[MUD-Dev] The Player Wimping Guidebook

J C Lawrence claw at kanga.nu
Mon Jul 31 22:19:47 New Zealand Standard Time 2000


http://www.best.com/~tenarius/mudwimping.html

--<cut>--

Welcome To The Player Wimping Guidebook!
(or how to dry up your mud in no time)

Fucking up a mud is surprisingly simple. With a little bit of time
and dedicated effort to your own stupidity, you too can ruin your
mud for the players, cause strife beyond belief, and take your mud
down a slow spiral to implosion from within. The two best ways to do
this are Wiping and Wimping.

For those of you new to being little tin gods, I will be using the
following definitions:


Terms Used Here:


      Imms, Immortals, Gods: Those who run a mud. These are the
      admins that build or oversee the mud. Sometimes called
      Dungeon Masters or GMs, DMs, or IMPs.

      Mud: Not the gooey stuff women wrestle in, but a multi-user
      dungeon. An online game where multiple players interact with
      each other and computer generated monsters.

      Mobs: No, not 100 middle-aged women in a store with a big
      shoe sale! Mob refers to computer generated monsters on a
      Mud.

      Trolls: People who simply like to cause problems and get off
      on watching the resultant fallout and fighting.

      Wiping: is the act of doing a player file wipe. This destroys
      all player information, including hours played, gold
      collected, equipment earned, and all other facets of the
      character. It may or may not include the player's name.

      Wimping: is the act of taking away from a player's skills,
      spells, or effectiveness in some other way, such as reducing
      weapon effectiveness or boosting mobs (computer generated
      monsters) to an incredible degree. It can also refer to the
      reduction of gold.  Wimping is called nerfing or blunting in
      many circles.



              Player Wimping A Critical Examination
              -------------------------------------

Generally done under the rationalization of "mud balancing" or
"restoring the challenge" the act of wimping players or 'nerfing' is
one of the most insidious acts one can undertake. Wimping results in
more hurt players, and more shattered morale for a mud than anything
any player could ever accomplish. What is worse is that it is done
by those who ostensibly are tasked with protecting the game and
making it a better place to spend your entertainment hours. Wimping
has destroyed more than one mud that I have been on, and has hurt
loyal mudders across the world.


Best Intentions:
----------------

Almost without fail, when a mud starts, it starts because a player
decides the gaming world needs something "friendly and unique" and
finds himself in a situation where he is not satisfied with how the
mud he is on is run. The player, now a new Implementor (chief
administrator) believes that he can do a better job than those whose
mud he has left and so he simply starts his own. In many instances
he is disappointed or sad at the way that players on his X-mud have
been treated and thinks he can do it better, making an environment
where people can feel wanted and safe. Indeed the ideal he starts
with is to become for his players what he wished the gods on his
X-mud had been for him. So he sets about the task.

His idealism is in full bloom as he hires a staff of builders and
coders and installs a couple of gods, (usually friends from his
X-mud), and he then sets out to make a wonderful new place for
people to come and enjoy. He goes to great lengths to find out what
players want in a mud and does his best within reason to accomplish
it. As part of this process he puts together an Alpha-Test team,
(usually a group of players from his old mud), and later he opens
the mud up for Beta-Testing. During these two formative stages,
adventuring areas are built, weapons are made, gold is calculated,
spells, skills and player attributes are decided upon and put in
place. It is a hell of a lot of work.

Of necessity Alpha and Beta testing are times of changes, massive
equip and spell adjustments, boosting and reducing of mobs, gold and
whatnot. The basics are balanced. Weapons are made to be effective
but not insane in their power, spells and skills get the same
treatment. Mobs are made to be a challenge but not suicidal - which
is a demoralizer for players. During the beta-test time, all that is
to come is set up, balanced, and put in place for the people who
will come to play. When this Herculean task is finished the mud is
opened up to the public. Sometimes a player-file wipe is done and
all of the beta tester's characters are destroyed so everyone starts
out on equal footing. Many times Imps give those kind enough to have
been alpha or beta testers some incentive like leveling tokens or
something for their efforts and the time they invested in beta
testing. The new mud is on the air and everyone is excited!

