[MUD-Dev] curses and grief players

KevinL darius at bofh.net.au
Mon Jul 24 10:06:56 New Zealand Standard Time 2000


(I responded originally without properly attributing, and unfortunately had 
deleted the post I'd responded to by then, so this is still in the same 
thread, but replying to the wrong email, in case anyone's email reader/web 
threading is out of order... ;)

gmiller at classic-games.com wrote:
>   darius at bofh.net.au wrote:
> 
> > Seriously, I'd be aiming for a game where the players make most of the 
> > decisions, but I think trying to kid yourself that (group * "the best 
> > interests of the individual") somehow equates out to "the best interests of 
> > the group" would be flying in the face of too much prior evidence - at the end 
> 
> And yet we have so much prior evidence that majority rule *does* work 
> for this very reason... There are certainly significant differences 
> between muds and RL, but if you have a specific reason why this works in 
> RL and won't in a mud, I'd be glad to hear it.

I guess the definition of "works" needs to be made, then.  I'm in that 
category of people that believes that the current systems are demonstrably 
failing - we've got widening class gaps, wholesale destruction of resource, 
and very little action "in the common good" when a worldwide view is taken, 
IMNSHO.  I believe the flaws seen in democracies in RL become potentially a 
lot more apparent in a small mud-world - where destruction of resource can 
become a huge issue (see other threads), where class gaps (aka cliques or 
power differentials) are a potential new player deterrent, etc. etc.

I think allowing the players to make core decisions re: mud direction/makeup 
does _not_ guarantee that you'll get the best decisions for the mud - each one 
may decide what's best for themselves, without view for what's best for the 
mud as a whole.  Especially given there's no tight feedback often from one to 
the other - the players may suffer the consequences, but it's unlikely they'll 
link any breakdown of the mud to their own decisions, they're more likely to 
say "this place stinks now, let's find somewhere else" ;)

I further think the deeper you allow player control to go into your mud design 
and workings, the more you risk it all breaking up - players are not going to 
switch from selfish to selfless behaviour just because they're now responsible 
for a different part of the mud, so any decision/situation they're faced with 
that falls roughly into the tragedy of the commons/prisoner's dillema (thanks 
Raph ;) type "best for self != best for group" or "best for self now != best 
for self in long term" category is in jeopardy - it's those points that you 
want someone without an interest in furthering their own character to be able 
to step in and decide.

Having said that, mush'es have survived for years with players being builders, 
so maybe there's some hope - but I suspect it's a case of keeping the player 
base right to make it work, which presumably takes admin work in encouraging 
the right things to happen and the wrong people to leave, which puts you right 
back where we started ;).  I could be wrong, and most players may behave in 
those sorts of decisions in the best interests of their player selves rather 
than in the interests of whatever beefs up their char *shrug*.

There's space for a lot of player control - so long as you make sure there's 
safeties in place, so someone/thing can step in and say "right, that's enough, 
this is wrong, it's going to be done this way" - $DEITY knows we could do with 
that wrt some of the multinats and other bodgy examples of "capitalism 
working" IRL now.

KevinL
(way out on a limb in opinion land here...)




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