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Author Topic: Professor by day, griefer by night  (Read 73306 times)
Nevermore
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on: July 07, 2009, 02:31:17 PM

College Professor griefs players in an MMO and is shocked, SHOCKED to discover that this behavior makes him unpopular.

There are so many comments I can make on this.  On the micro level, the article linked above highly distorts exactly what Twixt did in game.  The paper linked in the article is a bit more honest but is noteworthy for the omissions.  Myers transferred one of his Twixt characters to Virtue at one point so I have first hand knowledge of exactly what he did in game.  If anyone is interested I can go into detail there, but for now suffice it to say that Myers was much more active in antagonizing people and goading them into angry responses than is implied in both the article and the paper.  Both also make no mention of the fact that some of Myers' 'legal' game play would result in quite a bit of exp debt to the victim.

On the macro level, I don't believe for a second that Myers could actually be surprised at the reactions he got from his behavior in game.  Just because something is legal doesn't make it ethical.  He takes advantage of poor yet legal game mechanics to grief other players and ends up ostracized.  Obvious conclusion is obvious?  As to the degree of venom directed at him on message forums, do I really need to link the Penny Arcade strip we've all seen a thousand times before?  And I'm pretty sure neither Tycho nor Gabe needed a PhD to figure that one out.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2009, 12:03:45 PM by Nevermore »

Over and out.
tmp
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Reply #1 on: July 07, 2009, 02:45:05 PM

That article makes it sound the guy had the nerve to actually fight other people in PvP-enabled zone much to their dismay. Which makes the "universally hated" reaction quite amusing, so what was it that he's really done beyond that, that stirred the nest so much?
Ingmar
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Reply #2 on: July 07, 2009, 02:46:46 PM

There was an unwritten rule that you weren't supposed to use teleport enemy to suck people into the NPC guards at the zone points as I recall, I think that is what the article is talking about. My understanding is that the article significantly undersells the amount of trolling behavior that went along with it though.

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kildorn
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Reply #3 on: July 07, 2009, 02:53:12 PM

All of the 'stunned by the reaction' is completely faked.

He went out of his way to avoid social norms and do things entirely to win that the locals looked down on. No study is required to expect derision from the locals.

I'm also amused that he looks upon this study as a "bad high school experience", not understanding that in this case, he was the bully, and reviled for it.

Quote
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.

He said his experience demonstrated that modern-day social groups making use of modern-day technology can revert to "medieval and crude" methods in trying to manipulate and control others.

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

Outside video games, we call it "sportsmanship" and we pretty much look down on people who don't practice it in normal games, either. But the entire article seems like he's either faking his surprise at the results, or he's an absolute fool.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2009, 02:56:19 PM by kildorn »
Khaldun
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Reply #4 on: July 07, 2009, 02:56:13 PM

There's been coverage of Myers' work before. I'm tempted to say more. I think at least that his work doesn't strike me as being very much in dialogue with established scholarship on griefing and cheating.
HaemishM
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Reply #5 on: July 07, 2009, 02:57:33 PM

What a fucking retard.

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

Uhhhh... no shit, Sherlock? It's a community. Just because it's digitally delivered doesn't mean it acts any different to any other community on the face of the planet. He should walk into a support group and shit on the floor every time they meet. I bet they'd react a lot better than an MMOG community.

Mrbloodworth
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Reply #6 on: July 07, 2009, 02:59:10 PM

There was an unwritten rule that you weren't supposed to use teleport enemy to suck people into the NPC guards at the zone points as I recall, I think that is what the article is talking about. My understanding is that the article significantly undersells the amount of trolling behavior that went along with it though.

I think his point was, if its unwritten, there is no rule.

PvP happened, within the developers defined rules. and people hated him for it.

I find it quite interesting.

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Khaldun
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Reply #7 on: July 07, 2009, 03:00:20 PM

At least some of the "shocked, shocked" thing is coming from the angle that the reporter is playing...if you read Myers' published work, he went into this with a self-conscious understanding of the likely social consequences. A bit of this is also mugging for the camera, e.g., using his own experience as data requires that he accentuate and exaggerate some of his own responses.
kildorn
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Reply #8 on: July 07, 2009, 03:00:40 PM

What a fucking retard.

