by Alphaville Herald on 04/05/08 at 10:07 pm
Is Plexus Linden hoping for a new griefing flava while protecting SL residents from those who would do them harm?
by Pixeleen Mistral, National Affairs desk
“SL combat groups fight each other in their bases…who does that? I want to design a combat system that will work in non-combat areas – real armies and groups fight in cities full of people who want no part of it” –Supercool Sautereau
The on-going asset server attacks, self-replicating prims with DDOS payloads, and mega-IM and e-mail spam all started making sense to me Saturday evening while I was talking to Supercool Sautereau. Comrade Sautereau is a fan of traditional SL warfare and – as far as I know – has nothing to do with grid crashing or this sort of thing, but as the Soviet Premier pondered how to take his in-world combat game to the next level by moving the battle beyond damage enabled combat sims, I started understanding what is going on with the griefers and the Linden Lab “governance team” — everyone is trying to take their game to the next level. Too bad for the civilians caught in the crossfire.
For a griefer ready to level up, going from tweaking the noses of a few metaverse residents to virtual world-wide disruption is a natural move — and eventually leads to the possibility of taking on the game gods themselves. This seems to be the case with the DiSSENTiON group – who occasionally regale the Herald staff with tales of their exploits — such as taking advantage of borked SL features to create widespread IM spam.
However, all is not lulz and immersive gameplay in the big-time griefing arena – there is also the issue of respect. Sadly, if the chatlogs provided to the Herald are real, it appears that griefer/governance team relations have deteriorated to the point that the mutual respect that ought to characterize a friendly competition has gone out the window:
Bellatra Kips: tonight was only a very small taste
Plexus Linden: hahahaha
Plexus Linden: what?
Bellatra Kips: that was fun wasn’t it?
Plexus Linden: small taste of what?
Plexus Linden: this is old school…
Plexus Linden: I mean c’mon
Plexus Linden: nothing new.. nothing tasty
Apparently the Linden governance team has moved from account bans to account bans combined with taunting in an effort to protect the metaverse. Perhaps that will work – banning accounts while maintaining open enrollment in Second Life has not been stunningly successful.
Plexus Linden: I know more than u think, child
Plexus Linden: and here is what I know.. too….
Plexus Linden: do not think u are beyond.. being Butthurt in a small cell
This particular exchange has apparently upset the PN/griefer community – or been taken as evidence that certain staff are losing their cool – and solemn oaths were sworn to take this to Robin Linden in hopes of better customer service – or improved sportsmanship and gameplay.
While I wondered about the likelihood of Robin Linden siding with those who have repeatedly created certain issues with the asset server, I sought out Plexus Linden for an interview, and found the ban stick wielding Lab staffer in an affable mood:
Pixeleen Mistral: There seems to be some controversy in the goon/griefer community right now. They are concerned that you were using bad language. Now – this does seem a bit odd. I mean they are complaining that you were not providing courteous customer service, but I don’t think they pay anything to LL. Still – I’m getting these complaints – they say they are going to Robin Linden to complain, and I’m thinking this is one serious case of unintentional irony
Plexus Linden: Any resident in SL has the absolute right to voice their concerns to managers, supervisors or other
Pixeleen Mistral: Pretty much anyone can make an account – even after you guys ban them. Seems like a no-win situation for the governance team. From what I am hearing, the griefers are stepping things up a bit, but maybe they are just role playing – its really hard to separate their boasting from reality
Plexus Linden: Governance Team works solely on facts gathered to determine appropriate responses or actions taken against any account violating TOS
Pixeleen Mistral: it is unfortunate that the facts are never published so that there are checks and balances – that lack of transparency leads to speculation. I hope it all works out for you
Plexus Linden: I am confident everything will work out as expected in our continuing efforts to protect SL residents from those who would do them harm
Pixeleen Mistral: well – my advice is turn off damage enabled land – that will keep the avatars from being harmed. I’d be more concerned about Linden Lab sustaining damage though
Plexus Linden: We have a very good team here… in all areas..
Still the mystery remains – why has the governance team taken to taunting and challenging the griefers to improve their weapons? Boredom? A new theory of game company/community relations? Residents advance a number of theories.
