Griefer Nation

Griefer Nation
Griefing for the Greater Good

Laura Genender | 15 Nov 2005 11:04
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A Tale in the Desert's (ATITD) legal system is an in-depth, flexible tool that allows players to create laws and affect the game. Laws can be used to ban players, change names, award titles, restrict accesses and for many other purposes. The game's developers impose only a few restrictions: They allow nothing that will alter the ending of the game or any of the "Tests" required to reach the ending, nothing impossible to code (for obvious reasons), and nothing that makes the game overly easy (dubbed the "IWantaPony veto").

But for some reason, this feature is rarely used to make laws to deal with griefers.

This is how Mafia was born, a character whose name would be recorded in ATITD history as one of the most notorious griefers of Tale 1. (ATITD is one of the few MMOGs with a start and an end - when the game is finished, it starts over.) In truth, the character was originally created to counter Khepry, a character played by a GM for an in game event - at the time, the players didn't know that Khepry was any more than a greedy, lucky player. Khepry had "found" the only source of magnesium in Egypt and carefully monopolized the area with mines, charging exorbitant prices for the crucial material.

Many players approached Khepry, asking him to share the magnesium. Many players were turned away. Among them was Knightmare, a long time ATITD player who has always been a critic of the legal system and how it is used. "I've known for a long time that the legal system is a flawed design. One of those flaws is that the laws that are band aids [sic] are usually [passed] while the ones with real meat fail."

After some consideration, Knightmare and two other players banded together and created the character Mafia. "[Khepry] wouldn't share, we knew that sharing would help all of Egypt; I took it upon myself to make him share using any means necessary."

Knightmare's plan was simple, if not honorable: "We were going to build several sculptures that would completely encase his mine, and build them complex enough so that no one could actually mine in the area.... We were planning on using this to create as much lag in that area as possible." The Mafia players also planned to grief those who interacted and traded with Khepry, creating a sort of embargo, but they had not yet decided how.

"I wasn't interested in running around and griefing half of Egypt." Knightmare came up with Mafia for the purpose of aiding Egypt - with or without the other players' consent. "Mafia was going to be a strong-armed way of getting things done that Egypt needed done." But things didn't go as planned. One of the other two Mafia players decided that Egypt needed a challenge to make a law rather than a vehicle to go around it.

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