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Community Blog Topic Results: Rewarding well-behaved players

Award ceremony
Previously in Community Blog Topic, we talked about the punishment of funsuckers. Conversely, last week we talked about rewarding players who are known for good behavior.

MrandMrsWoW voiced on their blog what many people in the comments were saying: good behavior is its own reward. They go on to list their reasons why well-behaved players should not be rewarded:
  • WoW is not school, and should be treated as such!
  • Good behaviour is a basic human principal and should be a given (whether it is or not is a separate issue)
  • Rewarding people for being polite will only encourage more scamming of the system
  • I can't think of a fair way to instigate a reward system: for LFR? For LFG? For guildies? Should we vote? How do we vote?
  • What is 'well-behaved'? Not swearing? Saying hello? Not ninja-ing loot? I can't see a fair way to judge it.
  • WE SHOULD NOT BE REWARDING GROWN ADULTS FOR NOT BEING NASTY TO EACH OTHER!
The World of Warcraft may not be school, but there are plenty of school-aged players who could use some guidance in the correct direction of becoming well-behaved adults. It's not WoW's job to parent them, but offering positive reinforcement by peers is not necessarily a school-only thing. With employee of the month awards and merit bonuses being used in the working world, rewarding good behavior is a commonplace tactic used by adults for adults.

The fact is that Blizzard is already engaging in behavior modification with the report system. We can right-click report for many reasons and use the customer service ticket system to report more egregious acts by players. The vote-kick system affects behavior as well and is sometimes exploited, yet is still a positive tool for most players.

But while most people want the ability to report bad players and have something to be done about it, quite a few commenters agree with MrandMrsWoW just as vehemently. Like xsushi:

That's like rewarding people who don't break the law. You should conduct yourself the way you want to be treated. You want respect? Show some!

and malacenious:
How about we, ya know, as decent human beings, try to always act nice and helpful?! I know it seems like a bold idea - doing something without the possibility of reward ... No, we should not have a method of reporting GOOD behavior. We should just act like upstanding, caring individuals and not only as such when there is a possibilty of being rewarded.

also slparker09
If you do something nice or helpful for someone else with an expectation of reward, you are no longer doing it to help someone else.

While I understand a misguided need for some people to want to offer praise, it isn't needed, nor should a system be implemented to praise them.

I offer help, I behave like a human being because it is what I am. I don't even expect a "thank you," for it. I did it because it is right, not because I deserve praise or perks for it.

But many people did like the idea and offered suggestions as to how to implement. Pashtarina blogged about this topic last year and has some very good ideas, such as chivalrous titles (Sir, Lady) being offered to those with a high enough score on the good behavior scale. I disagree with Pashtarina's suggestion about tangible rewards, however.
Instead of, or as well as, the prospect of earning a difficult to acquire title, fair players could earn more physical rewards. Not everyone is into mounts or titles, so perhaps there would have to be an array of different rewards, including good pieces of gear or weapons. For example, you could have the equivalent of a legendary, but earned in a far different way to however any such weapon has been earned before.
Any reward that affected gameplay would become a mandatory item for many guilds and would open up the system to even more abuse. It would only work if the gear were vanity items intended only for transmogging.

Quite a few people liked the idea of being able to thank players who were especially helpful.

Though mr-killik suggested sarcastically that we already had this in place in guilds
The reward for being well-behaved should be that you're allowed to call on other players for help. You could have their names handily accessible, in a sort of "friends list", if you will.

You should also be able to form a sort of 'extended group' of like-minded and supportive people. It could have its own chat channel and you could maybe pool your resources with people you trust, in a sort of "bank".

But kerfaxrogue offers up a plan which I really like
A way to avoid exploitation of this system would be the following:

Each player account would have a certain amount of "karma" that accrues over time. This would be divided evenly amongst all of the players that he/she reports "vote-kudos".

Overall, while I agree that good behavior should be its own reward and there are plenty of helpful players proving this every day, rewarding good deeds is a good thing, if it can be done properly. But can it be done properly? Or is a simple "thank you" all the reward that is needed?

Stay tuned for the next Community Blog Topic coming soon.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

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