Play Nice Policies

A place for Layenem's thoughts to spill over for public viewing and review concerning Sacrament.
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Layenem
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Play Nice Policies

Postby Layenem » Fri Jun 12, 2015 2:09 pm

Dark Elf Illusion Mask:

So there I was in a camp for about six hours with five of my friends with a single item in mind. The item in question was a Bard specific mask that allowed me to maintain the illusion of a Dark Elf even though I was a Wood Elf. There wasn’t any combat specific benefits to this except that it would alter my faction with Dark Elves and prevent combat in some instances. It wasn’t an item I needed but it was an item that I wanted and had put work into obtaining.

After roughly six hours we had a Magician appear that was a far superior level to any member of my group as we were only level 30 and the Mage was in his/her 60s… Now, typically, a player would respect the work and space of another player and not attempt to bully them through any type of force. Right? Well, you would expect as such but the truth is that the internet provides an immense sense of anonymity but even more so nearly no regard for personal safety when acting like a douchebag to other people.

The Mage, in this scenario “The Douchebag” (though some of you would disagree… and I hate to be the bearer of bad news but that means you’re probably a douchebag, too), began destroying all of the NPCs in the area. There was no competition, the Mage was one-shotting NPCs that we were killing after a minute or two of combat. I sent the Mage a tell, just in case he/she had lost their sense of common courtesy for a moment, happens to all of us, but no response was made. When the NPC we actually wanted to kill that dropped the mask popped the Mage killed it, looted it, linked it in /say chat, and left. Classy.

I took the character’s name down and found The Douchebag later on as my levels increased and trained the SHIT out of him/her and may or may not have forced a few lost levels. Vindictive? You bet. Why? Because Sony had made it clear that they didn’t care about the event and how it played out and that players needed to police themselves. Fair enough. The Mage cried and cried and even filed a petition against me to which I explained the situation to the GM and he washed his hands of it all.

The Core Problem:

Should I have been so vindictive? Nah. It was a rough time in my life with PTSD going insane and all. However, and I think the more important question: Should I have HAD to be vindictive to remind a fellow gamer of how to treat other gamers? No. Sony should have done that. For crying out loud I’m paying $15 per month to play and I expect that they fully support a conducive and non-volatile environment among players… unless you’re in PvP. That is a whole other story!

The truth in this particular scenario is that people do not, when given the chance, choose the “higher ground” or “morally correct” method of action. Not that I blame them, as someone who has studied Psychology since I was 14 years old I can absolutely see why people behave this way, though that doesn’t mean that I agree with it nor will I ever condone such types of actions. That, coupled with the fact that I am a United States Marine with a quick assault on those who would blatantly disregard integrity and the effective means to find a way to serve justice, results in me being a bit of an “Internet Vigilante”… though now that I think about it in order to be a vigilante there must be some sort of Law in place and others designated to uphold that Law.

What I wish would naturally occur, even though reality tells me could never happen and has never happened, is that people would always check their moral compass and assess the situation without any regard for how hectic their own life is which usually results in them taking it out on others who likely have nothing to do with their everyday life outside of a video game. Even after that, I do expect more from gamers as I have, what I will admit are, rose colored glasses that force me to see gamers as “better” than other societal groups. It’s true that a part of my response to that Mage had to do with the lie I tell myself about us gamers and how this person was so far off the beaten path that it was an insult to all gamers, everywhere, and I was simply dolling out “global justice” for people that the Mage’s actions had no impact on… immediately, anyways.

So when I look around at companies, most notable to me right now is DayBreak, and their “Play Nice Policies” I cringe when I see a company that is ignorant and lazy enough to come out and say “DPS will win every time.” So… wait… You’re telling me that in order to compete for a camp spot I need to have a full Mage group (the absolute power class in EQ1 “classic” at the moment)? On top of that, if a multi-boxer (someone who plays multiple accounts on the same machine) comes along and has six Mages tied to a single set of keybinds that the only way I’ll truly be that responsive is if I do the same thing? Doesn’t that RIP the community out of the game?

I want to play my Bard. He’s not a DPS and he never will be, not comparably. He has a LOT of amazing tools and ways to do things and is, not so arguably, the best pulling class in the game (I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it would remain this way in Sacrament as well… though I want all pulling classes to be highly capable of pulling so it may not be true). What happens when I make a crazy pull past a ton of NPCs that would have otherwise restricted me from taking a specific NPC to my group only to find a Mage Bot Army standing by to destroy it? Where is the justice in that? Where is my enjoyment in that? I respected countless Mage Bot Groups to this date by noting that they had a position and not pulling their NPCs. I could absolutely do it and they wouldn’t be any wiser for it, but I don’t because I respect their space whether anyone believes they deserve it or not. I demand the same.

