Tales from The Trenches Archive

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Superman’s Useless Morning Jog

A few years ago, I was a Game Master for a fairly popular MMO. One of the benefits of this job was our ability to play on GM accounts that had access to special commands that could make our characters invisible, invincible, able to take on the appearance of any model in the game, adjust our size.

However, with great power comes great responsibility or at least insane oversight. These accounts were watched over carefully and we were advised to stay invisible any time we used these characters on a live server and to only actually play the characters on the test server where our shenanigans could not have rippling effects on the game’s economy or possibly be overseen by players.

The downside to this is that it absolutely ruined the “normal” game for me. I had somehow found my way into a job that allowed me to literally play an MMO all day long should I want to do so, but the GM tools destroyed all desire I had to actually play it. Once you are given an account that can make that special rare sword appear in a few keystrokes, suddenly forming parties with real players and running a dungeon that only has a small chance of dropping it becomes a ridiculously arduous task for a marginal reward.

You might be thinking, “Well, just play in the test server,” but even that becomes dull after you have god-mode. The game’s verisimilitude is destroyed when you can one-shot kill a world boss. When there is no challenge and there is no reward, you are no longer gaming. It becomes an empty task like Superman going for a light morning jog.

There are a few jokes to make with these types of tools to amuse yourself and other GMs like porting other GMs into deep, deep holes that contain nothing but fire. However, these pranks were really all just permutations of the same joke where we slightly inconvenienced another god for the minute it took them to laugh and type a slash command to restore themselves to immortality.

Maybe the Greeks had it right. Maybe there is a pantheon of narcissistic immortals that invented us and mortality to bring consequence to their squabbles. If so, they had it right. I have no doubt the GM tools would be endlessly entertaining had we permission to unleash them on the foolish, mortal players.