Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Holy Grail of MMOG Design, my speech at Gatech

I held a speech in the TSRB building at Georgia Tech yesterday that Michael Mateas organised. I gave it the somewhat ;) pompous title "The Holy Grail of MMOG Design".

Michael Mateas introducing 2005_11_28_Atlanta 021

I was positively surprised at how many people showed up. Great because I put in more energy than usual when preparing the slides. Sam Lewis (who just moved to Atlanta to start his new job as lead designer for Cartoon Netwok’s new MMOG) was kind enough to help me out the day before, and when it was “done” I had this feeling of it being a mass of words that wouldn’t say anything to anyone. I know Sam knows what I mean, but that’s just because I have explained it at length. How do it quickly… We came up with a design: Designorama Online - an office type game where the players task is to make games – and tested if we could come up with a simple game that would illustrate the Mind Module and the story deamons. That was great fun, here is the sketch:

2005_11_27_designorama 005

I was especially happy that Patrick Williams took the trouble of driving all the way from Athens. He is, toghether with Jonas Heide Smith editing the book “Gaming Cultures and Social Life” to which I made a small contribution. It was really nice meeting in person, and we went off to Starbucks with Hartmut.

Hartmut and me Patrick Williams

Here are the slides from the talk
Slide6

This is the description of the speech:

Title: The Holy Grail of MMOG Design: Supporting Players to Perform Meaningful Narratives
Speaker: Mirjam Eladhari
Date: Nov. 28, 2005
Time: 2:00pm
Room: TSRB 132


Abstract
One of trickiest problems in the design of massively multiplayer games is how to make the stories meaningful for all thousands of simultaneous players. Traditionally characterization is viewed as one of the cornerstones for a good narrative. But how do we relate to characterization in a media where there is a fictional setting and a back story controlled by design, but the majority of the parts are performed by actors playing themselves?


In this session we briefly touch upon
- The current game play paradigms of virtual game worlds,
- Characterization, self play and role play,
- The notion of heroism and the hero's journey,
- Basic conditions for the creation of narrative potential in massively multiplayer games.


What solutions can we build that use the creativity and sensitivity of the players to facilitate more emotional depth and more meaningful experiences of social game play?


The Mind Module is an attempt in this direction; an architecture for semiautonomous expressive avatars. The player would in the virtual game world not only take a virtual body into possession, but also a mind. This could give the player certain emotional biases towards other objects in the world, such as other players, and provide a basis for player generated stories that have an actual effect in game play terms.


An example implementation in production is the game prototype "The Garden of Earthly Delights" which is a pervasive massively multiplayer game that can be played both in the real world through cell phones as well as in a virtual world via a traditional 3D PC Client. The prototype is done in the work package "Massively Multiplayer Reaching Out", which is part of the EU funded IPERG project.



BIO
Mirjam Eladhari is lead game designer and researcher in the work package "Massively Multiplayer Reaching Out", which is part of the IPERG project. She is also working on her PhD thesis on the topic of "Player Character Mind Models for Deep Characterization and Emergent Story Construction in MMOGs". This research is conducted within the game research group at the Department of Technology, Art and New Media at Gotland University in Sweden, and within the School of Computing at the University of Teesside, UK. Mirjam has worked as a game programmer at Liquid Media in Sweden where she worked on a number of game titles including The Diamond Mystery of Rosemond Valley, a mystery game in real time 3D, for which she was the lead game programmer. She has also worked as technical lead and researcher at the Zero-Game Studio, a part of the Interactive Institute, primarily with the open research MMOG engine Purgatory.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Tombstone Hold em Atlanta 12th Nov 2005

Kiyash and Jane greeting arriving players

Jane McGonigal brought Tombstone Hold em to Historic Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta this weekend, a lucky coincidence too good to pass out on. Lisbeth and I formed a team and actually managed to win one of the rounds at the table. I love the genius simplicity in the idea of translating tombstones into cards. These are the rules:

Rules of Tombstone Hold em

It did not feel strange play in a graveyard. Jane explained in her talk at the Austin Game Conference that graveyards through history has been used as social spaces, and that is something to reclaim. Also we were welcomed by a man who works at the Historic Oakland Cemetery who gave us a bit of history and warned us not to fall over and break our legs. But also it is a historical graveyard. It would have been different if it was a place were people are mourning newly diseased.

