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

Scatter scatter at thevortex.com
Wed Dec 22 21:12:17 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999

J C Lawrence <claw at kanga.nu> wrote:
>Scatter  <scatter at thevortex.com> wrote:
>> J C Lawrence <claw at cp.net> wrote:
>>> 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?
>That's rather up to the player who logs in and then wanders into a
>trap room isn't it?

No, it's a design question. Is it fair to design a trap that can
only be escaped with the assistance of another player? Only if there
is a reasonable expectation that a player willing and able to to
help is logged on at the same time. This depends largely on the
size of the mud - a smaller mud with 5-10 players online at once
would have a much more difficult time justifying such a trap than 
one with 100+ players.

>> the trap becomes an insurmountable hurdle for the lone player
>> and effectively ends his game.
><nod> It is a tool that is actively discriminatory against the lone
>player, and strongly selective for the socially well connected

Even on smaller  muds I've played, (say 30+ players online) I've
usually found that there are people on who are willing to help
someone who is stuck - even without prior 'social connections'.
So, to be socially well connected is not necessarily a requirement
for getting help.

However, I agree that such traps should be avoided if you don't
want to encourage group play at the expense of the loner.

>>> 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.
>There is a castle which sits on a spur aside a mountain, perhaps
>being the main access to a pass thru the mountains.  A narrow bridge
>(the only other exit from the casle) joins the castle to a rocky
>outcropping in the nearby foothills and the village nearby there.
>There is significant traffic between the village and the castle.
>The bridge is perilous.  It is narrow with one step to either side
>leading to a deadly fall.  Walk past the end (either end) and you
>also fall to your death (the castle and the village lie to the side
>of the bridge).
>Bad?  Acceptable?

This depends upon the implementation. If, as in your previous
example, you fall off the bridge just by going 'south' one too
many times, then IMO it's terrible and should be taken out
immediately (especially if death is permanent rather than a
minor annoyance).

You should be able to follow the bridge with the expectation
that a trivial typo isn't going to kill you. Of course, the bridge
is perilous and you may still have a large possibility of falling -
but this should be dependent on stat/ability and/or skill checks,
not on typing the directions without error. It's a test of
the character's balance/dexterity/sure-footedness, not the player's
ability to type.

>> 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
>I propose two views:
>  1) Other players (than yourself) are generic resources who may be
>prevailed upon for arbitrary assistance, and are likely to help
>knowing that they too may arbitrarily prevail on others for similar
>  2) Other players cannot be relied upon to assist you and ost
>likely will not.  Your only high probability way of obtaining
>assistance is to have previously built an extended social networks
>of friends and the like, a sub-society within the game, whom you
>will help as friends, and who will therefore help you.
>Most current games strive (and generally fail) to achive #1.  Few
>(none?) attempt #2.

Interestingly, I'd come down on the side of (2). The majority of
my game is geared towards (2) - you should be able to play and
survive as a loner. You might not be able to achieve everything
that a group could achieve, but you ought to be able to manage
the majority. This is partly because I'm not expecting to end
up with a large player base. :)

>Side effect of #2: The game is likely utterly unplayable by solo

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding but I'd expect that to be a side
effect of (1). A game that assumes other players will help when
asked can put in many more things that require other players to
help. A game that assumes other players won't help or won't
be available cannot require other players to assist another.

Scatter ///\oo/\\\

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

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