[MUD-Dev] UO rants

Wes Connell wconnell at skotos.net
Mon Aug 21 20:57:07 New Zealand Standard Time 2000

On Mon, 21 Aug 2000, Schubert, Damion wrote:

> The single largest problem with fitting in a virtue system is making
> one that is accurate and uncheatable.  In Ultima IV, for example, you
> show honesty by not cheating the blind woman.  Once on a web page,   
> that solution is up for all time, waiting for you to push the right  
> buttons to be Honest.

> So this is normal, right?  Certainly no different than the concept
> of Good or Evil that is easily macroable on dozens and dozens of  
> muds, or the easily twiddled Faction system in EverQuest?

While I agree that fitting in a virtue system is difficult, the examples
you give are based on already flawed systems. If the systems are static
such as the Ultima 4 example then of course word will get around. In many
muds the scale from Good to Evil is constant. If you then provide the
means for the players to traverse the scale easily then players are going
to sway back and forth without regret.

A system such as Ultima 4 should be global across UO. If you steal then
you are bad. If you kill little kittens in town then you are bad.

UO had a wonderful table of titles for players. When I played I loved
struggling for that next level of fame or karma. The problem was that the
amount of karma required for Glorious or Dread (positive or negative) was
exactly the same.

To become Dread I had to kill a bunch of Nobles. To become Glorious I had
to kill a bunch of Balrons. Simple.
> The only real solution is to have players judge who is honest and
> who is not.  But when you think about that, a whole new brand of 
> exploits involving cooperative cheating come into play, such as  
> using friends to build yourself up, or maliciously knocking down 
> the reputation of a good-hearted soul.  Right about here, you    
> realize it will take an extremely complicated system to accurately
> capture true virtue, and you realize you could get 10 or 12 other 
> features in in that time frame. =)

Agreed. Players are our bread and butter (for us commercial guys), but in
the huge numbers that UO and EverQuest have the player population is too
diverse to make collective decisions about other players.
> Oh, we're still working on it, and in fact, we think we've found
> something that we'd like to try sometime after Ultima:Origin goes
> live, but if you wanted to know why it's a challenge, well, there
> ya go.

I've always thought that a simple alignment/title system that is not
constant would do the trick. Start off as slightly good since everyone
is 'born innocent'. If they do something bad then their alignment gets
smashed and it will be hard for them to regain the trust of the community.
Even though its easy to be Evil it is still difficult to gain a Good
status. Increasingly difficult as the status grows.

Much similar to real life. I can go slaughter a large group of people and 
become a very Evil person in a short amount of time. I can't become Good
in the same time-frame. It takes years to become a highly respected figure
in your community.

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