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Researcher Trolls MMO, Surprised When Players Hate Him

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the match-made-in-heaven dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 895

D1gital_Prob3 writes with this excerpt from a story about David Myers, a Loyola professor who spent some time studying superhero MMO City of Heroes/Villains: "... he aimed the pointer at his opponent, the virtual comic book villain 'Syphris.' Myers, 55, flicked the buttons on his mouse and magically transported his opponent to the front of a cartoon robot execution squad. In an instant, the squad pulverized the player. Syphris fired an instant message at Myers moments later. 'If you kill me one more time I will come and kill you for real and I am not kidding.' ... As part of his experiment, Myers decided to play the game by the designers' rules — disregarding any customs set by the players. His character soon became very unpopular. At first, players tried to beat him in the game to make him quit. Myers was too skilled to be run off, however. They then made him an outcast, a World Wide Web pariah that the creator of Syphris — along with hundreds of other faceless gamers — detested."

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895 comments

Not Research (1, Troll)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600477)

This isn't research, this is trolling.
There is nothing novel about it.
There is nothing to be learned.
You're just being a dick.

Nobody give this fucker any research money, any PHD, or any book deals.

Re:Not Research (4, Funny)

orkybash (1013349) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600615)

I find the moderation on this comment particularly ironic!

Re:Not Research (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600697)

Ironic or just a coincidence? Rain on your wedding day and a free ride when you've already paid are, despite popular demand, are still just coincidences.

Re:Not Research (1)

sgarringer (751574) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600765)

Not if you're a weather forecaster who made a prediction of clear skys; or perhaps a taxi driver well known for overcharging patrons...

Re:Not Research (4, Funny)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600865)

Rain on your wedding day isn't ironic without a big stretch, but a free ride when you've already paid could easily be situational irony.

Re:Not Research (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28600631)

Your theories are the worst kind of popular tripe, your methods are sloppy, and your conclusions are highly questionable! You are a poor scientist, Dr. Venkman!

If it's within the rules, it's within the rules. (0, Troll)

EWAdams (953502) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600535)

Get used to it or get out.

Re:If it's within the rules, it's within the rules (1, Flamebait)

Burnhard (1031106) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600587)

Get used to it or get out.

I'm guessing you're an MMO troll yourself with an attitude like that. A subtle but no less interesting point you may have missed here is that in virtual worlds the rules can be set by the players themselves. The developers in this context are enablers, rather than Gods passing down "rules".

Re:If it's within the rules, it's within the rules (2, Insightful)

sam0vi (985269) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600693)

... in virtual worlds the rules can be set by the players themselves. The developers in this context are enablers, rather than Gods passing down "rules".

If those user-driven rules are so important for the gameplay, they should just pass them along to the developers so they can add them to the actual rules. That's what we in the real world call "Laws". If they don't like the way things are they should go play somewhere else. Stupid whining babies...

Re:If it's within the rules, it's within the rules (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28600801)

Not all rules can bet programmed in. For example, camping. You can't make it impossible to camp, but in a lot of games (read: not all) it ruins the fun.

If the admin says no camping/playing cheap on his server, go to a different server, 'stupid whining babies'.

Re:If it's within the rules, it's within the rules (4, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#28601075)

And just as with real-world laws, there's a limit to how much you can specify clearly enough, or how many restrictions you actually want to set.

In fact, I think we'd both agree that it would be a Bad Idea to have all laws be set to match social customs. There is no law against me walking up to your mother and calling her a cunt, and I would not want to live in a place that had such a law -- yet you probably still wouldn't want me to do that, and society in general would probably disapprove.

"Don't be a dick" can't be coded into law, but it's still good advice.

Re:If it's within the rules, it's within the rules (5, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600777)

A player was being irritating, which is within the rules.
The rest of the players turned him into an outcast, which is also within the rules.
I don't see the problem here.

Being an asshole makes people angry, film at 11 (3, Insightful)

ChaosDiscord (4913) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600549)

So, a researcher enters a foreign land. He obeys the strict letter of the law, but ignores the customs and rules of polite behavior. Even more, he specifically sets out to break those customs and rules of polite society. The natives push back, telling him that he is being rude. He continues to break the customs and rules of polite society, offending large numbers of people on a regular basis. The natives seek every legal avenue and socially acceptable method to drive him away. He continues to offend. Some natives start pushing what is social acceptable, and skirting the edges of legality.

Wow, color me surprised. Those nasty natives! How dare they try to keep you down!

Perhaps as followup research he can start referring to people of other ethnicity using racial slurs.

Re:Being an asshole makes people angry, film at 11 (-1, Troll)

hondo77 (324058) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600717)

s/researcher/black man/
s/natives/whites/

Just another way of looking at it.

Re:Being an asshole makes people angry, film at 11 (1)

an unsound mind (1419599) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600791)

So being intentionally insulting and rude is better if you're black?

That sounds like a clear-cut case of racism.