 
The Honeymoon:
--------------

As the mud opens, the gods and builders are visible and helpful,
they give freely of their time to players with little grudging. The
Imms make attempts to get people to come try their mud and they are
usually responsive to players requests. The Imms and builders PLAY
their own mud, (as opposed to just RULING it) , leveling characters
and grouping with those players they are there to serve. Imms will
sometimes make it known who they are sometimes not so as to judge
how well the players are enjoying their new creation. In short the
Imms CARE about how the players feel about the mud, and they are
more interested in the players than they are in anything else. This
period can vary in length greatly depending on the personalities
involved and just how idealistic the new IMP and his gods are about
making players happy. It is a good time to be in the game for
everyone.

At this stage players are the reason for the mud. The Imms know why
they went to all this work, it was to make the players happy! And by
god they are there to do just that... for a while.

As time goes on however, the mud begins to grow. As may be easily
surmised so do player requests for interaction and assistance,
requests for special favors or weapons, demands for change to the
basic skill set, and a plethora of other demands and expectations
that can be expected from the type of people drawn to mudding and
role playing games in general. At first, the IMP and his gods do
their best to keep people happy, sometimes giving in to truly bad or
stupid ideas and even fringe-player demands. It is likely that they
will give in against their own gut feelings when they do some of
these things. In their rightly motivated effort to please they
sometimes go further than they should thus setting themselves up to
fail.

After a while things begin to change for the Imms... not in the mud
or with the players but within themselves.


Midlife Crisis:
---------------

Somewhere along the way the gods begin to feel pressured and they
begin to withdraw. Slightly at first, simply going invisible, but
they still talk regularly with players. But it does not stop, things
slide more and more and they find themselves slowly cutting even
simple player discussion down. Soon the Imms find themselves only
talking to their peers. They start to see players as a bunch of
whiney cheaters who are there simply there to take advantage of the
generosity offered by the immortal staff.

Another thing that seems to happen about this time is that the gods
begin to re-examine things that a year or six months ago were just
fine and were accepted as normal. For some reason they reach a point
where they find fault with things that were okay just a month
ago. Imms also begin to care less and less about the PEOPLE on the
mud, those who the mud was originally built to serve, and they begin
to think more in terms of the CREATION - that is their
computer-code, damage-tables, or the fact that people seem to be
actually having too much success by leveling in a quicker manner
than the gods think is reasonable.

In short the admins lose sight of the fact that people are having
FUN, and instead choose to dwell upon the fact that the mud didn't
evolve, and players didn't play in the way that they had
pre-structured in their own minds.


Danger Point:
-------------

It is at the point where the players become secondary to the
creation that the danger exists. Along with a select group of other
gods, (generally the ones perceived by players as having earned the
rank to satiate their power hungry or controlling natures), the IMPs
begin to look at changing and blunting ESTABLISHED skills spells or
weapons. They talk to people who will by their nature agree, asking
little if any input from the players that will be most affected by
their choices. After all this is "not their mud" and "they didn't
work so hard to create it". The imms also tend not to ask others who
might disagree.  Like generals who believe in their own
press-releases this self-serving time will cost them later.

The Imms now go back and revisit some of the 'special favors' they
did for people. The realize that they made mistakes in trying to
kiss ass to those they tried to draw to their mud and they start to
make adjustments to the things that they themselves fucked up in an
early attempt to please. Many times this is somewhat justified, one
or two spells might just be way overpowered. These are changed, and
the predictable outcry from those affected occurs. The imms put up
with this, attempting to justify their actions, and taking time to
try to mollify the people who have been hurt. They even apologize
and in some cases admit their own culpability. However at the same
time there is an undercurrent of resentful feelings that the players
would "whine" so much and "create so many problems" over something
that was obviously so wrong.

This sets them up for the mind set wherein the players become even
more of an enemy. All later complaints are relegated to "whining" or
"selfish bitching" and when the next round of wimping comes, with
its predictable outrage the Imms don't try to explain it nearly as
well, instead opting to be aloof and uncaring or they will blame it
on players for 'overusing' an item or spell. Some will even blame it
on builders or imms who have departed and can not defend
themselves. The mindset does not abate even later when Imms are
mucking with things they should not be. At that point they actively
antagonize players and the 'my mud not theirs' mindset is fully
realized. In short they set themselves up against the players and so
their rationalization is that no matter what they do the players
will be a bunch of whiners...