2005_11_12 059

Here you find all the photographs as well as links to other people's pictures and more information.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Austin Game Conference 2005, Summary

The highlights for me this conference was the session by Jane McGonigal on alternate reality gaming and the keynote by Richard Bartle; “Why are we here”.
I summarised all sessions i went to, but first some local color:

Austin was good for meat lovers:
meat Andy Tepper with meat Brian Green with meat

... Less good for vegetarians:
Elina with salad

Austin had this guy running for mayor:
Leslie in Austin


Friday 28 October 2005

Why are we here? Keynote by Richard Bartle
This was an excellent speech. I'm actually still moved by it. Bartle started out asking the audience why we are here. We are all going to die sooner or later, so why are we spending our lives doing this and not something completely different? Then he went on to talk about the original conception of hackers and hacker's ethics; which was a nice ethics with freedom and decentralization and passion and stuff. Where did all the hackers go? Well, why, into MMO development. Since Bartle and his coauthor consciously also embedded this norm system into MUD1, and since MUD1 constituted the basic game design paradigm of the genre it still lives. Wanted to give people the possibility to be who they really are, instead being what their social real-world context forces them to be. And that this experience is valuable to also bring back into the real life. Bartle seemed to want to get through the message that what designers build into their world have a real impact. And to not forget that by doing this work it can mean something for people. To not get blinded by the stress of the every day life, but actually remember why we are here. In Austin, at a conference about MMO's (ok, virtual game worlds). And to stop repeating the game play paradigms of the past: do more new things!
2005_10_28 051

...it felt a little bit fatherly. I liked that, it moved me. Since he DID build the MUD1 it is appropriate. I guess he is the only one in the world besides Trubshaw that can make this speech. And hey, read his book! It is a good book.
Full notes
All photo's from the session


East versus West: design differences in MMOs in Asia, panel moderated by Jessica Mulligan

East versus West: design differences in MMOs in Asia Jessica Mulligan; East versus West: design differences in MMOs in Asia

My ears turned into funnels during this session. Marketing budgets of millions of dollars! Campaigns where one publisher pays to have posters from another publisher taken down! Players paying for software that plays the game for them while thy watch! (instead of playing themselves!) Having little number tags on food thingies sold in 7-11 that gives the player items in games! 300 games coming out each month in Asia! Subscriptions where the player can choose the bundle that also makes it possible to play the MMO via the cellphone... Aaaaah I'm so ignorant, i must immediately learn more about this!


User Created Content; Boom or Bane?

Panel - Moderator: Daniel James, Designer & CEO, Three Rings - Andrew Tepper, eGenesis - Richard Vogel, V.P. of Production, Dauntless Entertainment - Walter Yarbrough, Producer, Mythic Entertainment
Panel, user created content Daniel James, Designer & CEO, Three Rings

Burning Man or Las Vegas?

MMO Rant
I was late so i missed out on Jeff Hickman's and Brian Green's rants, but Brian posted his rant here: http://blog.psychochild.org/?p=92#post-92; an absolutely hilarous letter to Stephen King, on why he as a reader knew everything better than King since he has read so many scary books.
Jessica Mulligan ranted: Stop making the same mistakes all the time!
Gordon Walton ranted: Don't be such cowards: Dare to take risks!
The panel gave plenty of room for the audience to rant as well, and the session turned into fiest of pie-throwing; very entertaining.
MMO Rant ACG 2005

All pictures from the session
Full Notes

Fun Meters for Games: The Ins and Outs of Measuring the Player Experience, Nicole Lazzaro and Larry Mellon
Lazzaro is continuing her work of measuring fun, now with the help of Larry Mellon. She has extended the type of work she presented in “Why we play games” to use metrics.
Full notes
the photos

Mellon & Lazzaro

Thursday 27 October 2005

The future of massively multiplayer gaming, Keynote by Smedley SOE

Smedley gave the audience two visions, one form the player's perspective; how players can tap into the same persistent games from different platforms globally. One player could sit at starbucks in LA while the other is in Tokyo. The other vision was from a distribution and production perspective; how SOE would distribute thin clients for free making it possible for players to use the clients on hardware that lacks big storage space. From a design perspective he stressed the importance of persistence.

Smedley, SOE ppt slide from Smedley's keynote at ACG 2005

More photos from the speech

Full notes

Alternate Reality Gaming, Jane McGonigal
McGonigal's session was for me one of the highlights of the conference. The way she has been working with this type of low-tech pervasive gaming is fantastically inspiring. The greatest strength as i saw it was the daring and innovative game design, how she and the people she work with manage to create fun experiences that has a built in nice and kind subversity to them. That was most obvious when she explained how they used the concept of pronoia; the opposite of paranoia, that there is a conspiracy to make one happy.

