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Archiving the History of Virtual Worlds 127

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the future-generations-deserve-my-avatar dept.
eldavojohn writes "Some members of the University of Texas are trying to create a repository to store the histories of online virtual worlds. They hope that game makers will take advantage of this repository as they define standards of how to save interactions not only between players and the virtual worlds but also other players. How many times have I destroyed you in a duel? Let's check the records!"
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Archiving the History of Virtual Worlds

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 18, 2008 @02:41PM (#24648863)

    Some alien beings have partially downloaded the Enterprise's computer files. The files contain a history of a made up 'world' from a game that Wesley Crusher had been playing. The aliens believe this to be the true history of humans.

    Of course the aliens believe that Wesley is the captain. Captain Crusher saves the day by traveling through time and re-writing the history file to show that he is actually the Alien's God and they should be friendly to the Enterprise. The aliens go on there merry way. Worf then kills, slaughters and eats Wesley.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 18, 2008 @02:46PM (#24648935)

    Please open your BlizzardBook to the Gospel of Warcraft.

  • Authorship (Score:5, Interesting)

    by VorpalRodent (964940) on Monday August 18, 2008 @02:47PM (#24648943)
    It is said that history is written by the victor. In a completely virtual world, where no one is ever truly destroyed, how is history impacted?

    It looks like they are discussing recording the primary in-game events (they list the WoW plague outbreak and the death of Morpheus). This makes it sound like they really just want a nifty little wiki dedicated to each game. When they start talking about interactions between players, significance starts becoming very important. Are we talking statistics? Chat logs?

    With real world history, we have the benefit of a (somewhat) objective viewpoint from which to determine how much the world has truly been impacted. With these games, and I say this carefully, who cares?

    The statistics are important - how many people stopped playing after Morpheus died or the outbreak made them think the game was unfair. But do they represent history in a virtual world, where death is mutable and guilds form and die in weeks instead of years?

    • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

      by VorpalRodent (964940)
      More importantly, if I succeed at first posting, but the "historians" come along and mod me down, does that mean I never really first posted?
    • by AP31R0N (723649)

      It would be interesting to see a time line showing subscribership change with markers for in and out of game events.

      (btw, meteors and bullets impact things, events have an effect)

    • by bendodge (998616)

      Recording the history of virtual worlds is about as important to me as everything else as virtual worlds - nil.

  • by Qzukk (229616) on Monday August 18, 2008 @02:47PM (#24648949) Journal

    Jan 3, 2007 12:42:35 Qzukk killed a rat!
    Jan 3, 2007 12:42:37 Qzukk killed a rat!
    Jan 3, 2007 12:42:52 Qzukk killed a rat!
    Jan 3, 2007 12:42:53 Qzukk killed a rat!
    Jan 3, 2007 12:42:55 A rat killed Qzukk!
    Jan 3, 2007 12:44:23 Qzukk killed a rat!
    Jan 3, 2007 12:44:24 Qzukk killed a rat!
    Jan 3, 2007 12:44:24 Qzukk is now level 2!
    Jan 3, 2007 12:45:38 Qzukk killed a spider!
    Jan 3, 2007 12:45:52 Qzukk killed a spider!

    • by pak9rabid (1011935) on Monday August 18, 2008 @03:08PM (#24649205)
      Or if we're talking about Ultima Online:

      Jan 3, 2007 12:42:35 Qzukk builds a box
      Jan 3, 2007 12:42:37 Qzukk builds a box
      Jan 3, 2007 12:42:52 Qzukk builds a box
      Jan 3, 2007 12:42:53 Qzukk builds a box
      Jan 3, 2007 12:42:55 Qzukk builds a box
      Jan 3, 2007 12:44:23 Qzukk builds a box
      Jan 3, 2007 12:44:24 Qzukk builds a box
      Jan 3, 2007 12:44:24 Qzukk gains more box-building experience
      Jan 3, 2007 12:45:38 Qzukk builds a bigger box
    • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

      by Fallingcow (213461)

      Playing Nethack, I see.

