Tuesday, July 07, 2009

This Is Science?

MMORPG science is big business now. Every other week, a new study about MMORPG players and social networks hits the media and tries to grasp this strange species known as "the gamer".

Personally, I just thought we were having fun playing a really sweet video game, but who am I to question science?

I suppose I kind of get it. It is basically a new population developing its own rules and customs.

We're like zoo, but with less shit throwing.

Though we're working on that for an upcoming patch.

Don't piss off a Ranger. Trust me.

Now, while I can understand the lure of MMORPGs as a setting for scientific studies, I do have to question exactly what some of these studies are trying to prove.

Are they trying to develop ways or reducing obsessive tendencies?

No. That would be too helpful.

Are they trying to understand how different races and cultures interact within a common experience?

No. That could actually help enlighten humanity.

Why the hell would anyone want to do that?

No, the latest scientific study to come out of MMORPG experimentation relates to the study of the observance of possible behaviors as dictated by game construction mechanics without subscribing to accepted social and cultural conventions, and the effect those behaviors would have on player opinion.

Basically, the researcher wanted to see how acting like a complete douchebag would affect other players.


From what I understand, he played City of Heroes and, while not breaking any actual rules, went out of his way to ignore generally game etiquette and piss off other players.


This is science now? Did we run out of random animals to torture and study?

Back in the day, we studied important shit like what happened when you hooked a chimp's brain up to a car battery.

Now, that was science.

This is just cruel.

His study though raises some important points:

1) we had to figure this out?

He went out of his way to annoy people and his conclusion was that people get annoyed when you do that.


He was actually genuinely surprised that acting like a complete and total moron made him unpopular with other players.

I can only assume his next study is trying to figure out why putting food in an oven makes it get hot.

What exactly did he expect to find? Did he think players would thank him for his interesting take on game play?

He was an asshole and people didn't like it.


2) we've got a LOT of freaking scientists out there

Amateur researcher must be the hot, new profession because we don't have any shortage of people acting like assholes in MMORPGs.

Gankers, griefers, scammers...

I didn't realize special ed classes did this kind of research.

I appreciate science. Science has helped us make astounding breakthroughs that have revolutionized our world.

Have you seen the Shamwow? That shit is amazing.

But science should really figure out what the hell they're trying to do in our neighborhood.

By all means, come on in and have a look around. Take a tour and make a few notes.

Just don't come in and make an asshole of yourself.

That's what FPSs were designed for.

Honestly, I think he just didn't have anything better to do. I think he just got bored of being a professor and tried to figure out how to make a career out of playing video games and being an asshole.

Sorry, Doc. I was here first.


At 7:35 PM, Blogger Jason said...

Dude, read the results of most scientific studies, and you'll find out that most of them "prove" stuff that is common sense. Thing is, in science, there isn't any such thing as common sense. There is only proven and not proven. So, people can get actually get funding for studies that test the absolute stupidest things simply b/c the hypothosis hasn't been tested/proven yet.

As far as MMO gamers being jerks, it's the same as why other people on the internet are jerks. When you act like an ass in annonymity, there's no danger of somone punching you in the mouth.

At 9:43 PM, Blogger golden_knyte said...

*punches Jason in the mouth*

There is always danger my friend. I got something for science research studies to prove, "if common sense were common, then everyone would have it". I know, mind-blowing shit.

Dave, I feel your pain. It's like as soon as the atom bob was invented, science went to hell. What was the biggest science breakthrough since atom bomb? Personally, I can't think of a damn thing. Weren't we supposed to have like flying cars, laser guns, holographic projectors, and teleporters by now?

I remember reading how scientists teleported a photon of light (one photon, holy shit!!!!) across a lab room the size of a high school classroom....whoop-de-freaking-doo. Call me when you teleport a cat or an entire slab of bacon.

At 10:05 PM, Blogger Tphares said...

Mmmmmm.... Teleported bacon... *drool*

Anyway, dear Dave, whom's blogg I've read for ages, and that I have even donated to when the mood strikes me.

You're right. He's a complete idiot, so stupid infact, I had to read the report, and then... Then I had to join the freakin' site, just so I could give a good long comment.
I realised, ofcourse, you were being gentle with him. Reading the acctual article itself, I realised this guy probably got his diploma from bludgeoning someone in the head with a cucumber, because even then, he was not smart enough to find something firm and heavy to hit someone with.

Also, some of the comments under that article just made me cry..
Personally I quit MMO's a while ago, and just jump into FF11 or WoW, maybe even CoH to chat with old friends once in a while.
Not cause they're boring, but random social stuffs, people I liked quitting, etc.
And that's what gets me I guess.
How do people not understand that people are people, no matter if they are on the net or not?

