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Sorta OT: My ethics paper

Discussion in 'Single Player Forum' started by Chiastic, Jun 22, 2005.

  1. Chiastic

    Chiastic IncGamers Member

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    Sorta OT: My ethics paper

    Like the title says, I'm in the middle of an ethics course at school and was recently assigned a paper on arbitrary ethical systems. Specifically, I'm supposed to find such a system and examine its behavior over about ten pages and, you guessed it, I've decided to use the SPF as my example due to the fact that the ethical guidelines for playing D2 that this place hews to are 1) quite complex when you take them all together, 2) often and rigorously debated and 3) suitably "irrational" (academic code-word for arbitrary). Oh yeah, and 4) being an online forum where I can just top-post and ask for everyone's input at once, gathering data will hopefully be very easy. :teeth:

    Anyway, I have about a month to get this done, and I'd like to have everyone who'd like to participate start off by chiming in with their definition of "legit" so I can get a decent baseline to work with. Being as specific as possible would be much appreciated. Also, please be aware that some of you will be directly quoted (by forum nick), which I'm required to inform you of despite the fact that nobody other than myself and my professor are probably ever going to read this thing. You're free to chime in if you don't want to be directly quoted as well, just please indicate as much in your initial post (you only need to opt out of the quote business once. I'll be keeping track).

    Also, if any of the mods around here object to this little project, please let me know and I'll take this show elsewhere.

    Thanks in advance for everyone's input. I'm sure you folks are good for an 'A' on this sucker. :flip:

    EDIT: Oh, one more thing before I forget: I haven't been around this forum for very long, so if anyone would like to provide me with an overview of the history of this place (how ATMA came to be accepted, for example), I'd be much obliged.
     
  2. killmesh

    killmesh IncGamers Member

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    Totally off-topic, nonsensical post deleted. - AE
     
  3. randy

    randy IncGamers Member

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    I think most people will say that 'legit' specifically refers to vanilla DII and LOD played without any non-official (Blizzard) mods, accepting of course ATMA which is an interesting case in of it's self as it certainly does change the game.

    Having recently come back to Diablo after a long hiatus some of the decision's made by Blizzard specifically regarding the things ATMA 'fixes' seem to me to be very strange.

    But not to derail, for myself playing legit is more then just a technical term discribing my software setup. I really like to roleplay my characters and I proscribe a certain set of standards or ethics on each character as I play them. For instance unless I'm playing a Fallen Blackguard Palladin I try not to let my Palladins pop tombs or graves.

    I'm pretty sure though you're more interested in the mod / trading aspects and I guess RTB's mods in particular which I'm pretty sure I'll try if I ever start another HC melee character. I personally have no problem at all with those mods as I'm pretty sure they've enhanced peoples enjoyment of the game hugely and would have no problem including them in my definition of legit but it's be a very safe bet to say others will strongly disagree.

    I suppose you could say that playing legit is simply playing with respect and honesty, declaring what mods you use, not duping, introducing suspect items to the economy etc.

    I hope that helps a little.
     
  4. sirpoopsalot

    sirpoopsalot IncGamers Member

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    This is my 2 cents on Legit, but many others are sure to have different opinions (which is good - otherwise we'd be a cult :) ).

    1. No hacks, dupes, and mods (errr... I once installed the FE reduced mod for the ancients but forgot to change my shortcut. Realized this after the battle (with many deaths), so uninstalled it without ever having tried it, lol).

    2. Never set map seeds. If you loose a great map, it's your own fault (even if it was accidental). Reseting after MP is NOT ok. IMO, you have much more potential benefit from MP play than SP (more diverse/complimentary skills = faster kills, more drops, & safer play - even with higher monster HP), so that benefit must have some negative side-effects.

    3. Minimal hand-me downs and trading. That is, if you aren't capable of finding a specific item yourself with your current characters level and abilities, you don't deserve that item yet. But if you've got 6 Shaftstop's it's ok to trade one for your first Duriel's Shell. Trading 5 of them for a Windforce is a different story though, especialy if you're level 60. (that's just an example - i have no idea what the trade value of items is).

    4. Muling self-found items onto your other character's is a grey area for me. I do it, but I don't consider my twinked characters to be as legit as my untwinked characters. Then again, what good is that IK armor going to do the sorc who found it?

    For me: Fun > legit ... but: Fun < (legit * 2) ... if that makes any sense ...

    Edit: ... which it doesn't.
     
  5. Kremtok

    Kremtok IncGamers Member

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    This sounds like a very good project! Please share the final product with us; we'd love to have an objective point of view on how things work around here. I'll refrain from publicly sharing my opinion in the interest of ensuring your survey results aren't affect by my remarks.

    Personally, I don't object to the topic of this project. Please send a Private Message to both AlterEgo and Elly with a link to this thread. Each of them should review it and give their "blessing" as well.

