Thursday, 29 August 2013

Still conflating PvP and Griefing?

My previous post wasn't clear enough. People are struggling to understand my position that issues of PvP and griefing/bullying are entirely separate. My bad; let's try again.

One of the points I made was that in any discussion about PvP gameplay, there is invariably an interjection with talk of griefing or bullying. However, these are quite distinct topics.

I will use the terms bullying or harassment as they are much better than griefing which is fast becoming my most hated word in that nobody can agree on  what it is.

Bullying comes in the forms of verbal (voice chat), written (text chat) and game actions (killing, spoiling). Game actions could be considered the equivalent of real life physical bullying. I think we can agree that therefore bullying is not simply an extension of PvP, but that PvP can be leveraged in the act of bullying.

Whenever bullying gets brought up in a discussion about how PvP gameplay should be implemented the waters are muddied. People should not be asking "What can be done to PvP to prevent/reduce bullying?" They should be asking "What can be done to prevent/reduce bullying in game?" If we just think about preventing bullying in terms of hobbling different game aspects then we end up with a blunted experience and a poor solution. Instead we should be talking about how we can identify bullying behaviour and prevent it across the entire game; a different conversation entirely.

Previously there were calls on the Elite: Dangerous forums for a separate PvE group system. If we are charitable and assume people wanted this because they didn't like bullying behaviour then they are misguided because it would not come close to preventing it. There would still be huge scope for other types of bullying and even other game actions which could spoil the experience for other players. It may placate those people with a bizarre like for NPC combat but not human combat, however ;)

I searched for the terms "bullying" and "harassment" in thread titles on the forums and, surprisingly, turned up no results. If people are genuinely concerned about in game bullying then I implore them to start specific threads and engage with the developers that way. It should be a lot more productive and you are far more likely to get answers to your questions.


  1. Just wondered if you have tried out World of Tanks. In that the open PvP world you get people attacking their own side for several reasons.

    (1) They want to advantage the other side (Not 'Griefing' as such)
    (2) They use an add on and it says that there is <51% chance of wining and decide the quickest way to get out is to kill people on their own team (Petulant skill-less losers)
    (3) they are @ssholes and just want to piss people off for the reaction.

    I actually find that it is (2/3) that happens most frequently. I'm not sure where it comes from, I think it's usually the guys that can't really play, hate losing or won't learn from their own failures. So they destroy the easiest targets - but anyway - I do believe that this will be a problem in E:D but I like the WoT approach to compensating the victims of these clowns.

    What I can't see is how (since there are no clear sides like WoT) they could compensate (or identify) the victim. The Griefer (and I believe it is a valid term) is fairly indistinguishable from other players.

    Yes you could build databases of stats and reports, but I don't think it will be a fair system. The reporting in WoT is an alternate griefing system in its self as well...

    1. I played WoT quite a while ago. I didn't play it for long so didn't get a chance to see much in the way of griefing.

      The examples you cite are limited in use when discussing Elite Dangerous:

      1) Infiltrating alliances and then turning on your pals seems like it could be a legitimate tactic.
      2) What's wrong with changing sides in a war if you want to be on the winning side?
      3) Too unspecific to discuss.

      Again, it all depends on whether the developer is building those types of behaviours in to the game or whether those behaviours are breaking rules or exploiting mechanics.

      WoT obviously has very rigid rules and players are exploiting friendly fire to achieve goals which other players do not agree with. If the developers wish to keep the rules rigid then they could implement vote to kick or something similar.

    2. Well (1) is an annoyance since you will be penalized if you try to take out this player (He can use fire to highlight positions without getting flagged - but reporting him is fine, it's kind of part of the game as you say)

      (2) it's not possible to change side in the sense that they are penalized for the behavior and so lose money and gain less experience... But again meh :P

      I'm not so sure that the (3) is too unspecific to discuss, equally I don't personally care too much about PvP type hassles when they are part of the game from Day 1.

      As you say there are very specific rules in WoT (Sides) that allow you to identify people in the (3) category and report them. In E:D they are building in that kind of behavior, I would be extremely surprised if Friendly fire didn't make an appearance. If you can damage any ship and the "police" response is slow then it will cause some level of annoyance and cost to people.

      For example, if some numpty goes rogue in the local "safe" area... It happens in WoT but you just move on, E:D is trying to make this a higher investment game and so It will feel worse for the griefed/Damaged than a game like CoD/TF2/WoT where you only lose 5 minutes and no advancements you have already made.

      Anyway :) not trying to hijack your site, just wanted to point to the compensation aspect of WoT which does make up for the griefing that happens. It would be better to give some recompense for the results of being griefed than not is what I wanted to say, although I can't quite see currently how E:D could do that with the whole sandbox setup.

      W.R.t. the point about bullying that is a different point in the sense it is a sustained attacked on a single person, and with that in mind the ignore is a good mechanism. But the random rogue who isn't on some campaign of hate against a single individual is also a "griefer" maybe just a short lived one. But they can number quite a few - in WoT I get (3)'d fairly frequently....

      nice site ;)