This is just a tangent post on a thought that popped in my head and has been evolving as I wrote this.
Good vs Evil, moral vs immoral, right and wrong, black and white. In real life, these are all terms that most people will view based on a large amount of different variables; such as their society, country, origins, heritage, ect... In not so real life though, like video games; how do these interact with the human psyche?
Some would say that people would still be themselves in most cases; while others would say it brings out extremism in the person or group of players. I agree with the second option purely because like minded people will usually congregate together in their own little niches. You see this in near every game regardless of genre; you have your raiders, casuals, in-betweeners, hardcore always online people, weekend warriors, once a month loggers, traders, industrialists, scammers, gankers, thieves, white knights, philanthropists, beggers, and I could go on and on. The point is, there are as many niches and cliches of gamers in any given virtual world as you have in the real world, only amplified. So many options exist, its hard to not have something for everyone.
Whats missing for me, though, in many games, are consequences or reactions brought on by my actions. For example, I could go white knight, support newbies and donate every last coin to the betterment of these new arrivals. What does that get me; fame, notoriety, coin for myself? Perhaps all three, nothing or maybe more, but why would I do that? Do I enjoy it? Well, I wouldnt do it if I didnt. What would happen if I went the opposite direction in action?
Stealing, thieving, scamming, ganking, just being an all out dick to people. When I see a new player, telling them to get a donation, they must target me and type /d. Or /q to bring up their quest window that doesnt exist and instead getting kicked out of the game. How about joining a guild or corporation and earning the trust of those players over a period of months, the long haul; then just taking everything they've worked for to build the group up and wiping it out in seconds?? Eventually, my name would circulate enough to where I wouldnt be able to continue on this path; however, once a game reaches a certain size, relocation becomes a viable alternative to deleting the character.
In both scenarios, there is no actual consequence to my actions or inactions. I could do both, and just make a new character to be evil with where it wont effect the reputation my good actions have garnered on the main. I could just delete that evil asshole of a character and go good with the stolen assets; turning over a new lead while using them in a different area of the game just so another player could steal them in the same manner as I did (albeit not on purpose).
What can be done for either scenario so that the consequences are actually felt by the player?? I dont mean the adrenaline rush of a barely completed gank or the good butterflies in the belly feeling of helping a truly new person and perhaps helping in get that "hook" into them to stay with this game? To be honest, I dont know. Losing a ship for ganking another is not enough. Ill just replace it. Sec status, Ill just rat it back up or buy tags. Helping those newbies out? They wont even notice when Ive left the world they still enjoy (although, they might remember "that one guy" who helped when they first started).
I want a game where the repercussions of my actions or inactions are felt and that if they are big enough, reverberate throughout the entire game. Dont misunderstand though, I dont want to be born into this world a hero or villain. I want to work for those mage spells or sword skills as well as earn that hero's reputation or villains infamy. I want the actions of other players to be felt and be meaningful to me in some way. A hero kills a dragon and saves my newbie ass village from destruction? I should have some connection to that hero. Or the opposite, a villain comes and takes over my little town with arcane and evil magics, I should see and feel the difference from before compared to the aftermath on a long term, semi permanent scale until someone comes along to challenge the new norms.
Actions and reactions should be felt. I feel that is a key factor missing in many of the MMOs in the last decade. Or maybe Im just a bitter old MMO gamer.