[MUD-Dev] Re: CGDC, a summary

J C Lawrence claw at under.engr.sgi.com
Fri May 22 17:59:33 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

On Thu, 21 May 1998 09:39:32 -0500 
Koster, Raph<rkoster at origin.ea.com> wrote:

> J C Lawrence [SMTP:claw at under.engr.sgi.com said:

>> Translation: You have created a framework which allows system-based
>> public record keeping for vigilante justice.  You have also
>> officially sanctioned bounty hunters.  Interesting.

> Exactly. 


> Then again, you could argue that this is exactly what a police force
> is: officially sanctioned hunters of criminals, whose "bounty" is
> their salary. The sole difference is that they are officialized
> under some governmental label. 

Other difference: The source of the definition of "crime" is media
driven and thus easily debased to popularity games.  Spin doctoring
takes on a whole new image.

> Which I am not going to provide in UO, as once the mechanism exists,
> I am sure player cities will use the mechanism to create police
> forces under their label.


>> Players carrying heads are now the most valuable targets in the
>> game.

> Players carrying heads are likely to be Innocents themselves, since
> you do not lose Innocence for attacking a Murderer. So attacking
> them incurs the risk of being reported...

Stealing a head from such a carrier would seem likely to only raise
the ghost of being fair game for a few minutes.  Heads would seem to
thus become the default first stolen/pickpocketed.

I also forsee players carefully observing who knocks off a murderer
and then moving in to steal the head in comparitive safety.

>> Can only those who have been killed by a character donate to the
>> bounty against them?  Allowing others to donate would encourage
>> gang/capo-style tactics to be used to set and maintain bounties on
>> unewlcome individuals. for which the political ends could be
>> interesting.

> Yes, because unfortunately gang-style tactics don't mix well with
> keeping players very happy.


>> Can a victim donate to his killer's head price more than once (eg
>> report and make a small donation, come back later and donate more,
>> etc)?  This opens the possibility to rabble rousing, donation
>> drives ("Help set a high price on XXX's head!"), and bounty scams
>> (set up a murder, make a drive for a high bounty, then go kill
>> him/youself).

> No, he can't, but this is an interesting idea. The top 20 bounties
> in the world are posted at the banks, however, and we had discussed
> letting anyone contribute to bounties on the 20 Most Wanted.

I fortell people using mule characters to become murderers so they can 
then raise a good high bounty for them etc.  Not a problem, but an
amusing exploit.

>> Can you take the head to any guard in any city?  Why virtualise it
>> to that extent?  Why not have the bounty tied to the city the
>> report and bounty donation was made at, such that a grevious killer
>> may then have multiple bounties at multiple cities (translation:
>> localised notoriety).

> Because we used to do it this way, and it proved difficult for
> players to locate the proper city, afforded too much anonymity for
> the murderers, and resulted in few bounties being claimed.

You ran your play testing on your test shards right?  Suspicion: Your
tests were flawed for two reasons:

  1) Too few players
  2) Too little time spent testing

You have Moongates and spells which are in fairly widespread use to
link the cities, yes?  While its not being widely done now, it is
possible to move quickly and detministically between all the cities at
fairly high speed?

Let the murderers and the heads collect for a while.  The players will
find a way to take advantage of and add depth to the system.  It may
take a while, but I guarantee that you'll end up with players whose
main service is acting much like cheque cashing companies: they'll buy
heads and and pay a fraction of the ransom just to save the poor
murderer-killer the effort of getting to the target city.  They'll
collect the heads in the back until they have a sufficient quantity of
them to make bulk runs economic.  Said head collector will then use
his own contact or transport network to redeem the heads at the
appropriate city.

To quote a terrible actor in a worse movie, "Life finds a way".

>> Further (I don't know if you haven't done this), if you make the
>> heads persistent objects, and especially if you do the multiple
>> city idea, the heads themselves become a form of bankable currency.
>> It becomes easy to see heads being stashed and traded as a compact
>> and portable means of representing considerable $$$ sums.  Create
>> twisted and devious means to recover a head from a city (guard)
>> once it has been turned in for the bounty, and you create a whole
>> new sub-game of retrieving heads and milking their multi-city
>> bounty.

> Back to the LET systems, eh? :) 

Yup.  Mainly I'm back to adding feature depth.  Depth breeds
inventiveness.  Inventiveness is good: it breeds contribution, and
contribution is what makes the VR world go round.

> One thing to keep in mind is that we really need this system to
> serve as effective deterrent against the antisocial elements who are
> damaging the game for the run-of-the-mill player. Hence complicating
> the system seems undesirable to me. 

Understood.  The point about the immediately above is that it doesn't
add complexity for the normal case.  It adds complexity for only those 
who wish to take advantage of it.  

The normal murderer killer will knock the chap off, take his head, run 
off to the city and trade it in for cash.  Simple, A to B, done deal.

The more interesting murderer killer will kill his murderer and then
save some effort by selling his head to a head collector (this has
serious echoes of one of my best pieces of short fiction).  The killer 
saves effort on getting to the city and gets his money sooner.  The
head collector now has his own market dynamics to deal with.


  What happens if multiple heads for a given murderer are turned in?
Will only the first get the bounty?

  What is the criminal status of a killed and ressurected murderer?

>> First thought exploit: I really don't like Bubba.  Let's make some
>> throw-away characters that go and attack Bubba and then walk on his
>> sword (ie I start the fight but ensure he kills me).  He'll be a
>> Murderer in no time!

> You attacked him. You're not an innocent. You can't report.

So __only__ pure innocents ever get the chance to report?

>> Second thought exploit.  I need more money.  I'll set up a
>> character, kill a bunch of people, and then kill one of my own
>> characters, do a rabble rouse to raise bounty money before I log my
>> final report against him, and then go killmyself at leisure to
>> collect the bounty.

> OK, but in order to get your character up high enough to kill a
> bunch of people, you will have to make a significant investment in
> him. And then you'll lose said investment when you die as a
> Murderer. So you gain money, but odds are pretty good not as much
> money as you had to spend in order to make him a badass mage fast
> enough to kill multiple victims.

Run two mules, one repetitively killing the other?

J C Lawrence                               Internet: claw at null.net
(Contractor)                               Internet: coder at ibm.net
---------(*)                     Internet: claw at under.engr.sgi.com
...Honourary Member of Clan McFud -- Teamer's Avenging Monolith...

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