After thinking it over, I was remiss in not linking the Se7en Samurai article which responded to The Common Sense Gamer’s first article mentioning the topic. I avoided it only because I felt it was WoW specific, and I was trying to stick to my current game of choice. It seems, in my analysis, to take exception to TCSG’s characterication of WoW as some sort of control group for the study of “asshats and battlenet kiddies.” Se7en Samuri’s rebuttal is concise and friendly–there are a lot of good players in WoW.
Kilanna, in a comment to my original article, mentioned that some EQII servers bear a similiar reputation–players have “less than completely enjoyable gaming experience[s] due to a minority of the population.” While I have not played on other EQ2 servers, I have had my share of bad experiences on good ‘ole Crushbone. I mentioned sometime ago that I was actually threatened by another tradeskiller for selling armor at too low a price in the early days of the game. I think that kill stealing, node stealing, and other infractions are still fairly common in EQ2. The fear seems to be that large numbers of player inundating the MMO world will lead to the most egregious behaviors becoming more commonplace.
P@tsh@t has written on this topic as well–it appears the original post from TCSG is taking on a bit of momentum. P@tsh@t has a bit of a different take, and is worth a read–his idea of player feedback is a good one. He also defined the real difference between console-style gaming and the PC persistent world:
No, its definitely the fear of asshatery that contributes to my bias. Most multiplayer console games haven’t had the opportunity for the most fundamental characteristic of MMOs: persistency. Without persistency, there is effectively zero disincentive for asshatery. There are simply no persistent social consequences. Be bad, get kicked, relog with a new name, full reset. No consequences.
TAGN has a unique perspective, as usual, on the feedback option–apparently he meets asshats in all sorts of places. His narrative is worth a read if your interested in a feedback feature for MMOs.
To clarify my stance on the issue, I think group dynamics are incredibly important–and when I say group perhaps I should substitute “server.” The number of different people in a given “room” or “channel” will contribute to how people behave. Statistically, the more people playing a given game, the more likely one will see anti-social behavior, i.e. asshattery. I do believe growth is good, on the whole, but ignore commands and toggling channels will still come in handy, if we do not see the “player feedback” option offered by P@tsh@t implemented.