    Good luck with the project!
     
  6. Kaysaar

    Kaysaar IncGamers Member

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    Consider addressing the ethics of using a program like ATMA. We all strive for the utmost in legitimate items, yet we still use an outside, non-Blizzard program. The ethics behind the legitimacy of adding a feature that exists in multiplayer, yet was omitted in Single Player could be worth a few pages.

    I also think that your going to have to take some time to develop what you think legitimate is. It's easy to say that legitimate is playing Vanilla D2. Yet still many ATMA users say that they play legitimately, but clearly muling in SP was not a feature of Vanilla D2. Is modifying single player to have the same features as multiplayer still legitimate? Can we do this because we feel that it's only fair that we have the same features battle.net has?

    I'd consider addressing the fact that what we find to be legitimate is basically relative to the equal play that we feel we deserve. For many of us, having the same abilities as out multiplayer brethren is important.

    *Note - This poster supports the use of ATMA, and thinks it's the greatest thing since sliced bread.

    As for the history of ATMA, I'm not entirely sure how it started, but about 1-2 years ago there was a forum-wide schism about the usage of ATMA and the support of the admins. I'd pm AE, Kremtok or another long time SPF member about that, since it can still be a touchy subject, and the mods have generally requested that we leave this history behind us.
     
  7. Shakes

    Shakes IncGamers Member

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    I think that it's more than suitably irrational ... it's probably the most irrational belief system about a game you'll find. I can't think of any other game discussion forum where a third party program that modifies your save files (ie ATMA) is universally accepted while a feature supported by an unaltered game executable to change the colour of something on the screen (ie red runes) is likely to cause intense debate. ;)

    Legit is a simple ethical concept to me really. It means being honest in your dealings with other people about the game. You can use a drop mod and be legit, so long as you let other people know you use it. Simiarly, I don't believe in the idea of "taint". If you trade for an item in good faith, you're still legit, regardless of how the item was created. The other person is the non-legit one, they're the one who has wilfully mislead another person about their game setup. However if you trade to rip someone off, you're not legit in my view.

    In short, being legit is about intention. As soon as your intention is to deceive other people, whether it's about the source of your items or how you achieved your character level, you're no longer legit. Someone who creates items in an item editor but who's honest about it might not get a lot of respect for their playing style, but they're still legit, where as a red rune user who deliberately obscures that fact in order to complete a trade is not legit.

    The interesting thing I see here is people worry about whether other people are legit a lot. In my view, it doesn't matter, even if you trade with them. If you trade with someone non-legit, but do so in good faith (which includes not taking any "too good to be true" offers), you're still legit. I see no need for a witch hunt. The idea that it's OK to attempt mass humiliation and shunning of someone over an item that's not affecting anyone else (and if they're not trading, there really is no argument that it does affect anyone) is a really interesting study in ethics I think. Tis a truly strange belief system where one can believe they're on the moral high ground because they care more about the supposed ethical purity of their 0s and 1s more than a fellow human being. I think looking indepth at how such a belief system comes to be accepted would make a good research paper.
     
  8. mad.as.a.meataxe

    mad.as.a.meataxe IncGamers Member

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    While once upon a time legit at the SPF would have meant Vanilla D2 & LOD with Blizz-only patches the recent acceptance of mods means that that definition is no longer true. You can be both a mod player and legit.

    Therefore the only defining aspect of "legitness" IMO is honesty as to what mods you do or do not use and whether you've hacked/duped/used the -commands along the way (eg -seed). This allows others to decide whether they wish to trade/MP with full knowledge of your history.

    People's individual play styles have no bearing on legitness whatsoever.

    Hope this helps.

    MAAM
     
  9. frosty

    frosty IncGamers Member

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    Legit for me will be no hacks and dupes. Mods that does not affect gameplay are still acceptable but gameplay changing ones will have to be kept separate. I am not implying that other mods are not legit, but it's just that I like to keep them separate.

    There are many viewpoints concerning ATMA, and i prefer to think it of a massive mule that transfers stuff from one char to another.

    As for trading/MP, the most important point I think should be honesty in declaring what you do on your computer as in trading/MP your actions will affect other people.

    Hope I didn't offend anyone. :p

    @Chiastic: good luck on your paper! An interesting topic I must say. :D
     
  10. Boulos

    Boulos IncGamers Member

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    Woot, ethics! I was a Philosophy major in college and took every ethics class they offered. :)

    "Legit" in D2 to me means honesty. This is a single player game for the most part, so what you do on your computer with your game is your business. If you want to hack a 1-handed weapon that you can use at level 1 and does 500,000 damage, then go for it...if it's fun for you. But, you have to disclose this information when dealing with others in trades or MP games. If you want to dupe your El rune 400,000,000,000 times to make a Zod, go for it. But you have to disclose this information when dealing with others in trades or MP games. So, that's it...legit is doing what you want with the game, but not letting it affect the way others want to play their game.

