I don't think you were around for FFXI: Early Years. RMT were pushing through to gain sky and sea access. Any kind of restriction can and will be gotten around by them. This is why most MMOs adapted the 'Payshop' route, which sells just about everything but the respective game's currency, THAT is what cuts down "illegal" RMT. There have been many designs that can curve it but in the end if it's an MMORPG, there will be RMT.
FFXI: The Early Years is about the only time I was around.
I didn't think this had to be said, but:
There is no surefire answer that solves the entire problem, rather, it's a combination of factors that attempts to control the situation. Else, everyone would've adopted the surefire answer by now.
Micro-transactions is indeed another method to combat RMT. It's effective in it's own way, however, legalizing RMT both doesn't completely get rid of illegal RMT, and can sometimes adopt the more annoying aspects of it. For example: Instead of an annoying tell, there's that gaudy flashing banner everytime you log in. They are, after all, both following basic business practices, they both have to advertise to get your attention in order to make money. It's just that one is sanctioned by the company, and the other is not. It's true, legal RMT will never do something as heinous as steal your account. But they're capable of their own unique sins, like charging for features that are normally freely offered by the status quo.
I agree, in any honest business there will be a black market.
But that doesn't mean we have to resort to drastic measures or surrender to despair. WoW produces nearly 70% of RMT trafficking. And yet, playing the game you wouldn't know it. Clever game design and excellent customer service keeps the customer from feeling the negative repercussions of RMT. It has a minor effect on the economy, it doesn't effect endgame, and issues where they come in conflict with players such as stolen accounts is resolved quickly and efficiently.
RMT still exsists in WoW, but as a true Black Market, a thing skulking in the shadows at the edge of our periphery vision. As it **** well should. Edited, Sep 8th 2009 1:28am by Zemzelette