[MUD-Dev] curses and grief players

J C Lawrence claw at kanga.nu
Wed Aug 2 21:50:02 New Zealand Standard Time 2000


On Tue, 01 Aug 2000 07:29:24 -0400 
Marc Bowden <ryumo at merit.edu> wrote:

> The idea that the game belongs to the guest, though, is harder to
> dispel. 

Have you ever bullied, if ever so politely and for seemingly
justified reason, a waiter into taking an item off your restaurant
bill?  The serve/serves relationship is delicate.  Yesterday I very
I heavily offended the waiter at a local restaurant I frequent by
sking him to refill my ice tea glass.  The apparancy was that he
considered that a job for the buss boys and thus beneath him.  Ergo, 
my reqesting he fill my glass was tantamount to me saying he was no
better than a buss boy.  

Ignoring the patent silliness of this example or the extreme
silliness of such authority/seniority/dick-waving/dominance games,
the problem is that it is true, it happens, and there's little we
can do about it.  It can be even more delicate when the relative
positions of the roles are not clearly defined.  Consider the
relative positions of say a patron of a restaurant and the
restaurant's chef: The patron is there for the chef's food,
therefore the patron is subject to the chef -- but the chef is there
to serve and please the patrons, therefore the chef is subject to
the patrons.  If they're smart they realise its a symbiotic
relationship.  More typically once they get into the dominance game
they'll try to enforce some vision of parasitism.

Now just replace "chef" above with "admin", and "patron" with
"player".  Same problem.  Same mechanics.  Same outcomes.  Ditto
when you substitute "husband" and "wife".

Which belongs to who?

> 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."

Never forget the opportunity foir active abuse.  These power players
are effectively ecological niches.  Given a niche, *something* will
occupy it, guaranteed.  Eg the dog who realises he can get free
meals from restaurants by lieing about the food and the assorted
objects he found in it (I know a chap who did this as a matter of
course whenever his dole cheque ran out).  .

> 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.

People love to create effects.  You poke this button and the admins
jump.  Woo hoo!  Whee!  Look at this!  Anybody with small kids knows
this one all too well.  Little Johnny knows just the right buttons
to push to get PaPa apoplectic and has a fine aesthetic sense for
the shades of red he achieves.  cf Brian Green's tale of the players
who got the Meridian exec's ears -- once they were there, look how
they could make the executive strata of a major corporation dance to
their tune!

It becomes a (sad) game in itself.

The line between being responsive (and therefore keeping your
players willing to talk to you) and being reactive (and therefore
being a meta-game target for your players) is fine and ill defined.

>>  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?

Bingo.  The admin is now a new game toy for the player.  Puppets.

> 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.

I wonder at the actual practiced mechanics of noblesse oblige a few
hundred years ago.  If you, the noble, hold court and resolve
disputes for your peasantry, and thus act as the arbiter of final
resort, who ordered the queue of cases, and how did you prevent
abuse of the system?

--
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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