[MUD-Dev] SOC: Will company sanctioned cheating hurt theMMOcommunity?

Barry Kearns barrykearns at qwest.net
Sun May 8 09:26:52 New Zealand Standard Time 2005

Jaycen Rigger wrote:

> I don't think I've seen anyone yet who's said that segregating
> player behaviors works well in any instance.

The obvious counter-example is the wide prevalence of PvP and
non-PvP servers for the same game.  In this case players have a
desire to engage in a behavior... attacking and killing each other,
with griefing and PK'ing being the anticipated behaviors at the
margins when you give players those capabilities.

Some people really like that "freedom".  They get to (at least
attempt to) administer their own forms of vigilante justice for
whatever reason strikes their fancy... whether it is "justifiable"
or not.

Others disagree, and don't want the most sociopathic players to be
able to ruin their game-playing experience just because they feel
like it.  Game developers have (in some cases) responded to this
split in community attitudes (towards certain player behaviors) by
creating different environments, with different rulesets.

Under one ruleset, you'd be permitted to engage in attacks against
other players (a PvP-enabled server).  In a different ruleset, your
character would be blocked via game mechanics from attacking other
players (a no-PvP server).  You could technically say that you have
"lost some freedom" by choosing to play on a no-PvP server, but
people who make that choice also GAIN the enforced freedom from
being attacked for no good reason by someone else.

There appear to be literally hundreds of thousands of players who
seem to think that "segregating player behaviors works well" in that

> I can't begin to fathom most players "wanting" to play under a
> system like that, not for all the fairness in the world.  We'd
> rather the chance for criminal actions be present for others to
> pursue than lose our own freedom within the game.

Yet today's reality speaks to an entirely different conclusion.  You
seem to be saying, in effect, that everyone would rather have fully
PvP-enabled servers in every game and just have the GMs "punish"
those who engage in PvP on a subset of the servers as "cheaters".
Yet the code-enforced split between PvP and non-PvP servers has
largely been considered a success in catering to differing audiences
who judge the matter in different ways.  Manual GM enforcement under
such a regime would be a complete customer service nightmare.

I contend that the matter is no different with real money trading
(RMT, or "commodification").  Some people want to engage in it,
others think it "ruins their game" when people do so.  Fine, let's
create a server split where people who agree that it's OK can all
play together, and a different set of servers where the code
prevents it from ever happening.  By doing so, people who hate the
effects of people getting massive unearned power can "give up the
freedom" to engage in that practice, in exchange for knowing that no
one else on their server gets to... so it's a level playing field
for those with less money (and/or willingness to spend it on in-game

If everyone in an environment agrees that a practice is OK *in that
environment*, how is it "cheating"?  Isn't it then just a different
set of rules for that specific environment?  The problem only arises
when people *disagree* about whether it is OK.  That's why I'm
working to build environments where people who disagree with RMT can
play, and the only people who would choose to play on that server
would be people who agree...  or are willing to have the ability to
RMT taken away from them for the duration of their stay.

People who like RMT will play on other servers that support it.
It's "live and let live", because the two cultures can't affect each
other when they are separated... yet both still get to exist and
play the way they each want.  How is offering such a choice a bad

Barry Kearns
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