Thursday, 10 April 2008


The hot topic of the moment in FML is discipline, and how it should be enforced in an environment where people are paying for the pleasure of playing.

The system we've got at the moment is a series of procedures that we should follow: a quiet word, an official warning, yellow cards and red cards - a red card is a short ban from the game. This works quite well in beta, as naughty users enter into the chain of punishments at various stages depending on the nature and severity of what they've done wrong.

The best tool of course is the game itself - most things that people might do 'wrong' have been coded out. The main problem we see these days is with the in-game chatrooms - 'The Lobby' is intended as a room for general chat, but in GW4 it has become a mildly intimidating place for most people, ignored by most due to a small number of users 'dominating' it. How to police something like this?

The first point is evidence - we can get access to chat logs, but it's quicker and easier if a user sends us a copy of anything dodgy. Abuse is not tolerated, and the punishment varies - if we can prove a user has been racist or xenophobic, they can be removed from the beta straight away. As a mod, I have no economic interest, so I'd be happy to request account deactivation come retail also, though the decision would be escalated then to a 'supermod' at SI/Sega admin.

The difficulties really are with offences under the label 'undermining a mod' - these are the people who can make a mod's life miserable. Constant backchat, personal abuse, unfair criticism - it's all in a day's work. The mod manual lists this as Medium (first instance) to High Severity (second instance) - persistent is a banning offence, so for Medium I'd be looking at an official warning or yellow card. Offenders immediately plead innocence, maybe that it was just a joke and subsequently any punishment from the mod suddenly looks heavy-handed.

I fear that we will be getting to study this in the beta test a bit more closely yet.

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