What has happened is a marked shift from player centerdness to one
of worshiping at the alter of their creation - the software program
that runs the mud. Damage tables become more important than player
satisfaction and they begin to seek out the most minor of things to
change in what was once a well established world under the banner of
'making everything equal'.

As time goes by pressures of all kinds, from the external player
complaints about other classes to Imms own air-headed want to
relegate players to a pre-structured jail cell of how the Imms
expected people to play or level becomes much more important than
player happiness and more and more things are slated to be wimped;
weapons, gold, good-solid established skills or spells.. nothing is
safe, nothing is sacred.

Within the players, this produces a natural, rational, and
predictable reaction. What they counted on today may not be there
tomorrow. These gods that were so kind and helpful before have now
become the adversaries, seen as tyrants or people not to be trusted
because they have betrayed the implied and implicit trust that the
players gave them when they decided to invest their personal time
and play the mud on a regular basis.


The Death Spiral:
-----------------

As the immortals, (and yes I do place full responsibility on the
immortals, because it is in fact they who have the power to
ameliorate things, and the responsibility to the mud NOT to do it in
the first place), continue to wimp players, boost mobs, drop gold
gathering abilities, raise prices, and reduce weapon effectiveness,
players begin to align themselves into two camps. One group who
"backs the Imms, 'because they know best and wouldn't hurt us'", and
one group who feels "betrayed and hurt" by the removal or
destruction of that which they have worked so hard to obtain.

The first group, the 'god-backers' seems to break down into three
subgroups.  Before determining how great you are for your wonderful
wimping, consider the fact that the motivations of those players
that appear to be backing you may not be as pure as you believe.


Factionalization Of The Mud:
----------------------------

Once the wimping begins the mud breaks into little parts. Myopia
sets in and people begin to lose sight of the fact that once they
were all friends and having fun playing together. Instead it becomes
a power struggle and a political infight with groups breaking off
into encampments trying to get their way. If the IMPS have foolishly
surrounded themselves with "yes-man" type gods, then this won't
carry over into the administration, but if the IMP had the
forethought to install people as gods who would speak their own
mind, this factionalization will also occur in the immortal camp as
well.


God backers seem to break down into one of these three groups:

    Self-Preservationists - Probably the largest group on the
    god-backers team are the self-preservationists. They are also
    the least loyal to your position as an Imm bent on
    wimping. These people are participating in a typical human
    reaction similar to that of the pre-war Germany where the
    populace allowed those in power to take rights and property
    from others, and even SUPPORTED it in the vain and stupid hope
    that the authorities would remember them, and not take similar
    action against their race or class at a later date. As with the
    people in Germany, this belief of course vanished as soon as
    the authorities turned their interest toward their particular
    minority. It is indeed gratifying to watch
    self-preservationists become enraged and vocal when they get
    the nerfed as the self-preservationists tend to be the ones
    that have the fiercest and most vociferous outcry when THEY are
    the ones being betrayed by the administrators of the mud. The
    already wimped players will see this as an ironic form of
    justice for not having stood by them when the imms were mucking
    up their stuff.
    
    Ass-Kissers - When an established skill or spell is taken from
    others, a very significant portion of those who back you as an
    Imm are doing so for the sole reason that they would blindly
    agree to any damn thing you did! You should already know the
    kind. These people likely want to ingratiate themselves to you
    because they have their own aspirations for immhood in the
    future and know full well that being buddies with a god,
    (especially when standing up for an unpopular action), will win
    them approval with you and subsequent favors or other
    consideration or bent rules. It is also important to remember
    that many people who want to cause strife to your mud, (See
    'Bitchers' in the next section), will pretend to agree with you
    because its the best way that they can think of to be able to
    SAFELY (to themselves) stir the shit with arguments which they
    know will cause problems and hurt others in order to meet their
    final agenda. Online these people are known as trolls.
    
    Genuine-Believers - There will be a few people who will
    genuinely and honestly believe that what you are doing is
    right. A person is most likely to belong to this group if he
    agrees with what you are doing and it is being done to
    him. (Although its very important to remember that the
    Ass-Kissers many times will do this even to their own
    detriment.) Genuine believers may believe their points after
    rational and cerebral introspection, or they may simply be
    blind followers. The fact that you can find people to agree
    with you even if that belief is genuinely held in no way makes
    what you are doing right however.
    
