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Posts with tag ethics

The Azeroth Ethicist: Is it cheating to trick the LFR loot system?

The Azeroth Ethicist Is gaming the LFR loot system cheating
Before I write anything else here, the issue to be discussed in this article will no longer exist in patch 5.3 if the changes announced in the PTR patch notes from May 22 survive. For the record, I think this is one of the best changes to come along in a while, as it should reduce queue times for the Raid Finder significantly, while also being a great quality-of-life bonus for anyone trying to gear an offspec. However, it's still a problem at the moment.

After reaching level 90, I ran heroic after heroic obsessively in order to scrape the ilevel needed to enter the Raid Finder. After a few drops and the generosity of a guild leatherworker, I cheerfully queued as a tank for Vaults, and then went off to do dailies, figuring that the wait might be a little longer than normal given the popularity of new raid content, but it probably wouldn't be too bad.

30 minutes later, I shrugged and thought to myself, "Well, everybody's running LFR now."

52 minutes later, it occurred to me while yanking pink turnips out of the ground that I had been a little overoptimistic about wait times. Oh well. The farm wasn't going to tend itself.

An hour and 20 minutes later, I tabbed out of the game to check the forums, wondering if others were complaining about queue times, or if I'd just had a stroke of really bad luck.

Nope. Wait times for tanks through LFR, as a legion of enraged forum posters screamed, were through the roof at the beginning of the expansion. Right now, it seems like DPS players are getting the lion's share of agony. Rather than wait it out, many -- perhaps most -- tank players chose to exploit a loophole that allowed them to get a raid more quickly on a less easily-filled role.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

The Azeroth Ethicist: Cheating (or not cheating) the roll system

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I was healing a Well of Eternity PUG a few days ago when I got a whisper from the group's warrior tank.

Warrior: Could you help me out with something?

Me: Sure, what do you need?

Warrior: If Varo'then's Brooch drops at the end, would you roll on it for me?

Me: Um ...

I'd been off in my own little world watching health bars and thinking about next week's Shifting Perspectives column and hadn't paid any attention to the group's composition. It turns out the DPSers were a mage, a hunter, and -- oh, there we go -- a frost death knight. So in the event that the strength trinket dropped, the warrior tank wanted me to roll on it and, if I won, give it to him over the DK. He probably asked the mage and the priest to do the same thing, but the group was quiet in party chat, so I have no way of knowing.

We had a small and, to his credit, civil conversation over it, and there are a few issues here on which I'd like to get readers' opinions.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Drama Mamas: Spearheading morality

Drama Mamas Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are experienced gamers and real-life mamas -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of the checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your realm.

I strongly believe that your fun should stop when it starts to infringe upon the fun of another. However, the behavior of funsuckers is not something we can control. Sure, we can report the blatant offenders to Blizzard. Yes, we can put them on ignore. But no matter how hard we try, we will never be able to make them change their ways. The question is: Does it hurt to try?
Dear Drama Mamas,

Recently, I've taken a more active role in trying to combat the rampant immorality and indecency that has taken hold on the WoW community. I used to be content with ignoring it, and I even left trade chat in an attempt to isolate myself from the more concentrated locations. However, I couldn't just sit by while the problem gets worse each day. It's gotten so bad on my realm that people are actually cheering at people who ninja, troll or gank. I have been brought up right: instilled with values by my parents to make moral choices in my life. I had hoped to reach out and bring some of this awareness to others, but so far it's only lost in the flood or so bashed that people simply laugh at my efforts now.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Drama Mamas

Breakfast Topic: Did Arthas do the right thing in Stratholme?

As we've discussed before, the Culling of Stratholme did slow the spread of the plague. But it's heartbreaking to watch Arthas slaughter innocent townspeople when they are looking to him for help. Wouldn't it have been better if he had waited for them to turn into scourge before killing them? Or was there a better way?

Should they have tried quarantining them until a cure could be found, perhaps? (Even though there isn't one.) It's a bit like a recent Fringe episode. Was it evil to consider killing all of the people infected with an extremely intelligent, contagious and fast-spreading disease? How do you deal with deciding between compassion for a few versus the survival of a race?