    • Aww man... (Score:3, Funny)

      by Greyfox (87712)
      Remember that time that rat killed you? You totally got served by that rat! Yeah... those were the days...
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Or if we're talking about Runescape:

      Jan 3, 2007 12:42:35 Qzukk places Gank1238 into Ignored.
      Jan 3, 2007 12:42:37 Fhurd83: qzuk zuks! quzk u nooob! nooobbb!
      Jan 3, 2007 12:42:38 LordBl00d3486: sauk **** u |31tCH35!!
      Jan 3, 2007 12:42:41 Qzukk places Fhurd83 into Ignored.
      Jan 3, 2007 12:42:41 Qzukk places LordBl00d3486 into Ignored.
      Jan 3, 2007 12:42:55 Halo2Halo: sellen lev 129 acct
      Jan 3, 2007 12:43:05 Xxx2Hot4uxxx: Need bf
      Jan 3, 2007 12:43:10 MichaelPhelps786: I died 3k plz need 3k
      Jan 3, 2007 12:43:11 Xxx2Hot4u

  • Eve Soverignty Maps (Score:5, Informative)

    by zerocool^ (112121) on Monday August 18, 2008 @02:49PM (#24648971) Homepage Journal

    In EvE, if you add this:
    http://www.eve-iss.com/external/maps/territoryanimated.gif [eve-iss.com] (1.7MB animated gif)
    with this:
    http://eve-files.com/media/corp/CRII/ [eve-files.com] (map jpegs have dates)

    You can get a relatively accurate look at what's happened in player controlled territory since 2003 in New Eden.

    For the un-initiated, eve has it's NPC-controlled sandbox, it's all the space in the middle of these maps. In this space, you can do your mining, crafting, running NPC missions / quests, invention, market trading, etc etc. Space in EvE is given a security rating 0.0 ~ 1.0, with 1.0 being tightly controlled by NPCs and 0.0 being lawless. For the adventurous, 0.0 space has different rules. There's no penalty for shooting someone else's ship, there are stations that can be captured, sovereignty to be gained, bountiful assets to take advantage of, and all the PVP you can shake a stick at - from the small 5 man roaming gangs to the laggy 300v300 fleet battles (these are usually over territorial control).

    Anyway, in a nutshell, there's the history of eve. At odds with each other for years in EvE are the Band of Brothers alliance (mostly UK, Euro, and US), and the Red Alliance (Russian speaking players, mostly).

    ~Wx

    • by AP31R0N (723649)

      i've heard that in Eve one spends most of their time gathering and flying through empty space with bugger all to do. When you've built your bad ass ship that took you weeks, someone can destroy it in a matter of minutes. Is that the case? i've mostly heard about it from people who disliked it. Can't recall talking to anyone who did like it.

      Is that the same 'Band of Brothers' as the 'Band of Failures' in PlanetSide?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by elrous0 (869638) *
        I love Eve. It's a great griefer magnet that helps cut down on their time spent in better MMO's.
        • by AP31R0N (723649)

          LoL. i'm going to share that with my PlanetSide outfit. They'll get a good laugh.

      • by zerocool^ (112121) on Monday August 18, 2008 @03:34PM (#24649463) Homepage Journal

        i've heard that in Eve one spends most of their time gathering and flying through empty space with bugger all to do.

        In a way, that's true; in a way it's not. Usually you end up calling a certain part of eve "home". I.e. a few systems, or part of a region. It does take a good bit of time in eve to move assets, but this is one of the realism aspects of the game. Unlike other games where you can check something into a "Vault" or "bank", and pull it out halfway across the world, in eve, assets are *some place*, and to get them from A to B, they have to be moved. So, then it becomes "Do I want to spend more money and buy X item here, or do I want to fly 10 solar systems over and buy it for X-30%?". Lots of people make money buying things low, moving them to the fringes, and selling them high.

        When you've built your bad ass ship that took you weeks, someone can destroy it in a matter of minutes. Is that the case?

