[MUD-Dev] Gamasutra: Online Justice Systems

Ananda Dawnsinger ananda at greyrealms.com
Thu Mar 23 14:24:27 New Zealand Daylight Time 2000

>From: "Draymoor" <fibhufky at erols.com>
>To: <mud-dev at kanga.nu>
>Subject: Re: [MUD-Dev] Gamasutra: Online Justice Systems
>Date: Fri, Oct 23, 1998, 12:07 PM

>I can't see any pluses to having multiple characters on an RP mud, except
>the multiple persona's it brings, and that looks like the whole point of the
>thread (Multiple Personas = less responsibility), ne?

But this does have a major roleplaying benefit: it allows players to explore
personae they otherwise wouldn't.  Personae that may be abrasive, or
high-strung, or tormented, or twisted -- that may be inherently interesting
not only to themselves but also to those around them.

Yes, players restricted to a single persona will tend to conform to the
expectations of their environment.  Yes, this will tend to lead to a more
well-behaved populace, as long as the players are content.  (If they become
discontent, all bets are off.)  It will also, I think, tend to lead to a
more heterogeneous and less dramatic world -- which many people find
desirable, but not everybody.

There are, I think, two major problems with draconian anti-multiplay rules.

First, anything draconian breeds resentment in players who don't want to be
told what to do.

Second, when you eliminate multiplay (assuming you could), you eliminate any
benefits gained from multiple characters; but you only eliminate one of many
sources of cross-character and irresponsible behavior.  You're still left
with the problems of:

-- disgruntled players

-- habitual troublemakers and irritants

-- short-timer syndrome (I'm going to college in a month and won't be able
to play)

-- hacked accounts (especially if it's a commercial system) or temporary

-- "gang" play (guilds or groups who come into a game seeking to rOoL)

-- geographically separated couples who use each other's characters to give
each other a leg up

-- cliques of players who are long-time friends and will help each other out

It's a variant on the liberty/security dilemma (the person who surrenders
liberty to gain security will have neither).  You lose the liberty of
multiple character slots, but you don't gain the security of a community of
well-behaved players -- the game is safer, but it's still not safe.

That said, I'm not sure if it's worth it to provide multiple characters
unless the positives outweigh the negatives.  I "grew up" playing Dragon's
Gate on GEnie, which had three character slots per account, as well as a
large variety of races, many of which had their own benefits, drawbacks, and
personalities.  There was definitely cross-character abuse, but not that
much, because so many players enjoyed the opportunity to play a variety of
characters.  I was appalled when I tried out another game where most people
"wasted" their secondary slots on mules and personal healers!  (To be fair,
this game did have a variety of different races; I think the problem lay
mostly with players who didn't know what else to do with their extra
character slots...)

   -- Sharon

MUD-Dev mailing list
MUD-Dev at kanga.nu

More information about the MUD-Dev mailing list