[MUD-Dev] Admins as Mortals twist

Koster Koster
Tue Nov 23 23:24:15 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999


> -----Original Message-----
> From: J C Lawrence [mailto:claw at cp.net]
> Sent: Tuesday, November 23, 1999 9:36 PM
> To: mud-dev at kanga.nu
> Subject: Re: [MUD-Dev] Admins as Mortals twist 
> 
> More significantly, abstract and obtuse heirchies offer endless
> opportunities for politiking by players.
> [snip]
> Whoops, there go the accusations already.  You've just set the seeds
> of a political system among your player base in your game.
> 
> Raph Koster and Mike Sellers make a number of intersting
> observations on this in regard to admin behaviours as they observed
> on M59 and UOL.  Simply summarised:

And some observations I recently made to a player and website commentator:

start quote--->

Try looking at it from this series of postulates:

Social evolution is towards a more stable and civil society.
Evolved societies thrive on being boring.
Players in virtual environments want excitement.

This is hardly a radical set of postulates. Even in evolved societies,
people look to nepotism, windmill crusading for social (and occasionally
pointless) causes, corruption, incompetence on the part of government, etc,
etc, for sources of excitement. In other words, in the real world, people
like to live in Touched by an Angel. But in their fantasy lives, Dynasty is
more interesting.

So (to my shame) I've been watching the teen soap Popular on the WB lately.
It's about teenage girl power struggles and features a deliciously evil
bitch of a clique leader. I was talking with my wife about why I liked the
show, and she said, "because of the bitch." Which is of course true. It's
good to have someone to hate. cf Jonathan Baron's Law on my website.

If you search DejaNews, you'll find a remark by me responding to a statement
that the newsgroup was not united on anything, and didn't exhibit any
commonality, and shared common cause (which I had stated was what
communities formed around). I replied that they were certainly uinted in
their hatred of PKers. And some of them are to this day united by their
disdain for me. ;)

I submit to you that you don't want to get rid of the unpatchable bug known
as people. Rather, what you want is for constant churning motions to occur.
You want to see evil defeated, good take over, good turn evil, and so on,
endlessly going. It's archetypical myth patterns (Fisher King) and it's
standard social evolution (yesterday's vanguard is today's establishment)
and it makes good drama (yesterday's hero is today's The Man with flaws).

PK is merely an expression of these things. You state "Unfortunately, the
best most PVP guilds have managed to come up with is "let's kill these guys,
because they suck and we don't like them". Yes... that does suck as a
motive. Not all are that shallow. But you can't rely on roleplay here--you
have to actually provide in-game motives to fight. Territory, as Shadowbane
is trying, is probably a viable solution. And one which UO tried as well,
btw, cf the entire Kazola saga which was essentially a war over a bit of
psychologically valuable territory--remember, in a virtual setting,
territory is really about mindshare. people fight for publicity and fame,
not for the alleged reason in the first place.

Go read Jonathan's wonderful Glory and Shame article on Gamasutra for a
better picture of why glory and shame matter. People are inextricable from
this. In the end, those who play Neverwinter Nights are not going to be
playing for the same reasons. Those people who crave to have fame will not
get it in a wider arena on NWN. And yes, you can block out shame--but you'll
block out glory as well.

Now, you bring up lack of faith and confidence in admin staff. I wrote about
that as well. Go back and read the Comments from the Team that I have on my
website, with special note towards the stuff on distance between admins and
players. It is inevitable that something sleazy will happen. That's why
games like what Wombat is doing plan to not have any admins at all.  UO
started with those intentions and changed. I predict that Wombat's will as
well. Fact of the matter is, governments and bureaucracies tend to be
corrupt. And they need their muckrakers (take a bow) to keep it honest. But
to hope that you can remove the human element--futile, and in many ways,
contraindicated. 

<---end quote

-Raph 



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