[MUD-Dev] Re: CGDC, a summary

Marian Griffith gryphon at iaehv.nl
Thu May 21 17:40:10 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

In <URL:/archives/meow?group+local.muddev> on Mon 18 May, Travis S. Casey wrote:
> On Friday, 15 May 98, Chris wrote:

> > :The nominative value of progress is also significant.  "I know I'm
> > :playing well becasue I keep gaining score and advancing in levels!".
> > :Its a self-referencing, self-supporting, and self-defining closed
> > :system which defines both the goals and the expected accomplishments
> > :of players.  Its actually almost definitionally impossible to have an
> > :open-ended or user-defined game with this sort of system in place as
> > :point rewards are tied to activities, and thus implicitly devalue and
> > :thus damn all non-rewarded activities.  ("Thou shalt have fun killing
> > :monsters 'coz you get points for that, but thou shalt NEVER poison the
> > :water supply to kill all the monsters, or build towns, or RP, or set
> > :up wineries and blacksmith shops because you get no points for that.")

So the challenge of a roleplaying oriented mud is to provide an alternative
system for levelling  that does not bias towards one particular type of be-
haviour.  Doing away with levels is not going to prevent this entirely. The
players will simply invent their own levels  if the game does not do it for

> This is the primary reason why I favor learn-by-using-based skill
> systems.  In such a system, players are free to define their own goals
> (at least, as far as character advancement goes), and the means of
> achieving those goals to is to exercise the skill in question.

I think things would even better if the game did not define an ultimate
goal for the players?

> > Whilst reading the above, something just occurred to me (probably already
> > been tried). Many MUDs have safe zones where player-killing is not allowed.
> > Its a simple mechanism, but seems effective. In mine, I only allow combat
> > in the single combat zone. Similar effect. So, how about letting players
> > choose whether or not their character particpates in the "kill things and
> > gain levels" race?

The problem I see with this is that unless the -game- is radically different
a player has no real option but go out to kill things and gain experience or
levels or whatever. There simply is nothing else to do.

> > Such a character can still fight and kill things, and
> > may well have an internal, never-revealed set of stats, but no-one (except
> > perhaps admins or wizards) can determine the actual stats. If someone (e.g.
> > a player-kill d00d) attacks them, then they can fight back, with whatever
> > skill they actually possess. If they are killed, the PK-er gets *no* points,
> > but if the PK-er is killed or harmed, they lose as they normally would.

This means there is some kind of option to partially switch of exposure to
PK without the benefits (and disadvantages) to being immune. Players don't
really gain anything in the way of playability  from becoming non-leveller
this way.

> > Levellers would always be free to participate in the non-levelling
> > activities of the game, right along with the rest of the characters.
> > The two systems would not really be separate - they would share
> > currency, etc.

But since they can affect each other nearly as much as without this dis-
tinction there is not much point to the separation. My feeling is that a
solution must be found somewhere else entirely. Perhaps Dr.Cat is on the
right track, or perhaps the objectives of a game should be totally rede-

> > Is it too much to hope that the PK-ers would tend to leave the non-levellers
> > alone, since they really aren't worth it? Unless of course they are *really*
> > ticked off, but then they are effectively role-playing in their killing!

Hardly roleplaying since they use OOC emotions as a justification for IC
actions. If it is roleplaying at all then it is very poor roleplaying.

> It's too much to hope that *all* PK-ers would leave the non-levellers
> alone.  PKers, in my experience, tend to fall into three groups:

> 1.  Vultures.  These are people who PK because they've found it to be
>     an easy way to gain experience, money, equipment, or whatever.
>     There are several things about most muds which make this strategy
>     effective:


I don't even know if this type of behaviour is affect very much by taking
away experience from pk. It might happen if you prevent corpse looting.

> 2.  Hunters.  These players PK for the challenge -- since monsters on
>     most muds show no intelligence or tactics whatsoever, these
>     players seek out more intelligent opponents to hunt.  From what
>     I've seen, pure hunters tend to form a clique within the mud and
>     hunt each other.  They do so for two reasons -- 1.  They aren't
>     seeking to hurt other players' feelings, so they prefer to hunt
>     those who are at least semi-willing to be hunted, and 2.  Other
>     hunters are a greater challenge.


This type of players rarely bothers other players who do not enjoy the
same activities, unless they temporarily switch into the next group of
course.  These players are happy with any mud that offers an elaborate
set of skills and equipment that might give them advantages in their
combats and will be happy with pk-areas, -flags or -clans.

> 3.  Bullies.  These players PK because they enjoy messing things up
>     for other people.  Some of them restrict their activities to
>     certain others, based on either in-game or out-of-game
>     considerations.  These tend to be the most vociferous opponents of
>     non-PK systems, and are the most likely to look for loopholes that
>     will allow them to kill other PCs when they're not supposed to be
>     able to.  Bullies are encouraged by traditional mud systems, since
>     they can "safely" go after lower-level characters.

Further, no amount of prevention will totally irradicate them. If it is
not possible to actively attack other players  they -will- find another
way to make life miserable for others.
Combat muds make this kind of behaviour easy,  and in a game that seeks
to encourage different types of behaviour  but does not exclude combat,
most players are vulnerable to this type of player. They are the reason
why ultimately  no game can do entirely without administration  to step
in when things get out of control. Players who refuse to play nicely in
the sandbox eventually must be shown the door.

>     Bullies will continue to go after non-levellers.  If non-levellers
>     can attack other PCs, bullies might choose to become non-levellers
>     if they have a decent amount of power, because then others can't
>     PK them down for revenge.

I never understood the argument one had to allow PK to prevent PK but I
guess I am just too silly for that kind of deep thoughts. To me it is a
case of removing a law  when the enforcement of that law is too bother-
some.  It does not solve anything  and does not make the behaviour that
lead to the law in the first place go away.

> About PK and role-playing -- PK can be role-playing, but only if the
> PK is being done for in-character reasons.  Thus, a bully who plays a
> dwarf and decides to PK all the orc and elf players he/she can could
> be considered to be role-playing.  One who chooses to PK any PC whose
> player likes a certain (real-world) sports team, however, is not
> role-playing.

A player who hunts down the character that killed him before is also not
roleplaying. His original character is dead and seeking revenge for that
is hardly an IC reason.  Of course most players disagree and quite a few
are willing to attack others over a few taunts or insults.

> It should be noted, though, that role-playing is not necessarily the
> most important aspect of role-playing games.  IMHO, having fun is more
> important.  Since a bully's purpose is to ruin other players' fun,
> even a bully who is role-playing should not be tolerated, IMHO.

VERY well put.

Yes - at last - You. I Choose you. Out of all the world,
out of all the seeking, I have found you, young sister of
my heart! You are mine and I am yours - and never again
will there be loneliness ...

Rolan Choosing Talia,
Arrows of the Queen, by Mercedes Lackey

MUD-Dev: Advancing an unrealised future.

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