[MUD-Dev] The Relationship between pkers and monster AI?

Sellers Sellers
Wed Sep 8 11:43:27 New Zealand Standard Time 1999

Marc Bowden wrote:
> You will never, ever build a game-controlled entity that can fulfill this
> particular hierarchy of needs, because they hinge on affecting another
> person in a negative way.

But it's worth asking why players would be so motivated to affect another
person in a negative way.

Some of this is likely just part of general low-grade psychopathology or
even just teenage development (Dave Sim, the creator of the 'Cerebus' comic,
once said something along the lines of the whole comic book/graphic novel
industry is built upon the foundation of male teenage anger).  Multiplayer
games give people an outlet for feelings they might not otherwise express,
or might otherwise express in more acceptable forms.

Beyond this though, I think that often MUDs teach players that it's just
more fun and/or more rewarding to attack other players than it is to attack
monsters or solve puzzles/quests.  In this light, it's not that PKers have a
*need* to hurt other people, but that in the scheme of the MUD, they don't
need the other people -- they are thus expendable -- and the other people
represent a concentration of resources (gold, objects, attention, etc.) that
the PKers need.  Other PCs are thus low-hanging fruit just waiting to be

It might be interesting to see what proportion of PKing remained in a game
where the players had a clear knowledge that they needed other PCs (and not
just those in their party or guild right now), and where harming the other
PCs did not represent the easiest path to achieving their goals.  This
wouldn't eliminate all PKing, but I bet it'd reduce it right down to the
truly pathological core.

Mike Sellers

MUD-Dev maillist  -  MUD-Dev at kanga.nu

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