Jane McGonigal at Austin Game Conference 2005

Full notes
More pictures from the session

Panel: Building MMO worlds through Human NPCs
The panelists were Carly Staehlin, Michael Sellers, Patricia Pizer, Lee Sheldon and Sheri Graner Ray. The discussion revolved around how to create better NPCs... Full notes: http://eladhari.blogspot.com/2005/10/live-blogging-fr-agc-building-mmo.html

Panel:  Building MMO worlds through Human NPCs, ACG 2005

What Vegas can teach MMO Designers, Damion Schubert
Schubert made some really interesting observations about how important it is with cozyness of social spaces, how the journey from point A to B should be more interesting, how good it could be with automated spectacular events and how cheaters should be beaten down by “the hammer of god”.
Full notes

What Vegas can teach MMO Designers, Damion Schubert, ACG 2005


Wednesday 2005-10-26

The Language of Games, Hal Barwood, Designer/Writer, Finite Arts
Barwood gave a concise walk through of storytelling, drawing parallels between techniques for movies and techniques for games. Barwood spoke mostly about single player platform games, so when he said that the player character “equals what you can do” and that character development is power ups it makes sense to me. I appreciated his speech.
Full notes

The Language of Games, Hal Barwood, Designer/Writer, Finite Arts

Team Building
The session was about that diversity in teams is good.

From Team Bilding session at ACG 2005

Alternate Reality Games, Maureen McHugh, 4orty 2wo Entertainment
A look at the work behind ARG games like ilovebees and Beast.
This speech was the highlight of the day for me. McHugh's speech was peppered with historical references, anecdotes from the making and playing of the game. She explained in detail how they needed to, while the game was played, add features like puzzles.

Full notes


Writer's workshop
I went to the one about characters and emotion. The discussion was nice, but i think the group was too large for the discussion to get really started. We never really got beyond generalities.

Writer's workshop at ACG

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Notes fr ACG: MMO Rant

MMO Rant

28 October 2005, Texas, Austin, Austin Game Conference

MMO Rant ACG 2005


I was late so i missed out on Jeff Hickman's and Brian Green's rants, but Brian posted his rant here: http://blog.psychochild.org/?p=92#post-92; an absolutely hilarous letter to Stephen King, on why he as a reader knew everything better than King since he has read so many scary books.

Jessica Mulligan ranted: Stop making the same mistakes all the time!

Gordon Walton ranted: Don't be such cowards: Dare to take risks!

The panel gave plenty of room for the audience to rant as well, and the session turned into fiest of pie-throwing; very entertaining.


gordon walton One of Gordon Walton's slides in MMO Rant James Acres' MMO Rant, ACG 2005 Pointing at CMU, possible risk takers


All pictures from the session:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/reality/tags/mmorant/


Some notes I threw down while the computer had power:

Jessica Mulligan:

Cannot ignore the player base!

WoW staff sucks: declare that they will be at party but not talk to the players!

MMO's are released before they are ready.

Billing programs... Thoguht we were over this but for the last 6 months i worked w a game that was written the 3 last days and tested w single credit card.

100k presales waiting!

Stop making the same mistakes all the time!

Gordon Walton: Risk taking.

We are herd animals in a creative buisness. We copy each other.


Here is a transcript from f13 netforums
http://forums.f13.net/index.php?topic=5015.0
wow that was some fast typing!


Desciption of session in program:

Friday, 3:00pm - 4:00pm

MMO Rant

Though our medium is becoming more significant yearly, we still have a long way to go to fully realize it's potential. The panelists are going to unleash their inner anguish on an issue they believe is holding back our industry. Our goal will be to challenge ourselves and the audience to look beyond the current industry results.

- Gordon Walton

- Brian Green, Near Death Studios, Inc.