        Yes. Death in eve has meaning. Don't fly it unless you can afford to lose it. There's a trade off between expensive items and their added benefit, and the cost of replacing them if they are lost.

        Case in point: Estamel's Modified Invulnerability Field - most expensive and rarest module in the game. Adds a 50% resistance bonus to all damage types for shields. The last one that sold I think sold for 11 billion isk. You can almost buy a Mothership for that. So the question is how much will this increase your survivability versus the 6 million isk Tech 2 invulnerability field, or even the 300,000 isk tech 1 invulnerability field (30% and 25% resistance, respectively). Cost vs. Benefit.

        i've mostly heard about it from people who disliked it. Can't recall talking to anyone who did like it.

        I can't speak for everyone, but I like it. I've been playing for 2.5 years now, and have 2 characters. It's not for everyone, but it's really got some heart-pounding PVP if you go look for it. There's anywhere from 20,000 to 40,000 people logged in (to the same world, eve is not sharded) at any given time.

        ~Wx

        • by AP31R0N (723649)

          +1 Informative. Thanks :)

          PlanetSide manages the 'vault' thing by saying everything is built out of nanites that arrange themselves into the desired pattern.

          Also, everything is very replaceable (spawn another one, or take someone else's) and everyone has access to same stuff, more or less. A newbie can get a tank, a 5 year vet can get a tank. And it's the same tank per empire (faction). The difference is that the 5 year vet can also get an Air to Ground attack fighter, hack enemy vehicles and so on. Rank

          • by zerocool^ (112121)

            Right; the player levels in eve are handled in such a way that being a vet does give you an advantage, but it's greatly diminishing returns.

            (In eve, skills are learned in real time, not by play time or experience points gained by in game actions)

            For example, for a given skill X that has a rank of "1", the first level of the skill will take several minutes, the 2nd level perhaps an hour, the 3rd level maybe 6-8 hours, the 4th level 1.5 days, and the 5th (and final) level, 5 days. For each level, this skill

            • by MBraynard (653724)
              Hey - sorry, I have a question. I was around when the blueprints were distributed through a lottery system (you had to rent labs.) How are they distributed now?
              • These days, T2 BPCs are invented [evewiki.com]. There aren't any new T2 BPOs distributed anymore.
                • by zerocool^ (112121)

                  Right, and (directed to the GP) the practical upshot of this is:
                  A.) Everyone can get involved in T2 production for not too much investment.
                  B.) There is now a ceiling on T2 prices, i.e. there's no price fixing like there used to be on Cap Rechargers and Cov Ops cloaks (take 1M and 5M mil respectively to build, used to sell for 20M and 80M). Someone will sell the T2 parts for cost+5% always.
                  C.) Because of B, T2 parts are far more accessible.
                  D.) The invention-produced blueprint copies are not very efficient (

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by LordMyren (15499)

          If you are part of a large alliance, theres usually jump bridge routes to connect up all of your empire's assets. Inside of your network, transit really isnt an issue, aside from time roaming through enemy space. And theres always plenty to do then.

          I'd pin anyone not in an alliance as someone who spends "most of their time gathering and flying through empty space with bugger all to do". Theres usually some sort of long term goal that has you floating through space, but the goal boils down to some static

        • Yes. Death in eve has meaning.

          Too bad it isn't actually any fun, which is something of a bad thing in a video game.

          Don't fly it unless you can afford to lose it.

          Hell yeah man, this sounds like a blast.

          Seriously I think I'd rather play with Excel than go anywhere near EVE.

          • by tibman (623933)

            You're looking at this the wrong way. Go start a 3 week trial through steam, join the Minmatar, buy a cheap ship (Rifter!) and cram all the autocannons and speed mods you can onto your frigate. Now head down to lowsec and pirate! kill some defenseless haulers moving ore, tackle yourself a pricey mining barge and ransom them! Sell intel, double deal, kill everyone you can. This is acceptable behavior in the game of eve.

            I'd also like to point out that ship and module losses are permanent. This gives tru

      • by LordMyren (15499)

        Theres two ways to play eve.