Re:Being an asshole makes people angry, film at 11 (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28600913)

I think the point was that in the past the 'rules of polite society' said that blacks had to 'know their place' such as sitting at the back of the bus and only eating in the 'colors section.'

Re:Being an asshole makes people angry, film at 11 (5, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600721)

I like your suggestion:

Perhaps as followup research he can start referring to people of other ethnicity using racial slurs.

because it is entirely ridiculous and indicative of what the users (how can you call them players, when they ignore the intent of the game) are doing. Basically, he played the game (actually fighting villains) and was hated for it. Not because he was being vile or crude (indeed, completely contrary to what you suggest) but by violating game defeating "customs." Why the hell have a city full of heroes and villains, if the villains and heroes just idly chat and don't actually fight each other?

And when someone does play the game, the natives get pissy as all get out. Sounds like a bunch of crybabies inhabit those games if you ask me.

Re:Being an asshole makes people angry, film at 11 (-1, Flamebait)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600973)

Sounds like you're definately over thirty, and definately anti-social. People who play games with the intent of being assholes, are generally treated as such.

Welcome to the world of being a grown-up human being, I hope you can join the rest of us soon. And no, it doesn't automatically come with age.

Re:Being an asshole makes people angry, film at 11 (4, Insightful)

Pyrion (525584) | more than 4 years ago | (#28601091)

Except they're not playing games they're standing around chatting it up. It's IRC with graphical avatars.

Re:Being an asshole makes people angry, film at 11 (0)

Draek (916851) | more than 4 years ago | (#28601069)

Basically, he played the game (actually fighting villains) and was hated for it.

So? if he cares about being "hated" by random people off the 'net he's nothing more than a crybaby if you ask me.

It all depends on your particular level of cynism, you see.

Re:Being an asshole makes people angry, film at 11 (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 4 years ago | (#28601105)

I'm not sure which server he played on, but it definitely wasn't the one I played on. Going by the bits and pieces I've heard though, it sounds like he was on Virtue.

Personally I think he was pretty clever in getting the villains close enough to the police drones to be able to teleport them within range. If I'd been there, I would have helped him. Teleport... poof! I have to chuckle just imagining it. I'm sure it wouldn't have worked on my server, as the villains there for the most part wouldn't be that stupid.

Re:Being an asshole makes people angry, film at 11 (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28600723)

Wait, was this guy a professor in anthropology? Because this sounds like what a professor of anthropology would do if he could.

"What kind of reaction would being a douche monkey bring from people in a society? Wish I could test this somewhere other than reality due to fear of my life. Oh, online gaming!"

Re:Being an asshole makes people angry, film at 11 (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600739)

But surely this is interesting. At the very least, it shows that in at least some ways, a fantastical game world works as a microcosm of real world society.

Re:Being an asshole makes people angry, film at 11 (5, Insightful)

coaxial (28297) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600797)

So, a researcher enters a foreign land. He obeys the strict letter of the law, but ignores the customs and rules of polite behavior.

He had been playing since the game came out in 2004. He knew the customs, he knew the rules. He played the game as designed. He was a hero who defeated villains in a PvP server. He played the game correctly, while everyone else wasn't.

This is the thing with MMOs and really modern gamers. People lament that you can't actually role play in a computer RPG, but here's a guy doing that, and he's an outcast. Heros don't hang out and chat with villains. They fight. What we have here was people that didn't actually want to play the game. They just wanted to rack up (dubious) "achievements".

The prof did exactly right.

Re:Being an asshole makes people angry, film at 11 (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#28601117)

My experience in MMOs shows there's a lot of carebears out there that really hate PVP even though they roll on PVP servers. In Age of Conan, before that really fell into the ground, people would petition GMs to intefere in legit PVP and often they would oblige, even though the rules specifically stated that they shouldn't. Of course that was just one aspect of many where AoC was a failure of a game, meh.

Re:Being an asshole makes people angry, film at 11 (0, Flamebait)

sam0vi (985269) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600805)

So, a researcher enters a foreign land.

Wrong. Learn to differentiate reality from fantasy.

He obeys the strict letter of the law, but ignores the customs and rules of polite behavior.

Polite behavior?? I haven't played this game, nor will i ever, but it seems like an appropriate guess to think that the goal of this game is to kill your enemy (or nemesis or whatever).
For further insight please read my previous post (but you probably won't, because you already know your are right). It's just a game, for f**k's sake. GET A LIFE!!

Re:Being an asshole makes people angry, film at 11 (0, Troll)

ChaosDiscord (4913) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600881)

You know what game you have played? Social discourse. Regrettably today you lose. Best luck next time!

Re:Being an asshole makes people angry, film at 11 (1)

Onyma (1018104) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600935)

So you understand the concept of the research then. He verified that social communities follow the same basic trends and contain the same 'flaws' as real life social tribes. Quite franky I don't think this was necessarily an assumed outcome and testing it was valid. Several unique elements to online games could have come into play. The expense of participation, the personal desire to achieve over your anonymous 'friends', the limited real life consequence for actions, the restrictions of the environment, the common goal nature of the rules, etc. Any of these factors may have swayed the social structure in the online gaming community away from the norms of human nature. He proved that in general we're still aggressive inconsiderate lumps of meat even in a virtual world.

