Faces of Grief
As Bartle pointed out in his Player Types paper, Achievers and Griefers are different points on the same spectrum - Achievers act on the world while Griefers act on other players. A factor-based model of player motivations created from player survey data suggests that a desire for power and control are the underlying themes that connect Achievers and Griefers. Achievers enjoy the power derived from items and abilities and the increased control these give them over the game world (faster movement, better protection, etc.). Griefers on the other hand enjoy the power derived from dominating or tricking other players and the control this gives them over other players. The underlying similarity between Achievers and Griefers is supported by survey data. These two motivations are highly correlated (r = .40, N = 1995).
Unsolicited or unbalanced player-killing is the most straight-forward form of griefing - it in essence deprives another player of all his power and in the process demonstrates the griefer's dominance and control over other people.
Most games (like Lineage 2) have an XP penalty when you die, and if someone targets you and stalks you while you play to just kill you multiple times, it's depressing/angering. Especially if you're a higher level. Imagine spending 10 hours hunting, having a good time, playing with friends, only to have all of the work you've done erased by one guy, who is level ridiculous, who arbitrarily decided to kill you 15 times. Granted it could just be avoided most times by logging out for awhile, but then that causes moral issues with giving into the bastard who is killing you, and letting him ruin your gaming experience for the night. And well, either way it's a lose lose in that case. You either log out, and your game for the night is ruined, or you keep trying to play, and he keeps killing you, and you loose a lot of work and effort. Although at least with the latter you don't feel like he truly defeated you. Or rather, I don't. [Lineage 2, M, 19]
Player Killing. It's the most rude obnoxious thing that folks 'say' is in the spirit of the game, but yet RARELY is even close to anything enjoyable for anyone but the PK'rs themselves. Don't get me wrong, PK'ing can be fun, when it's taken seriously and involves strategy. Sadly, it's rarely for that reason, but more often just to irritate and annoy other players. [F, 44]
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