We got into a little discussion on Brandywine yesterday, and you may have come across similar discussions here on the forums, about players whose accounts were temporarily suspended for purchasing LOTRO Store items from other players for gold and reselling them for gold to other players at a profit.

This is a type of market activity currently permitted by the game mechanics, but is still apparently an area of concern when those LOTRO Store items might have originally been obtained fradulently two or three or more players ago. It can lead to a lack of confidence by both legitimate buyers and legitimate sellers in these kinds of transactions.

But what if LOTRO Store items could only be mailed to another account one time? This way, items could still be given to friends as a gift or as a prize at player events. They could still be sold by players who have an excess of LOTRO Points and need gold. But they couldn't be resold over and over, creating a murky secondary grey market.

Buyers would have the confidence of knowing who originally paid for the item, and sellers would gain the confidence of knowing they couldn't be accused of participating in some fraud. (And in the event that SSG ever does suspect fraud, there's a much shorter forensic trail to follow that will sweep up fewer innocent players.)

Here's how I'd envision this working: When a recipient on another account detaches a LOTRO Store item from a mail message, the bit on that item that flags it as "Purchased from the store" would be cleared. (This flag shouldn't be cleared if the item is sent to a character on the same account or is returned to the sender.) With that flag cleared, the recipient could no longer mail the LOTRO Store item to a character on another account.

If this kind of change is implemented, it's something SSG should prominently announce a month or so before it's turned on.

I'm not an expert in economics, so there might be drawbacks to this kind of change that I haven't thought of. What do you all think? Would this be a reasonable compromise that would benefit legitimate sellers, legitimate buyers, and SSG?