[MUD-dev] Fun in Games

Ron Gabbard rgabbard at swbell.net
Mon May 6 13:13:21 New Zealand Standard Time 2002


From: "John Buehler" <johnbue at msn.com>

> Note that my suggestions above will probably not inhibit griefers
> one bit.  They will grief at whatever level of control that they
> do have.  However, those actions will not take away from the
> apparent fiction of the game world's day to day activities.  So
> the griefer can't go running down the street naked, shouting like
> a loon (because the game doesn't permit such things), but the
> griefer can manipulate the iron market if clever enough and
> malicious enough.

I've been thinking about this issue a lot.  The main way I've seen
of dealing with this issue is extreme player interdependence.  There
has to be a reason to adhere to the social contract outside of just
wanting people to think you're a 'nice guy' as some people don't
want to be 'nice guys'.

Example:

  Imagine an online world of 6 people where all equipment outside of
  the 'noob' gear is made and sold by other players.  You now have a
  system where players are heavily dependent on each other.
  Crafters A and B are dependent on components created by crafters C
  and D and crafters C and D are dependent on components gathered by
  hunters E and F.  Assuming that the game designer has implemented
  sufficient support mechanisms to allow this to occur efficiently,
  you now have a synergistic relationship where it is in everyone's
  best interest to help the other person succeed (thus being 'pushed
  along' by the invisible hand).

  Hunter E turns out to be a griefer and repeatedly PK's crafter D
  thus ruining crafter D's game experience for that session.
  Because of the interdepence of the system, crafter D doesn't have
  to have any martial skills in order to mete out 'justice' to the
  griefer.  All crafter D has to do is form a cartel with either
  crafter C or crafter A and B where they won't buy from hunter E or
  sell components to any crafter that sells goods to hunter E.  Once
  the 'embargo' is in place, hunter E will have to either reconcile
  with crafter D in order to replace equipment that has either
  deteriorated or that has been out-grown, quit the game, or abandon
  that character.  The key is putting in mechanisms to support this
  type of interactivity.

Letting players create and enforce their own social contracts is a
great idea.  However, players just have to truly 'need' each other
to make this happen.  If there is no value to adhering to the social
contract, there is nothing to dissuade the potential griefer.

Cheers,

Ron

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