[MUD-Dev] Life

Jeff Kesselman jeffk at tenetwork.com
Tue Jun 3 22:31:31 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

At 09:33 PM 6/3/97 PST8PDT, Adam Wiggins wrote:
>> Because roleplayers play with respect for each others characters and
>> stories and do not intentionally impinge on them or take control away.
>I still think our definition of role-playing differs.  I think of
>role-playing in the old style; you ARE your character, at least for
>that three hour session or whatever.  You think like them, behave like
>them, and do what they would do.  


>The role-playing you are refering to seems to stem more from either
>pen and paper RPGs I haven't played (quite possible, there are certainly
>enough of them) or from your time on certain kinds of muds.  This is
>roleplaying where you're more of an author for a story, the centerpiece
>of which is a character which you've created.  Rather than thinking in
>terms of how the character will necessarily behave in a given situation,
>you like to take into account the desires of all the other player characters

No, thats not quite it.

When I roleplay, I am in fact method-acting, which is my own personal love.
 However, the goal is to play a hero.  A schmuck most of us can do in real
life whenever we want.  A hero is definedby his or her relationship to the
story in which he is embedded.  To serious "immersive" pen and paper gamers
(and btw I have yet to reach the level of immersion in an online game that
I do pen and paper, I'm still musing out why) they are the main character
in a heroic story.  I don't have any urge to immerse myself in the real
life of a medevil schmuck.. thats worse then now.   The hero though is
something i enjoy experienceing, just as I enjoy the vicarious experience
of that hero's life in a book or movie.

Thsi is why it coems back down to "story".  I roll up a charatcer, he goes
out around town, meets a few people, gets jumped and dies.  Thats not the
story of a hero.  A heroic story shoudl have a grand climax. One shoudl at
least die in teh pursuit of something great (be it good or evil).  Ild
argue (and have in articles in the past) that the manner of oens death more
then anything else speerates the hero from the man on teh street.  Average
peopel die for a lot of very stupid and pointless reasons, but heros don't.

Anyway, the Roleplayers I've played with were all seriously immersive and
obtaine enjoyment from getting into their characters heads, they also
implicitly understood that to every OTEHR player they were a MINOR
character.  They are only the major character in their own story.  This
precludes them from killing each other out.  Moreover, they would not even
trhow major chnages into the characters background withotu their consent
(ie It would be the hight of impolite for me to roll up your character's
brother and start playign it without your consent.)  

I suppsoe you can look at it this way-- my killing you out is a very
forceful and nasty way of saying we can't BOTH be the hero, so Im the hero
and your the dead schmuck.

>present and then factor those into your character's actions.  Thus you
>end up crafting a group-story for which, as far as you are concerned, your
>character is the main persona - but you may actually change what your 

Its not a group story, thats part of the point. Its N stories for N
characters.  If it were a single group story then competition for the lead
role MIGHT make sense.

>character will do depending on what other people (real people, not NPCs)
>will be influenced by your actions, and you certainly wouldn't play a
>character that didn't fit in well with a given mud's current

>Is this correct?  The second part anyhow, I know the first is :)

Yes, the end part is correct.  Playing a charcter with no relation to the
envrionmentis generally considered a bit childish and impolite amoign the
folks I generally game with.  As an example, we had a bunch of Thri-Kreen
in DSO who decided they weer gonna be Mecha-Bugs.  Most of us thought this
silly, pointless, and less then fully mature but we left em alone to play
their game as long as they didn't impinge on the rest of us.

No skin off our nose :)

Simialrly most serious Roleplayers woudl be happy to let PvPers go ahead
and PvP if they kept it to themselves and didn't invovle those who didn't
want to be involved.

>> Pkilling as a regular thing does take control away.  Neither is right or
>> wrong, btu they are imcompatable game models.
>Yeah, hopefully I've accounted for this in the above - you consider
>the 'control' others have over a situation when considering your character's

Hmm. Not quite.  Its a matter of not seriosuly imapcting the others' story
without their approval. Did i make it cleaerer or mushier (MUSHier?) above?

>> >Yup, that's what I've been saying.  We've found that it's easy enough to
>> >make enemies that you tend to be a little careful about what you say, and
>> Hmm. Intersting. We've seen the opposite. In a heavy Pk environemnt,
>> assholes work hard to "max out" and then use it as a lever to abuse, annoy,
>> and "talk -shit" to other players.  Maybe thats a questio nto a degree of
>> your combat model.  DSO had a particualrly poor one.
>DSO is Dark Sun Online, correct?  Hum, I had one of those ten-free-hours on
>TEN CD-ROMs around here somewhere, I ought to borrow someone's PC
>one of these days and check it out so that we have a common frame
>of reference.

You are certainyl welcome to. I can send you one if yould like, though ist
just as fastto go to the web page and request one.

Thing is, today's DSO is a product of what has gone before.  Its a game
with very strict rules of behavior enforced by semi-god-like game staff.
Thsi is unfrotunate. We had no chocie however bncasue DSO was built WITHOUT
any thought to these issues and thus no in-game mechanisms to handle any of
it.  I consider administrative fixes to be the WORST answer.

