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

Peter Harkins ph at malaprop.org
Thu May 12 04:11:34 New Zealand Standard Time 2005


On Mon, May 09, 2005 at 08:26:11PM -0700, Jaycen Rigger wrote:

>> Does this extend to strategy guides?  Fan sites?  Have you used a
>> fan site to lookup how to solve a quest, find an NPC, or see the
>> drop rate for a specific item?  In the most rigid of definitions,
>> these actions would be considered cheating, yet people do not
>> seem to have a problem with getting out-of-game information (in
>> general).

> I agree.  It extends to those sites if they provide the
> information needed to "beat" some part of the game.  For instance,
> there are strategy sites that are just that, strategy.  They do
> not divulge the uber-secret "trick" to beating that part of the
> game.  Those sites might list 3 or 4 possible ways to increase
> your ability to get through the game.  In that instance, you are
> not cheating.

When specifically, does this become cheating? When the site says:

  - Practice skills to raise strength.
  - Practice body-related skills to raise strength.
  - Practice lifting and forcing skills to raise strength quickest.
  - Practice lifting the heaviest things you can find to raise strength.
  - Practice lifting the Rock of Roll in Graceland to raise strength.
  - And do it at midnight while wearing Blue Suede Shoes for a bonus.

What I'm getting at here is that there's a broad spectrum of
information potentially available. Not only do different players
pick different points on it as "cheating", all players will "cheat"
by their own definition when they get too frustrated, bored, behind,
or otherwise incentivized.

Virtual worlds can't try to ignore the influences of the real world
(and shouldn't). Players will always have outside information,
limitations, and resources that they bring to bear -- the best
designs realize this and accomodate it (eg. by varying quests
automatically or just making them fun even if you can look up the
ending). One of the biggest influences on most virtual worlds is
that they're run by a for-profit company: creating a game that is
fun, fair, balanced, secure, pretty, amusing, or fufilling is
secondary to the primary goal of creating a game that is profitable
(though the list of positive adjectives is generally what ensures
profitability). Outside influences are not affronts to the game's
purity of independence from the real world that are tantamount to
cheating.

--
Peter Harkins    -    ph at malaprop.org    -    http://malaprop.org
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