        1. Stick to "safe" space and either run missions or do "industrial" tasks like building and inventing.

        2. Join an alliance and exist on the edge of space defending and attacking.

        The first I find to be insurmountalby boring. You're investing your time in building a richer character with no real ties to the universe, aside from market interaction. The second is whats fun, because you are part of a large collective action and are frequently playing with the other players towards la

  • by philspear (1142299) on Monday August 18, 2008 @02:51PM (#24648981)

    There aren't enough real events to chronicle, so we're moving on to virtual worlds? We've perfected news reporting with CNN and FOX so now we're going to start working on current events in WOW?

    What is wrong with us?

    • So the average gamer has no influence on real-world events ... but they do have some degree of influence in game.

      Therefore, document the influence you have in the game! It's kind of like making it into the history books ... kind of.

    • by Skye16 (685048) on Monday August 18, 2008 @03:02PM (#24649139)

      Well, for starters, my shoulders hurt like hell first thing I wake up in the morning. I can't find a position that doesn't cause them to hurt so much.

      Another pressing matter: I just rubbed my eye after eating a banana pepper about 2 hours ago, without having washed my hand. I look like somebody shot my dog right before my eyes.

      I've got a lot of weight to lose, I'm starting to get a bald spot, and I have a yeast infection on the end of my trouser trout that I'm seeing a doctor about on Wednesday 'cos the Cloromotrinasdlkjasdf;ljasdf;lj stuff isn't working.

      And that's just for starters.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      There aren't enough real events to chronicle, so we're moving on to virtual worlds? We've perfected news reporting with CNN and FOX so now we're going to start working on current events in WOW?

      What is wrong with us?

      I totally agree. Also why are all those authors, filmmakers, etc. wasting time chronicling completely fake events, when there are so many real events going unchronicled?

      Won't somebody please think of the real events?!

    • by MrMista_B (891430)

      "Perfected news reporting with CNN and FOX"?

      Are you fucking kidding me?

      *incoherent, stunned disbelief that someone typed that seriously*

      Or wait, are you really Colbert in disguise? Calling the reporting of CNN and FOX 'perfect' is something that only a satirist can do without coming across as silly.

      • "Perfected news reporting with CNN and FOX"?

        Are you fucking kidding me?

        Holy shit. The ice cream girl from the "Lost Blogs" book review [slashdot.org] posts on slashdot!

      • *incoherent, stunned disbelief that someone typed that seriously*

        In the future, if you find yourself writing something like that on the internet and especially on slashdot, assume sarcasm.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SirLurksAlot (1169039)

      Didn't you hear? They redefined news reporting as sock-puppetry and regurgitated talking points. So yes, FOX news is absolutely a pinnacle of news reporting.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Kingrames (858416)

      Your nerd card is hereby revoked.

      Just because you're not "into it" doesn't mean it's not worthwhile. It's a safe bet nearly every hobby of yours would be considered a waste of time by most people.

      • It's a safe bet nearly every hobby of yours would be considered a waste of time by most people.

        Yes, that's why I'm not trying to document them. These guys on the other hand...

        • by Kingrames (858416)

          I would say documenting virtual events is quite a bit more interesting than documenting say, the mating habits of honeybees. I'm fairly certain there are quite a few in the scientific community who'd disagree, but there is definitely an interest. If you don't like it, you don't have to participate. Nobody's pointing a gun at your head and forcing you to participate.

      • Just because you're not "into it" doesn't mean it's not worthwhile. It's a safe bet nearly every hobby of yours would be considered a waste of time by most people.

        No, because my hobby is saving babies.

        Solid gold babies.

    • by elrous0 (869638) * on Monday August 18, 2008 @03:17PM (#24649283)
      The day the National Archives agrees to preserve an oral history interview with Leroy Jenkins is the day Armageddon will begin.
    • by snarfies (115214)

      I can tell you that the ending of, say, Chrono Trigger, had more immediate bearing on my life than any major news story of the same year, and probably any other year to boot (except, perhaps, 9/11). Why? Because _I_ did it. I was there, I made it be so - in my own little world, that was news. And that news certainly gave me more happiness than any news story of the same era.

