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Gamers Don't Want Grief 177

An article at the Guardian Gamesblog looks at the frustrations of online griefers. They talk about some of the unpleasant activities online gamers engage in, and briefly discuss the future of dealing with griefers. Scott Jennings and Richard Bartle chime in with ideas on how things might be handled. From the article: "'I expect we'll see more and more self-government,' says Scott Jennings, game developer and author of Massively Multiplayer Games For Dummies. 'The reason is fairly obvious if not particularly noble: it's less expensive for game companies to have their customers police themselves than hire people to do it. The trick, and why you don't see it generally, is to construct self-policing schemes in such a way that they don't enable unscrupulous players to use them as tools of grief.'" Darniaq disagrees, on the basis that players just don't care about immersion.
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Gamers Don't Want Grief

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  • Art imitates Life (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TripMaster Monkey ( 862126 ) * on Friday June 16, 2006 @03:37PM (#15550856)

    From TFA:

    The trick, and why you don't see it generally, is to construct self-policing schemes in such a way that they don't enable unscrupulous players to use them as tools of grief.'"

    Yeah...we have the same problem in real life [].
  • Check it! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 16, 2006 @03:51PM (#15550968)
    "'The trick, and why you don't see it generally, is to construct self-policing schemes in such a way that they don't enable unscrupulous players to use them as tools of grief.'"

    You mean like moderation or meta-moderation is?
  • And in other news: (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Burlap ( 615181 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @03:59PM (#15551014)
    The sky is blue, water is wet, and smoking is bad for you.

    And now, the weather...
  • by Banner ( 17158 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @04:07PM (#15551076) Journal
    Griefers tend really to fall into two main catragories: Children, and people who want attention.

    The first you can get rid of easily enough by putting in age limits. That will get rid of the large majority, but most children aren't very good at griefing unless they have some sort of script they downloaded to help them along. They're really just annoyances.

    It's the ones in the later catagory who are the worst cases, and in many instances their anti-social behavior takes place in real life as well (Any one here know about sibe?) These people do these things online because they know they can cause a fuss, and hopefully even hurt people, without themselves being subject to any penalties or pain. And they gain all sorts of attention and notoriety for it.

    How do you deal with it? Well communities -can't- deal with it if they have no clear and easy method to kick the person off the system immediately, or at least eject them from the area of play. There are ways of dealing with this beyond having some sort of game master around keeping an eye on things, but lets be honest: We're paying for the game, the company should have some sort of GM around to deal with these people!

    It's like real life, we have police and courts for a reason. Grievers can quickly destroy a game and lose you customers. Part of customer service means dealing with them. Yes these people once ejected can come back, but if it's costing money only the most dysfunctional or vicious will keep returning. Then it does become a legal matter, though in many cases those people are going to end up in jail for real life criminal matters unrelated to the game.

    But the sad fact is this problem will never go away, crime is as old as society itself. There are always people who want to steal what you have, hurt you, or just muck everything up for everyone else. When I have to ban these people from the system I deal with it is amazing to me that they often have NO IDEA at all of why they're in trouble, they just can't understand why it's not alright for them to do whatever they want and so what if they hurt and abuse other people in the process. Or worse yet, get pissed at me for having the nerve to stop them. I have also found that if you catch trouble makers when they first show up, and give them a taste of the punishments instore if they continue, that many will toe the line from there on. But that usually only works with the younger players who will still respond to discipline.

    In short, there is no easy solution and trying to pan it all off on the players will never work satisfactorily unless you have a method for giving some of those players power and making sure they don't abuse it. I think this is probably the hardest part of MMO game design today.
  • by SpecialAgentXXX ( 623692 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @04:16PM (#15551152)
    Jesus H. Christ. I read the article and these "gamers" take their recreational time way, way, way too seriously. Look at this example:

    The players of World of Warcraft were left with a similar conundrum in March, when a group of gamers performed an act whose only purpose was to cause emotional pain. The death of a member of the community inspired her fellow gamers to hold a virtual funeral, which was raided by a malicious mob that made short work of the mourners, all of whom had relinquished their weapons as a sign of respect. Since the funeral was naively held in a zone designed for combat, few could question the legitimacy of the attack within the game's rules. None the less, the mourners were outraged, not at the penalties their characters would have to suffer, but at the brazen attack on their feelings.

    You're playing a video game where you can kill and destroy. That's the game. Your virtual character can do anything you want to do in the game that the game allows. Some want to sit around making a political statement, others want to wreck havoc. The only "rules" in a video game is what the programmers write into it. Other than that, anything goes.

