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

Scatter scatter at thevortex.com
Sat Dec 18 22:48:29 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999

J C Lawrence <claw at cp.net> wrote:
> Scatter  <scatter at thevortex.com> wrote:

> There's another point underneath here:
>   Is a trap room that a player cannot leave without external help a
>   Bad Thing to any degree, if given that they can leave with the
>   assistance of another player outside the trap room?

Is there a reasonable expectation that another player able and willing
to help will be logged on at the time? If the answer is yes, then no -
these kinds of trap are not automatically a Bad Thing. 

This kind of trap becomes a problem when the usual situation is that
no one is logged on who can help. Then the trap becomes an insurmountable
hurdle for the lone player and effectively ends his game. This is a Bad
Thing because players place great value in the time they invest in a
particular character and to effectively lose a character in this way
is probably the most frustrating thing. The character is technically
still there, but it's not playable and there's no way to know when it
might become playable again. Result? Either the admin has to intervene
or the player quits in disgust. (I consider both of these options

>   How about if the trap room is easy to wander into, not well
>   labled, and easy to do by mistake -- say walking two steps too far
>   south off the well travelled north/south road thru the middle of
>   town?

Bad design. Sack whoever did the QC checking. This kind of situation
I would be very likely to fix on the first complaint. Something critical
that can be easily done by accident is one of my pet hates with respect to
usability and in a game environment it can completely ruin gameplay.

>   Now how about reconsidering this as an example of game-play
>   requiring player interaction and cooperation, and something that
>   actively fosters (nay demands) player socialising for effective
>   game play?

I have no problem with requiring player cooperation, and I plan to
have many scenarios that require it. I don't think this kind of
trap is a particularly good way to do it though - unless, as I mentioned
before, the player population is big enough for you to be able to
assume help will be forthcoming at all times.

Mountain climbing might shed some light on this issue. It's common
sense that you don't go off climbing icy mountains on your own, and
this can be reinforced with comments from the npc who runs the shop
that sells climbing equipment (chatty, asking who the player is
going with, or perhaps telling a dire tale of some fool who went
off alone, etc.) If a player then heads off up the mountain alone
and ends up falling down some icy crevasse he can't get out of, well
IMO that's his own fault. On the other hand, it should probably be
difficult for him to get high enough to find deep crevasses on
his own in the first place.

> Walk softly, carry a big stick, and research every area before you
> enter it.  Hurm.  Only one of those points seems to be popular with
> HnS players.

One thing my mud is definitely not aimed at is hack'n'slash players.

> > 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.
> And in the above case?  The trap isn't fatal, merely incapacitating
> until rescue.

If rescue can be assumed, then the trap is just an inconvenience. 
Otherwise the trap can make the character as unplayable as if it were
dead, so the same guideline applies.

Scatter ///\oo/\\\

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

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