Should We Abolish Loot?

No, really. Purple pixels. Boss drops. Should we dump ’em?

Sounds crazy? Well, it’s actually The Grumpy Elf doing (one of) the things he does best – making Swiftian Modest Proposals about MMORPGs that are actually far less obvious than they appear.

You see, Grumpy’s been considering the cause of strife in game communities – the topic of the week – and he’s identified one common factor in nearly every shouting match. Yes, that’s right – he’s arguing, in a 10-point plan, that gear is the reason MMO communities – specifically WoW – tear themselves apart

“2) People ripping on people for wearing PvE gear in PvP.

We have all been there. You’re in a battlegound and someone start yelling at the noob in all PvE gear because he sucks and is getting killed in three seconds. Words get exchanged, things get heated, and someone could even find themselves banned if someone reported any of that crap.

It causes animosity within the community.

3) People ripping on people for putting out low numbers.

The huge stat inflation on gear has skewed every ones perceptions. They see their raid hunter doing 40K on ultraxion and go into looking for raid and blast another hunter for only doing 30K. I’ve seen it. As a hunter I know what hunters can do and I saw one getting ripped for doing 30K. I looked at his gear, he was doing exceptional. I would say near perfect for the gear he had. But like I said, the gear skews perceptions. He was a baddie for doing only 30K and I was a baddie for pointing out that 30K for his gear was great because I was playing a shaman and know nothing about hunters, he should have been doing at least 45K in their opinion.

It causes animosity within the community.

4) People ripping on people rolling on off spec.

In random dungeons or raids we have all seen this haven’t we? There are no main spec > off spec rules in those outside of the few buffers the game throws in that do not really work all that well anyway. So people can roll on anything they want for any reason but that does not stop people from flying off the handle because of it.

It causes animosity within the community.”

Guild Wars 2 is already addressing this issue to some extent, of course, with the promise of an endgame that isn’t focused around grinding for gear at all. But I’m still intrigued by Grumpy’s thesis – and his proposed solution, making all raid gear trivially easily available. There’s a lot of truth to the “gear is the root of all evils” argument – you just need to have lived through the Gearscore era to realise its malign power.

Could it work? Could WoW wean itself off the loot treadmill? Is it time for a loot intervention?

What do you think?

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Should We Fight For Our Communities?

The discussion about whether we should fight for civil behaviour in MMOs – and whether we even can – is really raging in the blogosphere now. Today we’ve got four really interesting perspectives on the subject, from all angles:

  • Stubborn at Sheep The Diamond makes a really interesting argument about /ignore that I’d never considered – that by using it, you’re making the community worse for others“When you /ignore another player without reporting, kicking, or at least explaining to them what’s wrong, what you’re really doing is solving a problem for yourself only, while shuffling off the problem to others. That player may never end up in your party again, but he’s still out there causing problems for everyone else in your battlegroup. Sure, you’re fine, but nothing at all has actually be resolved.”
  • River at High Latency Life argues that we can’t protect people – we have to stand aside, he says, so that they can learn not to be prey” A person needs to develop a thick skin, and one does not develop a thick skin unless we put them out in harm’s way, and let them learn about how harsh the world really is.”
  • Klepsacovic argues that the disadvantages of an LFD-free WoW aren’t disadvantages at all, but tradeoffs for increased civility“For example, I’d gladly trade my instant queues for 15 minute queues (in the form of yelling in trade chat) if it meant that my groups weren’t filled with jerks. Going from group of jerks to not group of jerks is a big upgrade, whereas adding 15 minutes to the wait time isn’t a very big deal to me.”
  • And Healing The Masses considers the entire debate from the unusual angle of an enthusiastic TERA player“I honestly miss the vibrancy of that small Tera community when it first began and will keep looking for it in the next. It really is funny how much simple game mechanics and direction can change the social nature of an mmo into something either quiet or crass.”

What do you think?

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