Could the ruthlessness that Arthas showed there be a symptom of weak morals that perhaps led to his demise as a human? Or was his swift, decisive action an example of his excellent leadership qualities and why he makes such a successful Lich King? Perhaps doing the right thing in Stratholme weakened his soul, making him more susceptible to corruption.

How should Arthas have behaved in Stratholme? Did his actions help corrupt him or show him to be already corrupted? What would you have done in the same situation?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, Lore

15 Minutes of Fame: Philosophically speaking

15 Minutes of Fame is WoW.com's look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes -- from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, from the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.

Whoa ... Was that a book on WoW and philosophy on that display rack? Why yes, it was. World of Warcraft and Philosophy, edited by Luke Cuddy and John Nordlinger, has been attracting double-takes in bookstores since last fall. With selections by philosophers from all over the globe, the book covers issues topics such as ethics, economics, gender identity and metaphysics through WoW-tinted lenses. But this is no dusty, academic tome. Roleplaying, cybersex and the infamous Corrupted Blood plague are all on the menu in this lively, readable tome targeted at fans of WoW.

Editor John Nordlinger is just the sort of guy you'd expect to find behind such an eclectic project. The former senior research program manager at Microsoft is California-bound, moving from work in high-tech education to studying film production at USC. We visited with John while he was in transition about some of the realities behind World of Warcraft and Philosophy.

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Filed under: WoW Social Conventions, Features, Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

Author of World of Warcraft and Philosophy interviewed

World of Warcraft and Philosophy got released a little while back -- it's a book by Luke Cuddy and John Nordlinger that examines WoW-related topics like roleplaying and the Corrupted Blood plague, and ties them into philsophical ideas and thinking. TechFlash has now posted an interview with Nordlinger, and it's a good read as well. Nordlinger says that one reason they chose to talk about World of Warcraft in this way is that it's so incredibly big -- when you have 12 million (give or take a few at this point) people playing a game with a GDP larger than some smaller nations, you're going to touch on all sorts of interesting ethical, moral, and other philosophical ideas. He says the book has been pretty popular, and a few universities are currently considering teaching courses based on the material, not only because it's interesting, but thinking about the game in this way helps improve abstract thinking in general.

And perhaps most interesting, he says that reading the book could help players better make ethical and moral decisions in the game. Just ninja-ing the mount from an Onyxia raid might not mean much to you, but when you look at the bigger picture, and what those actions mean for ethics in general, Nordlinger says the book might help players "make more aware decisions, if not different decisions." Of course, in practice, trying to explain higher philosophy to ninjas might not have the desired effect, but it does seem true that exploring the higher meanings of this game and the intents of the people playing it might put a little more meaning into the pixels as well.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends

Doing something nice for other players


This is one of the few forum threads of late that has given me hope in mankind rather than the other way around. Jastiri of Antonidas started a thread asking players what the last nice thing they did for another player was, and relates his/her own tale of running into a new level-15 player who had saved 20 silver and materials to pay a tailor to make 6-slot bags. This "just about broke my heart," Jastiri wrote, who then made the newbie five 16-slot bags and offered 10 gold. The player thanked him/her for the bags but didn't accept the gold, insisting that the bags were gift enough and that he/she intended to pay Jastiri back for them eventually as well. How can you not love that?

The whole thread's full of little gems like that that, and was lovely to read. Share the wealth, readers -- what have you done lately for other players?

Filed under: Odds and ends, Humor, Forums

The Queue: Hard mode is hard


Welcome back to The Queue, WoW Insider's daily Q&A column where the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.

Good afternoon, ladies and gents! Before we get started today I just want to thank everyone for participating in my Hawaiian Pizza poll. It was a silly, spur of the moment sort of thing, and it really made my day to see it creep up to around 11,000 votes! Thank you all very much for humoring me.

Again, there are a few Ulduar spoilers in this post, but only minor. Be warned. Also, vote Alex.

Adrexani asked...

This has always puzzled me, Arthas is a Death Knight, Death Knights are dead, yet no where in lore do I see that Arthas died, so did he die or is he still alive?