Re:Being an asshole makes people angry, film at 11 (1, Insightful)

ChaosDiscord (4913) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600987)

For those people who found my previous analogy too complex, who insist that because he's playing by the formal rules it's okay, I recommend trying a related social experiment: Head on out to public park where people play pickup games of basketball, or, heck, chess. Once you're welcomed in, start engaging in the most foul insults you can to distract your opponent. Might I suggest racial epithets? Since you're playing by the rules trying to win, no one will mind or get angry. Anyone who does get angry is blowing it out of proportion, since it's just a game. Now keep coming back day-after-day to do this; since it's a public park and you are obeying the law.

If you end up ostracized, I trust your moral superiority keep you company. And if you get your nose broken, you can take pride in knowing that you didn't break the law, so you're as pure morally as fresh snow.

Re:Being an asshole makes people angry, film at 11 (1)

raddan (519638) | more than 4 years ago | (#28601041)

Well, the interesting thing, from the point of view of a social scientist is not that people are angry-- it's that they carry their real life behaviors into a fantasy world. That, despite the ground rules laid by the game designers, there's an additional set of rules defined by the players. Why is this the case? Where did they come from? Being able to create fantasy environments and watch these behaviors emerge is exactly the kind of thing that scientists have been unable to do in the past. At the very least, this article draws attention to a new way to study people.

And speaking of fantasy land... Firefox's spellchecker is now telling me that behavior is spelled behaviour. Pshaw.

Not trolling (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28600559)

This summary seemed very biased, cherry picking out sections that made it seem like the Professor played outside of the intended purposes of the game by saying he avoided 'custom sets'. After reading the article it seems to me he played it exactly how anyone who had purchased that game would expect to play it. He chose a side, in his case hero, and set out to do battle against other people who had chosen the side of villian. I am not familiar with the game, but it would seem to me that would be the obvious way in which to play the game and how it was meant. From the article the professor says both heroes and villians sat around chatting and only going against computer opponents, which would seem to sort of defeat the purpose of a game that lets you choose a side and everyone has this choice. I know if I had picked up this game I would be pretty pissed if I started playing it just to realize I was only there to be buddy buddy with everyone no matter their affiliation and only go after those designated as computer threats.

Re:Not trolling (1)

an unsound mind (1419599) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600847)

He did use the cheapest tactic possible - he repeatedly teleported foes into instakill NPC's.

Essentially griefing / trolling.

Re:Not trolling (2, Insightful)

Mprx (82435) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600903)

If it's truly an unavoidable instakill then the game is broken and should be patched. More likely it's avoidable, so it's not "cheap" and merely an effective tactic. That isn't griefing, it's good play.

Re:Not trolling (1)

an unsound mind (1419599) | more than 4 years ago | (#28601071)

I haven't touched the game, but reports from people who have (including but not limited to this thread) say that they're the instakill NPC's used for safe havens within the battle areas.

Re:Not trolling (2, Interesting)

Xaoswolf (524554) | more than 4 years ago | (#28601101)

There are many places that are instant kill for games where players level to gain power. If I'm playing WOW, and I find myself in an area that I shouldn't be in for 20 more levels, I will die when attacked. It's not the games fault, it's my fault for going where I shouldn't have gone. Likewise, if a much higher level player of the opposite faction, they may be able to kill my lower level character with one hit. Now, there are areas that they cannot attack me unless I attack first, but in others, I'm open game. Generally, hanging out to kill the character again and again is a dick move. The quote 'If you kill me one more time I will come and kill you for real and I am not kidding." makes it sound like he was doing something along those lines.

Otherwise, fighting and killing aren't bad, unless the game is retarded, which is how the other comments make COH sound...

Re:Not trolling (1)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600909)

Having not played COH, I can't say this is true, but I would imagine part of the problem was that at the time the only location heros and villians could get together was this arena.

Additionally, it's one thing to 'just be playing the way the game was meant to be' and another to be directly informed that the person on the other side of the screen didn't want to play with you and yet you still screw with them.

Especially if those people have no chance at fighting back, which the article quite heavily implies.

All in all, the prof sounds like a toad, I have a hard time believing that he didn't understand why people were pissed off and that it wasn't about 'customs' but about 'consent'.

Ok, so... (3, Informative)

Tenek (738297) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600563)

After being "chilled" by players threatening to kill him, he then goes and publishes his personal information. Brilliant.

That said, I I think Sirlin [sirlin.net] would have something to say to the scrubs complaining about his tactics.

Carebears (4, Insightful)

hardburn (141468) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600571)

Myers, who bought "City of Heroes" when it hit store shelves in 2004, quickly learned that players ignored the area's stated purpose. Heroes chatted peacefully with villains in the combat zone. Instead of fighting each other, members of the two factions sparred with computer-controlled enemies..

