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

Benjamin D. Wiechel strycher at toast.net
Tue Oct 6 13:52:54 New Zealand Daylight Time 1998

-----Original Message-----
From: Adam Wiggins <adam at angel.com>
To: mud-dev at kanga.nu <mud-dev at kanga.nu>
Date: Friday, October 02, 1998 6:04 PM
Subject: [MUD-Dev] Re: Marian's Tailor vs. Psychopaths

>On Fri, 2 Oct 1998, Benjamin D. Wiechel wrote:
>> From: Koster, Raph <rkoster at origin.ea.com>


>The problem, I think, is not so much the mere *existence* of sociopathic
>characters.  It's that there's a disproportionant number of them, and this
>disproportion grows as you expand to encompass the "mass market" of gamers,
>as UO has.  Remember, this "mass market" has been bred on games like Quake,
>where killing everything that moves is normal and expected behavior.  In
>addition, these players have limited experience with multiplayer games, and
>especially with persistent game _worlds_.  As I've noted before, many muds
>have very strong communities despite (or maybe - because of?) completely
>unrestricted pk/psteal/etc.  Arctic has been this way from day one, and
>it has (IMO, of course) the strongest ongoing community of any large mud
>(large arbitrarily defined as 100 or more players online all the time).
>Certainly there are sociopathic character which show up, but they are not
>a *problem*, persay.

I really think that in an environment where the mortals are faced with a
number of sociopathic people, be it via role playing or teenage male
they will solve the problem on their own without any necessary regulation by
code or by immortals.  Yes, from time to time there will be hard feelings.
I think
the hard feelings are what motivate the society to actually do something
it instead of shrug it off.  In a similar situation, when faced with three
mortals that
attempted to negate my existence, I first of all ran like hell, but
afterwards, started
taking my play seriously, and within a week or two grew my character to be
a rather significant size, large enough to defend an attack until assistance
arrive.  That same player character of mine is now a bit of an enforcer when
plays, keeping people in line, acting a little socipathic at times, but
living out a life of evil and self-interest.  The trouble-makers are no
longer a
problem.  This is a very simplistic solution, but does illustrate one method
solving such a difficult situation.

In a larger society setting, with more sociopaths to deal with at the same
I think a similar situation applies.  When enough people get irritated at
losses suffered at the hands of these individuals, society as a whole will
to solve the problem on their own without the need for code restrictions or
immortal intervention.

Side note:

In an environment as described above, there is a reasonable probability that
some of the player base may opt to simply leave, and/or create new
This does not solve the problem, and instead perpetuates it.  My past
experience is, that on a mud where there would be enough of a player base
for the socopaths to exist in large enough number to create said situation
proposed, there will also likely be enough of a playerbase that is not
sociopathic to self-regulate the problem.

Remember, necessity is the mother of invention.

>I almost wonder if the problem is simply too much, too fast.  That is to
>say, games like Furcadia and UO take you through a minimal character
>generation and then just throw you dead in the center of a fully
>functional world. To extend the childhood analogy, this is equivilent to
>taking a two-year-old and throwing them out on the street saying, "Okay,
>go learn about the world."

I've heard speculation on this for years, and I think the end result being
pretty much what you came up with, "I don't know".  There are pros and
cons to most of the potential solutions, but none of them have seemed
to me to be that "perfect fit" we all tend to seek.  I personally like the
scripted introduction, whereby you are dropped into the mud and are
put through an opening sequence that gives you some basis for reference.
I also like the idea of giving newbies a "scroll" or similar device that is
essentially a starting point to find the other commands.  Seems to work
well for us most of the time.

Benjamin D. Wiechel
strycher at toast.net

More information about the MUD-Dev mailing list