[MUD-Dev] To good to be TRUE, in an MMPORPG?

Michael Tresca talien at toast.net
Fri Jul 27 06:44:49 New Zealand Standard Time 2001


Raph Koster posted on Thursday, July 26, 2001 3:27 PM
>> From: Freeman, Jeff

>> UO didn't try player-policing, either.  UO tried anarchy, and the
>> results were the exact same as the results you get on a
>> small-scale MUD: Dead noobs all over the place.

> Here, I disagree; plenty of muds exist where peer pressure alone
> (occasionally with some admin step-in) handles the policing. And
> the size of the playerbase does seem to matter a lot, in terms of
> the effectiveness of peer pressure.

That peer pressure is earned.  It rarely evolves naturally, and when
it does evolve by accident, it's because a group of strong
personalities dominate early that happen to be in agreement about
the way things should be run.  In most cases, that's usually a group
of real-life friends, or a group of gamers moving from one game to
another.  Which basically means the group went through the growing
pains of establishing peer pressure in some other environment
already.

Peer pressure is ultimately backed up by some sort of threat -- be
it banishment or outright harm.  If the first people on the game do
not become the strongest within the game's parameters, they will not
be capable of influencing other players to an effective degree that
it will curb behavior.  Shouting nasty words at a 50th level
10-year-old who repeatedly kills your character and takes your stuff
is not going to make him listen.

In fact, "peer pressure" implies that players actually recognize
each other as peers.  Again, this is earned through exposure to the
power levels in the game (be they skill percentages, levels, etc.).
This works just fine in an established game, in a new game, with no
standards to adopt, it's total anarchy.

To take this one step further, if the game has a particular bias for
power increase (for example, a game where killing is how you
advance), GOPs who focus on killing most will rise to the top.  They
then create the social atmosphere, and if their only action is to
react with violence at everything and everyone, the only peer
pressure being exercised encourages PKers and GOPs.

Changing the attitude of our playerbase was a struggle or life and
death for our MUD.  A very unpleasant peer group moved en masse to
our game from a PK MUD.  It took a lot of hard work and diligence to
keep the place from devolving into total anarchy, since the
anarchistic peer group got to our game first.

In short, peer pressure groups CAN be formed through coding staff
intervention.  But that requires diligence when the game is first
formed.  Once established, the peer group can take care of itself.
Without careful monitoring, you may not get the peer group you
wanted.

Mike "Talien" Tresca, related to Carlos Tresca
(http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/Anarchist_Archives/bright/tresca/), who should
know something about anarchy
RetroMUD Administrator
http://www.retromud.org/talien/


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