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

Koster Koster
Mon Oct 5 09:42:23 New Zealand Daylight Time 1998

> -----Original Message-----
> From: apocalypse at pipeline.com [mailto:apocalypse at pipeline.com]
> Sent: Saturday, October 03, 1998 6:40 PM
> To: mud-dev at kanga.nu
> Subject: [MUD-Dev] Re: Marian's Tailor vs. Psychopaths
> Me (shakti)
> >> set_bit(player,no_pk); /*This player does not wish to attack,
> >> or be attacked
> >> by humans*/
> >> It could also encompas attacks by charmed mobs, and "flame 
> channels"

> Raph:
> >It also doesn't work in a simulationist environment. There 
> are too many
> >ways to circumvent the flag simply using the laws of physics. The
> >example cited here before was dropping a large boulder on 
> someone. You
> >can solve all of these problems by starting to break the laws of the
> >sim, but then you have two laws of physics operating in one world and
> >that leads to problems of its own with consistentcy and special
> >advantages afforded other players.
> Not at all. You dont have to break any laws of physics, 
> simply apply fate,
> chance, luck etc.

[snip "always happen to slip on a bit of grass" example]

In the above example, you're applying this behavior consistently and

In effect, you made fate a law of physics. Nicely presented fictionally,
but a law of physics nonetheless. :)

> Raph :
> >Also, there's social factors; as you scale up in size, 
> you'll get more
> >people attempting to circumvent the flag. Since doing so is pitifully
> >easy (Player A hires flagged player B to kill flagged player 
> C; flagged
> >player C hears about the true killer and rightfully says 
> that the flag
> >was circumvented in intent if not in practice--this is just 
> one example
> >of many) your admin calls start to skyrocket.
> Uh, if intent were a crime, we would all be in jail. 

As I have said before, players have higher expectations of virtual
reality than of reality itself.

If you are a PvP-enabled player, and you find out that your death was
because some non-PvPer hated your guts, you are going to complain to an
admin. And if you get told "sorry, nothing we can do, he can persecute
you all he wants because you chose to toggle that flag on" then the game
is "unfair" and you will quit.

> You cant be punished for having bad thoughts about someone, virtually
> or RL. And the above example relies solely on intent, since neither
> tagged player (after careful construction) can harm the other.

The example was A hires B to kill C. There is action there; word will
get around that the guilty party is A, not B. I have faced this
scenario--I imagine anyone with long experience adminning with a PK
switch has. It's not that it is not resolvable--it's that the switch by
its very nature is attempting to judge intent in actions.

- Was this guy healing to help someone in PK, or was he healing out of
nobility and his calling?
- Did this guy kill this person because he wanted to, or is he merely a
proxy for someone else?


There are many many examples of such sorts of loopholes. And the problem
is that once there's one loophole, you can expect it to be the preferred
method of attack.

This doesn't mean that PK switches can't be done--they can and have
been. But in a simulationist environment, you end up with a LOT of
loopholes, and fixing them would tend to break the sim. In a large
environment, you also get so many admin calls that it becomes difficult
to answer them all. And it's axiomatic regardless of the environment:
answer all your admin calls, else you will lose players.

> The example of that flag contained no background. It would
> encompass the whole range of ways to get a player killed.

I suggest to you that you're not being creative enough. :) You're also
not considering the many negative ways in which this can impact your
environment. How do you propose to handle the many cases like blocking
people in,  locking them in places with aggressive creatures, luring
aggressive creatures to the locale of your victim, supplying healing or
other benefits (even indirectly, such as by dropping a healing potion on
the ground and then having the guy you wish to help pick it up... do you
prevent all group play and assistance across the line, as is a common
approach (no healing across the line, etc?)

I used to say that I have never seen a PK switch I couldn't break within
five minutes. But since then someone pointed out The Realm's switch. It
avoids most of these problems by having combat take place on a
completely separate screen and environment, so that other cannot
interfere. However, apparently stealing across the line is still

> Yep, verbal abuse is completey immune to that flag, but a set 
> of conditions
> fixes that. Have a "flame channel" (if you like of course), 
> where people
> can verbally mince words outside the channels the "innocent" 
> people hear.
> Make it like any other channel in that it can be turned off. 
> If someone
> wants
> to rant and rave, take it to flame. If they get caught doing 
> it on "common"
> channels, then define a set of punishments you like.

Again, not a scaleable solution. How many admins does it take to monitor
a channel 24/7? How many channels do you supply? What if players can
create their own?

> Me (shakti):
> >> All the player
> >> has to do (if its coded) is request that non-pk flag.
> Raph:
> >Which works pretty well at small scales (though I'd note that I have
> >seen plenty of problems with it in muds of 80--it was certainly a top
> >admin call on Legend for a while...).
> Maybe its time to re-structure the flags parameters. 

Legend's parameters are largely admin-enforced because it's a small mud
and we don't trust the code to try to make judgements of intent.

> But , players have a tendancy to just complain about a "virtual"
> abuse of something as they see it. No matter what rule it is,
> there will be a sufficiently long list of people who will 
> "whine" about
> its implied infringement that its just impossible to try to cure.

Yep, they quit over it too. Now, some loss of players because they just
can't deal with the system is one thing, but if you have a system that
is known to cause players to quit, then you re-evaluate it. 

> Raph:
> >PKers don't kill other PKers, in my experience. That is, they tend to
> >kill the ones who are most vocally loud about being PKed, 
> because that
> >gives the greatest thrill. They don't tend to kill the ones who are
> >willing to die. :)
> Yep, mostly they try to inflict the most damage, and that is 
> usually on
> people who scream loudest about not wanting to die. But if they
> are blocked from doing so, they will cause trouble elsewhre, and
> eventually get booted for a violation of some other rule.

Well, first, you haven't shown how they are blocked--you've just pushed
them towards specific manners of attack. And if you lose too many of
them because they DO feel blocked, according to Bartle at least, your
game will stagnate and die... the question is where the sustainable
level is.

> Wolves eat wolves if there are no sheep. A hampster mommy will
> eat its own offspring, and then lovingly tend to the remaining
> infant. A pirahna will eat its own kind (fish are some of
> the most social animals alive).

Heh, was using wolves in a metaphorical sense, not literal. I used to
breed hamsters for pet stores.

> Me (shakti):
> >> I thought the point of a game, was kind of like therapy. To escape,
> >> and deal with outside issues, by doing things that you cant do
> >> in everyday life. What about the healing process of releasing angst
> >> through gameplay? Humans have done that since the dawn of time.
> Raph:
> >This is a very valid truth. But "your right to swing your 
> fist stops at
> >the end of my nose." The other players may well be there for 
> reasons of
> >their own, not to serve as a punching bag for someone else to relieve
> >tension.
> True, but if the non-pk construct is designed well enough, there wont
> be any unwilling punching bags.
> Shakti

I keep hearing about the mythical well-designed non-pk construct and
have not ever seen one demonstrated. :P


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