[MUD-Dev] "Social control", was butthead features

Koster Koster
Wed Aug 27 18:37:34 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

On Wednesday, August 27, 1997 10:11 AM, Jeff 
Kesselman[SMTP:jeffk at tenetwork.com] wrote:

> >> I already knwo of groups in UOL (thanks to some infromation lines 
> >> develoepd to dela with DSO problems) that have catalogged ways to 
> >defeat
> >> what limited saftey measures the game posesses and abuse holes in 
> >the balance.
> >Hmm, are any of these sorts of loopholes of general interest to the 
> >list? If so, would you mind discussing the sort of things you 
> Needless to say its tricky because the guys whoa re foindign and
> catalogging these thinsg do NOt want you fixing them.  To them, this 
> what the game is al labout, findign or acquiring an unfair advantage 
> exploiting it.

Naturally. We do tend to hear about any of them anyway, of course; 
those who feel they are on the short end of the stick tend to report 
the cheats, and we have quite a lot of "trusties" in the tester 
population too. Also, with so many testers, we get a lot of 
information flow...

This problem is of course endemic to all muds.

> I was told a while back that gaurds don't seem to notice if you kil
> lsomeoen ona bridge. I don't knwo if this is stil ltrue or not.  Ill 
> what other specifics I can dig up. We all knowm, thansk to the beta 
> email list, that the guy who beat lord british was remvoed for 
finding such
> an edge and not tellign management...

Yeah. :P Well, as Marketing put it, "any publicity is good publicity." 
That silly incident resulted in a heck of a lot of publicity. :)

In the context of this list, though, I was more curious about general 
design flaws or loopholes, rather than specifics like the above (which 
I'd just call a bug). For example, we found a problem related to 
"social control" measures like reputation systems in that remote 
regions such as farms or villages are unprotected to the extent that 
towns are, tend to predictably have a supply of fresh victims to 
butcher, and offer enough sustenance to make players not need towns at 
all. So players were able to live quite comfortably with the negative 
infamy without feeling any repercussions.

To an extent this is desirable in that you want lawlessness to take 
control of the wilderness--I think both UO and DSOII have that as a 
goal--yet you don't want the utter scum to have free run of the place 
and suffering *no* ill-effects from their standing, and on top of 
that, more powerful than everyone else simply because they are willing 
to exploit the (as designed) system. There needed to be some downside 
to that situation--either periodic guard raids, or something that 
makes them need to risk their neck, etc. At the very least a downside 
needed to exist to provide continued risk (read "challenge and fun") 
to the folks who figured out this trick.

> >suspect that the ways in which in-game "social control" measures 
> >(such as reputation systems like yours and mine) would be of 
> >interest.
> The UOL reputatio nsystem seems to be doign something, ive already 
> the "rigth" kidns of players bitch abotu it on teh DSO news group.
> Ofcourse there is one buig difference from what I understand btw 
yours and
> mine-=- yours tags the player whiel mine tags the character.  There 
> pluses and minuses to both...

Actually, we only tag the character. I don't know why exactly there's 
the rumor that we tag the entire account.

Are there any other people on the list who are working with "social 
control" measures like this?


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