If someone's a complete ass on the net, he/she is probably the same way IRL, though often better concealed, but still, an ass.
What I'm saying here is, that cucumber professor, is an ass, and that he probably wears his ass, as a hat.

Much love!

At 10:38 PM, Blogger King of Solomon said...

According to an article I read on Cracked about scientists being...well, assholes, this is nothing new. The scientists are just starting to study gamers instead of people in bathrooms and such.

At 12:45 AM, Blogger Leut said...

Awesome! AWESOME!!!

I can call myself a scientist now! And here I just thought I was being an asshole. Damn. Where's my freakin' degree??? I should be getting paid!

Where mah money bish?

At 1:23 AM, Blogger Aen said...

To think I was reaing the report and started to find it valid and intriguing.

Thank you, Dave, for reminding me to be discriminate.

At 4:19 AM, Blogger Ben said...

Hmm... maybe it's just the journalist confusing the story.

Or at least I hope it is.

I would hate to think that a university actually paid him to play games all day.

And use people as research subjects without consent.

Or permission from the devs.

Actually I'm surprised the GMs didn't do anything about it. They don't have a giant purple dragon in that game, but they have huge tentacled horrors and robots to feed him to.

At 6:39 AM, Blogger Willow said...

Hmm, am I just incapable of reading or does it say that he played the game the way it was meant to be played and people got pissed off? I don't see him shit talking other players and hacking their accounts or even calling them ugly. He was a hero...killing the villians...on a battlefield designed for the heros to kill the villians. How does that make him an asshole? Did you guys read a different article than me?

I can actually sympathize with the guy. I've been playing FFXI for 3 1/2 years and got a little burnt out from some linkshell drama so took a break. In the meantime, I've been playing a game called Shaiya with my fiance. It's kind of lame, but offers basically the same kind of battlefield this guy mentions. Dark side versus Light, only in a neat twist from the game, we can't read each others speech lol.

Anyhow, point of story is that we go to the battlefield where your sole purpose is to engage the opposite forces and destroy them. The side that is holding their own the best gets an alter and blessings from their goddess(shiny stuff). I'm on the Fury side and the Alliance of Light guys come at us and kick our asses. Course this is a free to play MMO and you can buy online goodies to make you play better, so since I'm a cheap bitch I die profusely everytime someone with mommy's credit card gets too close. I've been MMOing for a few years, and while FFXI doesn't offer pvp, I understand the concept that I'm going to die alot. My fiance on the other hand, not so much. He spends half the night trash talking some of the light side guys(translate that into threatening to place his penis inside their mother's skulls)and they can't even understand him. It's kind of pathetic to watch too. He's only angry cause they are fighting back. Oh, wait. I thought that was the point of PVP. Kill the guys not on your team. So how's that make the guy from the opposite team kicking your ass an asshole?

At 7:36 AM, Blogger AmzRigh said...


The designated PVP zones are the only areas in which Heroes and Villains can interact. It so happens that the game's community chose to use these areas primarily for friendly interaction rather than competitive. To borrow an analogy from the comments of the article, it's like playing a board game at a friend's house, but refusing to play by their house rules -- you're following the words on the box, but you're killing everyone else's fun.

At 7:58 AM, Blogger Willow said...

I think you guys are missing my point. Okay, I'll use an FFXI analogy. My linkshell goes to Dragon's Aery to camp Faf. We get there and there are 30 people standing in the room just chatting. Faf pops, we claim him. In the process of us fighting him, some of them get killed by an AOE. They proceed to start insulting us for killing them because they were there first chatting and we showed up and played the game. It's the same concept really.

In their case, it's a battlefield for killing people. If said people wish to not be killed, wouldn't it be smarter to find a place that wasn't designed specifically for killing people? Ugh maybe this is why I find the temper tantrums of people on FFXI to be so freaking insane to me. I just don't think like a gamer I guess.

At 8:18 AM, Blogger Scopique said...

I read the article at NOLA AND the paper itself, and the article (which is where most people will stop) is absolutely asanine, although the comments are a treat (how about doing a study on WHY people still think gamers are overweight sweaty losers).

While the professor DID prove his hypothesis, which is the point of science from a technical standpoint (prove or disprove), any 12 year old who's played WoW could have done the same just by watching the screen and picking his nose.

The ARTICLE, however, kisses the professor's ass. They claim that "the villains were never able to beat him", when in fact the PAPER states that the "beating" involved Twixt achieving the objectives of the zone (capturing the pillboxes), while everyone else sat around and socilized.

By that example, I'm kicking ass at teh Internets among the 90-100 year old demographic because they're too old to give a shit.

At 8:48 AM, Blogger ShireNomad said...

