Crucifying Griefers


Oh…today is just one of those days where there’s just too much to blog about!!! So I need to just cut’n’paste some stuff and maybe, if I’m lucky, it will be quiet at work tomorrow so I can piff up with some comments of my own!!

The Dazzling Mr. Timothy Burke has a brilliant post on Terra Nova!! It’s about the MMOG Roma Victor and how they’ve implemented a punishment system for griefers entailing crusifixion! Brilliant! And, as usual, his comments are just soooooo spot on!!!

“What I like is that it’s a very good example of how I think developer sovereignty might more meaningful manifest within the terms of a given MMOG’s fictional framework. With a game like World of Warcraft, what the GMs do to players for various infractions is entirely outside the framework of the otherwise very well-developed setting of the game. The policing of players (which Blizzard does fairly actively in relation to some other live management teams) always breaks the magic circle. Moreover, because it does so, Blizzard is always under pressure to systematize and make explicit the precise formulations under which its sovereign interest in the gameworld will become active, because that’s what we expect in the real world from institutional actors, that they will precisely delineate violations that will trigger intervention.”

Yes! Yes! Yes!!

The future’s sooooo bright!

Awww…Will Wright is just such a gaming romantic!!!
He’s co-editor of Wired this month and has such a touching article ” Dream Machines”

Some great statements:

  • “It turns out that we don’t use computers to enhance our math skills – we use them to expand our people skills.”
  • “Games are evolving to entertain, educate, and engage us individually. These personalized games will reflect who we are and what we enjoy, much as our choice of books and music does now. They will allow us to express ourselves, meet others, and create things that we can only dimly imagine. They will enable us to share and combine these creations, to build vast playgrounds. And more than ever, games will be a visible, external amplification of the human imagination”.

Awww…well all I can say is “Skål!”

Which reminds me, if you haven’t seen this yet, OMG this is just – Amazing(I guess I just presume that EVERYONE is a Boing Boing reader):

Also…

GameSpy‘s Miguel Lopez has a genius idea for an MMO!

  • “Basically, imagine a game in which you could have anything fight against anything. You could pick, say, a Tyrannosaurus Rex, and put it up against an F-14 Tomcat. Or you could pit a Doom-style space marine against a group of twenty robot dogs. Or the 1981 Miami Dolphins versus Rambo riding on the back of a Dewback from Star Wars armed with Excalibur. You get the picture. Anything is possible. You know those heated discussions you had with your friends in elementary school phys. ed. about who was stronger, Wolverine, or a ninja? This is pretty much a game about those conversations”

Yeah!!! I’ve often thought that it would be incredibly cool for some form of e-game tournament where SWG guilds (sorry…they’re not called guilds are they?) would compete against WoW guilds! The battle of the MMOGs! Wouldn’t that be incredibly cool?!!

For all us loosers not at GDC


The Game Developers Conference has started and boy oh boy what a program!!

There are just too many heros there to mention, academics and developers!

Participants are doing their best to keep us updated however, bless them!!!

GDC Wki

Gamasutra has a GDC Update page – very good!

I was very suprised when Wonderland reported “…but there’s no wifi except in the very central main area, so updates will be on an as-and-when basis.”

There’s probably a lot more…but these are the ones I’ve decided to follow. There are limits, you know!!!

Nick Yee’s ‘Labor of Fun’

So…I’m still going on about the whole goldfarming thing in my thesis and I’m finding it kinda difficult to explain – who’d have thought?! Anyways…I started thinking that maybe what goldfarming companies really do is help gamers put the ‘fun’ back in MMORPGs. They help take away the ‘work factor’? You know, it would be really interesting to talk to someone who actually buys virtual currency and stuff, regularly! All the gamers, I know, are too faithful to the moral economy of their virtual gaming world to do so! I just think it would be interesting to see how passionate a regular consumer of goldfarming services is about the gameplay compared to someone who ‘works’ their way through the game – the hard way! But I’m sure someone is studying this! Probably the glorious Mr. Yee and his posse!
So yeah! What was I on about? Yeah…I wanted to describe in my thesis how a lot of the gameplay is really hard work and thought I’d hunt for a good quote from someone smarter than me and other than Castronova (he’s just already been quoted way too much!). So after being unsatisfied with the essays and books here at my desk I went online and found this beautiful little article by Glorious Nick Yee: “The Labor of Fun: How Video Games Blur The Boundaries of Work and Play”. I had a little huff and a puff when I started reading the words “Every day, millions of players log onto a genre of video games known as Massively-Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs).” – I mean! How many times do I have to read these words! I actually had to leave my computer and gather up the patience to read on. But guess what? He does it beautifully!!! He pretty much goes straight into explaining the commerce of Star Wars Galaxy! Pure joy! And since I’m not a SWG player – extremely interesting!!!
Here’s some highlights that I loved:

