The Daily Grind: What obligations do players have to improve an MMORPG?

    
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Come and get your PLEX.

It’s only reasonable to talk about the obligations that developers and publishers have when running a game. The designers have an obligation to make the game one that the community is ready to embrace, for example, and the publisher has the obligation to keep the game up and running so long as it is officially running. I’m not happy that NCsoft shuttered City of Heroes, for example, but I’d be much angrier if the game was shuttered and I was still being charged, or if I couldn’t unsubscribe from World of Warcraft when I want to do so.

But the interesting thing is that players have certain obligations as well, and we rarely talk about that. MMORPGs are by their very nature social enterprises, and all of the good work of designers doesn’t mean much if players stomp all over it. You can have player commendations in Final Fantasy XIV, but that means nothing if commendations are bought or if players don’t use the system. You can have complex puzzles in The Secret World, but that doesn’t count for much if people just post the solutions online in five minutes.

So today, that’s our question. What obligations do players have to improve an MMORPG? Are players obliged to police the community? Avoid cheating and discourage cheating tools? Provide assistance to new players? Or should players have no responsibilities, allowing people to do as they wish without community consequence?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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syberghost
Guest
syberghost

Yeah, you have an obligation as a player in The Secret World; if you’re the first one to solve one of those “complex puzzles”, make a freakin’ guide for it immediately so the rest of us don’t need this annoyance. Most of them aren’t about solving a puzzle, they’re about showing off one developer’s rusty knowledge of Latin or somesuch; sometimes misspelled.

AGx
Guest
AGx

We’re too busy being entitled to have obligations, ya know?

ZenDadaist
Guest
ZenDadaist

Perhaps I’m being old fart about it all but yes I do reckon players have an obligation to a game in which they participate in interactions with others. That obligation is to stay true to the spirit and the principles of the game and the community. Be it basic human decency to your fellow human behind the computer (no greifing or being an arse), to using official chat channels in their intended capacity (keeping trade chat to trade channels etc), to not abusing a blatantly obviously unintended exploit or glitch (and reporting it instead).

You can do what you like in a single player offline game. But as soon as you’re participating in a community and your interactions affect others, then shitting where you play is very bad form.

boredinBC
Guest
boredinBC

While generally I always fall in the camp that favors developer incentivization, I strongly believe that players have as much control over how a game turns out as its developers do.  I’ve seen it time and time again, strong communities and bonds are as beneficial as negative communities are detrimental. 
I would love to see a Constitution, or Charter of Rights and Freedoms document that would either replace or supplement the very standard ToS –which nobody reads.  This document could easily cover developer/player expectations and obligations, and should spell out in very plain language what type of behavior is allowed, encouraged and punished, as well as outline what kind of game play, community and world-building that the developers are trying to encourage.  
Early Access/Kickstarter Bonus!!! – Make it a living document, and use EA/Kickstarter backers to help develop/feed is creation. Why not mine a pool of passionate early adopters for feedback and ideas on how to best incentivize and grow a positive UX?  To me, its a better incentive to buy in than a tier 3…I mean tier 5 horse.

blackcat7k
Guest
blackcat7k

Yeah, there are some:

1) If you commit to something. Do it. Ask a question if you don’t know how long the instance is going to be.

2) Have some patience. You have places to be and things to do? Yet you’re on here playing this MMO where you know it takes a hot minute to form a group? The developers may be responsible for this through poor class development or planning, but that’s not gong to change overnight. In the meantime, work with what you have.

3) When you’re intentionally being a jackass. You’re killing the game you say you love. Don’t cry later on, when the thing goes into maintenance mode or the cash shop becomes pants-on-head retarded. because of the excuse: Everyone else is doing it. You may be protected by anonymity, but your actions still affect the title.

4) Please, keep pretending that you didn’t realize that getting the insane amounts of loot your scarfing up (where you normal get much less) isn’t a bug. Please act surprised that you get banned when you notice that the boss can’t target you and just sits there like a pinata. Sometimes we inadvertently stumble on something and then realize later that it was a glitch. However, when you try to hide a bug from being  known or intentionally try to get as much people as possible in on the exploit before the developers fix it… then you’re part of the problem.

Panthyr
Guest
Panthyr

I’m not sure there’s any obligation on the client.  You can make the argument that we should, etc and that it would behoove us to provide feedback but they’re a company and they want to make money.  Its on them whether they want to succeed or fail.

BenjaminMichealNorthrup
Guest
BenjaminMichealNorthrup

Leilonii I’m sorry that you are so weighed down by obligations in a medium you engage presumably for enjoyment.

BenjaminMichealNorthrup
Guest
BenjaminMichealNorthrup

The players have no obligations. Developers have to incentivize and disincentivize players to do the things that the designers want them to do, and not do the things that designers don’t want them to do, respectively. If you don’t want people cheating or using exploits, you have to have stringent policies. If you don’t want ganking or griefing, eliminate ways for them to do so. Players will always take the fastest route to their goals, and its your job as a designer to set up obstacles that stop them from doing it in ways that you, as a designer, dislike.

dorn2
Guest
dorn2

The reality is that players don’t have any obligations.  That’s why developers have to ignore some of them.  People ruin the game for themselves by reading the solution to a puzzle?  Maybe randomize some parts of the puzzle but the rest of it they can only ignore those players.

Damonvile
Guest
Damonvile

Rozyn Sorenthaz I agree with some of what he was saying. MMO players really have become a ” if I’m not getting a reward I wont do it” group of people, and that’s kind of sad and not a very good way to build any type of community. Greed generally becomes the motivation for everything at that point.

But you’re absolutely right about developers. Years of this absentee landlord attitude towards dealing with cheaters and just bad apples in general has made so many players just not care anymore about other people in the game. I think the combination of the two is what’s really “killed” the old school communities and the desire to actually build them.