MMORPGs are afflicted by a host of social problems, including dishonesty, theft, malice, and petty disregard. In this Soapbox, MIT's David Edery suggests a solution, a feedback system to make reputation a more important factor in MMO player behavior.
In this section, Edery suggests some practical ways to make this concept seem less artificial:
"There's something less-than-romantic about giving someone a rating at the end of a joint quest. One way to combat that sentiment is to employ a little bit of storytelling in the rating system. In a fantasy-themed game, you wouldn't be “giving someone a rating,” you'd be “carrying word of their deeds back to court (or the tavern)” – or something like that.
In fact, if you really wanted to be cute, you could design the system so that reputation stats aren't propagated until a player reaches an inn or speaks with a bard. And ratings should be displayed in as subtle a manner as possible, except when players actively choose to drill down into them.
Perhaps a small tool-tip-like window (summarizing the ratings given and received by a player) could appear when your mouse hovers over that player's name, or the crest on their armor."
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