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Death Knight, The Queue

Faith and World of Warcraft at Colorado University

Buckle your seatbelts on this one -- if you aren't concerned with the bigger picture behind a virtual world like Azeroth and would rather hear about dragons fighting each other or the latest class changes, best look elsewhere on the site. But a student at Colorado University has a theory about World of Warcraft that might sound a little out there: he believes the game is a new religion.

Not necessarily in the sense that you should skip church to raid (though lots of people probably do that anyway). But in the sense that it meets a sociologist's definition of religion: it provides community, ethics, culture, and emotion. And it's hard to argue with that: we're living proof of the community around the game, there's definitely plenty of culture and emotion, and... ethics? CU student Theo Zijderveld is proposing that even if the game itself doesn't promote ethical behavior, the push is there -- we're rewarded for doing the right thing, and often punished for doing wrong. Work with others in a group, get better loot. Camp someone's corpse, and their guildie or alt shows up to camp you.

Intriguing idea, even if it does sound like something cooked up for a college student's thesis (which is in fact what it is). It's certainly not a religion in that there is no higher power involved (unless you believe that Ghostcrawler is in fact a god) -- obviously, we all believe that everything in Azeroth was made by men and women, or at least hard-working Gnomes. But as for what playing World of Warcraft creates in us and makes us feel, those results and ideas are very close in many ways to what organized religion does. Quite a theory.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends

The Azeroth Ethicist: Why (or why not) to take a player

I had a lot of fun reading the comments on two articles we ran concerning a knotty moral issue, and readers wrote a lot of interesting things about how the problem could be considered from both an ingame and nongame perspective.

This article's about a problem that's existed since the game's launch, but seems to have become more common since Wrath's release due to a substantial demographic shift with plate classes (more on this in a bit). Simply put; is it appropriate to turn down a potential member of a group over loot competition? Players generally don't want to face the prospect of losing a roll, especially if they've been endlessly running a dungeon trying to get a particular piece. But while you'll get a lot of sympathy if you've run, say, heroic Nexus 17 times trying to get the War Mace of Unrequited Love, people will generally elect to take a competitor if it's a choice between that and not doing the dungeon at all.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Classes, Wrath of the Lich King

[1:Local]: Perspectives on WoW past, present and future

Reader comments – ahh, yes, the juicy goodness following a meaty post. [1.Local] ducks past the swinging doors to see what readers have been chatting about in the back room over the past week. Be sure to dive into the comments area of each thread (not this one!) and add your own thoughts – unlike your mama, we like us some hot, fresh backtalk.

We don't miss that at all
This Breakfast Topic, which looked back at the little annoyances we're not sorry have gone the way of the dodo, included plenty of nostalgia for the epic-length Alterac Valleys of old. Players claimed to have hated them back then – but they seem to miss them now that they're a thing of the past.

A number of readers pegged a different annoyance that early WoW players remember with chagrin. "One of the things I remember with the least amount of fondness is unconnected flight paths," noted lightningjynx. "There wasn't the clicking a destination halfway across the world and going to do something productive while you waited. No, you had to stare at your character flying to get anywhere in a reasonable amount of time, unless you had all the flight path times memorized and played that way." "Wow, yeah, I had forgotten about that," agreed MadScientist17. "Had to try to remember which flight points went where."

We agree, too – but ultimately, we think Veil has the pointiest point: "Definitely don't miss old Andorhal. That place was an f'ing death trap."

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Filed under: Fan stuff, [1.Local]

The ethics of a botched deal, redux

"The ethics of a botched deal" turned out to be a much more popular article than I'd been expecting. I didn't really think the subject matter was going to result in that much commentary, but, having read all of the comments, I think I see why. Everyone's been on at least one end of a bad deal, and stuff like that is a lot more common in the early days of an expansion with new recipes, dungeons, and raids everywhere you look, with the attendant opportunities for costly mistakes.

