I’m extremely tired at writing moment, but I couldn’t sleep because my head is just filled with thoughts that I just need to get out! So please excuse me for not linking to smart people – this is just me!
I kinda freaked out today, when I realised that my whole thesis is about reputation! It’s everywhere – and I wasn’t aware of it! It really scared the bejeebles out of me! When discussing the ontological state and identity of the avatar, reputation is essential. When discussing ownership and the attachment to virtual gaming goods, reputation is important. I had an interesting conversation with a friend who’s a WoW’er a while back (may have blogged about it actually) and he had been playing Oblivion for a while, which he thought was really cool but he missed the ‘bragging’ that WoW gave him. There he could show off the gains and riches from all his labor, he couldn’t do that with a single player game. And I think this is a perfect example of why players become so attached to their virtual property.
This is ofcourse so relevant on a social level as well. What guild you’re a part of, what type of gaming characters you know, how rich your social network is a.s.o. It’s all incredibly important in MMORPGs. I also think that your chosen path of gameplay method builds on your reputation as well – it defines who you are and what are we if we are not defined by others? Oh…I feel a shot of Foucault coming on! Also when you’re thinking about MMORPGs being some kind of collaborative fiction, your reputation is your authorship – which is built on your gameplay history. I mean…seriously! There’s a reason why we discuss this so immensely! Reputation is the main commodity in MMORPGs, and I know I’ve read that several places before! And I also feel that damaging a gamers reputation is the main way to govern these worlds – but we need to keep in mind what kind of reputation the player is striving for. Branding someone as a griefer, may just be the kind of reputation a player is playing for, which is why reputation systems to date, don’t always work as a governing force. Reputation as a game mechanic, man!!! Sometimes I feel like I need to know exactly how a complex society in real life actually functions before understanding what the hell is going on in MMORPGs – and lets face it, I don’t!
Now…how could all of this be a part of what I’m trying to write about and not really realising it before now? I’m just so confused! I’m wondering if I wasn’t completely off track when I thought maybe we could call an avatar’s reputation as their intellectual property. And….I think I’ve lost my mind! Why are these REALLY obvious things coming to light now? Why can’t I get things in my head down on paper? Sometimes I wonder if there’s just another mind in my fingers as I type! This is all a depressive sign of non-focus, which I really didn’t need a reminder of right now! But where has my head been these years?