MMORPG professionals

Raph Koster writes about a new group that calls themselves “The Virtual Citizenship Association”. It’s a new group advocating virtual citizen ehm ‘rights’. In his blogpost he points out the relevant problems with their social contract – which I completely agree with – so I’m not going to bother repeating it all in my own words here – you should just read it – I can’t do his words justice here!
But entering the site – I was quite intrigued by how they define themselves:

“We’re a group of MMORPG professionals, people who enjoy playing in online universes in general and people who advocate the use of Free Software.”

I find that interesting. When I think of ‘MMORPG proffesionals’ I think of game operators and designers – not players, but it’s a relevant point! Why shouldn’t players be labeled as MMORPG professionals? I kinda like it – it tickled me!
As for what they’re advocating, I agree with Koster when he writes:

“I’d prefer any such social contract to focus more on how operators have to treat players, than on forcing particular business models on operators.”

Too right!

And in case you don’t have the time to read the comments, I have to paste glorious Mr. Bartle’s comment – where would this industry be without his precious sense of humor?

“Why is it that these “players’ rights” advocates always target the virtual world developers and never the people who run guilds?

Richard

PS: Wouldn’t it be amusing if a virtual world developer banned membership of such organisations under its EULA?”

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Ryzom

I’m busy editing and administrating my references – so just a quick stop to tell you about Ryzom!!!

The community of MMORPG Ryzom is trying to buy the game to save it!!! Apparently Nevrax, the producers of the game are in trouble (I’m not sure what that’s about) and the company’s in danger of entering non-existence – if this happens The Free Ryzom Campaign will by the source code and distribute it for free!

“Rather than just consuming the game, everyone will be able to contribute to it.” – Xavier Antoviaque, a founder of the campaig and an ex-employee of Nevrax.

It’s such a beautiful gesture – but my skepticism is shadowing the whole thing! I’m not sure this is a good idea! But a great way for gamers to show initiative and save a world! That’s just so admirable!!

Source: BBC

MMORPGs in the news

Virtual Worlds have been in the media a lot lately and there’s been so much hype, I sometimes just wanna shout “OH…GET OVER IT!”.

Clickable Culture has a little rant about a Toronto Star article which I found highly amusing.

“On the other hand, it’s supremely social. Players band together, chatting incessantly. They hook up for virtual drinks at the inn, share a slab of wild boar meat. They dance, they have picnics in the woods, they even share a bed on occasion.” Dude, I don’t know what server you are playing on, but I have never heard of players going to an inn in Warcraft for a pint and a slab of meat. Picnics in the woods!?! Cotroneo is embellishing here. Maybe he plays on a server dedicated to role-playing, where players imagined they were eating and drinking together, or having cybersex in the woods, or whatever the hell he thinks he’s talking about.

Oh how I chuckled!

The Norwegian press has actually been rather thorough in what I’ve read at least. Something to be thankful for! ;)

Age of Conan

Nils and I are pretty much at uni now 24/7 trying to finish our stuff – and breaks are filled with dreamy fantasies of what life is like on the other side of this tiresome tunnel! So naturally we’re talking a lot about games. So we’ve been looking into Age of Conan. Man! It looks awesome! I’m still worried that my testosterone levels aren’t high enough for truly enjoying it, but I had a look at the Age of Conan wiki – and my heart started racing with excitement! 60% of that was probably just the enjoyment of the hope of being able to play again – but listen to this:

“We call the engine Real Combat, and it is based on six directions, or ways, of attacking an opponent with a sword. First, you can hack down against the head. Second, you can slash diagonally down from the right, while the third is slashing the same way from the left. Fourth, you can thrust against the torso. Fifth, you can slash diagonally up from the left, and sixth, you can slash diagonally up from the right. The point here is that these directions lend themselves naturally to being strung together in combinations. These combos unlock additional damage and faster combat, if done well.”

– Gaute Godager

What fun!!!! And it looks freakin’ awesome!!!