- Jeff Hickman, Executive Producer & VP of PQ and CS, Mythic Entertainment

- Jessica Mulligan, Executive Consultant, Online Games


Saturday, October 29, 2005

Live blogging fr AGC: Fun Meters, Lazzaro and Mellon

28 October 2005, Texas, Austin, Austin Game Conference

Mellon & Lazzaro

"Friday, 4:30pm - 5:30pm
Fun Meters for Games: The Ins and Outs of Measuring the Player Experience
As development costs and risks go up, innovation in game design falls. Yet because the power of Next-Gen hardware creates possibilities for new forms of game play, we need innovation more than ever. How can we increase innovation in the design process without risking millions on a potential flop? A proven technique is to apply iterative innovate, play test, analyze, and design cycles early in development. If cheap, accurate measures of fun were made easily available to designers, what impact might that have on their ability to adjust the challenge ramp, change tuning parameters, develop more popular features, increase emotions, or experiment with a new game mechanic? This talk provides an overview of known techniques for measuring fun, such as direct observation of player actions and measurement of their emotive and verbal responses. We also discuss what types of questions such measures answer, their strengths and weaknesses, and how automation increases the use of metrics early in the design cycle. Come participate in this discussion of what kinds of fun can be measured, and what might be done with such data early in the design cycle when changes are easier to make.
- Nicole Lazzaro, President, XEODesign, Inc.
- Larry Mellon, Chief Architect, VP (Engineering), Emergent Game Technologies"

Nicole Lazzaro


How make a fun meeter.
Need to pull in data from various sources.
Need to be repeatable.
What is fun differs between different people and different games

Previous study: "why we play games"

Where is the innovative game play?

How will you get is funded.

How would a fun meeter for pac-man be?
Next generation: packing in more features
Pac-strike
Pac spore

Mobile off-Computer Play

Next gen gambling...
Blocking issue: big games hard to change at last minute.
Build incrementally.

Fun meeters today.
Sims online. Checking what behaviors were used the most.
Geographically: hot spots and dead spots?

Only way a funmeeter is going to work is if it is not too late, not too close to shipping.

Nicole: looking at facial expressons.

4 flavors of fun; from the white paper.
Hard fun - frustreation and fiero
Easy fun - surprise and curiosity
Altered states: change internal sensations (like therapy) excite and relax
The people factor: social mechanisms, shadenfreude + naches

Slide from  Fun Meters session at ACG 2005 by Lazzaro and Mellon

Sucessful games usually have 3 of these factors.

A nice variety of the flow diagram.

Testing leapfrogs fly pen top.
Created a mockup of it.
Sat down with useres. Roleplayed with users having a script.
Didnt wait for implementations, could do it early with the paper mockup.

Now a kind of game thing,

Writing things to measure for fun on big pieces of paper.

how measure fun?

Noice in the signal when testing.
Especially when players are interpeting the experience.
Professional testers: not the target group.

Risk of designing for a vocal minority.

Facial expression: one can see a player looking digusted, but he might not remember it afterwards.

Can also listen to reviewrs. Are they repersentative for your players? Also its way too late.

Online serveys. Look great in a speradsheet, but players are self-selected.

Slide from Fun Meters session at ACG 2005 by Lazzaro and Mellon

So what to do then.

Usability
Observe player experience.
Takes time to analyse the data.
Context. Imortant to look at those data too, like realtions and actions of others.

A real smile has wrinkles by the eye.

Paper fun meeters.

Tokens, yellow stickers, use simple methods to get to not have to analyse so much video.

Sims online, seeing that ppl spent in-game money on windows. No idea why, but next expansion will have more windows.

Best results when using several meeters in the same testsession.

Measuring factors in the game that has an impact.

Need to take advantage of that we can do.

Knowing when:
Player testing and reviews
Data probes
Observarion and prototying play.
= early!

We need more than better visuals in next-gen games.
Visual impact eventually tapers off

Breakout games; establishing new genres.
Popolous
Pac man
Doom
The sims
Habitat
Gta
Katamari

Measured innovation, early in the design.
Fun meeters of the future: unite.

www.maggotranch.com/mmp
www.exodesign.com/funmeter

Metrics addictive to designers.

all photos from this session: http://www.flickr.com/photos/reality/tags/funmeeters/

Friday, October 28, 2005

Live blogging fr AGC: East versus West: design differences in MMOs in Asia

28 October 2005, Texas, Austin, Austin Game Conference

East versus West: design differences in MMOs in Asia Jessica Mulligan; East versus West: design differences in MMOs in Asia
//i was late, missed beginning

Chinese players often dont want to be totally immersed: having a video on in the background, shrinking the screen. Likes leaning back looking at cheats that simulate game play

Q: What about the fantasy genre

A: will have expansions with different lores.
East marked, not so interested in the killing part, more about items... Also more into cuteness. Also extensions of the MMO to mobile phones.

