Tobold's Blog
Saturday, February 02, 2008
 
The psychology of griefers

Via KillTenRats I found this great article explaining the psychology of griefers on Wired. Quote: “The way that you win in EVE is you basically make life so miserable for someone else that they actually quit the game and don’t come back.” Which goes a long way explaining why games in which you can grief somebody that hard never have been financially successful. In order for the griefer to win, the game company has to lose a customer.
Comments:
And without removing restrictive mechanics to counter these griefers, resulting in a game where actions don't have consequences, the game company loses a certain customer too.

That article in Wired is very interesting though, it does however get Eve Online totally wrong. Blowing up a titan isn't a form of griefing and Goons only a part there together with their allies, there are better stories about Goons in Eve-O that get closer to 'griefing' and 'metagaming'.
 
I read the hard copy via subscription, but I'm assuming it's the same story. I was confused over the passing mention of the Goons being the first group to figure out how to down their racial boss in WoW. The way the article phrased it, it sounded like they killed a boss in their own faction? Perhaps they meant they killed a boss of the other faction, in which case, that's not griefing, just world PvP.
 
This ties in with your WAR commentary, which I agreed with.

The days of unrestricted player killing ended when EQ went live.
 
I think the article could have gone a little deeper into mentality of griefing, certainly beyond the pat "they're trying to make you lighten up" mantra.

There is a strong undercurrent of sadism in grief-play, which the anonymity of the internet fosters. If I found my teen griefing someone into tears, I'd think it was time for a serious talk.
 
I simply don't buy the claimed motivations in that article. Putting that much effort into deliberately spoiling someone else's enjoyment isn't about wanting people to lighten up; it's something darker. I wonder if the reporters would take the same attitude to teenagers who vandalised a children's play area.
 
Very interesting article, and very sad. Instead of pulling the wings off flies, and drowning kittens, these bullies have now invaded cyberspace. Wovoka's right, this is no different than playground vandals in RL, except not much can be done about it.
What I predict will happen is the same phenomenon we see in negative sum PVP - the sheep will leave, and the wolves will have no victims. The internet will become a vacant space, full of memories of what could have been, if only a small minority of people hadn't ruined it for the rest of us. Just like real life.
The only way to see these people fade away is just not to acknowledge them in anyway, no media coverage, no communication with them no matter what asshattery they engage in. Unfortunately this won't happen, as people *do* react, and the media just won't stop spreading the virus. I often wonder if we gave terrorists no media coverage, if they would just go get jobs and take care of their families and communities instead, and actually *do* something constructive with their lives.
 
Unrestricted PK is live and well in the form of FPS.

But there the sole objective is killing.

Trouble is if killing interferes with a distinctly non-killing objective and a select few players can dominate an overtly non-killing objective game.

PK has a market, but we know full well that this market is small in an MMO setting.

Yep and I can't hide but think of them bullies either. "Consequences" is the word of retalition of a bullying mind. Especially if it's the consequences for the "weaker" one in the setup (i.e. someone who can't get beyond the griefer).

Player policing, which many early PK advocates saw as the solution, because it's lord of the flies with added anonymity and the added inability to actually police anything (just create a new account and rinse/repeat).
 
According to your logic EVE Online is a failure simply because it does not have 10 million subs. Which is really ludicrous. EVE Online has bout 200k subs smoking MMORPGs like City of Heroes and DDO. So saying its a financial disaster is outright silly.

I'm sorry but this is typical, irrational carebear logic.
 
funny I didn't see anyone say eve was a failure.

A little thin skinned?

It's been my experience that the hard core PVP'rs that like to body camp people in games are the first to scream and yell when people won't play thier game.

Eve a failure NOPE. A huge success NOPE. Just one of those games in the middle.
 
"Which goes a long way explaining why games in which you can grief somebody that hard never have been financially successful. In order for the griefer to win, the game company has to lose a customer."

Tobold, you know very well that EVE is highly successful, and only getting more so. As I pointed out on my blog, a large part of EVE's appeal is its PvP history, of which the Goons are a very large part. That quote above I would expect from a blind PvE fan, not someone who has as good a grasp on the MMO space as you. For someone who has as large, and as casual, a fan base as you have here, statements like that go a long way to paint PvP in a false light.
 
I stand corrected.

I still say its not hugely successful. Maybe WOW is an aberration but that's the new bar. Any MMO that doesn't break the million subscriber mark isn't going to be considered a Huge success.

PVP is fun for some people but I think it will always be a niche market compared to PVE. PVP tends to set the barrier to entry way too high very quickly in a MMO.

Even in wow for a new player who can't twink out his toon, the PVP instances are pure pain the first 50 or so times you go into them.

Any PVP system where you have to play catch up is inherently unfun for any non hardcore player.
 
The way the article phrased it, it sounded like they killed a boss in their own faction? Perhaps they meant they killed a boss of the other faction, in which case, that's not griefing, just world PvP.

I don't know the full story, but I do know there was a quest in Ogrimmar and at one point in the quest it would flag you as hostile to your own faction's NPCs. Basically, the Goons all got that flag and then killed the Horde leader in Orgrimmar with the rest of the Horde unable to protect him. That's been long since hotfixed, though.
 
tobold 1 word

FAIL
 
"The way that you win in EVE is you basically make life so miserable for someone else that they actually quit the game and don’t come back.”

Nah, greifers just want to annoy you. Whether you quit, log, report or argue with them, they've got a reaction from you, which is exactly what they want.

As for the event described about EVE, well I dunno, that does not sound like griefing in the traditional sense. To me it was one group of players taking advantage of the moment to strike at an enemy group of players. This is what CCP want, a player event driven universe filled with such tales. I find the goings on in EVE incredibly fascinating! :D
 
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