[MUD-Dev] Reward system for social gaming?

Sean Howard squidi at squidi.net
Sun Nov 13 17:53:51 New Zealand Daylight Time 2005

"David Love" <dlove at nighton.net> wrote:

> I think the crux of the issue here (and your major point of
> disagreement) is illustrated quite well by this exchange.
> Seperation of player and avatar.  I don't think there is any
> disagreement that players become attached to their characters -
> but what are the players looking to get out of the game/world?

By golly, you may be right... I think it does actually come down to
whether the social connections are made based on your self image or
your avatar's image.

> The game vs. virtual world debate has already been discussed (and
> continues to be discussed) on the list.  I simply think this
> happens to be an extension of that debate.

Actually, I think it comes down to the social contract between
players.  Roleplay only works when all players EXPLICITLY agree on
the conditions.  You can't walk up to a stranger and pretend to be
Robin Hood. They'd have you committed, unless they were in on the
joke already. Alan Funt made a living off this dichotomy.

But a failure to understand that contract can be quite
dangerous. Bondage, for example, becomes quite dangerous when the
specified boundaries are crossed. That's why you gotta have a safe
word (not that I participate in bondage, but I do watch a lot of
late night cable). MMORPGs don't have safe words, and even if they
did, they'd just be exploited anyway.

I think a failure to specify such a contract is what leads people to
thinking that online doesn't matter - and I'm not talking just
MMORPGs either. "cyberbullying" is a huge problem with minor
internet communities, and it undoubtedly stems from the fact that
you can separate your actions from "reality" but it's not always
possible to separate someone else's.  Sending a death threat doesn't
count because the internet isn't real life, but to the person
receiving the threat, it can be VERY disturbing.

- Sean
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