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Etherea: Dark Genesis
A Tale in the Desert Griefing E-mail
Monday, 30 January 2006
The first case of griefing in the three years story of A Tale in the Desert happened. Teppy, Pharaoh of Egypt and head of the dev team, meditates the happening.
In other news...  A Tale in the Desert will celebrate its 3-year anniversary next month. In that time I've done a lot of interviews, and one question that inevitably comes up is "in what ways has the game gone differently than you expected?" My answer often takes the interviewer by surprise: I fully expected this unique form of in-game democracy that we use, to breed an ever-growing, increasingly intrusive government, just as real-world democracy often does. In fact, one big advantage I saw to Tellings was the chance to undo the implosion that I thought was inevitable. The culture that evolved in ATITD was just the opposite, and I still don't have a good explanation. The force of law has always been applied with the lightest touch. And it's not just in law that Egypt has been cautious...
In three years we've elected about 20 Demi-Pharaohs, players with the power to permanently exile up to 7 of their countrymen. And in three years, that power has never been used...
Until this week. The circumstances were unremarkable. A player, Pili, was accused of griefing by another player. This other player contacted Demi-Pharaoh Deeva, who investigated, and determined to her satisfaction that the griefing did in fact take place. She traveled by chariot to Sinai, and used the power of the Demi-Pharaoh to permanently exile Pili.
I wonder what this all means. Is it just a single griefer that will soon be forgotten, or have we broken a taboo that has existed now for three years? Are we now more willing to let power be wielded? This newsletter is going out to over 40,000 people. If one of you could take a moment to file it away, and observe the character of Egypt over the next year, I think it would be a most fascinating study. Let's have a chat a year from now.

On the Nile,
Teppy (Pharaoh)
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