[MUD-Dev] players who "take away from the game"

Matthew Mihaly diablo at best.com
Fri Nov 5 16:55:42 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999

On Fri, 5 Nov 1999, msew wrote:

> So I was at the GDC road trip here in austin and attended the talk: 
> "Managing Online Game Communities" by Gordon Walton from Origin.
> His talk centered around how to deal with those 5-10% of players that are 
> disruptive to the game.  He didn't really give a good definition of what 
> disruptive is but from hints in his talk it seemed to be players that were 
> either just purely assholes and would go find someone and swear at them and 
> call them racist things and just verbally berate them over and over.
> His method of dealing with said disruptive player was to ban them.  Account 
> terminated.
> Now it seems for those type of players that this seems to be the best 
> way.  (ie if you are a pure jerk 100% the time and have no socially 
> redeeming values  see ya!)

I would phrase it as: If you detract more from the world than you
contribute to it, see ya.

> As with all things I think there is a spectrum of jerkness.  Of these 5-10% 
> of the players that might be deemed "disruptive" I can't possibly imagine 
> all of them having no social redeeming values at all.  (if they are, our 
> society is in deep trouble)

It's not about whether they have NO social redeeming value. I've never met
or heard of anyone with absolutely no redeeming social value. It's really
more a matter, I think, of whether they contribute or detract from the
game, overall. Most players contribute slightly (simply by being there and
being in-role, they make the world more interesting for others). A few
contribute greatly (the leaders generally, or the odd eccentric, fantastic
roleplayer). Some detract slightly, and whether to get rid of them is
generally a judgement call. I often have a word with this type of player
and just find out what his problem is. About half the time, this sort of
player turns his attitude around after that due to a feeling of being
wanted by the world.

Then there are the ones you are talking about. In my experience, 95% of
these types are kids under the age of 18 (usually 16 and under in my
experience, but sometimes particularly immature 17 or 18 year olds). They
may have redeeming social value in real life by virtue of their potential
to change, but as far as I'm concerned, they have none in a mud. I don't
care what their problems are, I just want them out of my world.

> Question to everyone:
> 0) what are disruptive players?
> 1) what do you do with disruptive players?
> 2) why do disruptive players appear/blossom?

See above for my answer to question 0.

I run a commercial world, but do not charge for access to the game (your
options are reasonably limited without ever paying). So, I treat customers
and freeloaders differently. If a newbie logs in and starts acting like an
8 year old, I either delete them, or mute them and remove their ability to
write on the newsboard. Muting them removes all possibility of
communication. Can't speak, shout, tell, use any channels. Can't send
messages. If you write a letter and mail it in the post office, it just
disappears, etc. However, the player himself receives no text informing
him that this is the case. So, from his perspective, he's just being
completely ignored by everyone around him. This is, I find, even better
than deleting someone, as when you delete someone, he or she often just
comes right back with a new character, forcing you to eventually ban the
ip (never a good option to have to use due to possibly blocking other,
productive customers. Of course, blocking all high schools and public
libraries would be wonderful). Anyway, the muted player usually gets bored
and leaves.

For either freeloaders who aren't newbies, or any customer, I always
either mute them or, in the case of serious troublemakers who I
essentially want gone, but can't legally really delete, I turn them into
shrubs. While shrubs, all they can do is rustle a bit. It amuses the other
players too, who can go urinate or spit on the helpless shrub.

I think troublemakers blossom because, well, they are annoying kids. I
don't care why they are annoying kids I guess, as that is rather
irrelevant to me. I don't see myself, or anyone, wiping out teenage angst
and general immaturity any time in the near future. 

I HAVE had a couple troublemakers who were adults. He was a big customer,
and one of our oldest players, but he developed an absolutely paranoid
attitude. He was convinced that i was out to get him and his entire guild,
and he spent all his time whining to everyone about me, about Achaea,
about his skills, etc etc. All attempts at rational conversation with him
were failures, as he would simply call me a liar when I'd point out the
fallacies in his claims. Eventually, after he spent days swearing at me,
etc, I had no choice but to turn him into a shrub. A few days later, I
gave permission to one of my Goddesses to return him to human form,
provided he understand that he has to change his behavior. He said he
would, etc, but promptly started doing exactly the same stuff as before. I
had to turn him back. It was a shame, as the guy had put in about 3500
hours of playing time, but there really wasn't any other solution. I don't
know WHY he developed his bad attitude, but he had to be pruned, like a
diseased branch on a tree. I can only speculate that perhaps he had fallen
victim to old-players-syndrome, where long-time players develop the
attitude that many of the rules of the game no longer appply to them, and
get very upset when they are forcibly reminded that they do.


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