Monday, January 30, 2012

How Not to Create a World

Yesterday I was playing on my favorite surivival minecraft server, and a new player to the server got killed twice in a row by another player. His kill logs popped up first, and then the complaining started.

"Why didn't I see the PKer on dynmap?? He isn't on the map."
"Because he is a donator, he can hide himself from the map"
"That's not fair he is giving $$ to be more powerful"
"If you don't think its fair then you should donate too and he won't be able to find you to kill you"
"He is contibuting to the server, he deserves it"

About 3-4 people on the server put in their 2 cents, telling the new player to deal with it and that donations "are to help the server". I was the only person who told him that I agree, but put a disclaimer to him that this server isn't nearly as bad as many others. Which was true, I know because I spent weeks looking for a minecraft server that fits all my personal specifications, and I found myself right back where I started. A good half of the servers I visited during those weeks have donator incentives that make them god-like (sometimes literally), admin powers, and unlimited items/blocks.

The next day I visited the forum of my minecraft server to see that the same newbie complaining about donators being able to make themselves invisible on the minimap had posted 2 threads asking to be unbanned. One thread was created after the other one was locked; it was locked after he mentioned donator incentives being unfair. Apparently, he had been 'whining' too much. Sorta true, I thought to myself... When I was online the day before he was going on about it quite a bit more than I would... And he must have continued doing that because I was not there when he was banned.

So why does this bother me so much? Maybe it is because I am a little jaded, having spent 5-10 years casually programming websites and multiplayer video games myself from scratch yet making only $25 or so a month despite all this work, which I put back into advertising the game, whereas a minecraft server has more advertising outlets like server listings. I see my minecraft server raking in $50 every few days and it makes me cringe. Maybe I feel bad for the original creator of minecraft, who is seeing none of the money (like many, this server is a cracked server, meaning you can play it with or without a purchased copy of minecraft) while some random guy is 'raking it in'. Maybe it is because I have run servers before for first person shooters, and I run servers for my own multiplayer games now, and I know that a lot of the time these are being hosted off of our home computers and are costing us $0 but making us gods in our own little world. I see people playing on this minecraft server and tip-toeing around the owner and moderators, kissing up to them, etc and think to myself, they don't really deserve this. The work they have put in does not deserve the reward they have been given (not that this is unusual in the U.S.). I wonder if maybe I should open my own server (I know it takes a lot less time than some of the players say it does), but it would be difficult being so bogged down with grad school, so I don't open one yet. I am far beyond getting thrills out of being 'powerful' in a game community anyways, so I would just be doing it for the $$ and enjoyment of playing with some new software. And I keep playing on this server, and I donate myself because I need those perks to enjoy the game to its fullest, but I feel a tinge of guilt knowing that I am contributing to something twisted. That leads me here to rant about it because we all know that if I posted this on my servers community forum that it would be ridiculed and locked.

I am not arguing against a free-to-play structure, but against original games being exploited for money by players hosting multiplayer servers. This is only worsened by the pay-to-win attitude that comes a long with many of these servers, which I am also strongly against.


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