In the same way as the god-backers have subgroups, so too do the
wimping-detractors.

    The Betrayed - Probably the largest group of those who would be
    labeled wimping-detractors are those who rightfully feel
    betrayed and hurt by the immortals. These players have invested
    very significant periods of time on the mud, and have raised
    themselves up to a certain level of skills and spells by hard
    work and initiative. They have gone to great lengths to get the
    equipment they feel is best, and they have developed a persona
    and a playing style around the items and rules originally
    supplied to them by the gods. They operate within the rules and
    use the equipment and spells to its fullest advantage - as well
    they should - and then some Imm notices it and BAM. These
    people have a genuine sense of betrayal. That which they were
    allowed to earn is stolen from them by the very Immortals that
    they counted upon to do right by them. They have lost
    abilities, or had them significantly blunted by those who once
    said "We made this game for you, and for your fun.". Instead
    those same immortals are now telling them "If you don't like it
    start a new character or your own mud... we know what's
    best". When the immortals take that attitude it simply
    reinforces the betrayed's feelings and proves him right.
    
    The Bitchers - There is a certain group of mudders who will
    always cause problems. Wimping is but another excuse for them
    to attempt to cause strife on the mud and to do the best they
    can to control other people by using the unhappiness of the
    situation to make them do things they might not ordinarily
    do. You will already know these people, as they never ever ever
    have anything positive to say, they spend no time whatsoever
    trying to make people happy or doing good, but instead always
    make it their business to cause shit. They are labeled as
    trolls in many communities because they do nothing more than
    spoil things for others. Though comprising nowhere NEAR the
    numbers of actually betrayed people, the bitchers do present a
    significant number of wimping detractors. These people should
    be completely ignored by both sides in this battle as they are
    there for the sole purpose of causing problems and inciting
    unhappiness.
    
    The Ethical/Moralists - Most certainly the smallest group in
    the wimping-detractors are those who have thought the issue
    through thoroughly, not having taken into account how they were
    affected, but instead looking at how things really are
    affecting people and determined that the wimping was just
    simply wrong or unjust. These people will make good directed
    arguments which show forethought and a care for players above
    all else, including the sacred damage tables or other garbage
    that the imps might trot out to justify their stance. Of course
    this pisses off the Imms even more because the damage tables
    and economy tables are now the imms sacred cows, not the
    players but they cant SAY that for obvious reasons. Hell maybe
    they don't even see that in themselves!
    
    Almost always the Ethical/Moralists people will find themselves
    ostracized or vilified simply for speaking out, and because
    their arguments make sense, they will be seen as a threat to
    the mud and to the mud by the admins. If the Ethical/Moralists
    are gods on the game they are usually removed or chastised for
    not being a "team player" rather than being allowed to speak
    out, as their arguments are compelling and well directed.


The Effect:
-----------

As you can see factionalization shatters the camaraderie and
friendships that a good mud will have groomed and encouraged. This
downward spiral has resulted in the death of more than one mud that
I am personally familiar with and made a couple others totally not
worth the time to play... unless of course you simply like to watch
people fight. These actions pit friends and players against each
other in the same way as a civil war pits brother against brother or
adultery pits spouse against spouse. There can be no winners once
this occurs, only those who have not lost as much as others. Is this
what you want to have happen to your mud? Would you like a nice set
of well balanced tables, damages, leveling times, and the other
things you seek through wimping, or would you prefer to make 50 to
3000 people happy to play on your mud without infighting?

The above described events comprise a circle where one screw-up
feeds off of another which feeds off of another until a continuing
and destructive downward spiral occurs. The spiral stops when one of
two things happens, either the mud dies because someone with enough
power pulls the plug on the mud itself out of disgust, or a large
portion of the players and dissenting immortal staff are purged or
quit leaving only those who were in blind agreement. The residual
players and Imms are battered, bruised and wary from the
fight. People in this condition are in no mind set to help newbies
or to recruit new players and this apathy results in a feeling of
morbidity that takes months to dissipate.

Basically you've fucked yourself and your mud at this point.


