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

J C Lawrence claw at 2wire.com
Mon Jul 30 19:09:53 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

On Thu, 26 Jul 2001 15:41:46 -0700 
Sean K <Sean> wrote:
> On Thu, Jul 26, 2001 at 12:26:32PM -0700, Koster, Raph wrote:
>>> From: Freeman, Jeff

> 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.
> However the larger the playerbase is, the easier it is to get lost
> in the crowd.  

Tragedy of the Commons.  With small populations the feedback loops
are short and fast.  With larger populations the loops are neither
short or fast, allowing and even fostering Tragedy Of The Commons
behaviour in the form of grief players.  

Its not a question of anonymity (tho that is a product of the longer
loops) but of disjoint and loss of transparency due to the longer
loops.  If you can poke the King in the rear and be fairly sure to
have 3 seconds before your head is spitted over the city gates its
one thing.  If you may have days in the same loop its easy to think
you might get away with it, and as a head spitter given a constantly
active population of read pokers, the temptation to wave one's arms
in despair and move to defensive measures is considerable.  Which is
perhaps the most interesting aspect.  With small population systems
we can reply on personal motivation and interest to pro-actively and
event aggressively carry through balancing structures.  With larger
populations it shifts to almost a purely defensive measure, of
largely doomed attempts to stop and damn the tides ala Canute.

> Once the playerbase is a sufficient size it dissipates into
> numerous smaller social groups, each of which have their own norms
> and mores.  Peer pressure in this case serves again to enforce
> group behavior to conform to those values, but some of those
> groups may have values that are not in keeping with the
> overarching theme of the MUD.  In a sense, they carve out their
> own territory.

Its also not as if players ever play meta games within your MUD.
Certainly not.  Definitely not me either.  Nope.

> I think the only solution is to accept the inevitability of such
> behavior and either create a game which ignores it by insulating
> groups from one another or encourages it by pitting them against
> one another.  In either case, the player base is divided into
> subgroups which ideally all have similar interests.

One of the things that's been holding my interest of late is the use
of graphical feedback loop surrounding game effects in FPS games.
The arching gouts of blood, reaction thrown bodies, and decapitated
heads being thrown about like footballs present a significant and
unsubtle hook and reward structure for players.  Similarly the
active clean up of bodies and body parts over a course of a game
actively removes another feedback loop that seems ripe for multiple
forms of player reactions.

> 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.


J C Lawrence                                    )\._.,--....,'``.	    
---------(*)                                   /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
claw at kanga.nu                                 `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
http://www.kanga.nu/~claw/                     Oh Freddled Gruntbuggly
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