[MUD-Dev] Reward system for social gaming?

cruise cruise at casual-tempest.net
Fri Nov 18 01:04:04 New Zealand Daylight Time 2005

Sean Howard spake thusly...

> 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.

Caillois, in "Man, Play and Games" defines play as unproductive
(creating or transfering anything of worth (within the game at
least)) and make-believe - belonging to a seperate reality, distinct
from ours. Salen & Zimmerman use the term "Magic Circle" to describe
this sectioning of reality as it were, where inside is distinct from

With board, parlour, and card games, for example, the magic circle
is very clear and distinct. There is no ambiguity over where the
game ends and life begins. Trying to blur that line is frowned on
and often punished.

With computer games, where all players aren't within the same social
space, and each applies their own magic circle, there is no distinct
edge anymore. There is no communally agreed inside and outside. If
someone betrays your trust in an online game it's not uncommon for
physical violence to result, even if the instigator proclaims they
were merely role-playing. If someone betrays you in Diplomacy, well,
that's simply good tactical play. In fact, in both games it's good
tactical play. In Diplomacy, that's explicit. In an online game,
it's implicit in the "rogue" class (for example) - and not everyone
shares the same implicit rules.

[ cruise / casual-tempest.net / transference.org ]
   "quantam sufficit"
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