Solutions and Suggestions:
--------------------------

So far I have presented the realities of what I opine happens when
you wimp or wipe your players and/or their equipment. Almost without
exception it results in pain, strife, fighting, factionalization,
forced-deletions, players quitting, rules about free expression
imposed, and many other negative repercussions. So what can you do?
Your mud is unbalanced and players are whining, your mathematical
formulas don't add up the way you'd like and you want to change
something....

First re-evaluate. WHY are you considering making these changes, is
it because players are bitching that one class is better than the
other or can deal death out to mobs faster? Is it because you're
bored and have nothing better to do and you feel change for changes
sake is good? Is it because you have power, and just want to fuck
with people? (If so don't bother to read any more, just mail me so I
never go to your mud. :P)

Second, look again at what you hope to accomplish and for whom. You
likely created this game in part to make people happy. It wasn't an
exercise in programming (well not in most cases anyway) it was to
serve the public, do do a greater good wasn't it? Or was it so you
could stroke your ego? Was it because you wanted to have power over
people? Were you attracted by the hope of power to make them sad to
ruin their free-time, and to make their efforts worthless? Naw, I
didn't think so! If you don't do this wimping will your mud fail?
Doubtful. Unless you are a total fuck up and put in dozens of things
that were way to powerful from the start, and didn't sweep them out
in beta, then your mud will survive without the unfriendliness that
wimping will bring far better than after you participate in wimping.

Lastly, is it worth the cost? You are about to lose players and
maybe an immortal or two. Is this what you want to occur? Are
players worth anything to you? Will you GET more players in return
for the ones you lost when the game playing public hears of what a
great job of wimping you have done? If so have at it, but
think... few people come to muds because they have heard of how
great the balance is, most people come because they hear the gods
make it a FUN place to play and that the people are
friendly. Nerfing begets the antithesis of a friendly environment.


Last Logic:
-----------

I am sure that I haven't covered all potential arguments with the
following Q&A nor will I try, however you decide to ignore this, I
do wish you and your player-base luck.

But Tenny, some of my players are bitching that the classes aren't
balanced!

Yea? when have they not bitched? I know it seems rhetorical, but
some players will ALWAYS bitch that the classes aren't
balanced. Hell if you took all classes off your mud except say
warriors, and then you copied all of the skill set into 4 other
named classes, renamed the skills and classes, making no
adjustments, people would STILL say they weren't balanced. Instead
simply state up front, classes do not compare. Tell them, "Play the
one you like best for you, don't judge yourself against others, and
if the one class is much better make one of them". (don't then fuck
that up by rebalancing another class).

Now IF you are so damn interested in balancing classes, and you feel
that this is of paramount importance, then they key is to GIVE and
not to take. GIVE new skill-sets or powers to the ones you feel are
weaker. There will be some bitching from those who are who don't get
something new, or increased damage, but that will subside a lot
faster and be far less divisive than if you steal that which the
others have already earned. If you are worried about it making it
easier to defeat mobs, then make a new area with bigger mobs! People
will always go for a challenge.

If you had two knives, one dull and one sharp, would it not make
better sense to make them equal by sharpening the dull one - not by
blunting the sharp one?

Computer generated creatures don't get their feelings hurt if they
are replaced or some new mob gets some special power. Players do.

Tenny, I just found out that the Druid Spell 'stick poke' has been
overpowered since we put it in!

Lets see if I got this right: You have an established spell that
people have come to rely upon that you just figured out all this
time later was over powered? Well then in point of fact it can't be
that overpowered can it? If it was, you would have seen this class
just wiping the floor with the others long before this and you would
have corrected it within a month of its inception. You did
not. Therefore your assessment that this is going to mess up your
mud is fallacious. Had it been that big a deal before, it wouldn't
have gone for a period of months without being noticed.

Tenny, I put in some new equipment that makes the other stuff
obsolete and too high powered in comparison. Now I have to lower the
older stuff so they will want the new or so that there is more
incentive to get it.

With all due respect, you are setting yourself up for failure. If
your new stuff is too powerful the answer in not to hurt the players
that already have the old stuff, its simply to lower the new
stuff. You should have looked at this before you put in the new
items! If you don't lower the new stuff, someday this new widget you
put in today will look a lot like the old stuff you're about to
wimp. As for incentive, people will go to great lengths to get that
one extra damage roll or even just for bragging rights ("I got me a
big mythril sword and I'm only the third person on the mud to have
done so!") So don't worry about it... and if the players don't want
to get the new thing... so what? Are you trying to stroke your
equipment building ego or is your goal to make a fun place to mud
where people have choices? Taking that which players have rightfully
earned from them is simply wrong.