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

Uhhhh... no shit, Sherlock? It's a community. Just because it's digitally delivered doesn't mean it acts any different to any other community on the face of the planet. He should walk into a support group and shit on the floor every time they meet. I bet they'd react a lot better than an MMOG community.

His upcoming study will be going to AA meetings with a six pack and discussing the pros of inebriation. He will be shocked by the unexpected results.
Trippy
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Reply #9 on: July 07, 2009, 03:02:18 PM

There was an unwritten rule that you weren't supposed to use teleport enemy to suck people into the NPC guards at the zone points as I recall, I think that is what the article is talking about. My understanding is that the article significantly undersells the amount of trolling behavior that went along with it though.

I think his point was, if its unwritten, there is no rule.

PvP happened, within the developers defined rules. and people hated him for it.

I find it quite interesting.
The game mechanics allow you to do things that are considered violations of the EULA. I.e. the game mechanics themselves can not enforce acceptable behavior.
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Reply #10 on: July 07, 2009, 03:02:38 PM

PvP happened, within the developers defined rules. and people hated him for it.

And anyone who has experienced any sort of MMO anywhere knows that once it's released, the community makes up its own rules and mores and gets mighty pissed off when you break those unwritten rules. Just because he wasn't banned for it doesn't mean he should have expected people to cheer him on.

Or, obvious research is obvious.

kildorn
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Reply #11 on: July 07, 2009, 03:04:22 PM

There was an unwritten rule that you weren't supposed to use teleport enemy to suck people into the NPC guards at the zone points as I recall, I think that is what the article is talking about. My understanding is that the article significantly undersells the amount of trolling behavior that went along with it though.

I think his point was, if its unwritten, there is no rule.

PvP happened, within the developers defined rules. and people hated him for it.

I find it quite interesting.

It's really not that interesting, even in a "virtual worlds and their influence on normal human reactions" manner. How many sports figures play entirely in the rules, but are absolute douchebags about it? They're HATED. Why? Because it's a fun yet competitive game, in which there are hard rules to gameplay, and soft rules of etiquette. This isn't unique to virtual interactions, it's a byproduct of any social group forming.

Heck, the same thing applies to driving (there are a LOT of dick moves you can pull on the road and still be entirely within the law), standing in line waiting for things, or even holding doors for little old ladies. There's no law saying I can't slam doors in little old lady faces, but I'm being a total dick if I do it.

edit: the entire study smells like someone who LIKES being a douchebag in public, and is trying to make a case for why it should be accepted/cheered on because the law doesn't say you can't be a dick. He's completely railing against the idea of social consequences to actions.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2009, 03:05:53 PM by kildorn »
Nevermore
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Reply #12 on: July 07, 2009, 03:07:51 PM

That's exactly what he was doing, yes.  
That article makes it sound the guy had the nerve to actually fight other people in PvP-enabled zone much to their dismay. Which makes the "universally hated" reaction quite amusing, so what was it that he's really done beyond that, that stirred the nest so much?

The article kind of glosses it over, but the paper goes into more detail about what he was doing.  For those not familiar with City of Heroes, I'll provide an example using WoW.

Imagine a Death Knight's ability Death Grip, only with literally 10 times the range (Teleport Foe in CoX could be slotted for range and potentially have a range that reached beyond draw distance) and a recharge time of around 5 to 10 seconds.  Now imagine that each side in a WoW battleground had a respawn point protected by unkillable NPCs that would instantly one-hit kill any player from the opposing side that gets too close to it.  Now imagine that DK would do nothing but stand next to that NPC and deathgrip players to it over and over and over again, while constantly exclaiming in broadcast about how awesome he is.  That was Twixt the majority of the time when he was in zone.

