To the Editor: I just read Dave Thomas' alleged "profile" of me. How utterly sad that this man, Dave Thomas, considers himself a journalist.
To the Editor: The issue was great, but I'd like to point out two observations.
The first is the general trend this exposes. While griefing occurs predominantly in MMOGs, it also occurs to a lesser degree in older games. From the original Diablo to WoW, griefing has been in the gaming community for a long time. It seems in the articles that it only exists in new games, which is not true. It was just harder before to interfere with the game - a good thing in terms of giving gamers more power, as Mark Wallace shows.
Secondly, this indicates that the gamer society is becoming more mainstream. Griefing means there's people out there that don't care about the game but play anyway - which is a good thing. Why? Because what the gaming community needs right now is exposure more than all else. Expose that the gaming world is a living, working world, as with Second Life, and not just for 17-year-olds living in their parents' basement, as the popular conception is. Break the stereotypes and people like Jack Thompson won't matter anymore.
To the Editor: [Regarding "The Day the Grid Disappeared"] The article was fascinating and the point about needing some sort of system of law, as opposed to restructuring the physics, is well taken. It balances the human needs better.
I think one should not give up the physics solution too quickly, however. Replicating viruses work so well in computer systems since there is no real cost for duplicating things. In the real world duplication has real costs, be it energy, resources or time.
So why not introduce some sort of cost for replication in the virtual world? Some sort of effect that makes normal copying work unchanged, but forces waves of copying to slow right down to a crawl. That way normal freedoms are not impacted, while malicious copying is dampened.
One could consider schemes in which subsequent generations of objects need an ever increasing amount of delay between them. Or perhaps the act of generation would require some sort of investment of some resource (money? health? percentage of server CPU?) that needs to be paid before proceeding. The point is that there are things that can be tried.
Sure there might still be ways to hack things, but at least it will not happen so trivially, and perhaps any violations can happen more visibly, so that the "cops" of the (soon to be invented) legal system can then jump in.