[MUD-Dev] curses and grief players
ryumo at merit.edu
Tue Aug 1 07:29:24 New Zealand Standard Time 2000
--On Monday, July 31, 2000 9:12 PM -0400 "Geoffrey A. MacDougall"
<geoffrey at poptronik.com> wrote:
> Brian Green wrote:
>> The commercial people are realizing something that the hobbiest
>> have already known; sometimes it's just not worth the time to try
>> to reach everyone. Sometimes you gotta cut your losses and move
>> on. Not every customer is worth the bowing and scraping to keep
>> them around.
> I would argue that the complete opposite is true - that the
> commercial MUDs discard players faster than the hobbiests.
> Granted, you have much more experience in the field than I do, but
> the obvious facts would seem to dicate that the hobbiest MUDs need
> players more badly than the commercial guys - no?
In fact, I can be *more* selective as a hobbyist, and I tend to get
a better class of person as a result of NOT being pay-for-play.
Let me back up a step, because that bears some explanation.
Issues of socialization and background aside, guests on a MUD tend
to hold making demands of (and sometimes threats to) the game's staff
as a result of both the anonymization of the individual via the
internet, and because of the belief that the game is *theirs*, by
virtue of some investiture - often the metric for this is time, but
especially among American kids simply because it's there and they're
allowed to connect.
The former notion you can disabuse a guest of. Anonymity on a MUD
is an illusion to the point of the adminstrator's time, talent, and
incentive in tracking a troublesome guest down. I, personally can't
count the number of times I've had pleasant conversations with
this-or-that principal because little Johnny decided he wanted to be,
in the words of the immortal Yakko, my new best friend, by performing
some act of debauchery, who thought he was safe and could therefore
do whatever he wanted to my staff because he'd left his e-mail
address and name blank.
The idea that the game belongs to the guest, though, is harder to
dispel. In life, bullying, crying, and threats work really well for
most guests to get their way, and they see no reason why this service
obviously designed for their own personal pleasure should be any
different. In fact, MORE so, because the world literally revolves
around them. This is, in most cases, a thought process that leads to
a licence for abuse.
This illusion of ownership is even stronger in a commercially-run
system, where the guest has paid for the privelige of playing. They
therefore expect that every staff member will bend to their tune, in
the same way and with the same attitude as someone who heaps abuse on
police officers because they're "paying your salary."
As an end result, people will demand more, more often, and in ruder
tones, on a pay-for-play system, based on the idea they've got in
their heads that the staff owes it to them in return for their entry
fee. And they will be more tenacious about it, because more is at
stake - par value of playing experience per dollar on top of wish
fulfillment. They'll act out horribly antisocial behaviors, and abuse
the staff any way they see fit, because it's all about them, and they
paid to be here.
I don't *need* to take that abuse, and neither does my staff. These
people have no connection to the issue of the game's continuance.
Therefore, as a hobbyist, I can eject them and go on with my life. On
a game where these sorts of guests actually contribute to the upkeep
of the facilities, this may or may not be available as an option, or
may not be available at analogous stages of misbehavior, depending on
policy set by managers who may or may not ever have any contact with
the problem children.
> I've also seen it directly demonstrated that the big boys take
> their players for granted - simply because the players let
> themselves be bashed around. My colleague was at an EQ demo at E3,
> and watched, over the course of 5-10 minutes, an admin repeatedly
> boot a player from the game. Every time, without fail, the
> offended player would log back into the game as quickly as
> possible. The admin's take on the matter was to question why all
> these issues of catering to the player base mattered when the
> players demonstrated a fanatical loyalty to the product - no matter
> how they were treated.
I don't suppose you asked why the person being disconnected (the
technical term for this sort of player tantrum is "playing dodge
ball" in my neck of the woods) needed it?
>> Unfortunately, this type of attention "doesn't scale well." I
>> simply couldn't take 20 minutes out of my day to soothe over every
>> person who felt slighted; there were easily more than 30 people
>> per day that had some beef, and they would have eaten up 10 hours
>> of my time! Remember, I didn't work on a game anywhere near the
>> size of the other commercial games out there.
> Exactly. It all comes down to issues of scale.
Actually, and I sympathize with Mr. Green on this point, there are
simply never going to be enough Guest Relations personnel to cope
with the number of players who have a legitimate complaint, just want
to hassle someone, or feel the game 'world' owes them something.
Marc Bowden - Soulsinger Dreamshadow:The Legacy of the Three
ryumo at merit.edu 22.214.171.124 3333
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