Q: Cheating
A: (2) Big issue in china. Sophisitcated cheating programs that players pay for. Sp players both pay for the game, and for a program that plays the game for them, and then they look at it once in a while how the characters are going. Maybe play once a week. Even if you dont have a certain feature in your game, players will do it for you.
Chinese are less used to playing computer games than US players.
(3) if adding rel money trade into game, creates a strong insentive for asian players.

Moderator: the enormous sums spent on marketing. How is it in asia?
(3) 7-11 in corea... Putting codes on little food things that gives ceratin in-game items. Sales went up 60%. Companies _want_ to do the marketing for the games since their own sales go up!

(2) china, wow pics on cocacola cans. Sales up. Shendot tried to copy it w pepsi, but it didnt work. Has to be a killer app. Need <100 k players.

(4) ...indonesia... Marketing those areas, what languate to use, chinese or english?

(2) too many games right now, too many releases in asia. No efficient way of promotion. Players in a cafe will not pay for download time. Shenda once paid 300 k rmb to put up poster. Another company paid a lot to had them taken down. Seen marketing budgets of hundred k dollars get blown away in a week.

Q: how come the cafe culture is so successful in china

A (3) infrastructure. Went to cafes to get broadband. Started the cafe industry. Also a way to control piracy. Publishers selling "ip-blocks" dierectly to the pc cafe, not to the end costumers. Player doesnt pay a subscription, pays for the play time in the cafe instead.

Q so if 300 games come out each month in asia, how do ppl get to know about them, viral marketing?

(2) ppl dont have pen and paper to write down webadresses, so for marketing names must be very catchy, so one can google them up. Billboard on busses, parkbench, but depends on game, in some cases better o it via internet. Big guys are now loosing money because of the enormous marketing budgets.

A: how do ppl pay?

(4) subscription for bundle of both mobile (3g) client and PC client. Separate interface on mobile. Updates of stats. Still play,
2 models: unlimited. Or per month for the mobile component.
(2) micro payments.

(1) big licenses are not so popular in asia.
(2) not so into sci fi. Lots of japanese licenses that chinese like. Same problem in console life... When new console comes... Liscenses

(1) shorter playsessions...

Q: what about usercreated content

2: not so common. One game example where one can put in own face.
A wierd game by shenda... Pay to upload content...
It is very rare with user created content in china. Technology issue.

Q: differences when it comes to grinding?
(2) some very popular games in china are extremely boring. ... 60% of the players are unemplyed. Not teenagers. Wives sending letters being grateful... Got that the husband doesnt gamble or do more expensive things.

(4) big online crowd... 7 second games. Is that casual?

Live blogging fr AGC: Why are we here? Keynote by Richard Bartle

28 October 2005, Texas, Austin, Austin Game Conference

RIchard Bartle giving keynote at ACG 2005

Why are we in this converted ballroom?
We are gonna die!

ppt slide from Bartle's speech at ACG 2005

And why are we vw developers and not for example regaular gems devs?
Some possible answers... Ruling the world f ex
Lets say we are here willingly because we want to
Hacker culture
Steven levy's book hackers

bartle slide

2005_10_28 020

... 4 hours on the mainframe per week, not much dev time...
Premise; programming == fun

Hacking thing - chaotic good //hacking
Open source thing - lawful good //nxt gen puzzle solving
Today's commercial prgr - lawful neutral

Defence of suits. We need them to get us 30 M.
Terror: when they call the creative shots.

Where have all the hackers gone?
... They migrated.
To VW dev,
Mobile dev
Academia (dispiriting tho)

2005_10_28 025
2005_10_28 027

High concentration in vw dev of ppl who were hacers 20 years ago.

Gotten into it because of having played games.

WoW -> based on EQ -> based in DikuMUD -> based on AberMUD -> based MUD1

Levels in MUD1. Now we ask ourselves "how many levels" not IF to have levels.
/*what about the AD&D sys for creating gamedesign paradigms? */

Many MMO architecture build on MUD1. DAoC build on somewhat different stuff.

The ethymology of "mobs".
Cultural progression.

Behavior of players shaped by the code and its culture
/*pargman*/

MUD1 culture dreived from hacker culture.
Consious choice by Richard and Roy.

RB saw MUD1 as way to give ppl freedom to be who they want to be.
Not how they are tied by their social environemtn.
That was implemented in mud1, and it is still a part game design paradigm.
Polly's Story.

