MMO Jails and Virtual Porridge

The latest RPG Scrollbars weekly column from Richard Cobbett focuses on jails in MMO. Specifically, we're talking about the jails developers have set up for players who cheat and use exploits, rather than any in-game crime system. Here's an example from Guild Wars 2:

Guild Wars 2 – Rata Sum

And finally, something a little different again. Rata Sum is the home city of the Asura, a race of genius gnome creatures with no regard for safety and therefore even less for safety railings. Their city is a huge cube stretching out into the sky. It’s not that hard to fall off the sides, and come to a squishy death. With care and the right equipment though, it’s possible to survive the fall and end up in an uncharted underworld beneath the city that you’re not actually meant to be able to drop down and visit.

Now, traditionally developers look down on this. If you’re the first to find an exploit, you’ll hopefully be let off if you can get away with saying that you just stumbled across it. After that though, suspensions and bans are quite common until the hole can be fixed – either sealing up a hole in the geometry or adding a death field or something like that. In Guild Wars 2’s case, explorers underneath Rata Sum promptly found themselves taken to jail… specifically, Rata Sum’s own peacekeeping cells. Later updates made it even easier to be zapped there. However, unlike most jail-worthy acts, Arenanet isn’t actually that serious. Sure, other players can come and stare at you… but you can beam out whenever you like using the standard Waypoint teleportation system, and there’s even a Trophy for having served some time in a cell.