A few people quite fairly said it would be tough to make a call on the incident given the limited account I'd written in the original article. Others pointed out that you could probably draw an ethical distinction between the Blacksmith's decision to: a). accept a tip, and b). keep the gold gained from vendoring the 2H mace (and I think this is accurate, although it does raise another question. More on this in a bit). Commenters also observed that, the ethics of the Blacksmith's actions aside, you wouldn't necessarily want to be a repeat customer of his for reasons that hadn't been articulated in the original piece.

So behind the cut is a more inclusive look at the issue, a little more background on what happened, and how other players responded to it ingame.

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Filed under: Blacksmithing, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Economy, Making money

The ethics of a botched deal

My chat box isn't usually a wretched hive of scum and villainy, but on occasion it turns up a few statements that'll make your eyebrows execute a shuttle launch. One such morsel popped up recently in the form of an amused snicker from an acquaintance who'd applied to raid with my guild in Wrath. He'd just made himself a quick 38 gold off a blacksmithing deal gone awry and was having a laugh over his good fortune. A leveling player had asked him to meet in Orgrimmar to make a Saronite Mindcrusher and could provide both materials and a tip. The applicant obliged, ported to Org from Dalaran, made the mace, and then they discovered that it was BoP and thus unusable by the customer. The disappointed player thanked him for his time, tipped him anyway for making the trip, and went on his way (according to the person who shall henceforth be known as The Blacksmith).

"So not only did I get a 25g tip," he concluded smugly, "but I also made 13g vendoring the mace."

That dog won't hunt, Monsignor. "You did give the guy the 13g at least?" I asked. "I mean, those were his mats, the mace wasn't yours."

"No. Why would I? It was his mistake."

To quote everyone who has ever set foot on the internet ever, ORLY?

UPDATE: The post got a lot more attention than I expected, so I've written an addendum here that gives a little more insight into what happened.

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Filed under: Blacksmithing, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Economy, Making money

That sinking sensation


There are a few quests I've done so far that have really made me squirm. I play Horde, and you just know that most things the Forsaken are wrapped up in are going to be kind of dodgy. A lot of our early questing in Northrend concerns the Apothecary Society's attempts to find a Scourge-specific plague (...right), and that doesn't end particularly well. I can sort of accept that, because the quest series skates a thin moral line between plausible deniability on the character's part as to the apothecaries' true intentions, and what actually ends up happening. But there's one quest in particular that has nothing to do with the apothecaries that really gave me pause. It's actually one that has an Alliance equivalent as well, although it ends somewhat differently there.

If you're not that far into Dragonblight quests and don't want to be spoiled, I'm putting it behind the cut.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Quests, Lore, Wrath of the Lich King

Dealing with real-life tragedy in an online world

Recently, the guild All Good Things on Kargath lost one of their longtime players. Feelan, one of their guild's holy priests, passed away from cancer in early December -- shortly after he was finally able to meet his online friends. Now the guildmates are wondering what they can do to remember their friend in-game. Kesryth suggests that Blizzard add Feelan's character to one of the floating islands in Nagrand, where he can stand and watch the sunset in his favorite zone.

As unlikely as that sounds, Blizzard has done almost exactly the same thing before. The NPC Caylee Dak, on the Aldor Rise, memorializes a member of the guild "Boulderfist Heroes" who died of cancer. Caylee wears the exact same gear that she had when Dak (the player behind the avatar) passed away. Her faithful pet stands by her side. Caylee is even the ending point of a quest for Alliance players to deliver her a poem about death.

Players have made their own memorials to lost friends. An Alliance guild walked a dead guildmate's character (played by his wife) to one of the towers in Hillsbrad, where he enjoyed to PvP. A score of Chinese gamers held a hilltop service for a girl who died from ... uh, apparently playing too much WoW. Blizzard memorialized one of its own at the Shrine of the Fallen Warrior in the Barrens. And, of course, there's the infamous funeral-crashing of Serenity Now on Illidan.

It's tough to figure out how to deal with death on the internet. On one hand, people can form deep attachments in community games such as WoW. But on the other hand, there's a strong contingent of idiots on the forums posting stuff like "lol wut did he drop?" whenever someone on a server dies. What do you think is the appropriate way to handle the death of a fellow player?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Guilds, Forums

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