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

Matthew Mihaly diablo at best.com
Mon Sep 13 22:28:46 New Zealand Standard Time 1999


On Mon, 13 Sep 1999, Sellers, Michael wrote:

> 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.  

The social contract is a transparent invention designed as a tool to
enable the majority to repress the minority. Muds have nothing to do with
social contracts. Muds are, by and large, autocracies or oligarchies.

> 
> > 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.  

I don't believe in them the same way that I do not believe in God. I
believe that the idea of God (or unicorns) exists, just as I believe that
some people harbor naive ideas about a social contract, but I think that
the idea of a social contract holding any validity is laughable. I stop a
red lights only because I think it is my best interest. I regularly drive
through stoplights if I do not judge that there is any risk of a) runnning
into another car or b) getting busted by a thug in blue. An adult is ruled
by his conscience and judgement. A child is ruled by the laws of others.


> 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've always wondered about the same thing actually. I feel disconnected
from the expectations of my users, and am never sure if I'm doing a good
job of what they would prefer. I suppose this is just a fundamental
problem of anyone providing a consumer good.

> 
> > ... 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.  

Well, I run a pay game, and people pay hundreds and thousands of dollars
to play it, and that is my strategy. To me, the idea of letting what users
THINK they want dictate your game is folly. It's like democracy. You
simply end up with a stupid, crap government. The best government is a
monarchy. The worst government is also a monarchy. I have enough faith in
myself to believe that my judgement is superior to the judgement of the
masses of players. I may be wrong, but I'd be foolish to trust anyone's
judgement over my own (not that taking advice and listening to it is wrong
if you believe that someone else's advice is superior to yours in whatever
circumstance).


> > > 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.

Actually, I partially agree with you. The distinction I make is one
between ooc and ic. If you abuse a bug that produces infinite gold for
you, then you are willingly taking advantage of an ooc caused factor,
which is abuse according to our rules (you are not allowed to act in a
manner that is blatantly caused by ooc factors). On the other hand,
non-consensual pk is very ic. Now, I realize that not everyone has a game
where roleplaying matters, and in fact although I insist upon the pretense
of roleplaying, I understand and encourage animosity and love that goes
way beyond ic stuff. Generally then, anything that is reaonably IC I feel
is allowed in Achaea, whereas taking advantage of what I view as bugs is
not. It's an easy distinction to make.
--matt




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