[MUD-Dev] [DGN] RP awards (was: Something in the water)

Ananda Dawnsinger ananda at winterreach.com
Wed Aug 1 01:04:56 New Zealand Standard Time 2001


> From: Matt Mihaly <the_logos at achaea.com>

> We've considered these admin-run RP rewards many times, and always
> rejected them because it would, I think, lead to systems where
> players would attempt to "rp" when the admins were likely to be
> watching ("Hey mommy, look at how well I roleplay! *jumps up and
> down and waves arm to get mommy's attention*) and would end up
> causing resentment among players who roleplayed and didn't get
> noticed. Squeaky wheel gets the grease and I don't believe that
> being 'loud' in speech or behavior (to get the attention of the
> admins) should be required. Generally, I want just the opposite
> really.

I don't believe in admin RP awards either.

In my experience (Legends of Future Past, DragonRealms, GSIII by
hearsay), admin-run RP rewards have led to the near-total
devaluation of player-run plots and group-vs.-group conflict.  Too
many players get caught up in gaming the RP-reward system and have
no time to "waste" on their fellow players, who are after all merely
distracting them from the more important job of catching the eye of
the admins.

OTOH, I don't believe the admins of Dragon's Gate have ever given RP
awards, and last I checked it seemed like it was still overflowing
with player-driven conflicts and storylines.  (Of course, there are
a lot of significant differences between the two data sets that also
contribute to the different "feel" between communitites.)

Roleplaying is, fundamentally, something players do to engage and
entertain other players.  (This is why RP is so often conflated with
socialization.)  IMO top-down RP awards tend to damage community
because it turns RP from a communal activity -- one done to build
bonds between other players -- into a solo activity -- one done to
bring rewards raining down from the heavens.

Also -- though I still bristle at the idea that "roleplaying is its
own reward," ideally roleplaying should be met with like rewards --
fame, power, influence, prestige, friends in high places, etc.
Unfortunately, these tend to be the things that are least tangible
and least likely to seem like "real" rewards in a heavily GoPpy
game.

That said, I think admin RP awards could, in fact, be a powerful
tool if the game were designed for them:

  1) Abolish admin-run plots, thus removing the most obvious
  opportunities to play to the staff.

  2) Give players the tools to run their own plots, and reward both
  the best plotters and the best participants.

Of course, "give players the tools to run their own plots" is
something of the Holy Grail in this equation...

   -- Sharon

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