[MUD-Dev] Re: Administrative Meddling

Mike Sellers mike at bignetwork.com
Fri Jun 5 08:26:33 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

At 03:25 AM 6/5/98 +00-05, Jon A. Lambert wrote:
>On  4 Jun 98, Mike Sellers wrote:
>> At 12:12 AM 6/4/98 +00-05, Jon A. Lambert wrote:
>> >>: It seems to be a commonly held notion here that administrators
>> >>should : not interfere, help or otherwise annoy players.  Or that all
>> >>interference : or annoyances must be conducted with equality or
>> >>fairness. =20
>> >>...
>> >I merely question is what that game is and why does it entail
>> >supervision and/or non-interference of administration.  I do not see
>> >the inherent problems with an in-game administrator creating a 99th
>> >level wizard who shows up and sets up a shop doles out some magical
>> >equipment to a few characters, quests a few characters, enspells a few
>> >characters, etc. Hmm, this causes game imbalance and unfairness.  Why?
>> > Because the MUD assumes the quest solving, kill-power and equipment
>> >collection are THE game.=20

In my original reply, it's this model of admin-in-the-game as 99th level
wizard doling out items and quests that caught my attention.  This idea has
all kinds of pitfalls, such as (perceived) favoritism, egotism, and loss of
player-centric control ("why are we doing this?" "um, because the big
wizard dude told us to").  Having admins in the game as minor NPCs,
interacting with the PCs by playing out their own characters (and staying
*in character*) and agenda, is not at all the same -- I think this makes
for a much more textured world that enables RPing rather than just GOPing,
and without the fictionally discontinuous 'deus ex machina'  aspect of a
quasi-omnipotent individual being plunked down in a small shop in town (and
I would put the M59 Guardians at their worst in this cadre of 'deus ex
machina' stumbling blocks to more enjoyable game play). =20

>:: Note in my other posts, I favor hidden/invisible administration. =20
>:: None know who exactly the in-game administrators are.  They could=20
>:: be playing any PC, any creature, any NPC at any given moment. =20
>:: Subtleness and in-game believability is key.
>::  I do agree with the no visible admin concept.  But rules against=20
>:: arbitrary influence to spice up a game and to influence outcomes=20
>:: for the good of the game (invisibly and indirect of  course) seem=20

>:: to tie administration hands needlessly. =20

Yes, this I agree with.  OTOH, maybe we should all go watch "The Truman
Show" and then see if we reconsider our thoughts. :-) =20

If such influence can be wrought *invisibly* then I think it's likely a
great thing -- so long as no admin uses this veil to target any one player
or group of players.  The moment that the players can sense the admins
"behind the curtain" though, the illusion is lost, and all of the pitfalls
I mentioned earlier arise. =20

> ...
>> >I assume omnipotent individuals are interested in running a game and
>> >will interfere (in a believable fashion) to further the interests of
>> >that game. =20
>> That's a huge and untenable assumption.
>Its the only possible or practical assumption.  The whole foundation=20
>and concept of FRPGs rests upon it.   =20

You're going to have to make even your invisible admins accountable in some
way to someone trustworthy, whom you *know* has the best interests of the
game at heart.  Otherwise you *will* see instances of oddly large numbers
of trolls appearing whenever a certain character walks through a forest,
and strangely large numbers of gems being strewn on the path when another
walks through.  Some invisible admins will have their favorite players,
their favorite characters, their favorite situations ("waitaminute, you
*look* like a damsel in distress, but I'm betting that you're really a
aspho-demon in disguise just like the other five girls I've rescued this
month..."), etc.  If there is no clear accountability behind the curtain of
invisibility, some portion of your admins *will* use it to their advantage,
and affect the game in unbalancing, potentially visibility-increasing ways
as a result. =20


Mike Sellers=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0 Chief Creative Officer=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0 The=
 Big Network
mike at bignetwork.com=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0

             =A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0 Fun=A0=A0 Is=A0=A0 Good =20

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