    Of course, you can't do anything that's already illegal such as a DDOS attack or sending viruses to other players. Or even cheating - i.e. changing the "rules" in a video game than what the programmers put in place. Note, this is different than taking advantage of an exploit, which is perfectly fine since it is in the game. If gamers don't like it, the programmers can put out a patch to fix it.

    The point is that this is just a video game and there are no real-world dollar values assigned to the bits of electrons on the servers' hard drives. If there was, then anyone (most likely the parent company or a programmer within the company) could create 10,000 "uber-great-warrior-characters" for $100 each and be an instant millionaire. There is no such thing as "property rights" in a video game since you own nothing. You pay a monthly fee to access the physical property (servers, routers, etc.) of the game company.

    Could you imagine the chaos if your video game character's items were considered real property? Could you get sued for theft if you play a thief and steal the items? Could you get sued for sexual harassment if you knock down a character and remove their armor, thus exposing some of its virtual body parts? Could the video game company be sued for not providing adequate virtual security (i.e. unpickable lock on a treasure chest or your house) to protect your virtual items?

    The whole point of a video game is to escape from reality into an alternate place. Some think they can take their politics, opinions, etc. with them and shape the alternate place into the same fucked up place as the real world. Others, like myself, who lived in a structured and planned out environment like to wreck havoc and chaos in the alternate world as an escape from real life. I like to inject my bit of "Grand Theft Auto" gameplay in all of the online game I play.
  • by Dareth ( 47614 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @04:25PM (#15551238)
    You want the Pirate dead bad enough, commission a fleet or another bad ass ship to go kill him.

    He is just playing the game by the rules. You don't like the rules, don't play!

  • by Turn-X Alphonse ( 789240 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @04:45PM (#15551450) Journal
    I got this problem as a thief in Silkroad online. People instantly saw the thief class as an "evil" person, where as I saw it as an option and I could be good or evil.

    I'd jack traders and take half their stuff, which ment they'd make no profit on the trade run, but they'd also lose no money. All they really lost is 20 minutes of their time and maybe a bit of self esteem.

    Other times I'd see dead newbies with loot I could steal and I'd res them and protect them instead of robbing them. It all depended on my mood and the level they were at.

    Remember your character is your character. You maybe evil or you may not, it's your choice and my choice was always to play how I wanted others to play. To do what they felt was best for all involved.

    You can't throw around excuses how "it's in character to grief newbies", because it's not. It's just you being an asshole. You can't pan off your guilt onto other reasons. YOU control what you do, you pick your path. If you decide to be a wanker than thats your choice.
  • by Gojira Shipi-Taro ( 465802 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @07:24PM (#15552509) Homepage
    Eve is open-pvp for the most part. It's designed more for player oriented solutions.

    Most people do not play PvP all the time. I rarely will play PvP in a MMO. I am not interested in competing or trying to ruin someone else's night.

    Sane people do not pay a fee to play a game where they will be locked into the role of "victim". That's what griefers are looking for. Not "villainous roleplay", and DAMNED SURE not a fair fight. They want someone to pick on. They want to see how many people they can make QUIT.

    In MOST games, it behooves the company running the game to boot "villainous roleplayers" who attempt to interfere with non-consenting players in a non-PvP situation. I'm not interested in being your victim, and I'm not interested in providing you with entertaiment at my expense, without my consent.

    I'm paying a fee for my own entertainment, and to interact on my terms. Interfere with that, and damned straight I'm going to demand that Customer Service do something about you.

    I'm DEFINITELY not considering EvE. It's a technically beautiful game, and the tutorial was excellent.

    I'm not interested in PvP though.
  • Re:Forget it (Score:2, Insightful)

    by JohnSearle ( 923936 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @10:51PM (#15553282)
    The use of /ignore doesn't solve all the problems related to griefing. In most cases actions speak louder than words. A lot of the griefing seems more to revolve around (at least in my experiences) things like repeated killing purely for annoyance, training mobs, and mob stealing. These aren't things that a /ignore can solve... but they are thing that a governing body can have a great impact on.

    Back in my EQ days I played on a PvP server where such griefing took place regularily. What seemed to have formed out of that system was guilds created purely for protection of it's members... and it worked. Although this is more like gang warfare, it does show the power that player organization can have over griefing. Player organization can have a positive direct impact on player griefing, much more so than simply /ignoring the problem, so acknowledging this fact may go far to solving a blight.

    - John
  • by LarsWestergren ( 9033 ) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @03:56AM (#15554042) Homepage Journal
    So... to summarise, some people were acting like assholes, and you punished them. And then you started acting like assholes, and someone else punished you. Therefore the server sucks?

    I'm with you the first two sentences, but I fail to understand how you arrive to your conclusion.

System checkpoint complete.