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!!


I’ve never ever regretted my decision to start back at university and write about virtual gaming worlds. I mean…I started my Masters degree because I wanted to study and research virtual worlds – the actual degree is just a perk! Hmmm…does that make me a nerd? Never thought it would take me this long, however!! So much information to process!! I have, however, regretted many many many times on The Sims Online! But in hindsight, I feel it’s good to have knowledge and insight on what doesn’t work! But…you know I’m babling! Oh hell! It’s my blog!

Anyways…it’s been one of the few choices in my life that’s made me truely happy! One thing that’s always annoyed me, however, is that I could never seem to find the courage and strength to write papers for conferences so I could participate! So many fabulous debates! I’ve been saying for the past year that if I won the lottery I would just travel around going to all these conferences and meeting all these super brilliant minds!!

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The Guardian has a great article on griefers and the evolving community counter measures to tackle them.

I think it’s interesting how the journalist brings up 2 examples of ‘griefing’ that have caused the debate about gaming ethics (although it’s a discussion that’s been going on forever – at least since the LambdaMoo days).
The first is the EVE Online incident where a group calling themselves the Guiding Hand Social Club, cunningly infiltrated the Ubiqua Seraph corporation and basically ruined them! They worked on this for over a year! I first heard about this after watching one of the State of Play III debates, where Dr. Kjartan Pierre Emilsson brought this up as an example of how sometimes developers just have to shrug and say “Hey! It’s all part of the gameplay!”. I remember being so amused and uttering a little ‘Yay!’. The debate harrowed in the community, however.
The second example, is ofcourse when World Of Warcraft mourners (mourning the death of a real life player in WoW) were completely ambushed by a rival guild. Which was ofcourse seen as disrespectful and awful.
But these two examples are not griefing incidents, in my opinion! And we can’t start punishing players for how they’re playing the game. I mean most of these outcries are like children screaming “BUT IT’S SOOOO UNFAIR!”. It reminds me a lot about my life at the moment. I’m moaning and groaning about my thesis and my friends and family are hitting back with “For crying out loud, Linn! Will you please just get over yourself and finish the goddamn thing! Stop taking yourself so bloody seriously!” – the analogy here is me being the screaming child and my friends being the ‘griefers’! My point is….thank God for ‘griefers’!!!! Sometimes it’s good to have players come along and take the piss of those taking the game way too seriously! Which, in my opinion, doesn’t make them griefers at all!!! So what are griefers? I would call advanced players living off of stealing and hassling new players, griefers – but why? They’re still playing the game, are they not? I’m rambling here, sorry about that – it’s just that I feel we really need to define what griefing is before we start making executive decisions about who’s playing the game the right way and who’s not. I don’t believe that anyone should be punished for these two ‘griefing’ examples, but others may disagree.
So who gets to decide what griefing is and what actions are offensive enough to merit punishment? Who should decide? Game masters or democraticly organised groups? Community or an authoritative power?

I’m gonna leave you with these questions which have so often been thrust at you in this blog – and promise to come back with some reflections on what works and why tomorrow! It’s about time, right?!!