The rest of the time, when there were only a small handful of Villains in zone, he'd actually leave the base and engage in the same tactic only this time instead of TPing them into the drones he'd use the large number of faction NPCs that inhabit the zones to kill other players.  One of the many flaws in CoX pvp zones is there are a very large number of faction NPCs in the zone.  These won't one-hit kill you like a drone will, but given their number unless you're a Tank it's likely you'll die if you suddenly appear in the middle of a group of them.  Unlike drones, faction NPCs will give you XP debt if you die to them, just like if you died in PvE.  One of my favorite tactics during Twixt's brief stay on Virtue was to follow him around invisibly and wait for him to set up in a large group of Longbow (Hero faction NPCs) and then mass confuse the whole group so they'd all turn to attack him.  Oddly enough, that didn't make it into the article.  Oh ho ho ho. Reallllly?

Edit: by the way, one of the bigger complaints about his tactic was that it really isn't 'PvP' if all you're doing is taking advantage of poor mechanics to allow NPCs to kill the target.  It's less 'PvP' and more 'non-consentual forced PvE'.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2009, 03:11:17 PM by Nevermore »

Over and out.
Ingmar
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Reply #13 on: July 07, 2009, 03:08:55 PM

There was an unwritten rule that you weren't supposed to use teleport enemy to suck people into the NPC guards at the zone points as I recall, I think that is what the article is talking about. My understanding is that the article significantly undersells the amount of trolling behavior that went along with it though.

I think his point was, if its unwritten, there is no rule.

PvP happened, within the developers defined rules. and people hated him for it.

I find it quite interesting.

That's not really why people hated him for it. He was given lots of second chances and opportunities to not be a dick, which he passed on. He was the MMO equivalent of one of those forum trolls who skirts just along the edges of the rules, just enough to keep from being banned.

If he had just been going about his business and hadn't compounded it by trolling people in chat, etc., then he wouldn't have anything to write about.

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Musashi
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Reply #14 on: July 07, 2009, 03:11:27 PM

And now we present:  this shit.

Why the fuck people 'study' online gamer's behavior is beyond me.  What a fucking pointless endeavor.  The only reason to understand fucktards like us is if you're marketing to us.  And I mean, come on.  The research has pretty much figured out what we're up to by now.  It occurs to me that this was less of a study, and more of a good time pwning noobs.

Also.

Go good team?

Was he Fansy the Bard?

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Nevermore
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Reply #15 on: July 07, 2009, 03:18:20 PM

It occurs to me that this was less of a study, and more of a good time pwning noobs.

This is really what he was doing, only you couldn't even dismiss the victims as 'noobs' since at the time there were very few ways you could avoid being TPed.  It was literally a one button tactic.  He didn't even get credit for the kills since it was the drones/Longbow who actually got the kill.  So in that sense he wasn't even playing by the 'rules' since he'd never gain any Reputation (CoX's 'honor').

It's also very interesting that his 'study' came to an end not long before CoX pvp went through a complete overhaul.

Over and out.
tmp
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Reply #16 on: July 07, 2009, 03:22:08 PM

Edit: by the way, one of the bigger complaints about his tactic was that it really isn't 'PvP' if all you're doing is taking advantage of poor mechanics to allow NPCs to kill the target.  It's less 'PvP' and more 'non-consentual forced PvE'.
I can see some merit to the presented complaints. At the same time though, i'm afraid the idea of computer game villains crying big, buttery tears a "hero" wouldn't fight them 'fair and square and gentleman-like' and how he should get aids and cancer in rl for that is just too funny and prevents me from taking the whole thing seriously  why so serious?

edit: on slightly more serious note, shit like that probably ain't helping in the slightest the motion having PvP in one's MMO is worth the extra trouble it brings...
« Last Edit: July 07, 2009, 03:24:28 PM by tmp »
Brogarn
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Reply #17 on: July 07, 2009, 03:38:36 PM

"Tech news" is so fucking incestuous. I've seen this idiot's article in half a dozen different places which is ridiculous because anyone with half a brain can read the article and go "ya, this guy acted outside of the norm of a social group and was punished for it. Obvious result is obvious. Also, he's a douchebag". Good for him, I guess. Free advertising.
Soln
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Reply #18 on: July 07, 2009, 03:41:48 PM

what an amateur
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Reply #19 on: July 07, 2009, 03:43:01 PM

It seems to me that he was basically exploiting, and the Devs where unwilling to put in a fix, which by some peoples standards means its "OK". I think I would be right there along with the rest of the people being pissed at him.

