[MUD-Dev] Re: MUD-Dev digest, Vol 1 #163 - 25 msgs

Greg Miller gmiller at classic-games.com
Mon Jul 17 16:45:15 New Zealand Standard Time 2000

  John Buehler wrote:

> This has been a topic that I have been something of a disbeliever in for
> some time, especially if casual gamers are to ever become mainstream.  I
> take it as axiomatic that one player cannot rely on another player for any
> significant element of entertainment.  This is what gamemasters are for:
> to entertain the players.  In a massive player setting, the computer works
> as an assistant to the gamemaster, but the result is the same.

Yet there must be something attractive about multiplayer gaming... so if 
people those other players aren't entertaining in some way, what's the 
advantage over single player gaming?

> I KNOW that a game can be constructed in which players occupy political
> seats and control gameplay.  The question is, will there be lots of players
> who are interested in being governed?  My concerns stem from the quality of
> service provided by players to other players.  If I need a judge and the
> guy who plays Chief Justice is at work and unavailable to sit his chair,
> what happens?  Do we fall back on automatic behaviors at that time?  Do
> we somehow avoid having single points of failure in the social makeup?

It's not a question of whether players want some form of government, 
it's a question what kind. What happens if the admins are unavailable? 
This is a common problem on small muds. Consequently, both your example 
and mind represent a problem of fragility.

> Services like trades are usually 24x7 when handled by players because it
> is a competitive atmosphere.  And there can be many players providing the
> same service.  But in a government there are a variety of unique positions
> that, if vacated, cause problems.  I'd be interested to hear how you see
> this working.  Because I don't.

By not forming such governments. In RL, do we use governments that 
collapse if one person dies or disappears? Of course not--at least not 
in well-developed nations. The ones that do are typically run by 
dictators (note the similarity to small, admin-run muds). I think it's 
necessary in the short term to ensure that people can fend for 
themselves while players develop social conventions and governments. 
This suggests limiting power differentials and possibly something along 
the lines of the curse system I mentioned in another thread.

> gamemasters and the computer at the highest levels.  If we want to have
> interchangeable civil servants run by players, that's fine.  They don't
> constitute a single point of failure that way.

Bingo. I think a player base has to be pretty large before civil 
servants are viable, and the admin base has to be pretty large before 
having them perform the equivalent function is feasible. Even then, 
admin-run justice systems increase admin vs. player conflict. Note that 
they don't create it--resentment over inaction will tend to occur either 

Of course, there are lots of discussions in the archives about player 
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