    Feel free to quote my mad ramblings...but do so at your own risk. :lol:
     
  11. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo IncGamers Member

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    Ethics, schmethics... :D I'm not belittling your topic Chiastic! I rather like the idea of giving this a spin.

    Can there be ethics in a PC game, or an on-line forum consisting of it's obesssed :) followers? I'm not so sure. I guess there can be explicit or implied "rules of engagement" (e.g declaring that you use the FE mod when trading), or individuals stating their "true path" (e.g I play only HC, untwinked, full-clear, etc.). But can there exist ethics in the sense of right versus wrong? I don't think so. (I'm sure HBB will crucify me over this simplification! :uhhuh: )

    IMO, Diablo II is a game, like all others, that allows us to spend/waste our free time doing something we enjoy. We can choose to play the same way as others, whether in the SPF or at the Phrozen Keep (for example), or give it a go on our own, doing what we feel is fun (e.g, Nightfish). Is there an ethical question at all in either of these choices? I don't think so.

    Concerning the acceptance of ATMA and all that history, IMO, it really had nothing to do with ethics. It had to do much more with following rules & protocol - oh, and communication!
     
  12. shermo

    shermo IncGamers Member

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    I'd have to disagree with you on this one. And I'd hope that most people would too. Suppose someone duped a Lo rune and then traded it to you for Grizwold's set, Griffons eye and a few other things. Would you still consider that to be a legitimate Lo rune? If that rune hadn't been duped you never would have got it, so you're benefitting from duping, whether you did the duping or not.

    The rules of the forum are laid down by the admins and mods, but us forumites can influence this too. We hear "do whatever you want as long as you declare it in a MP game or trade" quite often nowadays. AFAIK this has always been the rule but not so long ago you'd never have heard anyone saying it.

    We've lost a lot of the "old-timers" from here, and they were always the most stingent of legitness issues. Likewise, we've gained a lot of new members from bnet. It seems like this has brought about a more relaxed issue to duping/hacking.

    IMO it'd be most interesting to do a study on how things have changed, it's just a pity you havent been here a bit longer,
     
  13. HBeachBabe

    HBeachBabe IncGamers Member

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    actually, I think we are mostly on the same page here. My first thoughts on the topic however were what was being described as "legit" - gameplay or the player? "Legit" gameplay would seem to be following the rules of the game as laid down by the maker of the game. Using this definition, using mods can still be legit, so long as the rules of the mod are followed. Seems simple enough but there can still be debate e.g. the "marrowwalk bug." Is exploiting this undocumented "feature" "legit" or not. It's not clear whether this behavior of the code was intended by the game designers (my guess is no) but my strict interpretation, it is allowed in game and therefore making use of it is "legit" by that standard. However, in this context, ethics has nothing to do with anything as there is no moral question of "right" vs. "wrong" in single player. There are simply personal ethics ("I will not cheat") but ultimately, it's along the lines of flipping that 4th card in solitary. There is no "sin" here.

    However, "legit" could also refer to to a player and then ethics can become involved. As above, not in the sense that a player cheats, but that a player deceives others about his cheating when interacting with them. A "legit" player is honest with other forumites in all his dealings, from trading and MPing to simply bragging about his latest finds. Here, ethics come in to play in that your actions can affect others and can affect the entire community to some degree. the "right vs. wrong" moral question then comes in to play. "Right" in this case meaning "being honest" and "wrong" being "dishonesty."

    ATMA is a discussion unto itself. Currently, the proper use of ATMA is seen as "legit" so long as it is used as the creator intended. In this sense, it's not much different from the ethics of playing a mod, with the exception being that forumites assume you use ATMA as a baseline - that, use of ATMA is implied simply by being here. You don't need to announce it in your trade posts. Some people may frown on ATMA and they are free to not trade or MP with those who do. Neither is more "legit" than the other so long as use or non-use is established before interaction.

    I have more, but need to go get ready for a day at Sea World. I'll check back in a couple of days and see how things are progressing.
     
  14. Gohanman

    Gohanman IncGamers Member

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    The "classic" definition, as I remember it [feel free to correct].

    Any hacked or duped item is tainted. Using such an item makes a character tainted. MPing with a tainted character taints your own character. Any item found by a tainted character is also tainted.

    I think many of us apply the same thinking to mods, as they're becoming more accepted.

    On trades: if you end up with a tainted item as a result of a trade, you delete it. If you still have a copy of the mule you sent in exchange for the tainted item, restoring your item is generally acceptable [because the person passing tainted item probably got smacked with ye olde ban stick]. If you don't still have a copy, the generosity of the forum will often cover one's loss.