One theory supposes that creating a more emotionally charged atmosphere improves the g-team’s sense of immersion in “protecting the residents” – though I am still not clear on how improving the griefer and governance team’s immersive experience helps anyone else – except perhaps the Justice League Unlimited. But as Comrade Sautereau points out, wars are fought in cities full of people who want no part of it.
Another theory suggests that the real issue is turmoil inside the Lab – where the prospect of a new CEO has staff looking for ways to emphasize their importance – and the importance of the problems they “solve”. In this scenario, the Lindens may not mind driving people into the griefing community by repeatedly banning or suspending clean accounts for questionable reasons. Rather than look for ways to engage disgruntled residents in the success of the virtual world, creating a larger griefing community could mean a bigger governance team with certain benefits for the g-team members. This sort of moral hazard may beyond the ken of the game gods – but is certainly a possibility. Of course there is a downside — creating a large a class of players who’s gameplay is wrecking the game, since all other forms of play have been closed to them. But if you were trying to level up, perhaps that would be a risk worth taking.
[full IM log between griefer and Plexus Linden]
[19:01] Bellatra Kips: hey there, old buddy, old pal
[19:02] Bellatra Kips: just dropped in to baaawwwww some more
[19:02] Plexus Linden: lol
[19:02] Bellatra Kips: PROTIP: Im not in the PN, I just happen to be tight with a few of the more influential ones
[19:02] Bellatra Kips: thats how they got copybot;)
[19:03] Plexus Linden: hahahaha
[19:03] Plexus Linden: influential PN
[19:03] Plexus Linden: bizarre terms
[19:03] Bellatra Kips: well they’re pretty disorganized
[19:03] Bellatra Kips: but there is a new entity on the horizon
[19:03] Plexus Linden: they always were
[19:03] Bellatra Kips: things are going to change
[19:03] Bellatra Kips: tonight was only a very small taste
[19:04] Plexus Linden: hahahaha
[19:04] Plexus Linden: what?
[19:04] Bellatra Kips: that was fun wasn’t it?
[19:04] Plexus Linden: small taste of what?
[19:04] Plexus Linden: this is old school…
[19:04] Plexus Linden: I mean c’mon
[19:04] Plexus Linden: nothing new.. nothing tasty
[19:04] Bellatra Kips: old school has nthing todo with it
[19:05] Bellatra Kips: disruption on a wide scale\
[19:05] Bellatra Kips: spamming copybot links
[19:05] Bellatra Kips: and using an malformed IM exploit to make trouble
[19:05] Bellatra Kips: oh wait
[19:05] Bellatra Kips: you didnt know about that?
[19:05] Bellatra Kips: its on jira
[19:05] Plexus Linden: no kidding
[19:05] Plexus Linden: I know more than u think, child
[19:05] Plexus Linden:
[19:05] Plexus Linden: and here is what I know.. too….
[19:06] Plexus Linden: do not think u are beyond.. being Butthurt in a small cell
[19:06] Bellatra Kips: lol
[19:06] Plexus Linden: lol
[19:06] Bellatra Kips: I am
[19:06] Bellatra Kips: Im not doing it for the lulz….we aren’t doing it for the lulz
[19:06] Plexus Linden: ugh
[19:06] Bellatra Kips: every person you ban
[19:06] Bellatra Kips: comes to me
[19:06] Plexus Linden: yeah, cuz that didnt work… apparently
[19:07] Plexus Linden: lulz
[19:07] Plexus Linden: hehehe
[19:07] Plexus Linden: Dissention..
[19:07] Plexus Linden: I mean.. CMON???
[19:07] Plexus Linden: who thought of that crap
[19:07] Bellatra Kips: lol
[19:07] Plexus Linden: its like.. I dunno
[19:07] Bellatra Kips: can you get any more pissed about it?
[19:07] Plexus Linden: something in a generic pill aisle at Walmart
[19:08] Plexus Linden: I am not pissed
[19:08] Plexus Linden: its childish
[19:08] Bellatra Kips: thats the hole goal dont you see
[19:08] Plexus Linden: and stupid
[19:08] Bellatra Kips: we will play on all of the dissent
[19:08] Plexus Linden: oh please…lol…
[19:08] Bellatra Kips: create more
[19:08] Bellatra Kips: every hates LL right now
[19:08] Bellatra Kips: we’re using every tool at our disposal to help that along
[19:08] Bellatra Kips: some more subtle thn others