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

Adam Wiggins adam at angel.com
Fri Sep 10 16:21:19 New Zealand Standard Time 1999

On Fri, 10 Sep 1999, Dundee wrote:
> And by PKing I mean only, "non-consensual pvp combat".

PK stands for Player Killing.  It refers to one player character causing
the death of another.  It does not say anything about the motivations of
the parties involved.  It also only covers an actual *death* of one
player at the hands of another.  Otherwise it's only an attempted PK.
(Note that players may engage in combat without meaning to kill one another.)

I use PvP to indicate any aggressive/harmful action that one player may
commit against another; this includes stealing from them, attack them
(even without intent to kill), blinding them, silencing them, paralyzing
them, and so forth.  Take Arctic: actual PK is (somewhat) rare, but
PvP is very common.

> Generally I see people use "PvP" to mean consensual combat, and "PK" to
> mean non-consensual combat.  But by all means, if you have a problem with
> those terms, I'll write out the long version each time.

As I said, I think that you're attaching a lot more to those terms than
is really deserved.  Perhaps we need new acronyms (along with coresponding
entries in the FAQ): maybe CPH (consensual player harm) versus NCPH
(non-consensual player harm)?

In the meantime I think that "consensual PK" and "non-consensual PK"
should cover it, even if not entirely accurate.

> Well, there is a distinction whether you like it or not.  Consensual combat
> is great fun for both parties.  Non-consensual combat is not.

Again, not true.  That may be true for *you*...

Secondly, there is most certainly a distinction, but it's a very foggy one,
like most moral/justice-related issues.  For example:

- You join clan A.  You have no interest in PvP, but clan A has a longstanding
  fued with clan B, and they usually attack each other on sight.  You are
  wandering through the wilderness and get attacked my a member of clan B.
  Did you 'consent' to this by knowingly joining the clan?

- You loot a treasure chest and find a glowing gem which appears to have
  magical properties.  You sell the gem to a stranger, telling them that
  it is a magic gem.  Some time later they discover that the gem is not
  magic at all; they return and request a refund, since the item was not
  as advertised.  You say, "too bad."  They attack you.  Is this
  consensual, since you commited the first 'crime'?

- You are a mage, and you summon several gray goblin soldiers to assist
  you in combat.  While walking through town, the goblins notice a dwarf
  (whom they have a racial hatred for) and attack.  The dwarf realizes he
  cannot best them all, but he realizes that if he takes out their
  summoner, they will disappear.  He attacks you.  Is this consensual?

- You pickpocket a warrior for a few coins.  He notices and attacks you.
  Is this consensual?

I'm not looking for specific answers to these questions; I'm demonstrating
that it's not always as simple as, "Excuse me, may I PK you please?"

> Also, non-consensual combat will get you kicked off my mud.  Consensual
> combat is fine-n-dandy.

I imagine that for any mud of a descent size, it would take several
admin working 24 hours a day to try to police this, and even then you
have only the word of the combatents unless you keep full logs of
everything that ever goes on.

> Likewise, going to a paintball game and shooting other paintball players
> doesn't allow for the same range of emotions as, say, going to the mall and
> shooting people with my paintball gun.  You should see how emotional they
> get.  The mall should thank me for making their shopping experience
> non-boring.

This is a matter of stated intent.  If you log onto a MUD which claims,
on the startup page, "We do not allow PK or any sort of player versus player
aggression of any sort", then yes - someone attacking or otherwise trying
to harm me is something I would find pretty distasteful.

If you log onto a mud where the startup page says, "Player versus player
aggression is allowed, but not encouraged, here.  Anyone discovered
using this to harass other players or otherwise PK out-of-character will
not be tolerated", then I would not immediately take exception to
an attack.  Rather I would try to determine if the attacker had a good,
in-character reason for doing so before judging them.

If you log onto a mud where the startup page says, "Player versus player
aggression is an active part of daily life here on <X> MUD.  Be prepared
to defend yourself.  Excessive PK or other harassment will not be
tolerated.", then you should not be in the slightest bit surprised when
you are attacked or stolen from or whatever.  This is what (more or less)
Arctic says when you log on; it's also what my mud (if I ever put it back
online, that is) says.

As long as people are clearly aware of the policy, I don't see a problem.
Obviously most malls have a no-paintballing policy, although it's not
really the *mall* that is that way, but more that our society is that
way by default.  I don't consider muds to be PvP-free by default.

> Oddly enough, though, they just don't appreciate what a good pk can do for
> an otherwise boring mall.

Hell, I'd shop at a mall that allowed sporadic paintball wars.  Just as
long as people were well aware of that when they came in.

> And in any case, it still says nothing about the sorts of people who have
> fun at other people expense.

And again I say that you assume too much by saying that PK is, by default,
having fun at someone else's expense.  My guess is that you have just
never played a MUD with a very good PvP atmosphere.  I recommend Arctic.

> If you think it's great fun to be mean to
> people, then there *is* something wrong with you.

*sigh*  And why does PK == being mean to people?  I get the feeling that
we are talking about something altogether different when you make statements
like this.  Perhaps I should go back to lurking, as obviously this is a
very emotional issue and not one that you (or others) want to explore in
a rational fashion.

> They aren't the sorts of people that I want to hang with, nor subject my
> other users to.

I'm a PKer.  I love it.  I'm pretty much unwilling to play muds which
don't allow it.  (There are some exceptions.)

I've also been an active member on this mailing list for getting on four
years now.  So obviously, since I am one of sorts of people that you don't
want to hang out with, why do you put up with reading this list?  Obviously
I am a psycopathic idiot who is only out to glean pleasure from the pain
of others, and have nothing useful to contribute.

> If I just wanted to jack with my players then I'd wander
> around and kill them willy nilly myself, zero-out their hard-earned skills,
> take their kewl lewt, etc.  That'd really make their blood boil.

Well, honestly, some of the most exciting (and fun) moments have been stuff
like this.  Like the time on Arctic that a hoarde of dragons swept over
Tarsis and leveled the city.  Or on Shadowdale when the gods stagged an
invasion of the city by the goblin armies.

> Some sort of war could be fun: structured PvP combat.  But random mugging
> is just worthless.  It's impossible to have any amount of it without the
> entire game revolving around it.

So what you're saying is that Arctic's 6 years of success are impossible, and
therefore, it must not truly exist?  (And Arctic isn't the only example,
just my personal favorite.)

Wow, this thread really has my blood boiling.  I think I'll go log onto
a mud and kill some random players.  (just kidding...maybe?)


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