[MUD-Dev] Fair/Unfair? Scenarios (fwd)

Quzah quzah at hotmail.com
Sat Dec 18 09:27:40 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999

From: Scatter <scatter at thevortex.com>
Subject: Re: [MUD-Dev] Fair/Unfair? Scenarios (fwd)

> > From: J C Lawrence <claw at cp.net> Save Address Block Sender
> > Sellers, Michael <MSellers at maxis.com> wrote:
> > > JC wrote:
> If there is a cave that people go in but never come out of, perhaps
> there are npcs in nearby towns, inns or pubs who tell each other
> tales of people who went missing that way.

Curiosity killed the cat. The above is a "Bad Thing". Why? Because
if you pique their interest, they will do it. If you tell some one
NOT to do something, there is a huge chance that they will in fact
do it. Especially in a MUD.

Old Timer: "People that go up north dissapear, youngster! Stay
            away from them there caves!"

Adventurer: "Hot damn, an adventure! I'll go see why people don't
            come back from those caves! I'm a hero after all!"

One instance comes to mind...

Mud: DeathWish.
Place: Rome, the coliseum, right above the lion's pit.
The Text (pharaphrased):
    "Below lies a den of fierce lions. You doubt you could survive."
The player: Me.
The command: "down"
The result: DeathTrap. Lions ripped me to shreads. I was pissed.
The reason: I like to explore. If there is a room, I'll go there.

That was my first encounter with a "Death Trap". Simply put, I hate
them. I am an explorer. I go places. Every place. Are their some
occasions where they are appropriate? Sure. Once you have set the
ground rules for the game. In my given situation, the death trap
was "unfair". Why? Let's face it, we're talking typical CircleMUD
here (at the time it was anyway), you die, it is no big deal. You
walk out and get your stuff back.

A death trap steals that away from you. You can't get your stuff
back when any time you enter the room you insta-die. That is in
the given world "unfair".

Had this been a "perma-death" mud, I would have had no problem
with the death. Why? Because when you die in a perma-death mud,
you expect not to be able to get your stuff. Dead is dead. In a
typical Diku, dead is not really dead and there is a massive
chance that you get your stuff back.

I suppose I should rephrase: I don't hate death traps. There is
occasion for them if they are implemented correctly.

> If the path across the cliffs is crumbling away and dangerous,
> its condition should be able to be inferred from its descriptions.
> The guideline I work by is that the wary, observant player should
> be able to be not caught out by such things. It should be possible
> for the player to work out that doing whatever it is could be
> dangerous. That certainly doesn't mean that every player is going
> to notice the warning signs, let alone heed them. But if a player
> crys 'not fair, no warning' I want to be able to point to the
> warning.

In a typical diku, as per my above, with stock areas, the so
called "warnings" are hardly realistic.

The place: Olympus
The mob: Aries
The caption (My favourite mud-caption of all mud-time.):
  "Aries is here, kicking your ASS!"
The point:
  If I'm invisible, no, Aries is not kicking my ass. If I am much
  stronger, no, Aries is not kicking my ass. If I am far superior
  to the area, no, the warnings do NOT apply.

All in all, you need--no REQUIRE--dynamic descriptions for muds.
Text that models itself to the viewer. Degrees of difficulty must
conform to the viewer, otherwise the warning is uneffective.
<plug=QID>I wrote a parser that does this. It's out there some place
if some one wants it.</plug> I'm sure there are much better ones,
I haven't done anything with it for some time now.

The fact remains, if you are going to have super-danger, you
need to modify your warnings in relation to the viewer involved.
(Just my opinion.)

> > _IF_ the game is responsible for protecting and warning the player
> > in regard to all possible dangers of magnitude, several things
> > become interesting:
> >   -- traps
> >   -- ambushes
> With regard to these two, I wouldn't place specific warnings
> about what kind of things are likely to happen. I would try to
> place hints that a given area may be dangerous. I.e. not warning
> the player that a group of bandits are lying in wait on a specific
> road, but perhaps npc rumours that bandits are known to be in
> the area.

Which just serves to antagonize the would be hero. Yes, warnings
are great, however, they don't always work, but I suppose they
are at least there. The worst case scenario you end up with is the
player saying: "Well I'm the hero, I'm SUPPOSED to go there!" To
which you can reply: "No, stupid, you don't walk through the middle
of the battle between the Titans and the Olympians! You are a MORTAL!"

> > Consider the example I posited a little later in that post:
> [snip]
> >   Of course a battle royal ensues across the tradionally tranquial
> >   streets and squares of Rue, that utopian dream of bucolic
> >   simplicity, and our young newbie, knowing nothing of this, walks
> >   into the middle of the fray, finds himself lost and both a head
> >   shorter and dead, tho possibly not in that order.
> Surely if a battle royal was going on, the newbie should be able
> to hear the sounds of battle before arriving in the middle of it?
> This, to me, is sufficient warning!

Nope. Consider the following:

  : Welcome to SomeDamnMUD, enter your name:
  : quzah
  : Welcome Quzah, enter your password:
  : *******
  : MOTD
  : Room description...
  : <Massive melee ensues, slaughtering newbie>
  : You have DIED!

> Of course, this doesn't hold if the player is just teleported into
> the battle as your second example showed - but as my mud will have
> only very restricted forms of teleport, I don't have to cover this
> situation. =)
> -- 
> Scatter ///\oo/\\\

Or they enter the game there as per above.


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