What kind of silly carebear game is this? Try Eve, where the time it takes to rid yourself of such nonsense is measured in the time it takes to warm up a railgun.

Re:Carebears (1)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600669)

Eve Online is brutal even in the safe areas. Anyone that ventures off the ranch gets smoked quick. Sounds the complete opposite of City of Heroes.

Re:Carebears (1)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600735)

I think that if this were done in EVE he would need a significantly more powerful ship in order to destroy his opposition. The people he targeted were capable of fighting back and the article mentions occasionally people would attempt to group up to stop him, but that he would always manage to defeat anyone who fought back. Either he was playing with some incredibly broken character type that is great for PvP or he only picked on people considerably weaker than himself. Either way he had the ability to essentially do as he pleased within the confines of the game as no one was able to stop him.

I find it difficult to believe that no one could defeat him, even if people would gang up against him, but I have not played the game so I have no idea how easy or difficult this would be to accomplish. Sure everyone hated him, but they couldn't stop him so they'll have to put up with it. A little bit like the real world really.

Re:Carebears (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28600783)

Pet peeve of mine: Players who join team games but don't help the team achieve the stated objective. "I'm here to have fun, stop bugging me!" No, this is a team game and YOU are the ass if you don't help your team. Then I get kicked for getting in the way of their self-centered fun...

Not a new concept (5, Informative)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600577)

This is not a new concept, it has been covered in one episode of South Park where some guy kills everybody in WOW and the kids get together to defeat him.

I mean, if it has been covered in South Park, I would guess this occurred in other games before. Still interesting to see the similarities with the South Park episode although....

Gamers suck (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28600589)

God I hate gamers.

Uhm..... OK... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28600599)

The Jackson banter is more news worthy than a troll calling himself a researcher. Get a life!

Technically not trolling. (3, Interesting)

mail2345 (1201389) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600607)

If you read the article, it mentioned that he just took a different stlye of battle, instead of the socially accepted standard of sending robots at their robots, he just killed them directly. He did not insult them, just took action different from the normal battle.

Re:Technically not trolling. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28600817)

If you read the article, it mentioned that he just took a different stlye of battle, instead of the socially accepted standard of sending robots at their robots, he just killed them directly. He did not insult them, just took action different from the normal battle.

As a CoH player whom he once publicly called a "piece of shit", I assure you this is not true. Much of his sparring was verbal.

To explain the game mechanics a bit: In the area where he played, there are safe-haven areas at each end of the map, one for each side. If your character gets too close to the opposing faction's base, you'll be killed instantly by their base defenses -- no exceptions. Camping in your own base and teleporting nearby opponents into the automated defenses is generally considered a cheap tactic, but hey, it's part of the game.

"Twixt" did a lot more than employ one cheap tactic, he went out of his way to be an ass.

Re:Technically not trolling. (1)

Pyrion (525584) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600883)

No, not trolling, griefing. He was playing within the bounds of the game's design, but outside the bounds of the expectation of the other players. Load TF2 and go to an achievement farming server and start killing everyone as pyro. You'll get much the same reaction. It's also just about as hilarious.

Re:Technically not trolling. (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600969)

According to other sources, he spent most of his time attention whoring, massively misrepresented his behavior (posting kill logs, taunting the dead, and pulling people out of existing battles) and just generally acted like a douche. Not only that, but he's the only one who thinks he's the most reviled character on that game. In short, act like a douche and people don't like you.

Re:Technically not trolling. (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600975)

If you read the article

Well that's a different style from usual /. posting. So it's technically not trolling, but still, reading the article? I have half a mind to teleport you in front of a robot firing squad.

Full Court Press (5, Interesting)

nausea_malvarma (1544887) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600619)

Some of the tactics used by this researcher remind me of the full court press in basketball. The rules of basketball allow a full court press, yet to do so never crosses the mind of most players. Playing one side of the court at a time is convention. The full court press is extremely effective, yet if you use it, the other team will no doubt call your win "cheap".

Still, when you are the underdog, and must win at all costs, the press is your only option. I sympathize with those who use it (and recognize that it isn't easy to pull off either).

If people complain that a tactic is cheap, it's really not the fault of the player, but the fault of the game. Past slashdot postings are full of examples where players exploited loopholes in city of heroes (remember the article about player-created missions?). With this in mind, I think it's obvious that City of Heroes was poorly designed to begin with. Game designers should never assume players will be on their best behavior.

Re:Full Court Press (5, Informative)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600759)

Some of the tactics used by this researcher remind me of the full court press in basketball. The rules of basketball allow a full court press, yet to do so never crosses the mind of most players. Playing one side of the court at a time is convention. The full court press is extremely effective, yet if you use it, the other team will no doubt call your win "cheap".

Still, when you are the underdog, and must win at all costs, the press is your only option. I sympathize with those who use it (and recognize that it isn't easy to pull off either).

Full court presses are not considered "cheap". They just aren't used all the time because they are only effective under rare circumstances -- either when the offensive team is under a time crunch to move the ball across half court or score, or when weak ball handlers can be trapped and forced into a low-percentage pass.