Why Is It Detrimental?

So why does this matter in the long run? Why would a company admit to being openly against this type of behavior when it could mean a loss of profit? Why do players care so much about their personal virtual space?

Community.

You can’t have a healthy community without people who interact with each other in a respectful manner. That doesn’t mean everyone needs to be walking around on egg shells and handing off gold and items like crazy, it just means that they don’t have to be harassed by those who would rather see how much of a troll they can be to how many players. 1) You’re an ugly person if you live that way. 2) You really won’t like your limited time in Sacrament.

As far as potential loss of profit: who cares? We don’t. Sure, we want to make enough money to continue to build the game and put food on our tables. The first person who says that this is greed needs to show me countless hours of them doing nothing but community service. They can’t have a real job and they cannot do anything that would bring in any type of financial gain whether in the form of money or otherwise. If you’re going to make the claim that those within my company does not have a right to feed their family while creating and maintaining this game then you’d better make it your life’s work first or I’m just going to laugh off your highly invalid argument. I can’t really stress that enough.

That said, none of us are looking to be millionaires. Sure, we may very well become millionaires someday. It may or may not happen because of this game. We’ve already planned a budget around advancement in gaming technologies within and without our company. Wait. What am I doing? At this point it’s all just something someone who wants to get rich would say, right? So you can take my word for it or you can’t: I don’t care how many people play this game and who turns away because we believe in standing up for the gamer. We already know how many need to be actively playing per month to survive and we absolutely believe the core game will exceed that goal… and that’s all that matters to us!

Good. That’s over with. So then why do players care so much about their virtual space?

BECAUSE THIS IS OUR ESCAPE! Our escape from bad bosses, parking tickets that make no sense, horrible relationship decisions, the reality that our financial situation may never improve the way we want it to, a distraction from regrets we have, racism, socialism, a world that’s so confusing it’s hard to tell what is corrupt anymore… This is OUR heroine! This is OUR chance to make a change in a world we care about; and in some cases inspire others, and even ourselves, to build the courage to make a change in our real world.

Some people drink to drown the pain. Some people are abusive physically, mentally, or both. Some people use drugs as their escape. We, as gamers, dive into a virtual world where we can be someone else who has none of our real world problems! (Some of you carry them over for RP purposes, I don’t get you :P)

The point being that we use this space to release some of that energy in a creative way. Is it acceptable for someone to show up at a bar and start bullying people and smacking drinks out of people’s hands? No. But it’s fine in a game space because there is no real physical harm being done? Psychology would tear you apart! Is it alright for someone to walk up to you while you’re out on the beach and kick sand all over your towel because they felt they had a right to that space? Hell no. It’s not alright for that to happen in our game space either.

Law:

Young kids who don’t want to give any respect to anyone have always said “You first have to give respect to get respect” and, while I absolutely think that’s a lazy policy and disagree, I give you your respect. The problem is that countless times I’ve seen the same person who says that completely disregard any respect given to them and continue to treat people like trash. Your policy is flawed. Your mindset is lazy. You will have the respect necessary from me to exist without problems but anyone who openly subscribes to that specific system will never have my true respect.

It isn’t just me that feels this way, a lot of the young kids feel this way as well as gamer veterans. Hell, no matter where you go several people perform along the same lines I do regardless of the coward’s mentality of “you have to respect me first” that’s more of a copout and a justification as to why they treat people badly. So what’s the difference between one mindset and the other? What exists that keeps those type of people from outright being ruthless assholes? Set and enforced standards. Laws.

Sure, players could create a set of laws but who gives one player more authority over another? Where are these laws posted so that all players can review them and understand them? What gives these laws the authority to hold over all players, even those that don’t agree? What happens when players find a way to bypass the laws; who will ensure that the laws evolve as the players learn how to abuse them without breaking them? Who will enforce the punishments for breaking these laws?

There is no doubt that creating, adapting, and enforcing these laws will be a full time job for whoever takes on the task so what is the logic behind players paying to join a game only to work the entire time they are within it? Some players may love that aspect, who knows. I don’t know.

When I began writing this I thought that I would end it by stating that we at Sacrament would never let the lands be lawless when it comes to player on player interaction and that we’d define what each of these guidelines are. Now, however, I’m starting to realize that while that’s a great way for us to start the players are the ones who are in the world dealing with other players. Eventually our laws will become old and dead, left to frustrate any who remain while other players hack and abuse the laws set in place because it makes them feel smarter than a piece of paper.