1978, computing science dept was mad. Being female was just as any other trait, like having red hair. At that time you had to go out of lab to meet a female, since females in lab was just like persons. But outside you got shot down! Had to learn some social skills. Sit down togheter and dring beer together... Finding excuses to not go out... Pretty nice guys, just if the girls got to know them, if they were given a chance. No females around. But ppl needed to practice. RB thought like hmmm playing D&D, role playing, that could be a way to practice. MUD1 only had male characters in it... Lets get people to talk instead of just ... Added gender, male and female (didnt have that from start). Created a character called Polly. Parrot like thing. Because of the name it got a female gender (being Richard, ... Who is male) So the others also created female characters. Played themselves as they might have been. Exploring different ways of how to be. The role playing thing. R would think it could have helped them but that was to late... Later on some female players.
So this how and why we put in gender in the first place. Polly story, and when started to roleplay a little.

RB wanted ppl to experience freedom through playing virtual worlds. With freedom comes understanding.
Ppl bring much realworld culture via language into vw:s.
But it doesnt go one way. Some things ppl bring with them

Player development tracks.
Hero's journey.

RB to audience:
YOU are grokked by the concept!
And want other's to get the benefit of playing them.
Basic ideals in vws get passed on.

RP: devs create vw:s for the same reasons as players play: to explore identity.

2005_10_28 042

Develo yourself through developing vws. Artist.

/* sparse notes here, since i got immersed in listening to RB. But i photographed many of the slides. Telling audience that we can change the world. Lovely. */

2005_10_28 049
2005_10_28 051



QA
...world have changed via TV, of what ppl making televistion have created... Not much more to say. We on the other hand have a lot left to say?
Q: An example of a societal change?
A: Yes, gender bending in VWs... When seeing a transsexual in RL, it is not such a wierd thing.
Also: as player base ages games become harder to ignore for society.
Q: influence on youg ppl?
A: mby that ppl learn to cooperate. Incitament to do that, xp etc.
Q: if you could change WoW in ONE aspect, which would it be?
A .. Put copyright richard bartle in the end :). No: At toplevel of the game: give ppl the opprotunity to quit at lvl 60. Get their names in the hall of fame. Would benefit the updraught. Over time the game thickens at top. That puts off the newbies. So allowing ppl to drop off is good for getting newbies. Also a feeling that its an end to this.
Q: You have presented a kind of relegion that you have created where we would be the high priest. Well we could do some good things...
A: (embarassed)... Lengthy explanationion... Seing things as they are... Trying to make ppl realise... You have actual power! Not a poor little programmer. This is of intense interest to you. Otherwise you wouldnt be here! ... The magic circle... Teaching ppl through their own experiences. How they behave. And this speeds up what would take maybe 20 or 30 years of life to learn.
Q: do ppl who create WVs have responsibility for how much time ppl spend in VW:s?
A: Yes! Since you create the world you have the reponsibility. On the other hand you dont force them to play your game. Guess Chinese gov have the heart in the right place, but maybe also think that ppl are getting ideas.
Q: lengthy q which i didnt get
A: well wouldnt it be nice if everyone could create their own virtual worlds just like ppl now can create webpages.
Q: certainly in film and tv there are suits making creative shots. Risk not when suits may have played WoW believe they are designers?
A: Some suits are decent people... Have a hope that the more ppl play the more they will also understand. But there is a risk of everyone, all players, believing they are designers. /* Backpudding lunatics in charge of the asylum - i must have misherard it */
Q: missed it
A: Station exchange... Risk that people dont get it play station exchange, while others go to other places. My feeling about this is relaxed. Players are developing their own defence mechanisms. PPl play with a limited number of ppl, 0 - 12. The magic circle should ideally encompass the whole server, but if one find a small group of ppl to trust you build own magic circle around the small group. Rating oneselfe accoring norms in the smaller groups instead of the whole worlds. This may protect from the process that seem so inevitable.
Q: isnt it ugly to measure one in level, objectity the soul?
A: lvling thing... Not all players regard it as the main thing. On the path ppl learn about themselves. Level is just a number. Some players never get it tho. Why they do it. Would be good with finitenss to the game. Seen ppl change dramatically when reaching a certain level. A player who wanted to become wizard, get administative power... To reach the level and get to kill everybody and get even. When he became wizard. A sudden change. He had won! He didnt want to kill everybody. Have the power, but didnt need to use it anymore. 20 seconds earlier he would have killed everyone. Later on he was made arch wizard, one of the best they had. This experience argument for that it is good to have a finit of sorts
/* leading to the eldersgame */
Q: griefers.
A: rather online than in real life. Hopefully ppl grow up. Hopefully VWs can help them. Hard to put broken players back on the rails again.