While it's true that normally you can expect PvP attacks in a PvP zone, the purpose of doing it is to crank up your PvP score, or maybe to keep the opponents from certain objectives. What Twixt was doing (if I read the article right) was using a boosted Teleport Foe to drop enemies into his own spawn zone, where defensive drones immediately one-shot-killed them. Since the drones did all the damage, he got no credit for this "attack", and since his targets weren't going for any objectives, there was no other reason to kill them. Therefore, all he was doing was poking the penguin to annoy it. It was meaningless save as pure aggravation and everyone he killed knew it.

We can handle when you kill us for points. That's part of the game. When you kill us just for the sake of laughing, that's just being a jerk.

At 9:06 AM, Blogger AmzRigh said...

@Willow: "If said people wish to not be killed, wouldn't it be smarter to find a place that wasn't designed specifically for killing people?"

As I noted, there is no such place where heroes and villains can interact where player killing is prohibited by the rules. However, the game's players have made nonconsensual PVP socially unacceptable.

The basic point is that, regardless of what law (or, in this case, game rule/mechanic) there might be, breaking social rules is what makes a person a dick.

At 10:05 AM, Blogger Shan said...

@Willow..Shaiya is not lame!

I also don't understand the purpose of not using a pvp field to kick the living ---- out of the opponent, but I suppose if other people in the area ask you to stop attacking over and over (explaining why you shouldn't), then your refusal to comply is just simply being a dick.

Occasionally, the pvp field in Shaiya even turns nice. There has been times when a truce was called (If you have interpretation skills learned, you can actually read some of your opponent's text). Anyway, no one kills anyone, and each group takes turn killing the idol. If someone breaks rank and tries to kill the other side, then they are toast. It doesn't happen very often, but when it does, I simply leave the area for the time, and go off killing a mob somewhere.

If you're going to play a game in a community setting, then you should definitely follow "house rules" and not be a dick.

At 10:59 AM, Blogger Willow said...

If he was cheating then yes, okay he was an ass and they should want him gone. I prolly am guilty of not finishing some part of the article. That's what I was asking originally was if I had missed something. Thanks for pointing that out. Cheaters fail. Stab them all.

ZOMG someone else who plays Shaiya. Yeah, I am fairly new to the game. The highest level of interpretation I can achieve so far is level 1 so at the moment i get a bunch of red lines with a letter thrown in occasionally lol. Yeah I've seen the people out farming side by side on the low level battlefield too and I've been one of the people out farming side by side with them. It just shouldn't be expected that you stand within arms length of your enemy who gains rewards by kicking your butt and not expect him to atleast try lol.

At 11:45 AM, Blogger Miguel Santos said...

Frankly, I don't really care about the whole "The PVP Area is meant for killing opposing characters" VS "You should follow House Rules" discussion, cause that's pretty much a personal choice.

I'm too damned shocked that this is a valid subject for scientific study, to care anyways.

Seriously, this is what we're trying to figure out? Something anyone with two brain cells can figure out? People actually payed this guy to do that?

That's the shocking part.

At 1:07 PM, Blogger Michael said...


A link to a thread about this on the City of Heroes/City of Villains forum board.

At 2:13 PM, Blogger Troy said...

It amazes me that teleporting people you don't like into an area that immediately kills anyone of the opposing faction because it was the original's safe zone be valid in the rules.(personally, I think the skill Teleport Foe was a horrible idea from the get go)

And I love how they say "a cartoon robot firing line" and not "the hero side safe zone, intended for players who did not want to be killed".

At 2:50 PM, Blogger Darrien said...

The guy was not a jerk. I find it amusing that him playing the game how it was meant to be played pissed off the status quo.

At 3:51 PM, Blogger Blueyez said...

Without being fully aware of the rules of CoH/CoV or the game play, it's hard to really pass judgement. However, I think the problem is not whether he was playing by the rules but rather that he was interacting with players who did not wish to be interacted with. Sure you can say that given the point of the area people should expect to be engaged just because they are there. However, even in real life, if you are doing something that bothers another person, even if what you are doing is completely legal, if that person asks you repeatedly to stop yet you continue (because no law says you can't) then should you really be surprised that they become upset? That article did not say "He was instantly flamed for playing differently" it stated that after repeated attempt to have him conform people started reacting adversely. It's exactly what GM Dave said, this guy went on that game with the purpose of being an asshole then was surprised when people didn't like him. As for the science aspect of it... I sure hope he did his research on his own time. I'd hate to find out that my tuition/taxes/hard earned money went towards a ridiculous study like this.

At 3:58 PM, Blogger Victor said...

If I may clear up a misconception here. PvP zones in CoH/CoV are used, almost exclusively, for beating upon the other faction. Once you enter it you are fair game. Everyone knows this and accepts it. However these are not the only zones where Heroes and Villains can interact. There are 3 zones now where they can interact with each other without being capable of beating upon one another. They can even join the same team to do content in these areas.

As for the Professor. He was acting like a complete jerk and was surprised when people treated him like he was a jerk. The mind boggles.

