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  Guild Holds Game Content For Ransom?  
 
 
Posted 2006-02-20 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Kotaku brings word that a team of World of Warcraft players "is holding the server hostage." Based on a post to the official WoW forums, the guild Imperial Order is uniquely capable of opening up new game content on the Detheroc server, but is refusing to do so unless 5000 gold pieces (in-game currency) is paid to the guild by the rest of the server populace. Kotaku calls the guild "terrorists" but I'd describe them as opportunists. At the time of this writing, there are nearly 500 mostly-outraged comments posted in reply to the Imperial Order announcement, but a representative of the guild has informed readers that the announcement was a joke. Still, it's an intriguing concept, and a great example of player ingenuity at work. I'd be interested to see how WoW maker Blizzard would deal with a real "hostage" situation like this.
 
     
 
   
 
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  12 Comments  
 
   
 
Comment posted by Astarte
February 20, 2006 @ 3:41 pm
     
 
Blizzard deals with it by, apparently, A) removing the post (couldn't get to it, haha), and B) coding their way around it. The scepter can be made as many times as there are people who finish the quests, so another guild would just come along and do it. Failing that, the doors are set to open at a given date and time scepter or not.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Tony Walsh
February 20, 2006 @ 6:54 pm
     
 
Hmm, it doesn't seem to have been a very solid plan, even if the Imperial Order was kidding. I suppose Blizz had no choice but to prevent discussion of this sort of thing on their official forums. I love to see emergent supervillainy in action, so it's a pity the whole idea was a hoax.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Secureplay
February 21, 2006 @ 9:41 am
     
 
Is this poor game design or poor game administration? If an individual or group can "shape the future" of an online game - and that is a feature - then let them do it!

Maybe other players would team up to fight them, pay them off, or whatever (maybe just ignore the new content?). That is what these games are about.

Otherwise, it looks like it is just poor game design. Since Blizzard apparently throttled the thread, that is what it looks like.

It would be good to pull together a score card of what games let the players play as opposed to constantly reshaping the game. Second Life, Star Wars Galaxies, & now World of Warcraft seem to be not so good in this area while Eve Online is much better.

By the way, does anyone hear anything about Sony's in-game real-money trading system now that it has been out a while?
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Tony Walsh
February 21, 2006 @ 9:45 am
     
 
I think Blizz is guilty of bad design--or at least bad planning--on this particular issue.

I haven't heard much about Sony's currency store, but Second Life now lets in-world users buy currency directly through the interface, precluding the need to visit an external web site.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Secureplay
February 21, 2006 @ 11:27 am
     
 
I concur, not only would it have been interesting to see "emergent villany", but also to see the response from the rest of the players... hopefully, "emergent rebellion & revenge".
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Astarte
February 21, 2006 @ 1:28 pm
     
 
How would players actually get revenge? Killing the same guild over and over again? What exactly would that accomplish? What if they couldn't do anything because the guild's too big?

Seriously, how *fun* is a game where a very powerful group holds all the power and no one else can partake in the fun?

Sorry, but that doesn't sound like much 'fun' to me, unless you're talking about some high-minded philosophical idea of what 'fun' is in games thought up by people who don't actually play them.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Jos 'Hyakugei' Yule
February 21, 2006 @ 2:59 pm
     
 
Astarte - what about sports teams? There are some teams that just, well, suck, and loose all the time. Just because its a computer game doesn't mean that its going to cater to everyones definition of 'fun'. Now, i think a company would be a bit crazy to not try to maximize a customers satisfaction, but they don't _have_ too.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Secureplay
February 21, 2006 @ 4:07 pm
     
 
And since this is a MASSIVE game, presumably, other guilds, groups and individuals could ally to fight these guys and get what it takes to unlock the game assets themselves.

Presumably, this guild isn't so powerful that it can't be stopped on the server, the server is a pretty dead place to play.

...if the game doesn't allow an alternative to these guys (either through combat or other action), then the game is screwed up. If people don't want to do something to unlock the new content, maybe it isn't even worth it in game.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Astarte
February 21, 2006 @ 7:30 pm
     
 
Have any of you even played WoW?

First, you can't PvP your own side, so ... there's no battle going to happen here. Maybe they could just duel them all into being real sorry and giving it back. *eyeroll*

Second, if, in a mythical world where you *could* PvP them, you don't get to stake stuff from others *during* the PvP... so they could die repeatedly to some bigger guild and still not give a damn.

Third, there *is* an alternative. There isn't just one scepter - any guild who gets together what they need can get another scepter and then go open the door.

Fourth, sports are spectator events. Video games are participatory events. It may suck to see a team that you like lose all the time, but it sucks even more to pay $14.95 a month and always get steamrolled. We don't play games so that we can be the one that loses. We play games so that we can have the chance to win and feel heroic.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Tony Walsh
February 21, 2006 @ 8:49 pm
     
 
I've been playing WoW for about 12 months. I mention this only because you asked if anyone (presumably among the commentators here) had even played it before.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Secureplay
February 21, 2006 @ 10:58 pm
     
 
The discussion here is/was about (potential) emergent gameplay. If there is no way to undo the situation, then it is a design flaw (see earlier comments).

Since you mention option 3, there is a way around the guild, then the threat is not credible (tedious, perhaps).

As to 4, MMOs are about nobody losing - after all, almost everyone gets to level 60... woo hoo, I feel heroic. This is the fundamental flaw of MMOs - in the Lord of the Rings, there were only about, what, 20 people on the planet that got to be heroic (and that is being generous, would you REALLY want to role-play Frodo... Its so Heavy, whine, whine whine?). Go look at the level stats Playon http://blogs.parc.com/playon/. This kind of makes most MMOs like Kindergarten in California - you can play but nobody loses and everybody wins.... "No Player Left Behind".
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Astarte
February 21, 2006 @ 11:13 pm
     
 
...in the Lord of the Rings, there were only about, what, 20 people on the planet that got to be heroic (and that is being generous, would you REALLY want to role-play Frodo... Its so Heavy, whine, whine whine?).

Sure, you could make a game where only about 20 people ever become heroic, but when you've only got those 20 people paying to play, how are you going to pay for the dsevelopment?
 
     
 
     
   
 
 
     
 
     
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