[MUD-Dev] Re: Mud reviewing

Dan Shiovitz dbs at cs.wisc.edu
Sat Jan 30 22:34:03 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999

On Sat, 30 Jan 1999, J C Lawrence wrote:
> On Wed, 27 Jan 1999 08:06:58 -0800 
> Caliban Tiresias Darklock<caliban at darklock.com> wrote:
> > IOW, it solves one problem I have with many MUDs, but it still
> > doesn't address another problem which is as bad or worse. How can
> > you protect the small fry from the big boys without the big boys
> > feeling like their actions are restricted and without the small fry
> > being completely secure from punitive action by other players? I
> > don't want Big John to stomp on Little Joe, but Big John demands
> > that I allow him to stomp on whoever he likes and Little John
> > shouldn't be able to thumb his nose at Big John without fear of
> > reprisal. I need to make big-guy/little-guy fights not *impossible*,
> > but distasteful.
> There are many bandaides (eg small-fry always stand a small bu
> definite chance of winning battles with large-fry), but I'm ot aware
> of any generic handles for the problem.  The only useful approach I've

The thing that comes to my mind is that small-big and big-small
interactions are not the same. Little Joe isn't a combat threat to Big
John, but he is a, um, reputation or nuisance threat. Big John should
be encouraged to fight back in ways similar to those that he's being
attacked with. In this case, it seems like the obvious idea is to let
John pick up Joe and shove him in a locker or give him a wedgie or
toss him in the horsepond or whatever. Something to say "hey, get out
of my face" that doesn't do anything worse than disable Joe for a few
turns while he struggles to get free or has to change his outfit.

This probably takes sufficient time for John to perform that it's not
really something he can go around doing to newbies any time he feels
like it (or at least they'll start figuring out to scatter when they
see him stomping into the tavern), and presumably anyone near in power
to John is going to be too tough to have it done to them.

On the other hand, if John does decide to haul out his sword and chop
Joe's head off, then you call out the posse and string 'em up. 

The moral here is that the standard diku setup has two problems that
show up here. First, there's only one game-sponsored means of
resolving things, and that's combat. Second, all combat is to the
death. The result of this is that there's no way to do things gently;
it's use a sledge-hammer or nothing. (As an exercise for the reader,
discuss the relation of these problems to the current US-Iraq

> seen or thought of (it largely comes under "bandaide" as well) is to
> ensure that your larger fry are actually playing a different game than
> your small fry.  This is usually done by changing the resource
> requirements (they compete for different resources), and/or changing
> the basic game tokens used by each (ie opportunites to meet and
> compete).

Large fry-small fry are always going to be playing the social
interaction game, though. And for people who can't compete in that,
there's a constant temptation to try and shift the game to an area
that they're more competent at. 

> J C Lawrence                              Internet: claw at kanga.nu
Dan Shiovitz || dbs at cs.wisc.edu || http://www.cs.wisc.edu/~dbs 
"...Incensed by some crack he had made about modern enlightened
thought, modern enlightened thought being practically a personal buddy
of hers, Florence gave him the swift heave-ho and--much against my
will, but she seemed to wish it--became betrothed to me." - PGW, J.a.t.F.S. 

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