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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Out Of This World Griefing

So my post Uncharted 2 pick up was Demon's Souls, which I'm quite enjoying and will have some more thoughts on shortly after an extended note on Uncharted 2 itself.

But I did want to call out a specific thing that I had found, and apparently am not alone. The game world in Demon's Souls is connected to other players most prominently with blazing red messages on the ground left by other players while playing. These are created by combining stock words and phrases and so will usually convey some kind of warning to other players, like "Watch Out" or "Beware of the ambush ahead". If someone finds your message helpful, they'll recommend it and your health will be refilled (though this rarely happens at truly useful moments).

However - some people will place completely false statements and at times, even harmful ones. Like saying "It's safe here" in the line of dragonfire, or trying to trick the player into jumping off a cliff, or placing the message right where a trap would be triggered.

It's griefing. Even though the griefer will never see the grief play out. I suppose they could stand around all day hoping one of the game's ghostly renditions of other players will happen to portray falling for the trap - but that could be a very long wait and I've never really known griefers to be the patient sort.

It's weird to me because I keep asking myself - what does this say about griefing and I'm really not sure. But I think it says that at the of the day, the real or at least a substantial motivation is just griefing itself. It's thinking you're just so darn clever for devising the prank, that it doesn't really matter if nobody falls for it. It's this incredible narcissism.

Fortunately, it's pretty minor in Demon's Souls. Partially because you learn to be cautious about everything you do, and partially because you get so used to dying that you're almost glad it wasn't a creepy mind flayer with a bell this time.

Not kidding. Mind flayer with a bell. Love it.

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