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

Caliban Tiresias Darklock caliban at darklock.com
Thu Sep 23 17:21:56 New Zealand Standard Time 1999

On 03:47 AM 9/21/1999 -0500, I personally witnessed Greg Miller jumping up
to say:
>Caliban Tiresias Darklock wrote:
>> On 03:02 AM 9/11/1999 -0500, I personally witnessed Greg Miller jumping up
>> to say:
>> >Solmyr of the Azure Star wrote:
>> >> murders. Which is what I think pking should be - in-character.
>> >
>> >And why is that? Role-playing is simply not fun for most mud players.
>> Ever try to play D&D by yourself?
>I don't see the connection. Yes, muds and D&D involve social interaction
>normally--but since when does social interaction require role-playing?

Cause and effect confusion. Role-playing requires social interaction. While
I can interact with others and not role-play, I can't really role-play
without interacting with others. 

If you don't want to roleplay, go play Tetris.

>> Speaking from my own experience, roleplaying is a *cooperative* exercise,
>> and if the rest of the players don't *cooperate* then roleplaying is not
>> fun. When you step into a room on a MUD and say "What ho, my good men! How
>> go things?" and they respond "What level are you?", that ruins the fun.
>For me, some of the fun would be ruined when you started off with "what
>ho"... I prefer to be able to socialize directly with the other players.
>That seems to be extremely common.

How does playing in character prevent you from socialising directly with
other players? What, you want to log onto a MUD and talk about the football
game? You want to discuss what CDs you listen to? What classes you're
taking at college, what your boss is telling you to do right now, what a
screaming fit your children are giving you?

This is what IRC is for. This is what chat channels are for. This is what
tells are for. This is what email is for. This is NOT what character speech
in an online game is for. You want to talk about this on the server, that's
fine, but it's not part of the game and you shouldn't be getting in the way
of people who are involved in playing the game. 

If you don't want to roleplay, go play pinball.

>> ruins the fun. When roleplaying is worthless in the game, then it is not
>> fun. And when nobody else is roleplaying, then roleplaying is worthless;
>> all it does is make you an outcast and a weirdo.
>And why does this happen? Because most people don't roleplay. I believe
>that, in turn, stems from the fact that they simply don't find it fun.

I would say, rather, that they see no benefit to roleplaying. If you
roleplay, will you level faster? No. Will you get cool items? No. Will you
make lots of money? No. So what good is it? It's fun. 

Fun? What's this fun thing? Where's my "fun" stat? How do I improve it?
When do I get really good at having fun? Can I get a fun bonus from a spell
or some equipment? If I don't have fun, is that a bug? Where's the "fun"
code in the server?

If you don't want to roleplay, go play checkers.

>I can't speak for why that is for them, but for me it's because playing
>a character means I don't make friends with the other players--to do so
>would be acting in an OOC manner.

There is a basic failure in many people's heads to recognise that
roleplaying is not an all or nothing situation. It is perfectly fine if
chat channels are OOC by default. If tells are OOC by default. If OOC
comments are made through some method. If there are entire areas in the
game which are considered OOC, so you don't even have to try to maintain a

The key is to contain it. You put roleplaying over here, and socialisation
over there, and then you put a wall between them. Some people will wander
back and forth from one side of the wall to the other. Some will just hang
out on one side of it. That's okay, provided the wall is there: the people
who don't care about roleplay aren't disturbing the people who do, and the
people who are roleplaying aren't disrupting the people who want to
complain about their jobs. The wall does not have to be *enforced* (the
playerbase will generally do that just fine), but it has to be *there*.

If you don't want to roleplay, go play chess.

>> There is no BENEFIT to roleplay except that it is FUN. And when nobody 
>And here we have a key problem. Getting back to the subject of player
>punishment, a role-play based solution only works if either [1] people
>are cooperating and you never had a problem to begin with or [2] you
>fall back to a brute force "behave or I delete you" system. 

A roleplay-based solution only works with roleplay-based problems. When
your problem is people hacking the server, no amount of roleplay will
address it. When your problem is people screaming profanity in public,
roleplay can work. However, the very thing that makes roleplay-based
solutions work makes roleplay-based problems possible: people must be able
to enforce their will on others within the game to some degree. 

Ideally, you build a strong core group of players who are later joined by a
much weaker set of new characters; this core group is trustworthy and
shares your values, so their actions will be easily supported. By the time
the new characters reach that level of power, their views of what is
acceptable in the game will match yours closely enough that they, too, can
be trusted. In practice, it rarely happens this way. There are a great many
reasons this happens, but they all tend to boil down to looking at that
"WHO" list and trying to make the number at the bottom bigger.

If you don't want to roleplay, go play golf.

>Roleplay has no benefits normally for people who don't enjoy it, 

Then why are they playing these games? I'm sure you've detected the theme
here. If you don't like roleplaying, go play something else. If you log
onto a MUD, you should *expect* others to roleplay, because that is a major
part of these type of games. You should recognise the desire of others to
roleplay, and respect that. If you don't, then it's no different from going
to the #knitting IRC channel and talking about baseball: you're being
disruptive and rude, and that's not appropriate behavior. It should not be
tolerated. You have plenty of places you can go talk about your job and
your family and your midterm, and there are comparatively few places *we*
can go to roleplay. 

That said, we certainly shouldn't be logging into your boating forum and
running around acting like a band of pirates, either. This distinction cuts
both ways. 

>and few seem to enjoy it.

I don't believe this is true. Go to a Renaissance faire. Look around. Look
at all the people happily playing along to the best of their ability with
the guys in costume. Roleplaying *is* fun. Everyone *likes* roleplaying.
They just aren't sure how to go about it. They need role models. They need
people to emulate. They need some consistent example of what the proper
phrasing is, what the proper behavior is, what the customs are. At a
renfaire, the staff are the role models. 

On a MUD, the staff are... well... boring. They stand around idle for days.
This must be acceptable behavior. When they unidle, they say "Jesus, I've
been rewriting this damn code for three hours, and it still doesn't work."
There's your role model. There's your acceptable example of behavior,
speech, and custom. 

People are SHEEP. They're designed that way. Lead them, and they will
follow. Point the way, and off they go. If the STAFF roleplay, the PLAYERS
will roleplay. If the players roleplay, the new players will either learn
to roleplay or feel left out. Nobody likes feeling left out. Build a core
group of a couple hundred people roleplaying, and the whole culture will
pretty much take care of itself.

| Caliban Tiresias Darklock            caliban at darklock.com 
| Darklock Communications          http://www.darklock.com/ 
| U L T I M A T E   U N I V E R S E   I S   N O T   D E A D 
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