      Anyone can go back and play Chrono Trigger through the magic of emulators, and have almost the exact same experience I did. But, a

    • by Lewisham (239493) on Monday August 18, 2008 @03:37PM (#24649505)

      I know this is Slashdot, and actually RTFA is rare, but had you actually done so, you'd have read this:

      '"When you are trying to preserve anything you are trying to preserve the most important things about that artefact," she said. "With video games we do not yet know what is important."'

      CNN and Fox are being archived very well already. But we have large gaps, and it's important to keep as much as we can, just in case.

      We've been very good thus far at preserving our culture for studies by future generations, but that was because everything we made was stored in a physical entity. It didn't matter whether the creators thought it important or not, we at least could come back to it in later generations if we needed to.

      The Digital Age has meant we're losing huge swathes of information because we can't keep up. Archive.org is going to be amazingly important, but it'll take later generations to figure out why.

      I'm very pleased that someone has realized that the beginnings of virtual worlds will also be important. We can't possibly contemplate where they're going to go in just 50 years. We're going to want to know how they started when we get there.

      • "We don't know what is going to be important" can justify me keeping records on my bowel movements just as easily as it can for documenting online games.

        In both cases though you can be sure no one is going to be interested in that shit.

        • by VJ42 (860241) *

          "We don't know what is going to be important" can justify me keeping records on my bowel movements just as easily as it can for documenting online games.

          In both cases though you can be sure no one is going to be interested in that shit.

          Not really, if you start to notice irregularities in the records of your bowel movements, it could easily be a warning sign of some medical problem. Perhaps something you wouldn't have noticed until later without those records.
          We don't yet know what these records could reveal, but it could be something equally as important.

      • by syousef (465911)

        '"When you are trying to preserve anything you are trying to preserve the most important things about that artefact," she said. "With video games we do not yet know what is important."'

        The answer to that is: Grow the fsck up. None of it is important. It's an fscking game and when you work that out and see that real people in the real world are what matter, you might enjoy both real life and your game. Oh and you might get laid. Well anything's possible.

        Note the above isn't directed at you (the poster) perso

    • by SL Baur (19540)

      >quote>... now we're going to start working on current events in WOW?

      GNN, Gnomeregan News Network, "Crisis at Da Portal!" with Mar'Lee reporting. http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/downloads/movies.html [worldofwarcraft.com]

      There's also a Gadgetzan Times http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/gadgetzantimes/archives.html [worldofwarcraft.com]

    • by rhyre417 (919946)

      There aren't enough real events to chronicle, so we're moving on to virtual worlds...

      What is wrong with us?

      Why would you ask this question of people reading /.?
      That pretty much defines people with nothing better to do right at this very moment.

      In August 2008, the real activists aren't passively waiting for news from the 'real world'.
      They are out working for real change, either by working on political campaigns or other causes.
      Well, some are probably watching the obama-girl mccain-girl olympics on
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbDY7VYM158 [youtube.com]) or other venues

  • by Bieeanda (961632) on Monday August 18, 2008 @03:00PM (#24649119)
    People talk about the death of Lord British, and the Corrupted Blood plague, and the antics of Fansy the Famous Bard [notacult.com] not because they're turning points in MMO history, but because they're fucking funny. Who really gives a shit about official lore like Morpheus getting cacked, when there are records of Bael'zharon flirting with female PCs and eating emoted twinkies [gamespy.com] during his plodding reign of destruction? Or how about the early days of WWII On-Line, when Lum the Mad Taxiied to victory [onlinegamers.org]-- or even better, the tanks whose code was lifted from planes, flight mechanics and all, bringing forth the unholy reign (rain?) of flying flakpanzers?

    Seriously. Nobody really gives a shit about the official stuff. It's the impromptu weirdness (including Rainz' murder of Lord British) that they remember and celebrate.