  • “The central irony of MMORPGs is that they are advertised as worlds to escape to after coming home from work, but they too make us work and burn us out. For some players, their game-play might be more stressful and demanding than their actual jobs. And the most tragic irony is the MMORPG players pay game companies on a monthly basis (between 10-15 USD) to work and get burned out.”

And then he, well…goes a little overboard in my opinion:

  • “The point remains however that video games are inherently work platforms that train us to become better workers. And the work bein performed in video games is increasingly similar to actual work in business corporations.”
  • “Beck and Wade (2004) suggested that the gamer generation is acquiring skills and developing traits that will require businesses to adapt to them, but I believe a much larger intersection is occurring. Video games are changing the nature of both work and play. It is not so much that businesses will need to adapt to gamers as much as that work and play are starting to become indistinguishable from each other.”

I think he takes it a little too far here! There definitely are distinctions between ‘play’ and ‘work’ – although it’s difficult to define! But yeah! A lot of gameplay is work and there’s a hell of a lot of obligations within the gameplay in MMORPGs (raids, economy…a.s.o) – so why do we choose to pay to work?

Funcom’s hiring!!!

This looks like such a cool job!!

Funcom’s looking for a Senior/Lead QA tester in Oslo!!!

“Funcom is looking for candidates interested in performing Quality Assurance procedures as assigned by Funcom’s Quality Assurance Manager: supporting the test effort of our current products such as Anarchy Online, or upcoming titles like Dreamfall and Conan. The ideal candidate is a talented and motivated individual with extensive knowledge to our current products such as Anarchy Online and Dreamfall. “

Ooooohhh!!! I must be dreaming!!!

One year old tomorrow!

So, I was sitting here being a productive student and needed a good resource to prove how goldfarming can be disruptive on a virtual gaming world’s economy. And it’s not like there are few examples to pick from! So I thought I’d have a little look through this blog to see if I had collected any decent links on the way.

What a disappointment!! I thought I had so much data collected in here, which I suppose I do, but not what I’m looking for! And so few posts! It’s bizarre how much I’ve changed! How reliant I am on this blog now and how unreliant I was earlier!

Hmmm…I’m wondering if I could just write footnotes in my thesis relating to some of my blogposts and the discussions there…you think that’s allowed? So I don’t have to copy the whole thing?

Not that I’ve had a whole lot of discussions here…which I suppose is another disappointment! Who would have thought that a one year old could be this depressed on her birthday?!!

I was however filled with fond memories of a time when my dear friend Joachim bothered commenting on my blog. And when I was first introduced to the Infomedia blogs. Also some interesting thoughts on the whole TSO experience that I had completely forgotten. And I suppose it was a novelty finding posts expressing my pure joy of finding Wonderland, Clickable Culture a.s.o. – things that have just become an essential part of my life now!

I really should have started this blog long, long ago!!

But now! I think I need to go home!! I just freaked out because I couldn’t find any reference to gold farming and virtual economy! Which is just too bizarre and stupid! I’ve got Castronova right infront of me, after all!!!

"Another world is possible"

