Matt Mihaly the_logos at achaea.com
Mon Dec 17 02:39:11 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

On Fri, 14 Dec 2001, Michael Tresca wrote:

Great post, Michael.
> OF COURSE players are going to give away quest information,
> multiplay, farm monsters, steal kills, and kill every damn thing
> in sight.  There's so many bloody people on these games, the
> griefers are a solid inevitability.

Well, they are inevitabilities even on a MUD Achaea's size, I
think. We just jump on it faster, and, more importantly, have
developed a culture that discourages it. I don't see any reason the
big MUDs can't jump on it just as fast, but I recognize that
creating a culture (well, a beneficial culture) is a lot harder as
you get more and more people, especially when, as in these games,
you need them more than they need you (unlike, say, a corporation
and a rank and file employee.)
> Administrators of MUDs expect this.  But they can fix it.  Because
> they personally pay attention to those issues, as Matt's already
> said.  You cannot make a massive universe and then let it go wild,
> because the griefers filter out the "nice" players (and not the
> other way around, unfortunately).  Sustaining a viable community
> requires a minimum level of maturity.  And that must be EARNED.
> Those players don't just start playing a game.  They must be
> cultivated.

Sustaining a community definitely does require staffers who have
been specifically trained to do that. As you enter the shard model,
their training becomes even more important. Providing that kind of
training was part of what The Sapience Group initially wanted to do,
but found no market for it. Convincing decision-makers of is worth
was something that proved to be beyond our abilities, which isn't to
say it couldn't be done, of course.

> Credit cards do not, sadly, ensure maturity.
> In fact, the horrifying statement that "the only screen for any
> game is the credit card" pretty much invalidates this entire
> list's purpose.  Worried about plot?  You have to have mature
> players to care about a plot.  Worried about them creating
> content?  If you give them that ability, they may just create leg
> armor called "butcheex".  You can't fix these problems with a
> game's automated tools.

I'd suggest Raising the price. A higher price point will generally
bring in a more sophisticated audience. It's a start at least.
> What I predict will happen is that, as the gaming populate matures
> in age, there will be less tolerance for a game that anyone can
> play.  Hopefully, income will diminish as well.  Then we end up
> with some other MMORPGs:
>   * A recognized authority of "valid" gaming -- maybe purchasing
>   certification for your gaming style from neutral authorities who
>   certify you are a player of a particular type. Games would then
>   brand themselves, "We accept Mature 4.0 players!"

Heh heh. That WOULD be nice, if unlikely. 
>   * Prestigious, private games that can only be accessed after
>   reaching a certain level in a MMORPG.

Applications! It actually makes me wonder about the feasibility of a
commercial text MUD that required applications. Some free ones do of
course, but I've not heard of commercial ones that do these days.
> Where do I get these crazy ideas from?  MUDs, of course.  This has
> already happened to MUDs too. Long-term survival requires a niche,
> not a bland take-all-comers approach.

Well, I dunno. Walmart is kind of a bland take-all-comers approach
to retail. That doesn't mean boutiques with better, more interesting
clothes (or even entire chains like Saxs, small though they may be
in comparison to Walmart) can't survive and prosper in their shadow.


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