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

Jon A. Lambert jlsysinc at ix.netcom.com
Sat Sep 11 00:26:01 New Zealand Standard Time 1999

From: Sellers, Michael <MSellers at maxis.com>

>Jon Lambert wrote:
>> Is it theoretically possible that there are many more immature 
>> anti-PKers than immature pro-PKers?  
>> Is the inability to deal with or handle harassment, violence, or offensive
>> behavior without recourse to authority a sign of immaturity or stunted
>> emotional development?  
>Typically, lashing out at others without provocation or merely to get a
>thrill at someone else's expense or misery is seen as self-centered and
>self-absorbed, and thus as immature. 

You might be assuming that all harassment, violence and offensive 
behavior belong to the category of "senseless".   I acknowledge that 
there is a subset of players who will commit the above for pleasure 
and perhaps some are IRL morally repugnant.
However there are many other possible motivations for performing
a non-consential PvP action against another character.  
Violence, harassment and offensive behavior can be justifiable and
sensible in many situations.  And not just in an RP context.

> Wanting to be able to get some
>entertainment *without* being harassed by others isn't (who's more likely to
>be seen as obnoxious and immature -- the guy in line at Disneyland who keeps
>smacking another person in the back of the head for kicks, or the person who
>tries to get the smacker tossed out of the park?).  So right off the bat,
>PKing behavior puts the PKer at sort of a moral disadvantage, no matter what
>the actual maturity levels involved are.

The person being smacked in the head has chosen one of many possible 
options.  Appeal to authority.  I submit that reflexive appeal to authority is
as emotionally immature as reflexive violence.  In fact, I believe it is moreso.
>A lot of this is context-dependant of course.  I love a good paintball game
>(arguably the closest you're going to come to consensual PKing in this
>life!), and sometimes even a good game of Quake.  But in situations like
>this, everyone going into it knows that the "harassment" of being smacked by
>somebody else *is* the game.  

Nod.  I just posted on some finer grain distinctions reference Quake of all
things.  :)

>In a MUD, a lot of the appeal for many/most players is the social nature of
>the entertainment.  Some MUDs carry this so far as to eliminate PKing as
>part of the game system (but most of those in this discussion seem to have
>discarded that possibility -- I certainly have).  Thus, there is some
>expectation of not being used as a punching bag for someone else; where's
>the entertainment in that?  

This is important!  Note that most often emotionally-charged entertainment-
draining negative mud experiences occur because of non-consential PvP 
social actions.   Thus my earlier comment about the emotionally immature 
non-PKers are perhaps more numerous than PKers.  The presence or 
absence of game-mechanics which enable PvP game actions might have 
no bearing on the enjoyability of the mud.    The more emotionally immature 
your non-PK audience is, the more frequent "appeals to authority".  I suspect
"appeals to authority" are may well be less frequent on games that allow PvP.

>The delicate balance that a lot of mud-designers want to reach is that where
>the entertainment value of the potential danger of being PK'ed exists,
>without allowing PKing to take over the game and swamp any other sources of
>enjoyment or entertainment.  PKing should be possible, but not without risk,
>cost, or recourse.  And other forms of competitive behavior should be
>possible too.  IMHO.

Sure...Bartles clubs/hearts relationships.  I posit that weaning one's hearts
from the teat of administrative nannies may be more effective in producing
an enjoyable game than expending energy on the perceived club problem.
A game with weak hearts is far less enjoyable than game with strong hearts.
OK. Enough punning around. :)

J. Lambert

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

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