[MUD-Dev] Re: multiplaying

Lovecraft dave at darkages.com
Fri Mar 24 13:20:02 New Zealand Daylight Time 2000

From: Tess Lowe <tess at realtimecontrol.com>

> Dr Cat wrote:
> > Generally in a social or RP oriented mud with no combat
> > system and no money, people that have multiple characters
> > add to the variety of the environment in a positive way.

I agree that it makes it fun.  Below, I address a different kind of social

> They can cause immense problems in rp oriented muds with player-politics
> though, since characters on different accounts can invariably vote
> consistently for each other. It may be difficult for players without
> multiple accounts to match this level of dedicated support.

> I suppose one might say, though, that politics is a combat system by
> name.

Multiplaying Politics
My politician players echo Tess: politics is a form of player-vs-player.

Even in a game that has no combat player-vs-player, democracy can't tolerate
unlimited multiple characters, because of democracy's voting integrity: 1
player per voting period = 1 vote.

There is also another political problem beyond voting: responsibility,
addressed earlier.  It's worse than just personal harassment, because by the
nature of politics, it's possible to extend harassment to a collective
number of players.

Restricting Multiplaying
J C Lawrence wrote that restricting multiplay by program is impossible.
*underlines impossible*  I respectfully and hopefully listen to
possibilities.  I've conjured a few, all with loopholes once it leaves the

Some online games restrict multiple character abuse by requiring minimal
experience points for some ability.  It's not at all perfect, but it is a
cost, so it deters multiple characters, as does paying per character, or set
of characters.  Restricting multiplay by real money, or other currency, cost
is a very good solution.  [1]

For free muds this is impossible.  There is at least one form of currency
for the free mud: time online.  Considering the feedback mechanism of money:
that which is paid more for is valued more (at least by those paying).  For
free muds, there is time online.  The more one plays online, the more it is
valued.  For example: You get "X" amount of votes/points for each hour

Unfortunately auto-playing lowers the validity of time-played to value
correlation.  In a sense, the auto-player counterfeits the currency in
question.  The holy grail would be some task that cannot be automatically
performed or easily duplicated but can be automatically tracked.  For
example: An online chess community that awards winners based on the rating
of their opponent.  For another: an online warfare game that does the same
thing. [1]

Dave Kennerly             *             A world to live in
Game Director             *             http://www1.darkages.com

[1] Competition and currency: I use them here as game theoretical terms,
instead of their restricted definition and horrid connotations in the dry,
commercial universe.  I mean each term abstractly:
    - Currency as any form of points that cannot be easily counterfeited.
    - Competition as a means of verifying non-automation, given that the
competitive game is complicated enough to disadvantage auto-players.

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