This week’s leftovers have gamers pondering the justice or injustice of it all. For the past few weeks, Jester over at Jester’s Trek has sparked some great discussion about whether player behavior in Eve is ethical and, equally important, if it’s hurting the game. I highly recommend reading the article and all of the comments in each. The comments is where most of the interesting responses to this question can be found.
- Kill of the Week, Dispicable You: Extorting newbies
- Yuppie Nuremberg Defense: Does CCP have a responsibility to intervene in the community?
One side discussion that didn’t emerge, but which I think is even more interesting, is the idea that this new player paid for over $1600 USD in gear. But what makes a player spend this much on a game they don’t understand?
Imagine this: You’re looking for a virtual world to entertain you on the evenings (an MMO for all intents and purposes; we entered the VR phase of gaming pretty much with advent of the internet). Your ultimate fantasy land is somewhere in the deep reaches of outerspace. You find Eve and not only is this the most beautiful game you’ve ever experienced, but it’s got features that, even though you don’t understand them, you just know it clicks with you. You find out that getting to the shiny ships takes months and even years. You’ve got money to throw away and the game will let you skip over the boring part and jump right into your dream ship. You shell out the money, feeling confident that this virtual world will be your simulation of choice for years to come.
Spending hundreds of dollars, in this context, seems like a pretty good investment — if you view it as the purchase of a fantasy, and not a game. And people purchase fantasies DAILY. While gamers like me still view Eve as “just a game”, I think we’re already entering an age where online games are seen as virtual reality gateways, where people increasingly want to invest their time and money into worlds that satisfy their sense of belonging. I don’t know which is scarier: that people are decreasingly finding that sense of belonging in the real world, or that MMOs are becoming increasingly an indulgence for the rich only. Would you spend $1600 on a virtual simulation that offered you the experience of your personal choice? On the other hand, treating a fellow gamer like this is pretty criminal in my opinion. This idea that he “deserves” it has the nasty, egotistical implication that those players had a right to dish out the deserts. Dispicable you, indeed, Eve’ers.
The Penis as a Weapon
I wanted to write about this at the time that it happened, but better late than never. Rust, an open world survival game, recently had a band of players running around naked calling themselves the Penis Brothers. Inside the game, these players record themselves chasing down individuals, stopping them, and giving them a choice: join the brotherhood or die. To join, the player they chased has to strip naked and endure simulated gang rape. Just slightly raises a question of ethics among gamers. Where is the bar for behavior? Is there no standard we strive for in the community? What do you think of this?
Scree Tags: #ethics #rapeculture #gamertalk