[MUD-Dev] New Topic: Butthead features

Matt Chatterley root at mpc.dyn.ml.org
Tue Aug 5 07:25:31 New Zealand Standard Time 1997


On Mon, 4 Aug 1997, Koster, Raph wrote:

> On Saturday, August 02, 1997 3:16 PM, Jeff 
> Kesselman[SMTP:jeffk at tenetwork.com] wrote:
> 
> I've now got several days worth of things to catch up on. :) So my 
> reply here will be brief...
> 
> > No offense to Raph but my playing arounf with UOL broguth thsi to 
> mind.
> 
> No offense taken; it's a very valid issue.
> 
> > There is a philisophpical/practical issue in the inclusion in your 
> MUD of
> > "butthead" features. [snip]
> > How do you control them?
> > Do you just avoid features that could be so abused, or do you count 
> on
> > oither mechanisms to keep thsi behavior in chack and if so what 
> agurantees
> > do you have of success?
> 
> I thin it comes down to this basic fact. Buttheads will show up and 
> harass people regardless. They do it on talkers, in IRC, on 
> newsgroups; they do it whether or not you allow pkilling or stealing 
> or whatever else. Therefore you MUST have other mechanisms to deal 
> with them.

And you must have an appropriate mindset to accept its bound to happen at
some time. Not necessarily to continue, but bound to be at least
attempted.

Several ideas for 'in game' countermeasures against 'buttheadism' have
been discussed (handling player attacks in towns with guards, and so
forth), but typically the 'in game' actions are not as much trouble as
'out of game' actions (literal harrasment for instance).
 
> > (1) PC pickpocketing of other PCs... always upsets people.
> 
> Yes, always annoying. However, also, fun. For many, at any rate. 
> Pretty closely tied to player killing, for that matter. Remember 
> Bartle's classification, however: for a game to be balanced for the 
> long haul, it has to support all four types of activity... the 
> "buttheads" are the "killer" types, and without them the game loses 
> challenge.

Not only Buttheads though - at least, I hope I'm not a butthead. ;) I
enjoy playing thief characters (probably my first choice of style), and
pickpocketing, possibly the occasional backstab on someone who makes a
good target are all part and parcel of the game. ;)

The problem here is not with the pickpocketer - its with the pickpocketee.
Many players still subscribe to the "nothing bad should happen if I can't
directly prevent it" mindset. Some will remember Keegan's talk about
something along these lines a while ago (usenet?), and basically, the
players who can't handle it either learn to, or leave.
 
> > (2) Fixed tport points so that oterh can lay in wait and way-leigh
> > unsuspecting traverls befoe they can see whats up.
> 
> Actually, I'd term it fixed "points of entry". This problem is common 
> to all high-travel points of entry. Mountain passes that you have to 
> traverse to leave town, inns where you enter the game, teleport pads, 
> any geographical "gating" feature. Healers where you get resurrected. 
> There's no way to eliminate all of these from the game, really. There 
> are always ambush points.

And rightly so! Also in games allowing large forces (eg armies), ambush
points can give a valuable advantage in initiative to a smaller,
aggressive force (for instance a mountain valley where one army marches,
which can be shot into for a while before they can get out to defend
themselves).
 
> > (3) The ability to take control of OTHERS PCs and make them do 
> things (The
> > Provocation skill in UOL looks at first blush particuarly nasty in 
> this
> > regard.)
> 
> Provocation only affects NPCs; however affected NPCs can be made to 
> attack players (not unlike charms in a mud).

Summonable and controllable NPCs can be bad (summonable and
'un'controllable ones are probably worse), for instance a monster you
summon from a scroll that attacks anything in sight - several players
summon these and unleash them on newbies (seen it) ;)

Controllable NPCs like familiars are probably things you want to encourage
- but they can be made to behave so they can't be 'abused' like this.
 
> > Thoguhts, all? Raph? Whats your UOl philosophy on managing these 
> things?
> 
> The overall philosophy is that you can take these actions, but they 
> have in-game consequences. In UO terms,that means that if you steal, 
> provoke fights, etc, you acquire a negative reputation for doing so,. 
> Eventually, you are refused shop service and NPCs talk to you rudely. 
> When your notoriety is negative enough, guards will simply kill you on 
> sight like the scum you are.

Yup.

Regards,
	-Matt Chatterley
	http://user.itl.net/~neddy/index.html
"Speak softly and carry a big stick." -Theodore Roosevelt




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