  • This seems like a strange attempt. You mean there aren't already tons of message boards that contains peoples personal experiences, wikis that provide in-game information, and tons of indexing by google of both of these? The best example of this I've seen was the effort by the Disney's Online Worlds [disneysonlineworlds.com] wiki to document information about VMK while it was running, and then the frantic effort to preserve as much as they could before the game was shut down.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 18, 2008 @03:08PM (#24649209)

    The ability to store 'demo' captures has been in Unreal since UT1 in the late 90s. I discovered this when I ran a server for deathmatch games and decided to keep a log of every game played. The format is a timestamped delta encoding of every movement, entity and actor in the level. Of course it occupies quite a lot of file space.

    Many years later I stumbled upon a few gigabytes of this data on a backup disk. Watching through old games from different player viewpoints was very entertaining. Then it occured to me that certain players were behaving strangely. In my spare time I started thinking about how to analyse this data and eventually discovered it was possible to tell with a *high level of certainty* that some players were cheating all along.

    Now I don't play online computer games much any more, but I still see the same problems and chuckle at games like WoW trying to detect and defeat cheats with client solutions. This will never work. But, given enough server side data you can easily see that some players are way outside the statistical norms for certain actions. Distributions show a typical curve from the worst to the best players, and then a separate, clearly identifiable peak of weird data bound to about 5% of players. My reckoning is that these are the cheats.

    For example, one of the oldest cheats is a wall hack that allows you to see other players that should not be visible. What is the chance of a player being able to regularly track another within a few degrees of their location without this knowledge? When you run the sums on enough old games the cheats stick out a mile.

    • Most RTSs have the save reply option as well. They store every action that takes place, including mouse clicks and where they were looking. For example, Starcraft had them, and part of that made certain forms of cheat detection trivial. Map hacks were the most obvious, cause your opponent would be staring at unexplored areas of the map for long periods of time. Or if they were really dumb, they actually clicked on units or buildings out of view.
    • Doom had recordable demos too. I'm sure it wasn't the first game to have them.

  • Just do a search on youtube for secondlife. Guaranteed you'll find lots of historical SL footage. Free hugs, Harry potter, and flying penises are all there.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by fishbowl (7759)

      Snapzilla http://www.sluniverse.com/pics/ [sluniverse.com]

      There are a few genuinely interesting people in Second Life still, and some of them do genuinely interesting things.
      Yes the game is full of total whackjobs and idiots, but people with their heads screwed on straight tend to gravitate
      toward / build locations that are simply too boring (to the griefers) to ever be messed with.

      Of course, I tend to ruthlessly avoid interaction with players who hide their Real Life identities. That pares the field WAY down, which suits m

  • Would rollbacks be like an alternate reality?

    Restarts are like mass amnesia?

  • Would be interesting to document from because while there is a lot of garbage in the old AW world, there is also a lot of history of the users that did things in that world.

    Users were allowed to build virtual areas where they could hang pictures, sounds, and text. Pretty much a gussied up 3D web site of sorts in a world. There were various levels of creativity in designed plots of land.

    The URLs to the sounds and pictures most likely don't function much more, but all the signs with text people left could be

  • In the mmo Shadowbane (currently free) that emphasized pvp, gvg and total player city control, the map changed significantly. Though, some cities stayed for years.. Others last mere days.

    • by RingDev (879105) on Monday August 18, 2008 @04:12PM (#24649989) Homepage Journal

      The title of the story is wrong. The problem isn't Archiving history, the problem is Achieving history.

      Shadowbane is one of the few games that really had an opportunity in this arena. I was in the beta for it long long ago, and if it hadn't had such a huge glut of bugs and horrendous launch, it really would have had a chance.

      There can not be a history in WoW because nothing ever changes. Sure, there are occasionally 1-time events. The opening of AQ 40, or the Scourge invasion, but honestly, these 1 time events aren't a history, they are just a 1-time thing that you either got to see or didn't. For the vast majority of players, there is no imapact they can have on the world at all. They've killed hundreds of thousands of radiated gnomes, but Gnomerangan will always be inhabited by more of them. They've slaughtered Illidan over and over and over, yet he'll pop right back up again after the next weekly reset.