Otherwise, trying to guard the entire court is not as effective as concentrating your defense in the half where the other team can score points. A full court press is hard because it is basically a man-to-man defence over the entire court, giving the offense plenty of room to maneuver and making it that much harder to double team or switch defensive assignments.

Re:Full Court Press (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28600959)

Malcolm Gladwell actually has a very interesting article on the full court press in the recent New Yorker.

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/05/11/090511fa_fact_gladwell

Re:Full Court Press (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28600781)

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/05/11/090511fa_fact_gladwell?printable=true

The appropriate article, written up by Malcolm Gladwell.

Re:Full Court Press (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600823)

I've never heard of the tactic being called "cheap" before. At least not at the college and Pro level. Its a high risk/ high reward model. If it works you can force a turn over, if it doesn't the other team has a good opportunity at a fast break with many defenders out of position. I think something like the Statue of liberty play, fake field goals/punts, flea flicker plays from football would be more of a despised tactic. I can't think of anything similar in basket ball, except maybe lobbing threes when your team is up by 20 + points.

Re:Full Court Press (1)

nausea_malvarma (1544887) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600901)

Maybe I'm a bit biased because I don't follow the NBA. I only know in the recreational games I've participated in, Full Court press (or any odd tactic for that matter) gets you dissed a lot. I played a lot of boxball in high school, and tactics like the overhand spike had the same stigma attached.

Re:Full Court Press (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600849)

The full court press is extremely effective, yet if you use it, the other team will no doubt call your win "cheap".
Poor losers will always attempt to excuse themselves by attacking the other team. Any team that accuses another of being "cheap" got outplayed and doesn't know how to compensate legitimately.

Re:Full Court Press (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28600981)

Interesting article on just that subject:

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/05/11/090511fa_fact_gladwell

Well duh... (1, Insightful)

Pyrion (525584) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600639)

MMOs are nothing but overglorified IRC clients.

Re:Well duh... (1)

jhcaocf197912 (1430843) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600727)

They're not glorified IRC clients. There's a certain degree of skill involved when doing certain activities inside the game. When you do certain activities inside the game, you meet individuals doing similar activities to yours. It's a matter of meeting those who like to do the same virtual things you do. There's people who treat MMOs like glorified IRC clients, but there's many other activities as well than just chatting and idling.

Re:Well duh... (1)

nausea_malvarma (1544887) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600967)

There's a certain degree of skill involved when doing certain activities inside the game. When you do certain activities inside the game, you meet individuals doing similar activities to yours.

Skill? I never played city of heroes before, but in most mmo's I've encountered, skill is irrelevant. Whoever wins is whoever has the best items, highest level, or most devastating abilities - all of which come about from playing the game and building your character. In otherwords, progress-quest [progressquest.com]. And plenty of mmo's are progress quests at their core. What makes them more exciting than a progress bar and a level count is the rich world to explore, the camaraderie of being in a guild, the fun of defeating real life enemies.... in other words, the IRC like aspects of play.

Re:Well duh... (1)

Pyrion (525584) | more than 4 years ago | (#28601011)

And when the prevailing norm for "certain activities" is "standing around all day chatting it up in a PvP arena," and "degrees of skill" being "typing speed" and "capability to retain the contents of your bladder for extended lengths of time," is it at all surprising that large numbers of people got their collective asses handed to them by a single griefer? When shit like this is the norm, it's hard to deny that what you've got is nothing but an overglorified IRC client.

within the rules doesnt mean its within the rules (2, Interesting)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600645)

just because a game developer didnt prevent something doesnt mean that its within the rules. the game developer doesnt play that game. even if s/he/they do, they constitute a near zero percentage of the game's players.

any mmo you play are played by thousands of people. thousands of people create its environment, make it run, keep the machine running (raiding, pvp, crafting, trade, events, everything). they are the world there, and they set the social climate. noone, including the developers, can do shit about this. if developers force any player base into something they do not like, they QUIT. and go to another game. it happened many times, for many games, including some top, up-and-coming, much hyped titles.

therefore, for all those badass/darth maul wannabee morons out there - you wont be able to freely be a badass asshole even in a mmo game - regardless how hard you argue that 'its within the rules', any assholery you commit is going to get added to your reputation, and eventually you'll find yourself changing your realm AND your character's nickname. people doesnt give a shit about what's within the hard rules of the game or not - they have their own opinions and judgments - noone can change that, neither a badass wannabee asshole, or self-righteous developer.

so cut the bullshit about 'its within the rules', and get used to living in a society.

Re:within the rules doesnt mean its within the rul (2, Insightful)

nausea_malvarma (1544887) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600699)

I don't understand your complaint. There is no question that Twixt broke no rules.. only social convention. Must we all conform to social convention?

Re:within the rules doesnt mean its within the rul (1)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600991)

Must we all conform to social convention?

Only if you want to actually live and interact within a society.

