[MUD-dev] Fun in Games

Tess Snider malkin at terpalum.umd.edu
Fri May 24 17:40:20 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

On Fri, 10 May 2002, Damion Schubert wrote:
> From: Ron Gabbard

>> 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.

> [Damion's remarks about 9/11 and the diff between good and evil.]

> 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.

Damion is right.  Griefers cross lines that should not be crossed,
and there's really no reason to tolerate them.  I know there are
some on here who would beg to difer with this assertion (and still
others who have seen the light), but griefers do not create the kind
of conflict that makes a game more entertaining.  They create the
kind of conflict that make people flee your game.  When it comes
down to it, if the griefers are there, the griefers win, and nobody
gets to feel like a hero in the end.  I don't see this as healthy.

That said, I think that it is totally possible to have "that level
of dramatic, player-driven content" that Ron wants *without* the
help of griefers.  Believe it or not, nice, responsible, trusted
players are perfectly capable of playing villains, and generating
conflict.  This is old hat in MUSHes, where there is no environment
to do battle with, and the players create a large percentage of the
content.  Realm vs.  Realm combat in some games approaches this, but
lacks the emergent nature and flexibility that Ron seems to be
looking for.  DAoC's Mordred server will fall out on player-defined
divisions, which gets us much closer to this kind of idea.  I'm
curious to see what sort of dynamics emerge, there.


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