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

Marian Griffith gryphon at iaehv.nl
Mon Jun 29 20:42:32 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

In <URL:/archives/meow?group+local.muddev> on Mon 29 Jun, Koster, Raph wrote:

> If you are coding a system whereby nobody can strike another person
> *even in justifiable circumstances*, what sort of society have you made,
> and what sort of ruler are you?

Here we have a point worth of very serious discussion. And one where I
very much have to disagree with you. I do not belief that there can be
justifiable circumstances to strike at somebody else.  At least not in
a game that attempts to provide a safe environment. And I'm willing to
argue  that the same is true in games like uol  that do not attempt to
create a safe environment.  However this is indicative on your view on
violence in games (a view that is shared by many current players).
Where violence and conflict is not a part of the game all rules change

> A system where it is not even possible
> to rebel against the thoroughly oppressive government, for that matter.
> In the virtual setting, we have as designers and admins, the power of
> gods. And yes, there are plenty of people willing to live under the rule
> of jerks, plenty of people who would prefer to live their virtual lives
> in a game where bullets can't fly by the laws of physics, where you can
> wave a hand, but are programmed not to swing a fist. But I find it
> unpalatable persnally--and also find it limiting to the development of
> our code in that it reduces the problem set past the point of reason. If
> you, as I know you do, Mike, feel that the work we do here is working
> towards greater things in the colonization of the Internet, in the
> development of virtual societies and virtual realities, then you must
> also concede that we are not going to solve the issues that those
> environments will create by coding in piles of restrictions that curtail
> freedoms.

Freedom of course is a myth anyway.  There is only the question if the
laws are enforced before or after the event. Freedom only exists while
it does not limit the freedom of others. There exists no freedom to do
harm to someone else's efforts.  By deliberately disrupting somebody's
game  you are basically commiting a crime.  Those who do not enjoy the
anarchistic principles of current muds  could accept the limitation of
their personal freedom  to prevent such events/crimes from occuring in
the first place. I know I would not mind.

> To get back to what you said, I think that a pure roleplay game of large
> size will have to be a Stalinist setup, yes. And I don't LIKE it. Then
> again, I think that MANY muds currently use such a restrictive setup.

Restrictive does not make it stalinist. Nor fascist. The game prevents
certain actions that would,  if unchecked one way or the other, become
harmfull to the majority of the players. Player's freedom is not taken
away. Only certain actions that would otherwise be prevented in diffe-
rent ways (e.g. by player vigilante activities).

> > Dr. Cat wrote: 
> > >I feel like the question of how these issues play out in an
> > >environment with no combat coded into the system is glossed over or
> > >ignored on this list.  

> > I'd alter that a bit to say that I feel like the question of how to
> > deal with social issues has been viewed through a very combat-centric
> > lens. It is not the case that every social issue needs to be solved
> > with a sword, nor that to find other solutions you need to remove
> > combat from a game entirely.  

Actually I agree with Dr.Cat here. The subject -is- ignored, mainly be-
cause when it is brought up  it is immediately pulled into a discussion
of 'how do you deal with violence, harassment, abusive behaviour etc.'?
In other words the problem and solution,  on this list,  are defined in
terms of the only existing example, that of muds. Which includes combat
and counter-combat as the only interaction  and the only means to solve
social issues.
So I -am- interested how on mushes, and on furcadia, the inevitable so-
cial problems are handled. What facilities there are for the players to
deal with harassment or other unacceptable behaviour  and how they feel
about these issues.

> There hasn't been a government I know of that has not wielded the sword
> in order to enforce its mores. That's what police are: the government's
> sword. The fact that your average cops-arrest-robbers scenario does not
> actually come to shots fired doesn't mean that it is not combat. Not
> every social issue needs to be solved with a sword, very true. But
> sadly, the ones that can most easily be solved by discourse tend to be
> at a higher level of social development than the issues we're facing in
> virtual settings. Right now, virtual worlds (and other Internet games)
> are basically full of roving warbands with no allegiance to any form of
> government, and the odd occasional peaceful village that has moved
> beyond pillaging and into a more stable form of society. We're not
> discussing zoning much yet. The pressing issues are the ones of murder,
> harassment, destruction of property, robbery, assault... I'm all for
> town council meetings, but you're not going to get there without
> tackling the topic of police forces first.

This is partly a problem because of the way power works in muds. The only
power there is -is- that of the sword. Players who fight have power those
who do not want to fight have no power against it.  In reality things are
not that simple.  Well maybe they are in the US, but in Europe it is hard
to get a gun and there are many ways for society to enforce mores that do
not involve violence.  Non of this however  would appeal to a player base
that does not want to be confronted with the difficulties of realism.
Equipment purchase and maintenance, food and shelter could all be used as
a way to limit the ability of players to create  and run rampaging bands.
And non of them would be palatable to the average player of a mud even if
they do detest those warbands. Yet I think, for the game to mature beyond
the anarchy,  such developments are inevitable.  There must be advantages
to civilisation and civilisation must mean power of a different sort.

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

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