Additionally we were blessed by Marius Enge’s presence on Thursday. It was supposed to be an hours lecture but ended up being about 2 hours. What an absolutely delightful man. He was just so informative and answered annoyingly stupid questions (from yours truly) clearly and inspirationally. He informed us a bit about how Funcom works internally and I just sat there thinking “I WANNA WORK AT FUNCOM, I WANNA WORK AT FUNCOM, I WANNA WORK AT FUNCOM!! SOD THIS ACADEMIC BULL – I WANNA WORK AT FUNCOM!!! I BELONG AT FUNCOM!!!”.

He was there to talk about the AI in the game, which was amusing even to me, who understood 1/100th of the content.

I could go on and on – but I need to run! Have an absolutely great weekend, all!!!!

Making sense of virtual property research

I just realized that I haven’t blogged anything about VERN – Virtual Economy Research Network, here! Well…I’m just gonna point you in the direction – to start you off, there’s an interesting post/essay on “Making sense of virtual property research” – I would say it’s a must for anyone wanting to look into such matters! I felt it was very helpful!

Reputation

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.

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Real Market Trade

Heya!!! Does anyone know where I can get the current figures for worldwide RMT? I know, I should have a site somewhere, but for some bizarre reason I can’t find it!! The latest numbers I can find are from Dec. 2005 – it must be much larger now!!! Any help appreciated! Will love you for always and forever!!!! ;)

The State of Play book!


I’ve pretty much accepted that my thesis is just a summary of discussions about MMORPGs. When you start out such things, you always think you’re gonna write something new – but, naw! I’ve foolishly created my own typology though – I don’t know what I was thinking, it just felt like something that needed to be done! I’m waiting for a ‘go ahead’ from my darling advisor, now, while I’m trying to sum up…well…way too much actually! The ontology of the avatar (oh please inject me with an instant psychology degree!), intellectual property rights of avatar created content (oh please inject me with a law degree!) and MMORPGs – collaborative fiction, society or gameplay? (urgh – still working on the set-up there).
ANYWAYS!!! I say that it’s all about summing up the discussions – and they can all be found in this new book!!! Excellent that they’ve published it all in one book! What I’ve always loved about the subject of MMORPGs is the involvement from so many disciplines! There’s lively discussions between designers, lawyers, economist, psychologist, anthropologists, historians, sociologists and…urgh…you name the field and they’re probably heavily involved already! If you’re interested in studying MMORPGs, buy this book! It’s ESSENTIAL!!! No matter what field you’re coming from! I hate to be an advertisement but BUY THIS BOOK!!!!!!
I’ll probably be back later to link to the brilliant minds behind it – but I’ve spent way too long with my morning news and coffee and must dash to dive into work!!

MMORPGs as New Media

That’s where I wanna go!!! Well…at the moment at least! I’m sitting here revising some Poster quotes and I’m mesmerised and pumped!!! Medium theory and MMORPGs! It’s perfect! If someday I’m lucky, I wanna write about MMORPGs as a medium – what communication media is available and how people use them! Oh – my mind is ecstatic!!! I can barely just touch the theme in my present work, but it was needed for me to understand what the hell MMORPGs really are, what the play is and how players interact with the software. This whole RMT thing is fascinating – but, you know, I’m gonna leave that to the nerdy economists. Play in MMORPGs as narrative and fiction? Well…definitely interesting and something I’ll keep my eye on. Intellectual Property Rights of gameplay? Argh – enough lawyers on that one – too much law for me – and besides, just considering what national law system to use is dizzying for me!
I was just sitting here working on my intellectual property chapter and squeezing in a few Poster theories and thought “You know, you really should have thought about adding a chapter on MMORPGs as medium – with a touch of technological determinism! But you’re way too late in considering that now!”. But now I just want to finish this sucker and start working on an outline for a doctorate! Yay!!! Finally something ‘goal like’ in sight! Finally something to fight for!! Woo hoo!!! I’m really having an adrenalin kick here!!! ;)