[MUD-Dev] The Relationship between pkers andmonster AI?

Sellers Sellers
Mon Sep 13 17:55:25 New Zealand Standard Time 1999


Matthew Mihaly wrote:
> *sighs as this discussion begins to take on tired airs of social contract
> theory*

I'm not sure why you think this is 'tired' or irrelevant.  MUDs are social
games.  Therefore it should be expected that issues of social contact and
contracts will arise.  Unfortunatley, MUDs have historically dealt with this
in a very shallow way, which may help explain why so few people are
enthralled by them.  This is changing slowly, as people truly, finally get
beyond hack-n-slash or even mock-Elizabethan role-playing, and understand
that they are taking part in a real society, if one represented in
miniature.  

> I don't believe in social contracts, I must say

Really?  Do you stop for red lights and other traffic signals?  Do you pay
your taxes?  Do you eat off of others' plates in restaurants?  Do you
defecate in public places?  Social contracts are everywhere; they are woven
entirely throughout our lives.  Saying you don't believe in them is like
saying you don't believe in air.  

> ... having been a mud
> player for many years, I've never felt that there was any implied contract
> that I wouldn't be killed by a player on a mud. 

This is an interesting point: people come to muds with varying expectations,
and experience varying degrees of shock or surprise when those expectations
are violated.  I have to wonder how the majority of players would react to a
MUD where there was no monster killing!  It's no less 'natural' than a
typical MUD, but it would probably be less than satisfying for many current
players.

> ... I frankly
> think it's extremely unreasonable to expect a mud admin to run HIS game
> your way. 

This being a view that can cause lots of problems as soon as you get above a
few people on your game, or (heaven forbid) when they start paying for the
experience.  

> Personally, I think that it's generally assumed that unless
> something is specifically prohibited, it is allowed (that's certainly the
> general way that Westerners think and treat issues like this).

Another interesting POV, and one shared, I'm sad to say, by many 'problem
players.'  I'm not saying anyone who holds this view is a problem player,
but it does seem to be endemic to the group.  It may depend too on what is
"specifically prohibited."  If you find a bug in a MUD and an admin says,
"don't do that, it's a bug, we're fixing it" some would say that until it's
fixed, it's not "specifically prohibited" and is thus exploitable.  To me,
that's a cop-out.  Lots of things aren't specifically prohibited on a MUD,
but because most people realize that they are there not just for their
enjoyment, but to add to others' enjoyment, some activities are best left
alone.  OTOH, I think it's a mark of good design to nudge people toward the
behavior you want to see and away from destructive, pathological behavior,
without them feeling like they've been left without any choice in the
matter.

Mike Sellers



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