Friday, July 02, 2010
Player reputation systems
Saate sent me a link to a recent post of his in which he proposes a system which lets players give other players a score for maturity, and then apply a maturity filter to block out immature players. It is easy to see why one could think this would be a good idea, but there are a lot of pitfalls related to player-run reputation systems.
Being able to rate a player as immature or bad or anything other negative for everyone to see is something which will almost certainly be abused by some people. A group of people experiencing the same event will often end up with very different views of what happened and who is to blame. The classic example is assigning blame for a wipe in a group or raid, where the tank, the healer, and the dps all end up having very different opinions on who is to blame for the wipe. In caricature, the hunter got impatient and pulled, the tank lacked situational awareness and couldn't grab aggro on all mobs, the group wipes, and then everybody blames the healer. That, or some other permutation of events, happens all the time. Do we really want to give players angry after a wipe and blaming somebody else the power to leave a permanent black mark on somebody? Do we really want big guilds in which people are prevented from leaving because of a guild policy to blackball anyone who gquits?
Another possible abuse is the formation of virtual mafias, as it happened in The Sims Online. One day you get a visit from a gentleman with an offer you can't refuse: Pay up, or him and his 100 buddies are going to put a "bad player" mark on you, preventing you from ever finding a group again. And if there are "good player" marks players can give each other, how long until current gold farmers will start offering good reputation for cash?
Thus I think that the current system, where you have to remember bad players, or put them on ignore for only yourself, is the better one. Most of the things happening in a MMORPG are just storms in a water glass, short tiffs that don't really deserve a permanent record. If you open your ignore list, you probably don't remember what half of the people on that list did to you. There are up to 20,000 players on a WoW server, the human brain simply can't hold that much information to remember how mature or how good/bad players all of the players you came into contact with are. And that is before considering cross-server dungeons and battlegrounds, or name and server changes. I don't even use ignore very much, and then I regularly clear out my ignore list. Instead of needing a maturity filter, we should opt for the mature solution and just move on.