If there’s one thing I’ve learned from 18 years of playing MMOs, it’s that games train us to abide by some pretty weird codes of conduct.
Drop a bag on the ground in real life? Anyone who snatched it from the ground at your feet would be chased down and arrested for a thief. Pick up a fallen bag in Ultima Online, though, and that’s just business as usual. The game doesn’t consider that stealing, and neither do most players.
And sometimes the game mechanics make conduct a heinous crime in one MMO but a cooperative event in another. Harvest a tree in Guild Wars 2, great – everyone else can harvest it too. But do it in World of Warcraft and you’ll be branded a node-stealing jerk. And those guys who harvest while you’re in combat next to the node? They’re destined for the special hell.
But surely there are some rules that are universal, right? What would you say are the most basic rules of conduct for playing in an MMO, things that everyone should know and are applicable to almost every game world?