    I'd echo what AE said about the ATMA debacle. It basically came down to poor communication and a whole mess of it before cooler heads prevailed.

    Site admins, mostly b.net people, take notice of ATMA. As a 3rd party program, their initial impression is that it's unacceptable. There are some moderator issues that really spark things, but I don't think they're that relevant to the overall story.

    Giganto flame wars ensue. Bannings get handed out in pretty large numbers.

    Discussions calm. The fact is muling, although not intended by Blizzard for single player OR b.net, has become a major part of the game. Given the relative rarity of many items, most no one has a problem with muling. The main objection of the admins is that ATMA contains character editing features (my guess - and this is strictly a guess - is these exist as a result of Doc playing around with character files and trying to figure out how they work).

    Since these editing features really aren't used by anyone anyway, Doc disables the editing. Everyone finds the resulting program to be acceptable. Forum life moves on.

    [Again, additions or corrections are acceptable to the ATMA tale]
     
  15. TheNix

    TheNix IncGamers Member

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    When I first came to the SPF, some 3 or so years ago, the ethics here were a real eye opener. Up until that time the majority of my D2 experience was when I when over to a friends house and we would play on his four networked computers. We would routinely use the -act5 command to create characters to play with, exactly he same as back in the old days when we played D&D and would roll up a 5 or 10 level character so we didn't run screaming from a couple of kobolds. I could not believe it when I came here to find that the -act5 command was a giant no-no, even for mules, and that cheats like ATMA and the players command were part of legitimate play. To the group of players I use to play with these were no better than editors. I have since been seduced by the dark side and couldn't see myself playing D2 without them. A community creates its own ethics based on the beliefs of the majority of its members. My old playing group all play bnet now, and consider still ATMA a cheat. In fact, according to them, the only reason you play SP is so you can cheat. Bnet is the only place for truly legitimate play. :rolleyes:
     
  16. BennB

    BennB IncGamers Member

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    If its your PC, your game, your time then the only ethics that apply are your own. When you start involving other people their ethics effect what is acceptable.

    When using the SPF the ethics and rules, written or un-written apply....

    I myself like the vanilla D2x. Their are plenty of people who use mods and plenty who don't. IMO... You take the good with the bad e.g. put up with the FE bug and use the Marrowalk bug.
     
  17. farting bob

    farting bob Banned

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    In SP i say that legit is using only official patches by blizz and a store brought game. Any 3rd party program therefore makes it illegit.
    The obviosu exception as far as the forum goes is ATMA, which after some 'Heated debates' was accepted into the SPF way of life. Interstingly, it used to have features enabled that allowed for some character editing, but these were disabled permanently in later versions thankfully.
    Anyway, i think ethics exsist in gaming and online communities, but its different to real world ethics. Here, ethics really is just playing the game fairly (if you play with others) and going along with what the forum accepts. However, the final decision is entirely up to the user. They can decide what they do and what they use. Even if it is 'illegit' it does not necessary raise any ethical issues for that person, if they are comfortable with it.
     
  18. Thirty-Thirty

    Thirty-Thirty IncGamers Member

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    Hmmmm. Since there's the whole "your PC is your business" thing, ethics only really features when you start interacting with other players within the game. On your PC, do whatever you want to the game that means you'll have fun.

    As trading goes, there's a very simple way that the pool stays fairly clean. If you're going to hack an item to trade for another item, why not just hack the other item? Most of the trade pool then stays clean. Even so, I kind of treat the trade forum as a black box. If I trade item X for item Y, its a fair trade, and I can't tell whether Y is hacked, then I'm still content that my pool is clean.

    As far as MPing goes, its just hectic ROAR. If you don't like manner of play of the guy who's joined your game, kick him. Similarly, you can just leave the game.
     
  19. Flamearrows

    Flamearrows IncGamers Member

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    Interesting. I consider that the fact that we all take this game so seriously, and have created sets of arbitrary rules to enforce this behaviour (i.e. rules of trading forum etc.), as to create a sense of right and wrong. Anyone who interacts with this forum is assessed as per the guidelines that we have created - anyone who cheats and openly declares it is decried. Those who profess to play the "true" way, as stated above are accepted into the community. This is enough to create good and evil - indeed, many of the more fanatical SPF members consider that battle.net with it's widespread duping etc. as the "darkside", representing evil and SP as good, in a classical "us and them" approach. So I believe that there is a strong code of ethics in play here - the presence of moderators alone attests to that.

    Very interesting stuff. Can I get a copy of the paper when it's done? flamearrows at gmail.com if you'll be so kind.

    flamearrows
     
  20. NSXdreamer

    NSXdreamer IncGamers Member

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    Nothing to add on the subjet, but if I were your prof, I probably won't be impressed with a paper on gaming forum on the internet. Then again, I'm in science field and aren't as flexible on topic selection than those wanky dinky subjects. :p
     

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