      That's one of the big reasons why Warhammer online has a nice draw to it, there is a story that can be told, a battle between rivals where the map changes. An on going fight where every player is making a difference as to where the battle is being fought.

      The down side though, is that it is a PvP game, which is a turn off to a lot of people. If it were possible to design a PvE MMO such that there was a progression over time in driving the borders of your empire forward (or retreating!) was possible, the effects could be huge. As players level they delve deeper into the un-civilized lands to find more challenging enemies, but as they slaughter more enemies, the enemies they face retreat, increasing the land mass of the empire, and pushing the battle lines out. Imagine riding through a farmers field on your steed and saying to a newer player, "When I was your age, this place was goblin country, we spent weeks clearing them out and months more patrolling before these farmers took hold here."

      Just a thought.

      -Rick

      • by LordMyren (15499)

        Yes.

        Eve obviously has a big player controlled world building aspect (galaxy building); I guess my qualm is there is the lack of ability to shape much besides sovereignty and a handful of special-purpose player owned structures. Yes its entirely player run but the extent of what in game influence lets you do is pretty limited.

        Tabula Rasa has "control point" bases that the NPC's swarm and take over. To get the point back you've got to get some people together and go take back the control point. The "epic"

      • There can not be a history in WoW because nothing ever changes. Sure, there are occasionally 1-time events. The opening of AQ 40, or the Scourge invasion, but honestly, these 1 time events aren't a history, they are just a 1-time thing that you either got to see or didn't. For the vast majority of players, there is no imapact they can have on the world at all. They've killed hundreds of thousands of radiated gnomes, but Gnomerangan will always be inhabited by more of them. They've slaughtered Illidan over and over and over, yet he'll pop right back up again after the next weekly reset.

        I would say that the history of wow could be greatly improved if blizzard had implemented a feature in Caverns of Time (existing time travel in the game) to take the character to a future version of the game world based on completed quests. This way the players could see some real in game rewards other than the level and gear of their characters. In my opinion this would give the game a better sense of accomplishment for the casual gamers.

      • How about the Corrupted Blood plague?
        That was an one time event/fuckup.

    • by LordMyren (15499)

      Are you familiar with any other games where players are involved in world building?

  • Electronic privacy (Score:4, Interesting)

    by FilterMapReduce (1296509) on Monday August 18, 2008 @03:39PM (#24649535)

    If this proposed archive does contain information about individual players, it could turn into an interesting little case study on privacy and modern technology. Many of the newer threats to privacy are about technology that can retain and search little details of your life online: the details individually may be public, but when they're all available at once they may start to feel like a breach of privacy. An MMO is a microcosm where the technology is already sufficiently advanced for this.

    This can happen with the WoW Armory [wowarmory.com], where anyone with Web access can pull up game data on any World of Warcraft character. From this, others can infer things like how much time you've spent playing lately. A player might wind up embarrassed over a WoW addiction ("Level 70 already?!"), or be bugged to play more by less casual-playing friends who want a high-level buddy to go raiding with. (I have experienced the latter and I believe there was a "Penny Arcade" strip about it once.) What's interesting is that your character level is not secret information—it's publicly visible every time you log on—but the dynamics of privacy do shift when it's a "matter of record" for anyone to look up on a website, rather than observed only by others on the same server when you're actually logged in and playing.

    • by xmod2 (314264)

      Even better.

      There is an addon for WoW called WoW Census which does a /who of online players and reports the information back to their servers afterwards.

      You can browse each server and see level densities, race balances, etc.