The fact that he is SHOCKED just makes me laugh. I think anyof us here could have predicted the outcome in about 5 seconds flat.
Numtini
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Reply #20 on: July 07, 2009, 03:44:34 PM

If you wanted to grief a game, COX would be a very good candidate. When not cybering in Pocket D, people in the game are nice, and it has a decent community. And while it may not be a stereotype of roleplaying with full character discussions, in a meta-sense, I think most people there are roleplaying a hero or a villain and more or less staying within the logical bounds of the game setting, not just the actual rules/limitation of the client.


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Reply #21 on: July 07, 2009, 03:49:18 PM

Jesus, what the hell is a game engine for then?

Just stop stupid things like this from being possible. Don't let TP Enemy deposit players wihtinin guard aggro radius.

It is funny to note that the reason Longbow are positioned where they are to begin with is because the devs know you cannot trust any "convention" or "honor" not to approach the other side's starting spots. There's the tacit acknoledgement right there that you need hard implementations to support hard rules.

Otherwise we'd all be playing Darkfail and loving it.

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Reply #22 on: July 07, 2009, 04:36:06 PM

My urge to sign up just grew by leaps and bounds.  Have they fixed this mechanic yet?

Mrbloodworth
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Reply #23 on: July 07, 2009, 05:11:31 PM

The fact that he is SHOCKED just makes me laugh. I think anyof us here could have predicted the outcome in about 5 seconds flat.

I read the shocked, as "Shocked people would jump outside of the game and threaten outside of the games context".

Seems like he was playing a game, and everyone else was shocked someone was interrupting their life.

Wasn't someone here recently talking about how they disagreed with a AOC developer saying you spend 90% of your time stopping players from doing certain things?
« Last Edit: July 07, 2009, 05:13:15 PM by Mrbloodworth »

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Reply #24 on: July 07, 2009, 06:04:39 PM

I forget the specifics, but his behavior reminds me a little of the bard in Everquest that would run around training 15 Sand Giants onto people day and night.  I think he pretty much got the same response.  Its interesting to me that in both cases, despite what would probably be overwhelming public outrage, the Designers did not consider it game-breaking enough to immediately insert some sort of fix.
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Reply #25 on: July 07, 2009, 06:16:41 PM

It's pvp as usual really. If you don't like it, you really won't enjoy pvp because you can't enforce any soft rules that lack code to back them. That s the long and short of it all.

I read the article, chuckled at his surprise over being outed as a douche, and moved on. Not much to talk about really. :)

Grimwell
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Reply #26 on: July 07, 2009, 06:44:23 PM

I forget the specifics, but his behavior reminds me a little of the bard in Everquest that would run around training 15 Sand Giants onto people day and night.  I think he pretty much got the same response.  Its interesting to me that in both cases, despite what would probably be overwhelming public outrage, the Designers did not consider it game-breaking enough to immediately insert some sort of fix.

Fansy.  I said that.

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Koyasha
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Reply #27 on: July 07, 2009, 08:04:58 PM

Actually, in Fansy's case, they changed the rules of the 'no rules' pvp server in direct response to him.  And I think Fansy was thought of well by those on his side, because his side was vastly outnumbered and they essentially couldn't even go to the Deserts of Ro or Oasis.

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Reply #28 on: July 07, 2009, 09:19:51 PM

My urge to sign up just grew by leaps and bounds.  Have they fixed this mechanic yet?

Kinda, I believe. It still can be done, but it isn't as easy to do as it was with Twixt.

