[MUD-Dev] Blacksnow revisted

Paul Schwanz paul.schwanz at east.sun.com
Mon Apr 8 13:09:48 New Zealand Standard Time 2002


From: Mark Eaton <marke at mac.com>
> On Monday, April 1, 2002, at 11:31 PM, Eli Stevens wrote:

>> From my point of view, Mythic owns the toys, and the rest follows
>> naturally from that.  If we disagree on the ownership part of the
>> equation, it seems THAT is what we should be talking about.  And
>> from what I can tell, we _do_ disagree on that point, which I
>> find hard to understand.

> You weren't addressing me, but I'd like to chime in here.

> I think the source of this notion is that players are allowed, no
> encouraged to trade items amongst themselves in game. Players are
> allowed to sell items for in game currency. This is all encouraged
> under the rubrik of 'in game economy'.

> If players have no ownership whatsoever how is the above fair?

Doesn't this whole argument stem from the conflation of player and
character?

My answer would go something like this:

The players are not encouraged to trade items, the characters are.
Players are not allowed to sell items for in game currency,
characters are.  The player doesn't own the item, the character
does.  The characters that own the items are allowed to sell them.
Since the players don't own the items, they are not allowed to sell
them.  Any "sale" that occurs outside of the virtual world in which
the character and virtual items exist can be seen as occuring
between players and not characters.  (This is stated weakly, since
it may depend on the definition of character, but it seems quite
resonable to me to consider this an OOC transaction.  It is quite a
stretch to consider it otherwise, IMHO.)  In light of the logical
(and legal?) separation between player and character, the above is
in no way unfair.

Not wanting to raise a dead horse, I'm hesitant to say the
following, but I believe it is adding to the confusion on this
issue.

A character may be real, but it is not a real *person*.  It is a
virtual person.  Characters existing in virtual worlds have only
those rights that are extended to them by the virtual world.  (They
may also, theoretically, be granted rights by the real world, but
these rights would be rights granted to characters and not rights
granted to persons.)  Rights extended to characters in a virtual
world should not be confused with rights extended to persons/players
in the real world and vice versa.

Having said that, I am personally in favor of game designs which
strive to immerse the player.  (In a very similar way to how I tend
to lose touch with the real world when immersed in a good book.  In
some ways, this is how I *define* a good book.  But this temporary
immersion doesn't in any way lead me to struggle to discern between
the ficticious and the real.)  Experientially, I do want to see the
line between character and player blur to some extent, but only if
we can maintain a logical and legal distinction.  Else I think we
travel down a slippery slope.

--Phinehas


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