on griefing

[Via Gonzalo]

Cnet News have a new piece on griefing. It reports that “Now an increasing number of companies are fighting back, using a combination of technology, sociology and psychology to limit griefer damage.”

Now, I think it makes sense to consider many aspects of grief play directly detrimental to the game atmosphere. But I don’t agree with the apparent assumption that behaviour that does not live up to the “social contract” must be eliminated at all cost. Nor do I find it a sensible solution to entirely do away with possibilities for dramatic player-player interaction – “because then people can’t hurt each other”. The interesting game design challenge is to keep the drama and excitement intact while diminishing the effects of grief play. A few players should not be able to wreck the game space if they choose the dark side, but I’m not sure they should not be able to upset it.