[MUD-Dev] MUD Wimping

Michael Tresca talien at toast.net
Sun Jul 30 21:15:23 New Zealand Standard Time 2000

Every once in awhile, a disgruntled player posts this.  I've seen it on our
MUD and others:


It's well written, but the logic starts to diverge about 2/3rd of the way
through.  There's so much to talk about, I can't possibly summarize all my
own opinions on the subject, and I'm betting it may have been discussed here
already.  So if it has, please feel free to tell me so and I'll go digging
through the logs at length.

My primary concern is that Tenarius states there should be an inherent level
of static quality in an online game -- once achieved, game developers do not
have the right to "go back and fix it."  I can appreciate the concept, but I
think it's more than a little misguided.

It seems that one of the fundamentals of multi-player games is their
evolution.  Asheron's Call has changed quite a bit since its inception, and
not just in areas.  Just how finished is a multi-player game supposed to be?

I submit that they are never finished.  And therefore, if they're never
finished, no player can assume on any level that anything on the game is
permanent or stable.  The argument that Tenarius puts forth is exactly the
opposite -- that in part, if people are using it, it should not be harmed,
modified, or otherwise removed from the game because the coding staff put it
into the game in the first place (and in creating it, it is thus their
fault) and "too much damage" would be caused by taking it out.

This strikes me as being peculiarly antithetical to game development and the
general enjoyment as a game developer.  The goal seems to be very
narrow-minded: FUN FOR PLAYERS.  All other things are inconsequential.

If you apply this concept to a role-playing game, it would mean that the
Game Master should not do certain things because it would upset his players.
So players are then allowed to do what they want because it fits their
paradigm of the universe -- if players were utterly objective, I could see
this working.  But it can't work, because the nature of being a player in
these games is the luxury of selfishness.  If everyone's selfish interests
are at stake, the game rapidly becomes the Monty Haul type, where players
are achieving ridiculous goals without effort, and thus stop playing the
game because of the complete lack of challenges.

In other words, fun in gaming is on some level tied to adversity.  Some
human agent creates that adversity.  They should then let the game crumble,
in Tenarius' eyes, because that "adversity" limit is apparently set when the
game is first formed.  Anything else after that is inexcusable.

I think all MUDs are in continuous development.  I look forward to the day
when I can look back on RetroMUD and say, "Okay, now the coding staff can
withdraw completely."  Six years of development later, and we're still not
there, and I imagine we won't six years later.

Is there a more coherent response out there that's opposed the underlying
concepts of MUD Wimping?

Michael "Talien" Tresca
RetroMUD Administrator
telnet://retromud.org 3000

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