[MUD-Dev] Star Wars Galaxies: 1 character per server

John Erskine jerskine at ncaustin.com
Thu Jan 16 10:29:54 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

From: "Damion Schubert" <damion at zenofdesign.com>:

>  1. SCS amplifies the most boring parts of your game.

>  2. SCS will eventually force players to choose between their
>  stuff and their friends.

>  3. SCS makes it harder to get rid of griefers.

While I don't disagree with your argument in total, and I'm not
trying to get into the SCS vs MCS debate, I disagree pretty strongly
with your third point. From a support standpoint I feel that
anonymity is the biggest contributor to 'grief' play, and anything
that decreases anonymity seems like it should decrease the rate of
'grief' play.

It seems like you are saying that technical limitations prevent
admins from being able to cross-reference multiple account users,
therefore contributing to anonymity of users, therefore increasing
grief play from those users. This is false because it's actually
very easy for admins to cross reference accounts given some very
basic tools.

If your point is that users can't tell who plays on multiple
accounts, then this is true, but I don't see how SCS or MCS
contributes to this issue in any respect.

> Most hardcore gamers will buy second acAcounts (we had SCS on
> Meridian 59, so I feel pretty confident of this).  I've heard it
> said that SCS prevents griefing.  Wrong.  It's now harder to
> prevent griefing, because players now have second accounts which
> they have very little emotional investment in, and which are
> difficult and time-consuming to trace back to their primary "I've
> spent 500 hours on this character" character.  Who cares if my
> second account gets banned?  I'll just plunk down $20 bucks for a
> new box, and I'm right back in with a mule.

I agree that hard core gamers will buy second (and third) accounts
in _any_ game, not just SCS. I'm highly motivated to have my
characters on separate accounts if I want to be able to use them at
the same time.

However, it's actually very easy to cross reference accounts; we
have very good tools in place to do this. We do it every day when we
investigate 'bad' people in our games. It's a pretty simple matter
to compare billing records, email addresses, IP logs, character
names, chat logs, item transaction logs, etc. Given any 'bad'
account and about 15 seconds, I can have a list of 'potential'
related accounts, and given a couple more minutes of research I can
tell you if there is a strong probability of a match.

With this in mind, I'd argue that while people may not care about
their 'mule' account, they'll care very deeply when all of their
accounts get closed down for bad behavior. Any admin team that does
not look at users on a 'per user' basis rather than a 'per account'
basis will have problems like you describe. In my experience, this
is a real mistake and leads to endless headaches for the admin
team. This starts down a road that sidetracks this conversation, but
it does follow logically from the SCS issue because I agree that SCS
will motivate more users to have multiple accounts. (which may be a
very good thing from a business standpoint)

I think the biggest impact of the 'I don't care about this account'
syndrome that you describe happens when a 'banned' player gets back
into the game on a new account and really has nothing to lose. But,
that's another issue entirely. :-)


John Erskine
Manager of Customer Support
NCInteractive - Austin, TX

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