[MUD-Dev] Re: Marian's Tailor vs. Psychopaths

Benjamin D. Wiechel strycher at toast.net
Fri Oct 2 16:16:27 New Zealand Daylight Time 1998

-----Original Message-----
From: Koster, Raph <rkoster at origin.ea.com>
To: 'mud-dev at kanga.nu' <mud-dev at kanga.nu>
Date: Thursday, September 24, 1998 11:11 AM
Subject: [MUD-Dev] Re: Marian's Tailor vs. Psychopaths


>start quote---
>> Raph:
>> Continuing in my reading, I turn now to the above subject.
>> I must agree with you that most people have no sense of the
>> reality that
>> there is someone on the other end of the connection.  They
>> play with pure
>> impunity knowing that nothing in RL can happen to them, and
>> therefore they
>> are as mean as they can be.
>> I took agree that this only shows the truest form in RL of
>> that player.
>> For example, when someone in UO attacks without reason or
>> cause, attacks a
>> newbie, or just cuz they can, it shows their total lack of respect for
>> anyone else not just in the virtual world, but in real life.
>> Although in
>> real life they may mask thier dis-respect with a smile and a
>> laugh, and
>> since there would be real penalties to pay, then they only
>> think of what
>> they would like to do in thier mind.
>On the meanness issue: I take exception to your statement that it just
>reveals that these people are requally mean in real life. Usually they
>aren't. The level of meanness we see in virtual spaces approaches the
>sociopathic in real life. But sociopathy is often casually defined as a
>total lack of empathy for other human beings. The vast majority of
>people are not actually sociopathic.
>This is what led me to coin the term "virtually sociopathic"--meaning
>people who cannot seem to reach that level of empathy with others who
>are sharing a virtual space. It does NOT reflect on their dealings in
>real life, where they may indeed be thoroughly empathic and caring.
>Rather, it means that because their inhibitions are lowered by anonymity
>and perhaps by the lack of physical cues, and because the other people
>in the environment are more easily objectified, and because they are
>able to present themselves as a person divorced from their true identity
>and therefore are better able to engage in actions which their normal
>persona could not bring themselves to do--they act sociopathic *within
>the virtual context*. Without being so really.
<snip parenthetical quote>

>This leads to an interesting conclusion for mud design--penalties won't
>solve your playerkiller problem. Helping them gain empathy will.
>---end quote

I suppose within this grouping of people, there are the people like me that
perhaps enjoy role playing a character that is truly mean and vile, just to
a bit different than their reality.  I personally enjoy the opportunity to
act out
the life of the defined "sociopath", as it creates an interesting flavor to
mud, and it also causes a reaction in people.  Each person reacts
to my behaviour, and it is interesting to see each of them.  There's also
the side effect that one can give with one hand and take with the other --
this time I might give you equipment, next time I might take your life.

Somewhere I think someone got the idea that PK is bad.  PK is not bad,
even having an out of control PK character isn't bad.  What I would
define to be bad would be when the players within the mud do nothing to
solve the difficult situation on their own, and instead whine at the gods
and the admins to take the player away.  Part of my enjoyment on the
only mud I play is to in-character solve such problems.  When I was a small
player, I was twice hunted by massive players.  My reaction was not to whine
or cry, but to instead grow at a rapid rate until suddenly they were the
player by comparison.  Very effective method of keeping someone from
killing you.

Also, for the true simulationists, what would the simulation be without a
couple of sociopaths running around nixing everyone they pass?

>Anyone got a handy-dandy set of tactics for this? :)
>Classic ones are general community building ones, but these don't
>necessarily target your troublemaking population. I have an essay on
>community building tools at http://mud.sig.net/raph/gaming/essay6.html
>but none of them seem REALLY aimed at empathy-building.

Ones I'm currently reviewing are:
1) Tie players to a locale, ie. be a citizen of a city.
2) Redefine the definition of top player to not be primarily based
     on sheer size and combat
3) Create in-game positions whereby players can regulate and
    reward actions based on whether they were done well IC or
    whether they were a nasty killer.
4) Create methods of societal building, ie., weapon breakage at
    a rapid rate, and a player that repairs weapons.
5) Quests that require members with unique skills, so that no
     one player can accomplish all goals single-handedly.
6) Unique challenges like the Vampire mentioned in relation to
    Legend? mud.  Such honours can build "image" of a player.

Those are my initial thoughts, comments/flames?


Benjamin D. Wiechel
strycher at toast.net

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