Re:within the rules doesnt mean its within the rul (2, Interesting)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600831)

But who joins City of Heroes to "live in a society"? I've never played, but I thought about it. It wasn't so I could live in a society, but so I could have super powers, choose a side, and then run around kicking the asses of people on the opposing side with said super powers.

When I was a kid, I didn't play Doom so I could learn about demon culture. If I want to live in a society, video games are not the appropriate place for that.

Re:within the rules doesnt mean its within the rul (1)

JebusIsLord (566856) | more than 4 years ago | (#28601033)

So you don't appreciate the social aspects of an MMO. Why exactly are games not an appropriate place for socializing? Clearly you appreciate the social aspects of slashdot.

Re:within the rules doesnt mean its within the rul (1)

chrispycreeme (550607) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600897)

within the rules doesnt mean its within the rules

Yes. It does. Reverse tautology aside. The coded rules of the game are analogous to the rules of physics in real life. The social conventions are a layer on top of those rules created by the players. While I can't break the laws of physics I can certainly break the laws of man, and I'll pay the consequences if I do. If I determine that I can accept the consequences, (in this case being threatened by strangers on the internet)or I have enough money to hire good lawyers, then I am free to do so unless someone stops me.

Get used to living in the real world.

Re:within the rules doesnt mean its within the rul (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600933)

just because a game developer didnt prevent something doesnt mean that its within the rules.

So what you're saying is that even though they -didn't- make it impossible for him to attack the opposing faction, he was wrong for doing so. Despite the fact that doing so was the intent of the game's setup?

if developers force any player base into something they do not like, they QUIT. and go to another game.

So why haven't the people who play City of Heroes/Villains all left? Because there's nothing to prevent anyone from starting a character and attacking the opposing faction. In fact, it's encouraged.

herefore, for all those badass/darth maul wannabee morons out there - you wont be able to freely be a badass asshole even in a mmo game - regardless how hard you argue that 'its within the rules', any assholery you commit is going to get added to your reputation, and eventually you'll find yourself changing your realm AND your character's nickname.

Wait, so playing the game as it was INTENDED to be played is being an asshole?

people doesnt give a shit about what's within the hard rules of the game or not - they have their own opinions and judgments - noone can change that, neither a badass wannabee asshole, or self-righteous developer.

This is the biggest pile of deluded nonsense ever. They intended for PvP to happen. PvP happens. Idiots cry.

so cut the bullshit about 'its within the rules', and get used to living in a society.

It's not society, it's a game. I imagine that people such as yourself who confuse the two might have a problem with what he did.

Both sides of the mouth.. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28600655)

What seems weird is that he was upset that people were punishing behavior "out of the norm" on one hand, and on the other hand was touting that he was merely following the rules. Huh?

The folks in the game creatively and organically decided to set up their own customs opposed to the rules - Twixt seems more like a street preacher who hates everyone because they don't follow the rules like he does.

Is he a cultural anthropologist (probably not, given that anthropologists are trained to work within the social framework of existing cultures as much as possible)? If not, I'd LOVE to see a cultural anthropologist do a write up on what happened here.

NCSoft do not make the rules. (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600659)

MMOs work by social contract. NCSoft can try to tell people how to play, but unless they ban people for playing incorrectly, people are going to play the game in a manner they enjoy. It really isn't going to work if you tell people to enjoy themselves in a certain manner.

The researcher's experiment demonstrated this quite clearly. It's remarkably bad form to harass the guy outside of the game, but I expect this was a small minority. It's perfectly acceptable for a group of them to gang up on the guy and try to defeat him.

Re:NCSoft do not make the rules. (3, Funny)

Pyrion (525584) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600813)

And yet, what, they still got their asses handed to them? Methinks they need to spend less time chatting and more time playing the fucking game.

It's a matter of perspective. (1)

jhcaocf197912 (1430843) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600661)

I think players in City of Heroes wanted conformity, instead competing for individual ambition like in EVE Online.

Another "Researcher" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28600671)

without any real research. He needs to read Richard
Hamming's talk: You and Your Research [paulgraham.com]

Anti-scoial != Indepedent/Mainstream (5, Interesting)

Akoman (559057) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600681)

The professor seems surprisingly disappointed by the scorn heaped on his not-mainstream behaviour. He tries to liken it to cliques in high school, but the reality is he didn't just not follow rules, but he actively tried to destroy an existing social fabric and actively molested participants. He tries to paint his behaviour as 'following the rules, but independent' without the most important piece of information 'also, I actively antagonised people.' This is akin to painting himself a geek when really he's a bully (to follow on his high school example)

Re:Anti-scoial != Indepedent/Mainstream (2, Insightful)

Pyrion (525584) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600775)

More like a griefer, which made his antics instant win.

Makes you wonder... (2, Insightful)

jnaujok (804613) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600725)

...how much government funding he got during the 4 odd years he was "researching" this. Not a bad job to get paid to play a video game for four years and be an utter prick while doing it, while maintaining the rationalization, "it's all for science." Maybe someone should be researching why sociology professors are so willing to live off the public dole like this...