Nonetheless we have a system today that more or less works.  It invovled a
carefully defined game with carefully defined codes of player conduct that
allow everyone to more or less control the type of experience they are
likely to have online.

>The one I have spent the most time on (since I have played in several
>separate periods) is Arctic MUD.  Arctic is like five years old, was
>completely unrestricted player killing from day one.  In fact, killing
>players is HIGHLY lucrative - they usually have good gear and are worth
>a large amount of exp (depending on alignment and your relative levels).
>Several of my characters there have been completely untouched by PK of
>any sort.  Several others have been hunters whose entire purpose was
>to hunt down and kill some specified other players.  Most of them
>have been involved in PK or at least had their pockets picked once or
>twice during their careers, but usually have spent the vast majority of
>their time far from anything involving harming other players.
>Some statistics, just for a frame of reference: Arctic has between 60 and
>200 people online twenty four hours a day.  

We have current hardware limit (due to bad code, one of the many reasons
for DSOII) at about 160.  DSO runs over 100 most of the day peaking at
between 150 and 160.  So the numerbs sound about comperable actually.  

I guess anoither question is "how big is the woirld" and "is tehre
something that makes people with different goals collect in different
places"?  ANMother issue with DSo frabnkly is that its too small.  We have
had to arbitrarily designate PvP and non-PvP zones because otherwise the
PvPers coudl effectively take voer the entire game and force people to
either PvP or not play.

>hour logged per month, which is ~7 years.  I realize these numbers
>might be pitiful compared to what you see on TEN, but I just wanted to
>show that it wasn't just me. :)

Well,as I said, pure combat games are very popular. Im just not convinced
the combination works.

>Of the dozens
>or possibly hundreds of PKs I was involved in, I was actually killed
>three times.  Yes, I remember all three times, and all of them were quite

AH!  A biggie here.  Its soudns like combat rarely results in death.  PvP
in DSo basicly ALWAYS resulted in death of someone.

>well that there are many who want them dead.  There are others who don't
>have anything of note, don't ever talk shit, and are basically not worth

Hmm. As I mentioned earlier Ive been thinking abotu it and i think DSO
because of its nature may have ATTRACTED immature PvP players...  so it may
be a bad example in some ways. Still its noteworthy that virtually every
comemrcial MUD type thing Ive played (in a major market) has a "no-pvp'
flag or some simialr mechanism so oyu cna avoid it.  In all the cases I
maware of except one 9where it (was happy accident) this was put in
specificly BECAUSE of problems encountered.

Anyway the typical DSo pattern was to max out, or hack, or otherwise
acquire significant power, then stand around in the most public area
talkign trash 'cause "Im SO tough I can do ANYTHING I want.." yadda yadda

When they got bored, they'ld go out and jump and kil lother players for the
cehap thrill, then come abck and make nosie about it again...

I suppose we got a bunch of total PvP jerks that created some sour
attitudes on my part. i wouldn't doubt it.

>There are
>those who help out everyone and have a lot of friends.  If they get killed,
>you can assure that the killer will be faced with people she may not even
>know attacking her wherever she goes, making her character essentially

Actually, we only saw this kind of stalkign FROM our PvPers and aimed
generally at non-PvPers.  They'ld pick out a victim 'cause they "offended"
them in some way and would stalk and kill them.

>(No, there's no permanent death - certainly this makes PK
>a somewhat different experience.  However, death does rather suck - you
>loose a level and quite a few permenant hitpoints.  Making enemies will

Thsi actually is like DSO death. the difference I suspect is that form what
you said, death from Pvp appears to not have been all that common.

Another system issue is how much more p[woerful one character can be then
another.  If thsi differnece is limited then it makes it less of a
probloem. Powergamers however like to be able to achieve power and so I
woudl assume any game catering to them DOES allow characters to get much
more pwoerful relative to each other...

>> >around who.  This is as opposed to a no-PK whatever where people can
>> >stand around in town all day long bragging about this or that item they
>> >have, talking shit to various players, and so on, without every worrying.
>> I guess I have to ask 'so what??" if your MUD doesnt have a muzzle, I'ld
>> never play it unless I was assured that you were doing rigerous control of
>> the user population.
>I assume by muzzle you mean some sort of admin 'mute' command.  We don't

No, actually i meant a personal mute list.

>have any sort of global channels, so it's easy enough to just walk
>far away from someone you don't like.  And if all else fails:
>A deep male voice you know as Imadork shouts, 'U R A PHUKK1NG L00Z3R!!1!'
>> #gag {deep male voice you know as Imadork}
>#Okay, {deep male voice you know as Imadork} is now gagged.

Ah., hokay you DO have one.  Thsi sovles the "trash talk' issue quite
effectively IMO.  Anyoen who is gonna get worried about what someone is
sayign about them that they aren't hearing needs to grow up some IMO :)


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