At 4:08 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

This sounds like the whole experience of playing on a PvP server on WoW; a server where someone can fight you (almost) anywhere for no reason. Translate: A place where a high level can sit in a low level area and kill people for no reason (because killing people at a lower level gives NO reward).

So yes, this professor is Captain Obvious; be a dick and people will dislike you. That's fantastic, who would have known? On the other hand, I agree with Willow. It's a PvP area, they were giving Twixt the chance to kill them, if they didn't want to die, they shouldn't have been there. He can't be playing at all hours of the day, so go when he isn't there, leave when he is. It takes two people to get yourself killed: you and your murderer.

I don't like being killed by complete and utter douchebags on WoW, so I don't play on PvP servers. And I'm going to quote a line from Gone in 60 Seconds because it fits, and I love it. Sorry if it isn't perfect word for word.
"Lady, you can't drive... Just can't drive. I can't swim, so you know what I do? I keep my black ass out of the water!"

At 6:10 PM, Blogger Darkrose said...

Victor, the PvP zone in question was Recluse's Victory. The ultimate goal of the zone is to capture pillboxes, which may or may not involve killing other players, depending on whether they're preventing you from achieving that goal. Using Teleport Foe to kill players who are not between you and the pillbox is...well, being an asshole--especially since he didn't get XP for it.

Yes, you shouldn't be in a PvP zone if you don't want to get killed--but if you're going in deliberately trying to poke people with sticks, then don't act shocked when they poke back.

At 8:28 PM, Blogger Jason said...

For Golden's benefit, I thought I should post the definition of the term "common sense".

sound practical judgment that is independent of specialized knowledge, training, or the like.

It's not called common sense b/c it's widespread. The term refers to logical thinking processes that people possess, but don't obtain from school/training.

This is why you can have average IQ, high-school graduates who have better judgement than a genius with a PhD.

And the whole flying car thing...have you seen how people drive? Could you imagine some dumbass texting while piloting a flying car in traffic?

Anyway, I loved the "atom bob" typo. If I ever play Champion's Online, I'm going to name my toon that.

At 10:21 PM, Blogger tyranastrasz said...

If this "scientist" were trying to see what would happen if he tried to PvP in the zone instead of socializing, that's one thing.

This is where he crossed the line into douchebaggery.

"Twixt proved difficult to beat. From a distance, he could transport villains anywhere he wished. He always took them to a cartoon robot firing line that instantly defeated whomever he zoomed before it."

And he did that with every single person he fought.

At 11:27 PM, Blogger SilvanOrion said...

Ya know, I wonder if he ever considered checking other online games.
I've played WoW, CoH/CoV, and FFXI (the last being great except for the damn gold sellers) and have found that each one has a slightly different "society" that rules it.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?

At 11:20 AM, Blogger Blueyez said...

After perusing the link that Michael posted to the CoV forum, I can't help but wonder if this was just some Proff who liked to play vids in his spare time. After his preffered method of dickery was taken away he stopped playing. I can almost hear the thought process here "Hmm, I was the definition of asswipe and people hate me and now I'm kind of worried that someone might find out who I am and retaliate so maybe I'm just going to write this paper all about my experience" So he comes out with this "science experiment" saying "Haha people it was only research, I'm not really like that!"

Another thought... he used methods that were not specifically mentioned as being against the rules and yet they apparently are now ... it reminds me of something, give me a minute here... oh right Salvage Ban-Hammer Time!

Also, Jason, I agree the Atom Bob is pure awesome! Nuclear toys ftw :P

At 3:54 PM, Blogger shallot said...

God, what a cock.

At 12:09 AM, Blogger John Henry DeJong said...

"We're like zoo, but with less shit throwing."

I defy you to spend ten minutes in /trade chat on a WOW server and try to maintain your belief in the above statement.

The first half is okay.

The second is wildly optimistic and indicates a far higher degree of faith in human intelligence than I had previously believed you possessed.

At 9:18 PM, Blogger TridenT said...

I'm so very incredibly late to the party, but I played City of Both Sides for well unto 6 years.

One reason the player of Twixt was able to do what he did to piss players off is that he opted to conduct his "research" during a time where PvP was still a relatively new offering for the game as a whole. If you play now, the teleportation unto a line of insta-kill-your-alignment robots scheme is resistable if not outright impossible for player characters.

Ever played an MMO where something in PvP was glitched, and the only people abusing that glitch to their advantage were total jerkholes? This is a situation featuring this very scenario.

Given that, by and large, CoH/V has the single kindest, noob-friendliest, and most welcoming community of any MMO out there, it's unsurprising to find that many of them play by the house rules, which included a loose "don't TP to the protection robots" clause, and people in violate of said clause were subject to much worse than this "professor."

Don't empathize with him, he broke Wheaton's Law.


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