What I’m seeing now, however, is that I spoke in my first post about the company, us here at Sacrament, having more interaction with the players than simply “reigning as gods” over players… with you. So while we will definitely define a few things such as camps and KSing (kill stealing), though we have created a rather amazing system that will all but eliminate KSing of named NPCs, our laws will need to adapt as players learn how to abuse them without breaking them. In some cases, especially if I’m the one to respond, if a player is clearly abusing the set standards within the game space without violating any known laws they will be removed from the game for a short time.

Understand that being “smarter” than the laws does not mean you are not violating the purpose of the game itself and ruining the experience for others. If your sole desire is to hack a game and bypass laws and mechanics through intelligence then there are plenty of games that exist that beg you to do this. Go and play those. This game is being made for those that want to play an MMORPG in its entirety, not cheat their way through it and cheapen their experience.

Camps and KSing:

So as a real quick understanding to our view of “Camping” and “KSing” I’ll state the following:

If you happen upon a location and you (and any allies with you if there are any) are taking on a set of NPCs without issue or assistance from any outside help then this is considered a “controlled camp” location and you are considered camping it. (These definitions will be further defined as we discuss this on the forums and in other locations.) If you are trying to make a single NPC type throughout the entire zone your “camp” then that is not plausible and will not be considered a “camp” as it cannot be wholly controlled.

If you happen across a player or group of players that is taking on a certain area without requiring the assistance of others and you begin to harass that player or group of players then you are violating those players’ rights. Now, this is where it gets tricky, you may watch and hang out and do all manner of things except for interact with the players NPCs within their controlled camp. At the same time, drawing a bunch of NPCs to the players and causing, whether intentional or otherwise, a wipe will be recorded and reviewed when it is petitioned to the GMs. Expect to be suspended at the LEAST and banned at the most. Don’t. Be. A. Douche.

KSing is not tolerated, at all. We’ve actually created a few methods to prevent a lot of KSing opportunities but pulling an NPC out of a controlled camp will be considered a form of KSing and you will be dealt with accordingly. KSing will not likely be a bannable offense as no one can KS a mob that is already engaged with other players and named NPCs will, on most cases, spawn as an already engaged target (you will read more about this in one of our information releases).

The reality of all of this is that over the next few years we will be able to readily define how camping works, when players can be competitive towards others and when it is a violation of game policy, and when players will be required to work things out on their own. Feedback, discussions, testing, and, most of all, experience will all be necessary to make this something that benefits the community as a whole and not just the whiners who will claim that everything is against their rights as a player. Oh yes, we know that there are just as many who will complain and cry as there are who will abuse and infuriate. We’re watching both of you. Neither of you are welcome, money be damned!

Fine Lines:

Now we fully understand the fine line between controlling and providing an enjoyable environment for players to exist in. I've been a Marine Platoon Sergeant overseas... trust me... I know all about it! It can be easy to assume that what's being said here means that we're going to be hyper active to suspend or ban people. That isn't the case. We're working on very specific protocols in order to find someone guilty of anything that can net them a suspension or a ban AND the ability for them to challenge or appeal that suspension or ban. Just as it is bad to turn a blind eye and tell the players to police themselves it is just as bad to "rule with an iron fist"... especially when we're talking about making this game WITH you and not just FOR you. What good would that promise be if we created this gorgeous world... but nothing in it was enjoyable because if you even sneezed the moobot came through and wrecked your account? It wouldn't be.

To that end we absolutely understand that there will be a fine line. Anyone who believes things are black and white is lying to themselves. You're naive. This world is full of colors and grey is the most dominant of them all when it comes to right and wrong or justice. As we create the ruleset we expect amendments to take place and players, not the "loudest" of them, actual players, to be a part of this process. Unless there needs to be a system lockdown on something that is absolutely detrimental to the game you'll never see any severe swings in policy. Ever.

Any changes we plan on making will be put up to discussion for the community. We will go through and remove all posts that simply aim to degrade other players, you can degrade us all you want... we can handle it (though it shows people that you're not likely to be trusted with opinions) but we have no problem with it. If there is an actual problem then we need to know about it and frustration is one of the first responses to major problems. Just don't be offended if I show up and shoot you down because you're overreacting. Though, to be fair, you can keep that from happening by not overreacting.

Sorry, I side tracked there haha... So we plan to discuss changes with you, tell you what we've come up with and discuss it again, and then make a vote to see how players feel overall (both in game and on the forums), and then let you know of our decision. We're not talking about a six month process here. I'd like to see important items being discussed and managed in a thirty day period for most situations and sooner or longer for others, depending on the situation. We aren't your government, we just have the buttons and knobs to keep the game running as smoothly as possible and we aim to be just that: the ambassador of your virtual enjoyment (sans the porn...).
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