[MUD-dev] Fun in Games

Damion Schubert damion at ninjaneering.com
Fri May 10 13:31:34 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

From: Ron Gabbard

> Yes, there is always plenty of room for griefers to operate.
> However, the interdepence model lessens the amount of single
> psychokillers in the world which is the main problem.  The *group*
> of griefers in this example is highly unlikely to occur...
>   - Griefers are typically Killers
>   - This world is equipment-dependent with all equipment (after noob
>   level) being created by players
>   - The ability to create items and the ability to kill are
>   zero-sum.  Greater combat skills means lesser trade skills and
>   visa versa.
>   - The ability to create higher level items requires a high degree
>   of skill and time investment.
Groups of griefers, with craftsmen mules, alternative characters or
hangers-ons are quite common.  Lord knows they were rampant in UO
and M59.

One aspect of bullies is they often have a sidekick or two who think
they're cool, and do all of the bully's manual labor.  Was it the
Christmas Story that has the stereotypical version of that I
remember? ;-)

> This is a good thing as you now have dynamic, player-driven
> content where there is truly a good (protecting social norms)
> versus evil (breaking from social norms) -- not 'orcs versus
> elves' or 'white hat versus black hat' prefabricated concept of
> good and evil.  Think of Al Capone versus Elliot Ness.  Al Capone
> was the ultimate griefer but he would have been powerless without
> his 'gang' (including accountants and attorneys).  His 'griefer'
> activity spawned one of the greatest good versus evil sagas in US
> history...  the Untouchables.  I would bet that most designers
> would give their left eyetooth to have that level of dramatic,
> player-driven content in their worlds.

That depends.  A frequent complaint of how the world works was made
after September 11th.  The difference between good and evil is that
evil is perfectly willing to step over boundaries.  For example,
slamming a plane into a building full of civilians, whereas good is
unwilling to cross even the slightest line, such as assassinating
leaders or torturing prisoners for desperately needed information.

Whether or not you agree with the image of the USA as the White
Knight of the world, there's little doubt that that parallel to
online games is very stark: the knowledge that evil is willing to
stoop to hacking, DOS attacks, exploits and other grief tactics is
very disheartening to the playerbase at large, and its even more
disheartening when designers say things like, "This is exactly the
dynamic we were hoping would occur!"  The existence of Al Capone's
gang made life very exciting for Al Capone, but it also made it very
stressful for Elliot Ness and it also ruined the lives of many other
average joes living their lives.

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