[MUD-Dev] The Player Wimping Guidebook

Michael Tresca talien at toast.net
Wed Aug 2 20:41:31 New Zealand Standard Time 2000

Raph Koster wrote on Wednesday, August 02, 2000 12:31 AM:
> Tenarius is dead right. And he's dead right because the players agree with
> him.

Yep.  That's why I brought this up.  This Web site is sitting out there,
being waved around by pissed off players and used as a new bible for "see,
this happens everywhere."  And they're right, players being pissed off
happens everywhere.

Tenarius' thinking is flawed.  It's flawed from the biased perception of
someone who believes fun is ONLY playing, not creating, a game. It's flawed
because it completely removes players from that creation process, as if
their actions have nothing to do with the game (and yet, Tenarius uses
several examples where the players' actions guide the development of the
game, for good or for ill).

I believe a response needs to be formulated that will also be "out there"
which will, at the minimum, calmly provide a counterpoint to all of
Tenarius' concerns.  Part of the power of Tenarius' manifesto is that it
seems to be an objective third party who has nothing to do with "your crappy

> Changes going into the game are a perception battle. Admins will be better
> off if the acknowledge that Tenarius' view is in fact the *default* view,
> the *accepted* view, and it's us admins/designers/coders/builders who are
> the minority on it.

This perception is just as flawed as the assumption that all administrators
are smug and think Tenarius is silly.  The players who congratulate us on
the "tough changes" that we implement are often coders on other MUDs who
have been in our shoes.  They're the ones who report the bugs, they're the
ones who don't freak out when code bugs, and they're usually the ones who
are able to keep cooler heads.  To assume that these players hold Tenarius'
view is to BE smug and degrading.  I'd say it's safer to assume that players
are reasonable and rational first, and that although the act of gaming may
be a selfish act, some people can rise above narrow-minded perceptions and
work with the coding staff.  This is hardly the majority, but it's equally
important not to miss them.

The fundamental difference between Tenarius' post and his concerns is that
the MUD came first -- the coders sat on an empty shell of a game, and the
players were drawn to it.  That's about all the control (or credit) Tenarius
affords the coding staff.  After that, it's a world the coding staff has set
into motion, and to tinker with it is morally wrong because by doing so the
coders are harming the social reality the players created.  The MUD's no
longer the coder's MUD, but the player's MUD exclusively.  I disagree.

But it's not the coding staff's MUD exclusively either, which is what
Tenarius' rant seems to be about.

The reality is both coding staff AND players contribute to a MUD's

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

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