[MUD-Dev] an essay on PK

Rhonda Alexander raalexander at home.com
Thu Sep 23 01:05:32 New Zealand Standard Time 1999

-----Original Message-----
From: Matthew Mihaly <diablo at best.com>
To: Mud Dev Mailing list <mud-dev at kanga.nu>
Date: Wednesday, September 22, 1999 6:45 PM
Subject: Re: [MUD-Dev] an essay on PK

>On Tue, 21 Sep 1999, Marian Griffith wrote:
>> In <URL:/archives/meow?group+local.muddev> on Mon 20 Sep, Matthew Mihaly wrote:
>> > Yes, I agree with this for the most part, though purely out of
>> > practicality (why set yourself up to deal with the whiners?)
>> I vowed to stay out of these perpetual discussion, but I could not let
>> slip by entirely without making a single observation:
>> You are apparently assuming that your victims (the whiners) are playing
>> same game as you are.  They obviously are not. A large part of the shock
>> coming from the fact  that people think  they are playing a particular
>> of game and then are suddenly forced into an entirely different type of
>> me.  Paraphrasing the person who wrote the original article:  Players
>> they are safe and that the warning PK allowed does not apply to them,
>> I prove them otherwise.
>> Are such players whiners when they complain vocally? By your standards
>> but by their own standards their game has been invaded by vandals, and
>> have every right to complain.  I am not getting into the discussion  who
>> right or wrong on this subject though.
>If they complain vocally, then yes. Everyone is living in the same virtual
>world, just like everyone is living in the same world in real life. If a
>meteor suddenly drops on your head, and you weren't expecting it, what are
>you going to do, start whining about it? No, you're going to say to
>yourself, "Either I can get on with it, knowing now that this risk exists,
>or I can kill myself, thus ending the game of life." That's overly
>simplifed, I realize, but I feel that's the essence of things.
Hmm. This will be the first time I've responded to the mailing list though
I've been 'listening' for a long while. I am not a MUD player, to be honest,
I'm a player though a MUX and MUSH player. My interest in this mailing list
is as a MU* designer (and many of the RP issues are the same). As a
coder/designer/admin type, the PK issue is one that bothered me for a long
while as I sit in design phase for the game I'm working on. The only MUD
that I would probably ever consider trying as a player would be a non-PK
MUD, if such exists. I've enjoyed poking around with the server software
though on my own machine.
I agree with Marian in that many players have different expectations when
they log on to a game. Many of us 'come from' traditional table-top role
playing games where, depending upon the group, PK may be an extreme faux
pas; where a player that engages in gratuitous PKing would be considered a
'problem player' and possibly banned from the game. Many gamers expect
troupe-style play or a rough equivalent when they attempt the online
'equivalents' of their favorite role-playing game.
The simple fact is that there are a number of different player personality
'profiles' and there are a number of different 'styles' of gaming. Sometimes
those players can reach a compromise and sometimes the styles are so
different that were it a table-top game the group would probably split to go
their own ways (no one style is 'wrong' but they can conflict horribly and
perhaps should not be forced to co-exist). In a way the MU*ing environment
creates an unnatural situation where player that would normally gravitate
away from one another in a table-top game are thrust together. When I used
to run tabletop games I and the other female players were more then content
with role-play that revolved around moral dilemmas, personal conflicts,
problem solving, mysteries and other sorts of 'social role-play'. We were
fine and dandy without any combat scenes, but not so with my male players.
If they didn't get a battle scene every one and a half sessions or so they
got 'antsy'. In that case the style difference was still minor enough to
reach a compromise. Both expected troupe-style play though. It was easy
enough to balance the game to appeal to both.
In a MU* situation it's more of a quandary though. The equivalent of a
storyteller is less likely to be present and available. The decision of how
to deal with different ‘styles’ of RP in design phase is something I’ve
debating over for a couple of years as I’ve worked on the code. Do I dare
even include an easy to use combat system? I don’t wish to ‘outlaw death’ or
‘consequences for IC actions’ but I don’t want to encourage certain types of
RP on the site I’m designing (There are plenty enough sites for those folks
with a competitive bent).  Do I try to create alternatives, like the MOBS
that exist on MUDs to try to placate some players need for aggression (the
equivalent of placating my male tabletop players every 1-½ sessions with a
combat scene)? Or do I just make the combat systems so unattractive that no
one bothers? I heard of one MU* that actually makes a player send an app to
the wizards to attempt a PK. Whether to try to ‘placate’, discourage, or
forbid is not an easy decision. One would hope players would look to the
enjoyment of other players as well themselves. I try to. In my experience
though many players do not.
And to talk about whiners… my favorite MUSH that I play on finally got
around to instituting the equivalent of PK and Non-PK flags. You shoulda
heard the PKers WHINE. 8)

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

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