So eagerly trying to avoid the task of explaining bots in The Sims Online and why they have a more positive effect on the economy rather than negative (OMFG! Why does it sound so much more interesting on my blog than in my thesis?), I stopped by Water Cooler Games! Which then linked me on to some feeds from the “Game as Critic as Art” event in Barcelona. Ahhh! How beatiful is this?!!
I instantly clicked on Katharine Neil’s presentation of Escape from Woomera, which was presented here in Bergen in October! It was so interesting to hear the thoughts behind the process. The reality of the actual gameplay and how they’d used an investigative journalist on their team to find facts for the actual gameplay. She has a go at uncategorizing her game as art “We’re game developers not artists” – I’m going to have to write another post on my thoughts here because they’re just tumbling in and I’m trying to see if I can mix the words ‘games’ and ‘interactive news journalism’ – but I’ll get back to that.
“How can you make people care about characters that they can reload?”, and on why was the truth important and not use metaphors; “I didn’t want people to think, ‘Yeah, that’s really awful but I bet that didn’t really happen’.” – it was very interesting. She also offers a public apology to Radman Kasmiya, because she was forced to drop him from a conference she was organising in Australia, for political reasons! He was actually banned! Jeez!!
So…onto Radman Kasmiya’s presentation which just blew my mind and touched me in so many ways, I’m not sure I’ll be able to fit them all in here! Kasmiya’s from Afkar Games. No, you know what – you’re just going to have to watch it! I’ll just say that they’re arabic and they bring up some true conflicts. I mean, in his presentation of Under Ash, wow! Through the game, they tell true stories about Palestine history. It’s amazing how they’ve done this, the different characters are just so intriguing! And the impact this game has had on Palestines and Israelis is teardropping, frightful and touching!
Water Cooler Games also includes a link to an article by Vit Sisler called Digital Intifada:
Abstract:
“This article examines political videogames produced by the Syrian company Afkar Media in Damascus, mainly their recent game Tahta al-Hisar (Under the Siege) and puts them in a broader context of persuasive and serious games. It deals with the representation of the Other and Foreign in videogames, construction of the Arab and Islamic heroes and ongoing digital emancipation of the Near East.”
Definitely on my ‘to read’ list now! This stuff just brought a whole influx of thoughts in my head! On a side note, I’m also thinking that all you people shouting so loudly about violence not having an impact on players – I really think you should have a look at this! That whole discussion seems, to me, to be very basic and naiv on both sides. But look at these games! There’s so much we can learn from this! Content and gameplay certainly does have an impact on ‘real life’! But how needs to be discussed!
I’m just so inspired! But alas…sleep has come to haunt me! I’ll have to save the rest of my thoughts for another post!
“Another world is possible!” – Katharine Neil

Rambling thoughts

So…I’m struggling! I’m really struggling getting stuff on paper! I wish I had started writing earlier! Instead of sitting here with all this information and all these thoughts trying to get them into the formal academic language on paper (or word – any type of visual text, really). I wish I could just hypertext words like goldfarming – telling the reader that if you already know, I’m not going to waste your time explaining it – because I’m sick and tired of reading explanitory things over and over again in otherwise extremely interesting papers! So if you don’t what the word means – click on the link! Wouldn’t it be really cool if we could hand in thesis’ wiki style? How long’s it gonna take for that to be accepted, will it ever? I would love to give it a shot – I hate my arguments and discussions being slowed down by tediousness – I love having a rythm in my writing! Specially when I’m passionately involved in analysation! And I am passionate about this! I really am! I sometimes wonder if I may be stalling the actual writing process of this thesis because I don’t want it to be over! I really don’t! I want to continue researching MMORPGs or games! I really freakin do! But chances are just so minimum for funding to do a doctorate! And if I’m even going that far, I SERIOUSLY need to finish this thing! What if I’ve wasted 2 years of my life researching for nothing! Can’t let that happen either now, can we! But I’m stuck….I’m still really stuck! Every inch of my body is fighting me getting stuff written!

I suppose it doesn’t help that I think The Sims Online is a really boring game! And writing down what the game mechanics are, the social hierarchy a.s.o. ain’t piffing it up for me! Huh? Am I being too honest here? Should I maybe consider the fact that some future employer is reading this and thinking “My, what a messed up idiot! I can’t believe I even considered her!”. Oh poop! I don’t care! This is my blog, my opinions, my thoughts, my piece of mind!!

So ok! I’ll go back to work in just a minute….but I just need to write another post first!

If in London….

This looks great!! Day to Day Data. I love some of these titles!

  • Bio mapping
    • The Bio Mapping device allows you to measure your levels of stress and excitement as you walk through the city.
  • Trolley Spotting at Tesco Superstore
    • As part of Adele Prince‘s web-based project Trolley Spotting, the entire fleet of trolleys at the local Tesco Superstore will be tagged.
  • Lucy Kimbell’s Physical Bar Charts

It’s just so bizarre that I’m getting into contemporary art! I never ever had any interest before! What’s going on? Is contemporary art becoming something that I understand? Should I be able to understand and relate to it? Is it my gaming research? Or maybe it’s just my adoration for Wonderland!

But seriously! How can you not be charmed by Richard Dedomenici’s Nail Salon Belt:
“Richard is creating an installation documenting his research into the theory of the Nail Salon Belt. The theory states that at a certain distance from central London, running the length of the border between the 0207 and the 0208 telephone codes, a much higher than average number of nail salons exist. “

So what is a day ticket to London these days?