[MUD-Dev] Re: WIRED: Kilers have more fun

J C Lawrence claw at under.engr.sgi.com
Mon Jun 29 17:36:23 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

On Mon, 22 Jun 1998 17:52:53 -0500 (CDT) 
Dan Shiovitz<dbs at cs.wisc.edu> wrote:

> I think this is the wrong way to go about things. Saying,
> essentially, "the world is a chaotic and lawless place and any order
> must be imposed by the players" is putting a major burden on
> people. 

Absolutely.  Its the same burden which is put on them IRL, they just
aren't forced to realise that as often.  That said I see such things
as UOL's PK problems as evolutionary in nature.  The PK'ers are not
the problem, nor their predation, the problem is two-fold, but
primarily in player-based structures to handle unwanted activities
(the other bit is authentication or the ability to reliably ID human

Yes, this leaves the current state of affairs as both painful and
chaotic.  Virtual communities have a lot of growing up to do, and the
rules and mechanics are not the same as IRL.  There just hasn't been
enough _time_ for enough iterative attempted solutions to start to
build something closer to what we're used to IRL.

Our current communal complacency in the real world did not happen over
night.  Why should it in a virtual community?  Societies and cultures
evolve, and I've yet to see a planned or orchestrated evolution

> It's especially hard for the people that want to play in a lawful
> world, but don't want to play a lawbringer: that is to say, they
> want to be tailors or farmers, not sheriffs. I think the correct
> model to create a lawful system is one where the world starts out
> lawful, at least in some places: there's a city or state or country
> that's large and *safe*, where players can have the expectation that
> justice is done. Furthermore, this lawful system ought to run itself
> if players don't step in. Just putting bounties that you expect
> players to collect isn't going to work; there's no expectation of a
> lawful, working system so no one (or not enough someones) is going
> to make it happen. It's cool to have outlaws and player killers and
> stuff running around outside the safe zone, but I don't think
> societies are going to form ex nihilo, there's got to be some
> structure that gives them a chance to get going.

Quite simply I think this is a problem of size.  There just aren't
enough players yet on any single game.  UOL tops out at 2,500 IIRC per 
shard due to problems with population density.  What would happen to
the social and cultural definition of a game if 5Million players were
online, all at the same time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (the
equivalent of 20 packed shards)?  

Even outside of player density concerns, I expect we'd see far far
different societal and cultural pressures and evolutions than we are
now with UOL.  Chaos would undoubtedly be extreme and rampant for a
while, but something would replace it, if only great turgid masses of
players advancing army-like across the landscape in herd migrations,
guards and fighters on the outside, "peacer's" on the inside.

The nomadic systems of the bedouin, the apache, and the wandering
aboriginees may arise yet again.

> WolfWorld isn't for everyone: I'm not sure exactly how much I'd like
> it myself. It seems to me like it requires a few changes from the
> standard diku model (but not stuff we haven't discussed already):
> relatively small distinctions between high and low level characters,
> lack of truly epic powers, no Big Magic, and, I suspect, a fairly
> grim feel, especially in the beginning (but possibly after a while,
> you can play nice 'n easy adventurers in the big city that was the
> original colony, or go out to one of the new outposts if you're
> feeling dangerous (oh, and outposts provide a convenient thing to do
> with playerkillers: exile the buggers))

> Has something like this been discussed before? I know there's been
> some talk about unifying players by giving them a task that has to
> be worked out together, but I haven't seen anything about doing it
> on a large scale.

Yup, Nathan has championed such models quite a bit.  See the archives.

> Oh, and one more while I'm at it. Anyone thought about doing arc
> games that it's possible to win? 

By its nature this would seem a variation on multi-player Zork, even
if you allow the game to re-invent itself after the "win" state.

> F'instance, the point of the game is to defeat the Dread Lord
> Bob. When he's dead, or has taken control of the world, the game is
> over. Before that, presumably, the players are fighting his minions
> as he gathers his armies in preparation for the final clash. There
> might be some trouble introducing newbies to this sort of storyline
> halfway along: you have to make sure not to increase the worldwide
> threat level to more than they can survive right off, but I think it
> could work.

A really nasty problem under the covers there is to prevent older
characters having so much more context in the campaign that they
utterly outrank anyone who comes after.

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...

More information about the MUD-Dev mailing list