Saturday, May 21, 2011

Case of Twixt: revisited

Have you heard about Twixt case in City of Heroes MMORPG? Those who haven't, I strongly recommend reading the document under link. Long story short, David Myers, Loyola professor, sociologist, conducted a unique experiment, testing just how much the rules and laws can be affected and twisted by social interactions.

City of Heroes/Villains is more or less typical MMORPG, where players assume roles of, guess, superheroes and supervillains. It was released in 2004 and is still alive by now, with last revision dated to November 2010. When Myers started his experiment in 2006, it already was quite mature game with a lot of high-level players and established community. Myers' PC, teleportation-based hero Twixt, was well-known and respected by fellow gamers. And professor decided to do the unthinkable - to play according to official rules.

Namely, he started to employ each and every technique to make the righteousness side prevail and evil ones suffer, everywhere and anytime, which obviously included disrupting peaceful side-by-side farming of heroes and villains. His common trick was teleportation of foes into range of powerful NPC drones, which pulverized villains instantly. Regardless of means, over the next year Twixt managed to "win the zone" for Heroes literally hundreds of times, which was supposed to be the main goal for players... right?

Apparently, no, as Twixt was hated, hated, HATED in every server he appeared. From normal point of view, his actions were pure trolling. For complete description how he was threatened and ostracized see the link in the beginning of the post, but the most interesting result, IMHO, was that practically noone realized or even tried to realize the motives of Twixt's behavior, even though he tried to explain it at first. Once going against the rules of society the individual started self-enhancing chain of events, leading to complete isolation.

There may or may not be correspondences between game and reality, that's for you to decide. Why I decided to revive a story of 2 years old? Merely because I stumbled upon the blog of kind, kind professor. He actually writes quite interesting things both about game stuff and completely unrelated matters, I recommend you to glance it through. And check "CoH/V" tag for additional Twixt-related studies.


  1. Really interesting game...I think i'm going to try it :)

  2. Interesting, I didn't knew that

  3. I've heard of this before, pretty surreal.