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

Freeman Freeman
Fri Jul 27 08:24:47 New Zealand Standard Time 2001


> From: Sean K [mailto:sean at hoth.ffwd.cx]

> As you say, I think the size of the playerbase is the issue.  I
> can't remember the term, but one of the nifty observations to come
> out of sociology is that an individual is likely to answer a cry
> for help in inverse proportion to how many other people are
> around.  Policing is the same problem -- the more players ther are
> the more likely it is that a player will think "someone else will
> handle it."

That sounds like a plausible explanation, but I remain unconvinced.
I've seen way too many MUDs with small user-bases and no
restrictions on killing, in which people behave *exactly* as they
did in UO: They kill everyone.  Why in the heck do so many MUDs have
PK switches if this isn't the case?

The system discouraged people from trying to rescue anyone because
it was impossible to win.  The players weren't so much thinking
"someone else will handle it" as they were thinking "No one *can*
handle it." (and they were right)
 
> I would think this extends to socialization as well.  In a small
> MUD, evey player could be considered a member of the same social
> group, with the same norms and mores.  So the playerbase as a
> whole exerts peer pressure upon itself to influence behavior.

This happens in EQ despite the size of its playerbase.  The PK
switch doesn't prevent people from killing each other.  As I've said
before, the PK switch is so easy to skirt around that people do it
accidentally ALL the time.  What prevents people from doing it on
purpose all the time is forced grouping, forced guilding, and forced
intra-guild cooperation.

> Hrm... interesting that my proposed solution to social problems in
> a massively multiplayer game is to divide the player base into
> smaller groups.  Seems a tad contrary to the intent of the game.

Yeep.
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