EQ2’s Prison Server Experiment (Blaugust #21)

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In case you haven’t heard already, later this week Everquest 2 will release a Prison Server known as Drunder, where players who are consistently disruptive or break the rules of the game will be sent and will never return from.

I’m not even exaggerating — players who get sent to Drunder will have their entire account sent there. No characters can exist outside of Drunder if you’re sent there, and you’ll never come back. Players can request to be sent there via a support petition, but again, they will not be able to transfer off.

These are just my personal thoughts on the plan, but I find this idea…intriguing. Part of that might just be because I’m reading a space opera about a prison ship and am reminiscing about a prison server I played on in Neverwinter Nights (not the same kind of prison!) where you were a prisoner and had to work your ass off and try to escape.

I can understand why they want to do something like this: disruptive players are problematic to the rest of your community, and banning them means they don’t get to play at all any more. This way they can still play, without causing problems for other “law-abiding” players.

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However, there are a few things that I find worrying about this as well. The fact that they receive no customer support once you get sent to Drunder, for one thing. I truly believe in the ability for someone to reform their behaviour, and that’s pretty unlikely to happen if the players you’re playing with all the time are “just as bad” as you were when you were sent to Drunder.

I also question the motivations — is it really just to send them there so you don’t have to worry about them any more but they still get to play the game? Or does the team believe that people will realise the error of their ways after playing with other players like themselves? Again, if they’re always around bad players and cannot contact support or create characters elsewhere, reforming is not only unlikely to happen, but it’s also pretty pointless. Why improve your behaviour when you get nothing out of it?

All in all, it’s an experiment and I’m interested to see what happens and whether it works. I hope the team will keep sharing with the gaming community what the results are!

If you’re interested, you can read the forum post announcing the EQ2 Prison Server Experiment here. What are your thoughts on doing something like this?