[MUD-Dev] UO rants

Tess Lowe tess at havensong.com
Wed Aug 23 22:07:02 New Zealand Standard Time 2000


Ah, reputation systems. A subject close to my heart. I remember spending a
great deal of time trying to devise a system to measure the relative
reputations of players, but when I talked to Dr Bartle about it, he
dismissed it as being entirely unnecessary. I was a bit defensive at the
time and tried to justify the need for such a system, but my later
experiences proved that he was correct. Nothing, in my opinion, is superior
to players making their own judgements about each other, free from
interference from an artificial ethical 'scoring' system.

It's true that it could all be so much more sophisticated. How should a
particular NPC respond to a particular character? Any automated system to
measure an NPC's opinion of a player is surely open to blatant manipulation.
Probably the best you could manage is to minimise the problem through
'obscurity' - trying to make it as difficult as possible to work out how the
way an NPC's response is calculated. But someone always works it out. And
quite frankly, it just seems to annoy players when an NPC won't talk to
them, and they blame the system. So it seems simpler just to let NPCs deal
with any player, regardless of artificial 'reputation'.

Certainly, in Achaea, no artificial system is required. Yes, people misjudge
each other all the time. City leaders name people as enemies of the state
(meaning that they are always pursued from the cities by guards) on flimsy
evidence, only to discover later that their own citizens were lying to them.
This is all very very good. The unfairness is accepted, since the judges are
human - and people blame each other's lack of trust, not the system. It all
seems to add to the players' drive to wrest control of their environment
away from each other (rather than from the evil, oppressive code), and that
seems to be both compelling (for the players) and financially rewarding (for
Matt) as the players pay to gain extra advantages over each other.

Ie Code being unjust is bad. Players being unjust is good.

~Tess Lowe
achaean immortal





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