      On top of that, they have a character history function where you can track at what times each character in the system was seen and what level they were.

      http://www.warcraftrealms.com/charhistory.php [warcraftrealms.com]

      At that link you can find out just when a person rolled, how fast they leveled, periods of

  • by bmajik (96670) <matt@mattevans.org> on Monday August 18, 2008 @03:58PM (#24649781) Homepage Journal

    Suppose that events in a virtual world were transactional and were logged to a change log, ala a DBMS system. Suppose further that you could rollback the state of the virtual world to a known point in time, apply a different transaction, and then replay the remainder of the transaction log. Obviously collisions would happen.

    A popular topic in science fiction is "what would happen to the future if you went back in time and messed with the past?"

    Why speculate? Why not simulate it using virtual world technology?

    Obviously this is more interesting in some VWs than others (2L comes to mind as an interesting place to try something like this). And obviously, the meat of the discussion is deciding how to apply conflicting transactions..

    I think it would make a fascinating research project for grad students. For a collision policy X, what is the total measured discontinuity between world W and W' based on a given historical modification. Have a few differing conflict resolution policies and see what the ramifications of each are.

    Infact, there's probalby some sort of innovative gameplay dynamic that could be built around history modification. Assuming that time travel is atrociously expensive (in terms of in-game cost) and there's only a limited window of opportunity or impact while you're "in the past", how can players maximize their future outcome by manipulating world history?

    (Yes, I'm aware of the Microsoft game that had a token "time travel" component in it. Obviously I'm talking about something more grandiose)

    • by Haoie (1277294)

      Call it the Butterfly effect [and yes, that so-so movie was similar to this]. Small changes in the past lead to exponential changes.

      Still, it's just theory. And virtual worlds are still nothing like reality.

    • I will been finding your ideas intriguing, and will have been wishing to subscribing to your newsletter.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by merreborn (853723)

      Suppose that events in a virtual world were transactional and were logged to a change log, ala a DBMS system. Suppose further that you could rollback the state of the virtual world to a known point in time, apply a different transaction, and then replay the remainder of the transaction log.

      The interesting component of history and time travel is not logged in transaction logs, and that's choice.

      You're essentially asking, "What if someone had assassinated Hitler in 1938... and then everyone made exactly the s

  • The article seems to be mainly concerned with recording the history of high-profile global events in virtual worlds, but this technology can go a lot further than that. Every single event can be recorded, and replayed later for our delight, amusement, education, and for less savoury purposes as well (like tracking and stalking people).

    Many gaming environments have replay systems available, most commonly associated with their PvP side. Guild Wars provides a good example: with a keystroke you can enter Obs

  • Seriously... history is hard enough to keep track of what with the country names changing and walls falling and whatnot. Then again, I suppose if some folks move to a WoW history class from a real-world history class, they might find it easier to graduate. Dumbing down America to match our fearless leader FTW!

  • LEEEEEROYYYYYYYYYYYYYY JHHEEENKKINSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkCNJRfSZBU [youtube.com]

    Least I got chicken!

  • Theres very few game worlds with history worth tracking. "First 1000 players to complete XYZ quest"? Yeah whatever. For the most part these virtual worlds are totally static, modulo periodic content updates.

    I'd be interested to hear what games have good data to track. Eve has outpost data [eve-maps.com] and sovereignty data available via an API that tells you the status of the universe, although theres no long term historical data available from the company.

    Planetside and maybe DAoC might have data worth tracking, but

  • Can you imagine if what we are, our world, our lives, are all virtual? wouldn't that freak your mind? we don't exist, except by intelligent design? a computer simulation? ah! and imagine this, whoever is running our app, what if he/she/it was also a virtual simulation too!

    On the plus side, it means my ex never really existed, and that's good to hear.

    On the bottom side, why am I simulating this post in the first place then? uh? :)

  • 675 terabytes of: "you ganking faggot!" "I ganked yer mom" "lrn2noob" "wts conan's hairy balls" "why r u on rp server with l33t name fucker?"
  • Brilliant now that 1 time I tossed a frag grenade into my teams bunker to kill an enemy, but ended up fragging 7 of my teammates will haunt me till the day I die.

    One a brighter note, I got the bastard!

"Confound these ancestors.... They've stolen our best ideas!" - Ben Jonson

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