[MUD-Dev] an essay on PK

Marian Griffith gryphon at iaehv.nl
Sat Sep 25 08:47:32 New Zealand Standard Time 1999

On Thu 23 Sep, Rhonda Alexander wrote:

> From: Matthew Mihaly <diablo at best.com>

> >On Tue, 21 Sep 1999, Marian Griffith wrote:

> >> I vowed to stay out of these perpetual discussion, but I could not
> >> let this slip by entirely without making a single observation:

> >> You are apparently assuming that your victims (the whiners) are
> >> playing the same game as you are.  They obviously are not. A large
> >> part of the shock is coming from the fact  that people think  they
> >> are playing a particular type of game and then are suddenly forced
> >> into  an entirely different type of game.

> >> Are such players whiners when they complain vocally? By your stan-
> >> dards yes,  but by their own standards their game has been invaded
> >> by vandals, and they have every right to complain.

> >If they complain vocally, then yes. Everyone is living in the same virtual
> >world,

Ah, but are they? I obviously did not express myself clearly enough. The
point I was trying to make was that players do not -expect- to be living
in the same virtual world. I was not pointing at a right or wrong situa-
tion but at a shattered expectations one.

> 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).

This is  in fact  the problem that is expressed by 'the Stampcollectors
Dilemma' in the faq. Can, and should, you cater for all different types
of play and all different interests in the same game?

> 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=
> 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.

My experience is that there are two things that greatly influence what
players will do in a game:  theme and example.  E.g. Pern themed games
rarely have any fighting going on at all because it is not in the sto-
ries.  Players who enjoy combat are unlikely to gravitate towards that
theme. As a result it remains almost entirely free of combat (and com-
petition to a large extent).
If in a player group PK is rare then new players are unlikely to start
with it, and those who do are frowned upon.  The player group enforces
its mores through example, and players with other interests are likely
to drift away to other games.
In either case you will have to deal with the trouble makers.

Yes - at last - You. I Choose you. Out of all the world,
out of all the seeking, I have found you, young sister of
my heart! You are mine and I am yours - and never again
will there be loneliness ...

Rolan Choosing Talia,
Arrows of the Queen, by Mercedes Lackey

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

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