[MUD-Dev] Player-admins, was wimping/wiping and the big blind spot

Matthew Mihaly the_logos at achaea.com
Fri Aug 11 12:52:29 New Zealand Standard Time 2000


On Wed, 9 Aug 2000, rayzam wrote:

>     Why does an admin need to make a persistant character? Why not make a
> test character. Since you know all the inside secrets, create a character,
> clearly labelled as a test character [i.e. Raytest], set it up to be
> whatever level/class/skills/spells/etc you want to try out, clone up the eq
> you want. Test it out.  Change it to another race/level/class/etc as
> appropriate. This lets you test out anything in your game. But without the
> issue of having a long built up character, interacting  with non wiz-staff
> players, and from the advantage of knowing the game from the inside out.

This does not let you test out anything in your game. It lets you make
only strictly quantifiable comparisons. It doesn't tell you a thing about
what the experience of being a player in your mud is like. For instance,
I've created test characters like you described in Achaea to test the
combat out. That more or less works, though it's not perfect, as I
supplied my test character (my avatar) with every piece of 'common'
equipment, etc. Few players are always that prepared, however.

However, a test character absolutely cannot be used to test other large
portions of the game. I can hardly try to enter the worlds of competitive
politics or competitive economics with a test character, because I can't
just hand my character the single most desired attribute: the respect of
other players. My avatars were respected of course, and likely if I had
said, "Ok, citizens of Ashtan, I am going to run for the position of
Archon, and I wish to be appointed to the position of city chancellor." I
would have gotten those positions, but aside from the fact that this would
seem (and would be) completely unfair to the players competing for those
positions with me, it wouldn't have simulated the experience of trying to
gain the respect of other players (which is the route to winning election
and appointment to the various political offices). 

Likewise with competitive economics. Players would not (rightfully so)
accept me creating a test character, giving him a shop in a prime
location, creating things out of the blue for him to sell, and giving him
money to pay his property tax. Even if they would accept it, it doesn't
test the experience of having to make enough money to rent or purchase a
shop and then turn a profit so that you can pay the property tax on the
shop.

 
>    Assuming you know how your game works, you can succeed at it better,
> faster with more goodies [eq/quests/points/whatever is used to note
> achievement], than others. In my opinion that makes it unfair to be
> considered a 'player', hence the category tester, playtester, whatnot. And
> the test characters should be specifically ignored from the achievement
> lists. I.e., we have a top player [based on experience only] list, test
> characters aren't on it. Or the top questors, or the top explorers. Anything
> that actually compares player vs player.

That depends on what you consider success. I, personally, have never given
a damn when playing muds about being the top explorer or top questor or
having the most xp, etc etc. Those all seem like relatively trivial
accomplishments compared with what I view as the most desired commodity:
the respect of other players. I am sure I'm not alone in this either.
Achaea's most respected players have never been the ones who were
quantifiably the 'best'. They weren't the top ranked in xp, they didn't
know the most quests, etc. They did, however, win the respect of the
playerbase for their eloquence, their strength of personality, their
maturity and intelligence, and so on. These have only ever been
quantifiable (in Achaea at least) in the sense that these players
_usually_ were the most visible and successful politicians. Many of them
were not even competent at PvP combat (which is a matter of, among other
things, actually having skill in Achaea rather than just a function of who
has the best equipment and the most xp). 


 
>     It's true that its a huge time commitment to try to play every
> combination, but thats only if you work up from teh bottom. Take a snapshot
> of any situation you want to know about from the player's perspective. And
> that'll also help keep from biasing the game towards the character you are
> progressing, because your progression no longer has a measurement or an
> investment in time.

Again, I don't see how handing your character a bunch of xp and equipment
tells you anything about what it's like to be a player.

--matt
"He that is wounded in the testicles, or have his penis cut off, shall not
enter into the congregation of the Lord." Deuteronomy 23:1




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