[MUD-Dev] Re: PK's: A solution?

Shawn Halpenny malachai at iname.com
Tue Apr 28 16:13:40 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

On Tue, Apr 28, 1998 at 10:26:48AM -0700, John Bertoglio wrote:
> Remember, I said this was *a* solution, not *the* solution.

This list has explored PK issues in the past, so there may be some
information you'd find useful (at least as to the opinions and what not of
the membership) in the archives.

> I have read thousands of messages lamenting the problems of PKing. When
> compare the PK messages to the MK (killed by a monster) messages, these
> complaints begin to develop a pattern.

I posit that most people complain PKilling is a problem when they don't win
frequently or it's a vendetta.

> (1) Players do not like to see their characters get killed.

This is understandable.  In my intended game, they will like it even less
when they realize their skills are deteriorating as they wander about
bodyless.  I'm uninterested in a "Diku-Death" scenario where Piddle can
trot on back to his corpse, grab what's left of his kit, and proceed
unscathed, sans some experience.

Conversely, I don't want perma-death either, so I'm attempting something in
between where death could actually be useful (required) in some circumstances.

Combat for me does not necessarily devolve into "best equ wins".

> (2) Players do not like to see stuff disappear.

This is part-and-parcel of the experience.  If you were careless enough
not to safeguard any of your stuff before you died, then I would hardly
feel sorry for you.  Death should have serious consequences, with no
distinction being made between death-by-monster or death-by-player.  I
would hazard a guess that in my game, the players will be much less
concerned about the equipment they lost than in getting into the
closest available body to keep their skills from dropping like stones.  

This becomes less of an issue if more of a player's attention is concentrated
what one is trying to accomplish in the game, vs the equipment he's fitted

> (3) Players generally accept being killed by monsters

Blur the (obvious) distinctions between players and monsters and this
becomes more difficult for players to complain about.  Also, prefer style
over substance:  the veteran with a wooden sword can best the newbie in
full plate armor, but even the newbie could get in a lucky shot.
Personally, I'd feel better about my character dying if it wasn't at the
hand of a newbie fitted out in top equ as a gift from someone with a bone
to pick with me.

> (4) Players generally hate being killed by other players

See 3.

> (5) Players generally accept their stuff being take by monsters
> (6) Players really hate seeing their stuff go to other players

As for 2) and 3).

> (7) Players are more likely to accept being PKed if there is a REAL RP
> reason behind it.

I haven't decided that this is something I should be concerned about.
Also, I would not consider myself a role player, so I'm not sure I could

> So why is this? I would suggest there are two reasons not generally noted:
> (1) PK's talk. It is bad enough to be killed by Plate Deewd without having
> to endure a string of misspelled profanity and insults.

Without too much work, it is possible to create a profane and insulting
monster as well.  To the same effect too, since the monster will care
about the victim's response as much as the local vendetta PKiller likely does.

> (2) You hold PC's to a higher standard of behavior than monsters, even if
> this is mostly a series unconsious reactions. These are other people, after
> all. Who *should know better*.

This is a social issue and will be applied differently by different people.

> So what is the solution?
> Have player killers play monsters. And don't let those players speak (or at
> least don't let them have control of the language used). Several methods
> follow:
> Method 1: Create IC PK restrictions which make the PKer decide to RP
> monsters. The new UO noto system is a good example of logical pk
> restrictions. However, it is still very difficult to manage play in this
> fashion.

I'm not familiar with UO, so I can't comment.  What sort of IC PK
restrictions do you mean?

> Method 2: When a character racks up a certain number of kills (outside of
> challenge combat or guild wars), morph them into a junior monster. Or do it
> as, say, a 10% chance anytime a citizen (my term for a paying customer) is
> killed.

I could see this applied if some majority of the kills (frequency of kills
on a victim-by-victim basis) were against the same player(s).  If I happen
to be an adept PKiller who concentrates on the higher level players, should
I be penalized?

> Method 3: Player is a source of annoyance to the GM staff. Instead of
> bouncing them off the system, give them the option to be a monster. Kind of
> a probation. Good monster, you get a chance to be a person again.

If the source of annoyance annoys me as a player, I would rather deal with
it as a player.

> Method 4: ?
> All methods: Player- monsters start off as low level types....spiders,
> slimes, etc. They reincarnate after a suitable amount of time to higher
> level monster. They run around attacking players. They are flagged so other
> monsters don't attack them. Here's the catch: They can't talk to anyone but
> other monsters. Perhaps just monsters of their own level or species. If
> they do a say command to another monster, players in the same area read one
> of X messages programmed for that critter. If a monster wants to direct a
> sound, action or whatever to at player they type SAY #1 where #1 is the
> first message in their message list. That way a player-orc can send a
> message: "The powerful orc looks a you with hate in his eyes."

Use their say string as a hash key into the message table and don't bother
with the "#1".  They'll discover soon enough.

Is a monster controlled by a player any different from a pure player?  If
I'm now a spider who had been picking on Bubba, and I return in my new spider
form to torment him again, Bubba stands a good chance of realizing there's
a player behind the monster:

	> say #1
	You say "The powerful orc looks at you with hate in his eyes."
	> say #1
	You say "The powerful orc looks at you with hate in his eyes."
	> say #1
	You say "The powerful orc looks at you with hate in his eyes."
	> say #1
	You say "The powerful orc looks at you with hate in his eyes."
	> say #1

	Bubba sighs and hands you his new-found equipment.

And I don't even have to brandish a sword.  Or I could get in contact with
my PKill buddies and we could all trundle over and torment Bubba.

>                                                                Time to
> unsheath weapons. A player who works his way up the ranks to say the
> exalted level of Demon Lord would gain the power of speech. By then, the RP
> habits should be pretty ingrained and the PK would probably enjoy being the
> Demon Lord instead of the sociopath he might actually be.

Sounds almost Pavlovian--not saying it wouldn't work, but it seems to
just shift the focus of the problem.  By the time Boffo reaches Demon
Lord status how many people are going to believe that there's not a
player pulling the strings?  Aren't you back to square one if Boffo
should decide to reject his training and begin bagging newbies again? 
Same situation, it's just Boffo's now in a different body.  Sure, he
could be bumped back down into a spider, but you can't deny that there's
an inherent potential for cycles.  

Shawn Halpenny

"The abyss, the abyss, the abyss you can't miss." - Roethke

MUD-Dev: Advancing an unrealised future.

More information about the MUD-Dev mailing list