Trippy
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Reply #29 on: July 07, 2009, 09:20:11 PM

And I think Fansy was thought of well by those on his side, because his side was vastly outnumbered and they essentially couldn't even go to the Deserts of Ro or Oasis.
Yup. And there were others that did similar things to Fansy but they weren't as notorious. E.g. there was a Bard named "Worry" that used to train dragons and whatnot onto the other side (go go Selo's! awesome, for real).
waylander
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Reply #30 on: July 07, 2009, 10:20:28 PM

There were defenses against being teleported into drones if you ran a balanced group.  During zone PVP one side or the other would eventually drive the losing faction back to their base, and then camp it just out of guard range. Pulling people in, or out, was a valid tactic to break the camping cycle and get back into the zone.

I remember requesting multiple entrance points to the zones so that base camping would be harder to do in CoV, and I also remember making those comments several times for Warhammer feedback. I like PVP zones, but to prevent camping there needs to be multiple entrances or respawn points or you have to use powers like TP foe, stealth, etc to break out.  When people can't break out, they just leave the zone and then you have a dead PVP zone.

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Reply #31 on: July 07, 2009, 11:01:50 PM

There were defenses against being teleported into drones if you ran a balanced group.  During zone PVP one side or the other would eventually drive the losing faction back to their base, and then camp it just out of guard range. Pulling people in, or out, was a valid tactic to break the camping cycle and get back into the zone.

This.  If teleport foe has a range a bit longer than a normal ranged attack, then the ONLY people you can pull to instakill guards are people CAMPING THE OTHER SIDE'S SPAWN.  He killed some campers?  Bravo for him. 

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Reply #32 on: July 07, 2009, 11:06:36 PM

It seems to me he intentionally pushed the boundaries of ethical behaviour to see how closely attached people get to virtual objects or situations, I genuinely believe this was a case study and an interesting one. Ok most people are saying it was obvious why bother, but in order to do a case study you need to experience it first hand, and then document it, right?!

Heck, the same thing applies to driving (there are a LOT of dick moves you can pull on the road and still be entirely within the law), standing in line waiting for things, or even holding doors for little old ladies. There's no law saying I can't slam doors in little old lady faces, but I'm being a total dick if I do it.

I dunno man I think if he was here he could probably add you to his case study.

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Nevermore
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Reply #33 on: July 08, 2009, 02:35:40 AM

If teleport foe has a range a bit longer than a normal ranged attack, then the ONLY people you can pull to instakill guards are people CAMPING THE OTHER SIDE'S SPAWN.  He killed some campers?  Bravo for him. 

It has quite a bit more range than a normal ranged attack.  The base range of Teleport Foe is 200 yards.  That exceeds even the long range snipe powers.  Your standard ranged attack will have a base range of 80 yards, most snipes are 150 with a couple at 175.  The enhancements you can add to powers to improve them work on a percentage basis so the advantage the teleport has becomes even more extreme as the powers are enhanced.

Part of the 'mini game' of the RV zone that Myers claimed to be participating in is the capture of the various pillboxes to temporarily capture the zone.  One of those pillboxes is well within the range that a Hero can drone a villain trying to capture it.  None of the pillboxes was close enough to the villain base to do that.  The only way you could capture that pillbox if there was a dedicated droner at the hero base was if you were lucky enough to have a buff that negated TPing.  While a pre-made group could make sure to have that buff available, the zones were largely made up of pick-up groups and Increase Density was generally not a commonly taken power.  Pre-made groups usually stuck to the arenas, as they didn't like the interference of all the NPCs in the zones.  I hear pre-mades were more common on Freedom, though.  As for camping, it's actually impossible to camp the bases in RV because it's the only zone that actually has a couple of alternate exits from the base.

I realize it's easy to read the article and wonder what the problem is when this guy was just 'playing by the rules', but in the context of the game he was exploiting flaws in the game design specifically to grief people.  'But it's allowed by the game' is always the very first excuse given by any griefer to justify their anti-social behavior.

Over and out.
Amarr HM
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Reply #34 on: July 08, 2009, 02:58:59 AM

Professor creates Superbadass villain in a game about Heroes and Villains and this is a bad thing? You got it all mixed up here that's what MMO's should be about, if people want to take on evil personas in a virtual world more the fucking power to them. I mean he's probably never even robbed a pen from the stationery room.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2009, 03:06:59 AM by Amarr HM »

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