So, is that why we've had such a grueling round of griefing on all kinds of sims (not just mine) lately? Are the Lindens testing to see just how much people complain about griefing these days before opening the doors to the MMORPG masses?
The inside dev-speak gamerz shop talk you read on Hamlet ne Linden Au's blog makes it seem like all these zillions of gamerz who play combat games on Steam are going to come to SL and ignore most of it and only play Bloodlines or City of Lost Angels or some other RP game (still to be made by creators with fabulous new creative tools like...teleportal, which essentially we already had with the portal/map script).
But that's not how it will be at all. It will be much more like the onslaught of kids in 2006-2007, where the sheer amount of media coverage of SL, in combination with the new feature of free and anonymous accounts, let to a deluge of teenage boys (and middle aged men) shooting their way through SL. There's actually less shooting, and more griefing of the other kind now in SL, and less mafia activity than there was in the heyday. There used to be multiple police and mafia RP groups and sims and weapons were ubiquitous.
After the Ginko and other banking crashes, the end of gambling, the crackdown on ageplay and underage accounts, the guns waned too.
Now they'll be back, because people in the gaming world don't know how to interact online without a weapon in their hand that turns monsters, if not people, into red mist. People's little romantic relationships and surfing and boating and music-listening and such are going to be just so much backdrop for weapons play.
I'm trying to understand what it means for SL to be "on" Steam and to be changing its graphics accordingly.
Since I had never heard of Steam until today and never have played any of these games (I'm the kind of person who lasted about 4 minutes on World of Warcraft), I don't understand whether we are sort of being subsumed into this Borg of 40 million, or merely "offered" as one of the many games, like a kind of title in a library -- getting on a big listing board, as it were, to get noticed. Or whether it means merely that we meet the standards of Steam games with these newer technological bells and whistles.
Somehow, my reading of this from some of the things said about legacy games and retired games being put on there makes it sound like a place where old games go to die, in the hope that with the sheer numbers on this network, some people will find it a "niche" to play, the way some people might find it fun to play an old vintage arcade game like Pac-Man.
It reminds me of the scene in the movie "AI" where all the old robots go to the junk yard.
Does Linden Lab then perceive itself as "having gone over" to Steam or existing in its own right but "being on offer" at Steam? I mean, even if the latter, it might be a lot like Southern Ossetia saying it keeps its autonomy by merging into Russia.
I don't believe anything that has "40 million" in it is going to "ignore" most of SL and only go to the game parts.
What we've seen from gamer invasions before is that they rapidly realize that the game of Second Life is in fact harassing other people. Invading their suburban paradises and making meta-havoc. Harassing people with ranch houses and horses. Disrupting events with particles and flying around with dicks. Griefing isn't just some aberration for "a few bad apples" -- lots and lots of people realize it *is* the game. Or more sophisticated versions of the same -- making alts and dating lots of women while pretending to be loyal just to one. Relationship gaming and heart-breaking.
Given that the age verification in Second Life is now laughably light and at its most loose in ages (and maybe for this very reason connected to Steam), we have to realize that legions of heedless and nasty 16 year old boys are now about to rock our world. Worse, legions of callous and cynical middle-aged men are about to invade our world. People on Lum Lumley's blog might say things like "Second Life still exists?" but these millions on Steam are going to have at least a rubber-necking look-see -- so hide your wife.
As you may have gathered, I don't particularly care for gamerz as a class of people and I think the indifference to human life takes its spiritual toll, and is indeed responsible for shaping the environment in which mass killers crop up again and again, and conditioning the minds of many. Gamification is not a boon for society, but a bane.
My take on Second Life is that it is not filled with gamers. Tracy Redangel is spot on in saying that people join Bloodlines not to play a game but to have a social network. I have tenants in Bloodlines and I can see that it's more about having an elaborate family picnic than actually some sort of "game". Same with Tiny Empires which has a hard-core fan-base to this day.
Thanks to the efforts of scripter and designer Jer Straaf, I now have a shooting game on one of my sims, in the SL Public Land Preserve. It actually gets a fair amount of use. I wanted to have a place for people to go when they land in SL and say "Where are the city sims" which is what a certain number of them ask. I also have Jer's targeting game in Iris at the Moth Temple, where you go around shooting targets to make them explode. Not that many people play it but some do. It is not gaming per se that bothers me but *the culture of gamers* which is insular, stupid, juvenile, relentless, obsessive. It's like a world gone Beavis and Butthead.
The real game of Second Life has never been about the sandboxers but about the settlers. The settles are people who live on the islands for the most part, but also the Mainland. They want houses and picket fences or beautiful palaces and yachts and cars -- and that's ok! Gamerz suddenly become art critics and experts on deconstructivism and declare the preferences of settlers to be kitsch and uncool. We're always being scolded for having ranch houses, when the people who should be scolded are those who can't let others be -- because they buy things and make the economy.
Will Steam be good for the economy? Well, probably for the weapons -- and security orb -- economy!
Rodvik had promised a year ago that he was going to "do something" about griefing and had something up his sleeve. Some new feature like the ability to ban from groups? De-rendering of grief builds and eyesores? An end to free accounts? Whatever it was, it never materialized.
So now we'll be left alone by the Lindens with these new shooters. Shooters who -- as Crap Mariner actually sanely pointed out -- now have the lovely Destination guide as a pick-a-daisy chain to go and shoot instead of just hanging out and shooting in the welcome areas. Sigh.
Of course, there's always this: Second Life is resilient and resists destruction. Shamlet thinks that it means it resists "change" or "disruption," but what it resists is destruction. Remember when a million watchers of CSI were going to drop down on us from TV? That never happened. Remember when thousands of Suicide Girls were going to invade? Gossip Girls? Remember Podcast Pickle? None of these things ever really made a dent in SL, in part because of the awful insularity of the FIC royalty but also the wonkiness of the tools and the expense.