The Cranky Sysadmin A world of technology, fun, and ignorant rants.

July 7, 2009

Being an Online Ass

Filed under: Games — Cranky Sysadmin @ 3:41 pm

I recently saw an interesting Slashdot post about a researcher who played City of Heroes and reported on the social interactions he experienced. Some people view what he was doing as griefing. Some people view it as playing the game properly.

This researcher’s favorite tactic was to teleport players in front of some kind of NPC execution squad and this squad would instantly kill the player. The game mechanic caused the player get into some kind of debt which the player had to spend hours in-game to work off. The result was that the researcher was generally reviled in the community where he was playing. He was shocked at this behavior.

I’m pretty sure any socially aware third grader could have predicted this. Right or wrong, written or not, when one consistently goes against a community’s rules, one’s reputation will suffer. It is irrelevant to say the researcher should or should not have acted the way he did. The community will react within their sensibilities. Any recourse they take to punish the offender shouldn’t be surprising.

The tolerance of anti-community behavior seems to vary a lot from game to game. CoH/CoV seems to be less tolerant, while EVE-Online seems to be more tolerant. In the case of EvE, the developers seem to try to cultivate a “wild west” attitude. On PvE servers in WoW, the communities are mostly cooperative.

What did I take away from this research on virtual communities? Nothing. The community reacted in a predictable way. The researcher reacted like any anti-social person and expressed shock and dismay at community behavior.

I close with this link (Vulgar content).

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