[MUD-Dev] UO rants

John Buehler johnbue at email.msn.com
Wed Aug 23 20:45:25 New Zealand Standard Time 2000

> Tess Lowe
> Sent: Wednesday, August 23, 2000 8:06 PM

> > Being on the receiving end of a PvP encounter is never
> > fun, and that's why I don't like PvP worlds.  In the end, only the most
> > powerful players are able to enjoy the experience.  And those tend to be
> > the hardcore gamers.  Like yourself.
> I would take issue with that on the basis of my own personal experience.

I only have experience with Ultima Online, EverQuest and Asheron's Call.  The
world of Acheae may have forces in effect that encourage players away from
the phenomenon of PvPers (no restricted to PKers) that is so rampant in the
big three.  It may well be that Acheae is just very lucky to have attracted
the 'right' kind of players and that they play well together.

I'm pleased to hear that at least on a smaller scale, a game world can have
relatively reasonable behavior from its players.

> > I certainly think that those who shoot their mouth off should have some
> > form of sanction applied to them.  Do you really believe that any sane
> > government would condone execution for foul language?
> In virtual worlds, foul language and verbal abuse is different to physical
> attacks, in that it is almost always taken as an OOC (and therefore much
> more personal and hurtful) attack. I therefore, as an admin, take immediate
> action by muting them, treating it as an OOC offence.

That foul language is OOC is a good point.  Player sanctions will plague us
until we have some form of viable player identification mechanism.

> > As I suggested
> > elsewhere (and as somebody else apparently suggested as well), perhaps
> > player declarations of 'unpleasantness' or 'untrustworthiness' could be
> > applied to players/characters.
> I used to subscribe to this school of thought. I've yet to see it
> implemented to my satisfaction. In my experience, the gossip grapevine is a
> better warning of antisocial players than a mechanical reputation system.
> But then, I only play games with up to a few hundred players, not several
> thousand. I have no idea if the grapevine still works on those scales.

I'm after an official grapevine in the game.  The trick will be in coming
up with effects and phenomena that maintain the 'vine-ness' of the system.

> > You believe that virtual communities are different than real life
> > communities.  What you're missing is that a virtual community is simply
> > a primitive vehicle for a real life community (real people are involved).
> I used to believe this too. In fact I spent 6 months desperately trying to
> create a 'real life' community in a virtual world. See
> http://homepage.dtn.ntl.com/fernywood/community.htm for the vision I had in
> mind. In the end I despaired and had to admit defeat. The problem is that
> virtual communities *are* different to real life communities in the sense
> that a significant proportion of the people are there not to build a sense
> of community but to prove their superiority to each other and exert power
> over each other.

Perhaps I misstated myself.  I was attempting to point out that the virtual
community is an extension of THE real world community.  Real people are
involved and they will react as real people will when running virtual
characters in a virtual world.

My basic notion was that we have to remember that these are real people in
a fake virtual community.  I do not subscribe to the notion that players
successfully form alter egos in their characters and that those alter egos
completely control the behavior of the characters.  This may be possible
for those who are extremely accomplished actors (aka roleplayers), but for
most people (myself included), we're lousy actors and mostly just view the
game world as another place for US to be - not our characters.  Our
characters are simply convenience vehicles for being able to alter the
virtual world.

> It took me a while to realise it, but not everyone actually
> *wants* to try to get along. There is a huge amount of sociopathic behaviour
> in virtual worlds because you can walk away from them untouched.
> They won't become microcosms of real life communities until the social
> consequences are equal in both places. And thus I believe trying to derive a
> fair justice system for a virtual community based on a real life sense of
> justice is somewhat doomed to failure.

A 'real life sense of justice'?  Certainly the same checks and balances that
we have in the real world will simply never be in place in the game world.
But the phenomenon of a criminal life being undesireable for 99.99% of all
players IS something that we can pursue, by whatever artificial means.  I
just finished a post that has my current, and half-formed thoughts on how
such a justice system might tackle thievery.  The mechanism is artificial
and attempts to make normal interactions between characters possible, and
to make those interactions which are actually criminal very very dangerous
and ultimately unprofitable.


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