Tenny, people are leveling too fast. I had envisioned it talking 3
months to make Avatar, and this one guy did it in 2 weeks!!

So the players are having fun at the expense of how you perceived
the mud would play? They aren't sticking within your little cage of
expectations and are not blindly doing things in the way you had
envisioned? Uhm, again with all due respect SO WHAT? Did you see
Jurassic Park? It makes for a good analogy. Players are people -
People, life itself, can not be boxed into your perception of how to
act and how to play. Some people mud to get millions in virtual
gold, some to attain levels, some want one Avatar (highest level
player) of each class, some come solely for social interaction. As
long as they are not maliciously hurting each other leave em be and
let them have fun!

To punish the average player for the success of your top ten percent
players is ridiculous. Unless your mud is dropping in players
because massive numbers of them are telling you 'this twink mud is
too easy so I am quitting', let them be! They are enjoying your
creation as is! You made this mud to be fun.  People are having
fun. THAT should be something you should sit back and be proud of
not screw around with simply to somehow chase the unatainable ideal
of making things appear fair, and never for some mathematical
calculation.

Tenny, I am in Beta test, and I don't want my players to keep all
the stats and weapons from our testing period, it wouldn't be fair.

This is the time where I agree that a Pfile wipe is
appropriate. Also Alpha and Beta testing is the time for you to make
all the mods, wimping, tuning and changes you're going to make on
the basics. Beta testers should be told in advance that they can
count on a Pfile wipe. The problem is that most IMPS look at normal
mud life as an ongoing beta test and find themselves continually
fucking with established skills and spells. Do it once do it right
then leave it the hell alone. If you missed some moderate or small
problem after beta is over and people have come to count on it leave
it the hell alone. Nobody's gonna get hurt. Also you must give those
nice people that beta-tested for you some cool incentive to come
back when the mud opens, a few levels, or even a character that's
half way up already, special personalized equipment or something
else that reflects your thanks for a job well done.

Tenny, I just put in the Mage Spell 'urine pool' and found out that
it is too powerful, you cant say that I shouldn't reduce it are you?

Hell no! Though some would argue the point I don't feel I am that
stupid. When you have a brand new skill or spell make sure your
players know that you will be making changes as they are
warranted. But hold yourself to a limited beta period for each
item. A month or two at the most. My thesis through this entire
treatise has been that it is the ESTABLISHED skills and spells that
you have a moral right not to mess with as people count on them. If
you put in something new, and people know that its in testing, then
they also know not to count on it. Once its in and relied upon, its
too late.

Fine Tenny screw you, I will just tell everyone that NOTHING is
stable or static and that I can change anything I want to anytime
and that if they cant live with it then they should go to another
mud.

Good! Now were making progress! At least you're finally being honest
and ethical with your players, even though you give them nothing to
count on you for - with the exception of change, loss, and pain, at
least it is a fully informed decision. You have given them all the
consideration you morally need to at this point. If they bitch after
this then too bad. But do know this, some people, (those who would
be your most loyal 'cheerleaders'), will be those who make a mud a
long term home. Many measure this commitment in years. If you take a
stance like this, you will also find the loyalty quotient to be
fairly low. Nobody wants a long term commitment that fluctuates. How
would you like to be married to someone that would fluctuate in how
much they do drugs, commit adultery or beat you?

Tenny, I am a player and this wimping is happening to my mud, what
can I do?  Hey! You are a PLAYER!?!?!? What are you doing reading
this! Go away shoo! Shoo! This was written for people a lot better
than you, people more wise and all knowing, people who KNOW that
your ideas suck and that you have no right to protest or complain!
Go on hit the back button!