Re:Makes you wonder... (0, Offtopic)

Pyrion (525584) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600793)

Oh, this one's easy. The government has no problem whatsoever wasting our money. That's why.

He gets PAID for this? (3, Funny)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600731)

So he gets to play MMOs all day and be a cock in them, AND he gets paid for it?

Shit, all this time I've been doing it for free....

Death threat? (2, Insightful)

orkybash (1013349) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600803)

Wow, someone on the Internet said he would kill you! This is a death threat to take seriously, all right.

Re:Death threat? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#28601067)

Yeah, you're right. Raise your hand if you've been killed by someone you offended on the internet...

No one! EXACTLY!!!

What an ass... (5, Informative)

WiglyWorm (1139035) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600807)

Having read the full article, it appears as though the "researcher" did nothing more than hang out in the combat zones in CoH/CoV and teleport the oposing faction in to a line of guards who would instakill anyone who got too close. (making the line "but he was too skilled to be driven off" extra hillarious).

He would then troll the general chat with stuff like (direct quote here):

"Yay, heroes. Go good team. Vills lose again,"

I couldn't make this shit up if I were trying.

His grand conclusion?

in the game's chat box, users like Hunter-Killed responded, "U are a major sh--bird."

Another player added, "I hope your mother gets cancer." Yet another wrote, "EVERYONE HATES YOU."

Myers was stunned by the reaction, since he obeyed the game's rules.

"If you aren't a member of the tribe, you get whacked with a stick," he said. "I look at social groups with dismay."

What's this guy's next "research" project? Going down to the bus station and punching old ladies in the nose?

This guy wasn't doing research, he just wanted a tax write off and a grant to do nothing but sit around and be a dick on the internet.

Re:What an ass... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28601031)

This guy wasn't doing research, he just wanted a tax write off and a grant to do nothing but sit around and be a dick on the internet.

To be fair, it sounds like a fairly typical breaching experiment but "on the internet". I'm sure there's planty that can be learned about human behavior from this sort of thing except... his claim that he "was stunned by the reaction, since he obeyed the game's rules". Any serious researcher should have been expecting this or if not then at most be intrigued by it. Not stunned. The reactions he got seem to be well in line with what you'd expect from a breaching experiment along these lines. There's nothing new here.

Kids today! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28600809)

Since the average age of these games is 24, they are the same whiny millennials he sees everyday in class. I bet some parents called up and asked him why he was so mean to their kid who was just hanging out with their friends in their nice little game, and then asked why they only got a 98% on the last test.

More of a study of Socialogy than Video Games... (1)

sou11ess (942999) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600829)

He's really just studying the behaviors of a community and what happens when you go against the established rules.

To take it out of the video game - think of a company buying a plot of land and build a baseball field on it. Instead of playing baseball, people have decided to use the field as a place to sunbathe. Along comes this person that wants to play baseball on the baseball field. Unfortunately, it's been taken over by people who are doing something else in it. The majority doesn't want to leave. The individual just wants to use the field for what it was built for.

So who's in the wrong there?

This reveals a problem in the game's rules... (5, Interesting)

judolphin (1158895) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600851)

In the sports world, there are many instances of coaches and players using strategies that, although effective, are bad for the game for one reason or another. Sports leagues that deal with this effectively, like the NBA, are doing OK. Leagues that do not, such as the NHL (sorry Canada), are circling the drain. Once upon a time in basketball, teams started holding the ball for minutes at a time as soon as they got a lead. So, the NBA instituted a shot clock forcing the team to shoot the ball within 24 seconds. As players got taller, coaches started camping 7-footers under the basket. So, a 3-second lane was added to forbid any player from standing under the basket for more than 3 seconds at a time. Years later, the 3-point line was introduced to increase the value of long-range shooting and encourage players not to all crowd around the basket. The NHL started going down the tubes when teams like the New Jersey Devils used the horrendously boring "neutral zone trap" and "clutch-and-grab" defense to win Stanley Cups over more skilled and exciting teams. The NHL waited too long to do something about it, and as a result the Stanley Cup finals are now shown on a basic cable bicycle racing channel. If legal play can ruin the game, the rules need to be changed. Pure and simple. You can't trust the players to "be nice."

Stunned? (2, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600853)

Myers was stunned by the reaction, since he obeyed the game's rules.

I weep for higher education. Here we have a man with a Ph.D. and a teaching position, and he doesn't know the first thing about culture. Is he lying when he says he was stunned?

The professor was disturbed that game rules encouraging competition and varied tactics hardly mattered to gaming community members who wanted to preserve a deeply-rooted culture.

Again, how can an educated man be so ignorant? Ah well, I suppose he's like the Ph.D.s at my mom's job - the ones who regularly send her email hoaxes, viruses, and Howard Dean campaign contribution requests.

