Friday, 21 August 2015

Drunder In The Air: EQ2

This week's left-field notion from those wacky folk over at Daybreak Games is a doozy.

A prison server.

To save anyone clicking the link here's Holly "Windstalker" Longdale's proclamation:

"Later this week we plan to release a server we are calling “Drunder,” which is a “prison server.” What does that mean, exactly? Ultimately, players who are caught breaking our rules and disrupting EQ2 live server gameplay will be flagged for this server, and no others -- ever. Characters on these accounts will be copied to Drunder (the “prison server”) and can never leave or transfer to another server.

This is a server our Customer Service Game Masters have requested over the years in order to manage disruptive players. They will determine who goes there. As gamers, we recognize there are some players who like to step outside our rules.

Drunder will get no customer service support and it will require a maintained membership to access and play. Rather than disrupt live servers in an attempt to join the “prison server,” players can use our /petition system and ask to join Drunder. To be clear: You won’t be able to move individual characters to this server, while maintaining characters from the same account on another server. This is a ONE-WAY trip for an entire account forever.

Ultimately, players who break the rules – or want to – will have a world of their own to do… whatever they will.

As I said, this is an experiment. We wanted to see what happens given it's not a very common option.

Let's see where this takes us…
"

Insanity. That's where.

I claim sanctuary!

As Feldon gleefully reported this bizarre idea is getting all kinds of attention from both the gaming and mainstream media. Wilhelm is keeping a handy scorecard of blog responses for future reference.

The whole thing gives me the creeps to the point where I almost do not want to log in. It's an emotional response not a rational one because, in effect, having your account moved to a "prison server" is a more lenient penalty than the one that's been in effect for the entire time I've played EQ2, namely an outright account ban. A ban is morally neutral, though. Being sent to "A Prison Server" is anything but.

If the theoretical possibility of having my account permanently taken away never gave me a moment's pause, why does this feel so much more threatening? Well, emotionally, it feels as though it affects my characters directly, not just me. I am responsible for their well-being and I feel threatened when they are threatened.

If (Brell forbid) I were to engage the wrath of someone in Customer Service to the point where they flagged my account as Banned I would, of course, be extremely upset. My characters, however, would be oblivious. For them, nothing would have changed. They would be able to go about their business doing whatever it is they do when I'm not directing them. It would, in effect, be no different for them than any other period when I'm not playing.

If the whole account gets moved to another server, however, their entire environment will change. That's already going to happen when we get the server merges, which is an uncomfortable enough issue in itself, but at least there we don't expect to be plunged into anarchy, murder and worse. Not even with Nagafen joining us.

They'll never find me out here!

On Drunder my characters wouldn't dare leave their houses. The world outside wouldn't be safe any more (and most of them live in Freeport so their concept of safety is already stretched thin enough). I am not willing to take that risk without their informed consent. We're all going to have to have a group meeting about this. Ironically I guess I'll have to log in for that.

As for we, the players, life on Drunder would be...different. It reminds me a bit of the old Everquest "RP" server Firiona Vie, which turned into a very odd place over time, nothing remotely ressembling what it was intended to be. With no Customer Service and no GMs, the players on Drunder will be able to do anything they like. Botting is going to be the very least of it. Hacking of any and every kind will go unchallenged. Duping? Go right ahead. Speedhack, teleport, walk through walls? Carry on.

If someone works out how to crash the server (as has happened at least twice to my memory) they can, presumably, keep on doing it until they get bored. I wonder if someone will end up reverse-engineering the whole thing and taking the game in a new direction altogether?

How are they going to punish anyone even if they do catch them, anyway? Send them to another prison server? Make them play Landmark? And what happens when we get more server merges? One day Drunder might be the most populated (and profitable) server of all. It could be the last EQ2 server left running!

It's a bad idea in so many ways. But mostly it's bad because its immoral. My characters haven't done anything. Why punish them for my sins?


2 comments:

  1. Forcing someone to play Landmark? *shiver*

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  2. This will not keep me from playing but they need to come out with some black and white rules. I am just worried that they will be able to banish because they feel like it. If it happens to me I would just be done with SOE/DBG games and I do not think it would bother me all that much in the long run.

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