Seriously? Sadly my friend, it is likely you can not do not a damned
thing... I do NOT think that hiring a good sniper is a really
prudent solution and no matter how much you are upset, remember this
IS a game and it is completely insane to take any real life action
of any kind against an Imm over something as meaningless as mudding
or online gaming. Try to write well written notes to the Imps,
complain publicly but not in a shrill manner. Make your arguments
using all the facts you can, and include in your notes points that
they make that you concede. Give them this URL if you like. Try to
be direct and always be honest. In point of fact tho, its not gonna
do a damn bit of good most likely. Decisions like this are made
usually made by people with the idea that players are going to bitch
and for whom the people who play their games are longer meaningful
so their happiness no longer drives the Imm staff. If that was the
case, they would have taken steps to avoid this sort of thing prior
to your being upset.

If it bothers you enough, on either a personal level or on an
ethical level vote with your feet and leave the game. Let everyone
know know why you are taking this action, but don't do so with the
intent to take others with you... that's manipulative and
wrong. When you go to your next mud or online game, ask to talk to a
god or better yet an imp. If one comes to you that's a good sign. If
they will talk openly and honestly with you about this topic that's
even better. You're about to make a commitment of some months and
many hours of your time, I don't think it unreasonable to ask a few
pointed questions. If they do think it is unreasonable.... do you
really wish to play there? I would not.


Closing Thoughts:
-----------------

As I close this, it must be more than obvious where I stand on the
issue of Wimping Players and why. I am empathetic, even sympathetic
to a degree to what as a Mud-God you are trying to accomplish but I
can not support that which causes people to be hurt or stolen
from. As many are fond of pointing out, this is only a game, and as
a good friend, Danilo's mother pointed out "Don't you play this game
to have FUN?!?!". We as immortals are here for the players of our
respective muds. We are no more real gods than Mao Tse Tung was,
despite our power to cause hurt feelings and destroy hours of play
on a whim.

Because we posses dictatorial power does not mean we are obligated
or even free to use it.

Sadly many of us lose track of the real purpose of what we began our
muds for. We lose sight of why we left our last mud, and begin to
see our mortal players as the enemy. Is it any wonder why we offer
so many times to quit or pull the plug? If the mud stops being fun
for us because the damage curve has a little blip in it, or because
when we try to correct that tiny mathematical anomaly and the PEOPLE
we hurt complain, then have we not lost track of why it began at
all.....

I thought games were for the players to have fun, and for us to have
fun in serving them.  Was I wrong?

Tenarius the Druid of RECTITUDE

The folks at Maximum Everquest seem to do a hell of a nice job... I
looked over their page and it looks pretty damn good! Check them
out! I can't believe all the resources!

About The Author:
-----------------

This missive was written in 1997. It was tuned very slightly in
1999. The message and thesis remain the same as do the main
supporting points.

Tenarius mudded for many years and moved up through the highest
ranks on a couple of muds. The two muds that he most often played
were The Realms Of Despair Mud and The Dragon Swords Mud.  Tenarius
spent a long time as a well loved and respected Immortal on Dragon
Swords Mud where he most enjoyed his player interaction where his
style put people first. He made a conscious effort of never
forgetting from where he started but was tenacious about
administering things by the book. Tenarius also ran a website
comprised of many hundreds of pages for The Dragon Swords Mud at a
time when the world wide web was first starting to become widely
known - having taught himself html in part to accomplish that
supportive task. Because of wimping and what he saw as player abuse
and refusal to allow free expression on the mud Tenarius resigned
from Dragon Swords in protest and removed the Dragon Swords Mud
website from his server. Tenarius remains very active in the gaming
community and is now the Director of Operations of The Maximum
Gaming Network, a network devoted solely to computer and online
games. The Maximum Gaming Network is owned by another X-Player of
The Dragon Swords Mud who had bailed on it for reasons having to do
with the admin of DS a few months before Tenarius saw that there was
nothing left for him. Tenarius no longer plays muds and has thus far
avoided other online RPGs.
--<cut>--

ObNote: Somebody please submit this to the Library.  I'm kinda
buried right now figuring out how the heck someone has been
(inconsistently) getting emu.kanga.nu to seemingly (its not clear
yet) take part in a distributed smurf attack (I've got broadcast
ICMP support turned off (2.4.0-test3 bug?).  Till then I've moved
Emu.kanga.nu to non-routable IP space.).

--
J C Lawrence                                 Home: claw at kanga.nu
---------(*)                               Other: coder at kanga.nu
http://www.kanga.nu/~claw/        Keys etc: finger claw at kanga.nu
--=| A man is as sane as he is dangerous to his environment |=--


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