, hard feelings. It sucked.
So how can I really drive this point home? It took me a while to come up with it, but here goes.
Let's see if you recognize the following, in either yourself or someone else:
- It seems fun and easy to do at first.
- You wake up (log in) in strange places, and don't remember how you got there.
- When you were a kid (first started out) you're told very often not to do it, but later on you discovered that almost everyone does.
- Somehow it always leads to breaking even more rules.
- It eventually ends up costing you far more then you know (material cost or otherwise).
Now can you honestly tell the difference between account sharing and alcohol abuse..?
There is no gray area here though. Although it happens far more often than I'd like, I will never understand the appeal. TS Stormrage is my account. It has been with me for god knows how long. Everything on it is gathered by me, every quest is completed by me, and every single step that collection of pixels has travelled was only done so because I told it to. It is mine and mine alone.
Does that give me the right to do with it what I want? Maybe. But the part I do not understand is as always; "why?” I suppose you could compare it to a car. If you won one in the lottery and crashed it a week later, you would walk away and not look back. But if you worked for it, and put your hard-earned money aside every week until you could finally buy it, you'd be heart-broken if you crashed it. And that is exactly how I feel about my account, and why I do not need a pure or a skiller (but that's another story), or anyone else’s account, to enjoy RuneScape. Nor will I ever let anyone on mine.
So my account, my password, is like my other unmentionables (underwear for those that don't have urban dictionary);
- I do not share it with anyone.
- I change it often.
- I don’t leave it where people can see it.
- And I keep it hard to guess what it is.
But no matter what I say here, some people are just naturally drawn to trying to get away with it anyways. The sad part is that most people do. Proving beyond any reasonable doubt whether or not someone shared their account is impossible without the person actually admitting it. More people quit the game after being "hacked" than are actually banned for account sharing. And I believe Jagex is strangely comfortable with this, as the problem solves itself.
I then asked myself; "Why should I care? No one else seems to." So I don't. Not anymore. As a Clan Leader you're often implicitly asked to keep your clan free of cheaters and what not (it's either that or actively endorsing it). But if people are not reprimanded by Jagex, do I really have to step in? I can guide them and point out the risks, just like I have done in this article, but in the end people are responsible for their own account, just like Jagex is responsible for RuneScape and keeping it a fair game.
I am unsure how this article will impact you, dear reader. It could turn you away from sharing, knowing full well that you risk everything you worked for up to that point. I could also just have given you the perfect idea on how to rise in the ranks a little faster. I'm not recommending it one way or the other. Whatever you do with your account is your business.
Just remember one thing. If you do end up losing stuff, or your whole account altogether, just imagine me, standing there, laughing and pointing...
"I told you so."
PS: This author is going to RuneFest. My next Tip.it Times article will of course cover as much as possible of this event, but I may not be able to cover everything myself. If you have pictures, movies, reviews, opinions or what not after the event, and want me to consider them to implement in what will probably be the biggest article ever, PM them to me with links to the pictures and movies over the Tip.it forums (credit where credit is due, of course). The article should appear as soon as possible after the event, so do not wait too long (although I'm staying in London till the 31st of August).