Paper and thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28600857)

This appears to be Professor Myer's paper detailing his "Twixt" character and its actions: http://www.masscomm.loyno.edu/~dmyers/F99%20classes/Myers_PlayPunishment_031508.doc [loyno.edu]. As annoying as this kind of research is, it provides some significant insights into how people behave. Just look at the go-along-to-get-along attitude that is prevalent in most organizations. Individuals who try to "play by the rules" are ostracized, even to the detriment of the organization's mission.

He has no idea what he's playing (4, Interesting)

Kelbear (870538) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600875)

It sounds like this "professor" really never learned the details about what he's playing.

In this particular game, player vs. player combat is for the most part consensual. The speed of travel in the game is so fast that the only way to kill someone is for them to be willing to slow down and have a fight to the death. The developers go to greath lengths to minimize the ways in which one player can interfere with other players.

Being killed by a player has no penalty in a PvP zone, you're just sent back to the entrance of the zone. However, the computer controlled "cartoon" enemies in the zone will inflict an experience loss(known as "debt") on the players that die by their hand, and this loss takes a considerable amount of time to mitigate. There are players in this zone who are there to defeat the enemies because they give increased experience, they aren't there to fight or interact with enemy players in any way and are left alone instead.

There's no benefit to winning by dropping the enemy into the computer controlled enemies, since the computer takes the credit for killing him. So essentially, he is disrupting the gameplay of the other players, inflicting a loss of time, and for no personal gain aside from schadenfreude. A classic troll.

He's not bucking social norms, he's being a sociopath as far the game world allows. The results are not suprising, interesting, or even insightful. If he wanted to buck social norms, he should play a healer character who focuses only on his weak offensive abilities. That's the game-equivalent of being a social outcast. He's going for the game-equivalent of Charles Manson.

Same experence with on-line poker... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28600919)

I have similar experiences with on-line poker. If I'm in a heads up and have a lot more chips than my opponent, ill go all-in with any cards. I figure I can take the risk of doubling him up a few times to finish the game quick. If I go all in three times in a row I usually suck out at least once, but people go crazy when you do and turn rather nasty. They get especially offended when they lose because the other person played 'stupidly' and still won. I think its ridiculous that people start lobbing insults.
If people pay good money to play a game and they don't break the rules- they they can play that game however they want in my opinion. Its childish to ostracise someone over it.

Burn a flag (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28600961)

Go ahead and burn a flag. It's within the rules, but people will hate you for it. Wow. I should write a paper.

City of Heroes and EVE (1)

W.Mandamus (536033) | more than 4 years ago | (#28600983)

Hum in City of Heroes members of the two player created faction hang out in the battle zone chatting. In EVE members of the player created factions lie, steal, infiltrate each others message boards, ect. I think this researcher needs to play some other games.

Great man! (1)

zhilla2 (1586095) | more than 4 years ago | (#28601049)

Trolls and cheaters in online games are kinda what made me quit. And yes, from people threatening to find and kill me FOR NO REASON, flying immortal enemies with all the best weapons...
Since I stopped, I've made something out of my life - finished college, got a decent job, great girlfriend, and lost those extra ponds. I thank those jerks every day!
But then, what works for me, might not work for you. You might not NEED a life!

Get a LIFE!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28601077)

it all sound pretty lame to me. Get a life

A minor note: (2, Informative)

E-Sabbath (42104) | more than 4 years ago | (#28601087)

This behavior as described by the researcher does not get XP for the player. It does not get drops for the player, either. It simply wastes the opponent's time.
Note also that there are two different behaviors described. One, a pattern of teleporting foes into the 'safe zone guards' was later defined as griefing by the developers, and punishable by pretty much the same punishment as threatening people. The other is a matter of waiting till someone is badly hurt, fighting someone else, and picking them off by teleporting them directly into a boss. This is completely legal, it simply imposes an XP penalty on the person killed. It is also, of course, viewed as 'cheap.'

I suspect strongly that our friend did the 'teleport into guard' trick until the day it was declared griefing, then switched to a new tactic, just to cause the maximum social annoyance.

I have seen this behavior in real life, as well. It is the person who drives in the left lane at ten under the limit, on a road where the convention is twenty over. Much like the behavior described in the game, it is technically legal, unless, of course, the cops decide the driver is intentionally blocking the road.

In this case, I suspect he is both intentionally blocking the road _and_ driving with a hat on, barely able to see over the windshield, if he truly does not understand why his behavior was deemed frustrating.

To put it another way, most of us grew out of this behavior when we were six. It's passive-aggressive, and spiritually the same as "I'm not touching you. I'm not touching you. I'm not touching you."

His survival _after_ this behavior might be an indication of skill... but I doubt he survived for long, simply taking advantage of the lack of death penalty, and various stealth powers to return to play after being killed.

As far as playing by the 'rules', I should note that it has become harder and harder to perform his tactics, due to behavior like this. Why? Because, while the game world may allow it, it was only allowed because the developers didn't actually believe someone would behave like this, to no personal gain and great social cost. As such, they have added equipment, power sets, potions, and direct power changes to make it harder to perform.

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