[MUD-Dev] Striving for originality

Matt Mihaly the_logos at achaea.com
Thu Jun 6 22:32:20 New Zealand Standard Time 2002


On Tue, 4 Jun 2002 szii at sziisoft.com wrote:
 
> IMHO, and I'm -very- pro-PvP, I'd put it in.  Many MUDs I've seen
> have GREAT PvP aspects and great in-depth combat systems but
> basically squash PvP. (Achaea comes to mind.)  Loved the combat
> system and flexibility, but PvP was all but dead according to the
> few imms and players I chatted with.

*Gets annoyed* That's a load of crap.  Pulling up some stats, I see
that in the past month there have been 16679 PK deaths, for an
average of 555 a day (on Achaea). Given that we get about 1400
characters/day logging in, that's every character dying to PK every
3 days, on average.

The players who think "PK is dead" are inevitably the players who
are much more interested in bullying people than in using PK as a
roleplaying tool. They like to engage in that ridiculous age-old MUD
tradition of whining that the past was better. We sometimes get
oldbies trying to sound cool claiming that Achaea was at its best
when it first opened (yeah right, when things were so unfinished you
had to wait for a God to cure you if another player paralysed you).

> Not a bad thing...not everyone like PvP and that's fully
> understandable.  Personally, I think it adds an element of
> danger...of the unknown.  You can't just "sleep" anywhere or
> people may attack/rob you.  It slow the players down since they
> have to be far more alert.  They can't level as quick if they're
> dead.  They have more incentive to level, though, for revenge or
> protecting their friends/guilds.  I don't know what the "critical
> mass" point is for griefers, though.  On smaller play scales of
> 50-200 I don't think it's a problem.  Above 200, even 1% being
> griefers starts to pose a problem.

They only have more incentive to level if levelling is important. It
isn't particularly important in Achaea. Incidentally, we found that
there are almost no players who really enjoy being constantly under
threat of attack.

> I wonder what the key 'problems' with PvP really are?

> To me, they seem to be:
 
>   1) Newbies getting battered
 
>   2) Being able to repeatedly pound or kill the same person, just
>   because you (the player) don't like them (the player).

The third big one is escalation. You kill my friend, so I kill you
so your friends kill me, so my friends kill your friends, and we're
in a war that has no logical ending to it.

We've tried to cope with the various PK problems with the following
rules, collectively hated by all bullies and griefers, and most
teenage boys.

  1) Aside from any exceptions listed below, do NOT attack someone
  unless that person has done something to -you-. Not to your
  friend, not to your husband or wife. To -you-. If you want to help
  someone take revenge, give him or her money to hire an assassin or
  Champion. That is what the systems are there for.

  2) It's permissible to defend someone who is being attacked. Of
  course, the person you attack may then have a legitimate reason to
  take revenge later. (Note to mud-dev: This refers to defending
  someone who you witness being attacked. It's not about revenge. It
  was too much to ask people to sit there and watch their wife get
  killed while doing nothing.)

  3) Free-For-Alls are never a reason to take retribution on someone
  outside of the FFA. (Mud-dev: FFAs happen inside one of a system
  of Arenas.)

  4) If you are in an enemy city of your own free will (ie you were
  not kidnapped and forcibly brought there), then it is open season
  on you while you're there. You are not allowed to take revenge
  against someone for attacking you while you are in an enemy
  city. You can, of course, defend yourself from their attacks, but
  you are not allowed to later use this as a motive for revenge. The
  same applies to Oakstone and forest enemies.
 
  5) You may never kill someone for the purpose of gaining
  experience, whether that person is willing or not.

  6) If an assassin or Champion slays you, you will be informed who
  took a contract out on you, and you are permitted to take
  legitimate revenge on the person who took the contract out on
  you. It is the same as if that person killed you. Assassins and
  Champions, of course, may be slain at any time, without any
  excuse. They, in turn, are permitted to take revenge on you if you
  do attack them for no reason other than being an assassin or
  Champion. (Mud-dev: Assassins and champions are nearly the same
  functionally. They allow player A to contract with registered
  assassin B for the death of player C. If C kills B first, the
  contract is cancelled and the mandatory fee player A paid is
  wasted. If B kills C, C is informed who hired him. Further, since
  the assassin is considered no different from using a sword or bow
  to kill someone, player A bears full responsibility if he had no
  right to take a contract out on B in the first place. C is totally
  exonerated from admin reprecussions. Assassins and champions get a
  large xp bonus when gaining xp, but it's also open season on them
  all the time.)

  7) You may ONLY kill in relation to Landmarks, when you walk into
  a Landmark room and someone is there, or if you are in a Landmark
  room and someone enters. If the person flees, you may pursue, but
  if he or she gets away, then you no longer have a reason to slay
  him or her. SIMPLY POSSESSING LANDMARKING ITEMS IS NOT AN EXCUSE
  TO KILL SOMEONE. (Mud-dev: Bit complicated to explain, but
  essentially, about 1 day out of every 12, a bunch of rooms in the
  game become key to one of the core game struggles. Certain items
  are needed to affect these rooms in different ways.)

  8) You may not take revenge on someone for any actions more than
  30 real days old. (Mud-dev: We log things relevant to this on a 30
  day rotating basis, so if it's beyond 30 days, we can't track
  whether you're telling the truth about why you killed someone. We
  make special dispensations for extreme cases though. For instance,
  if you were the Treasurer of a city-state, and betrayed the
  city-state by robbing a good portion of its treasury, we'd be
  unlikely to stop members of that city-state from slaughtering you
  over and over until you found a way to repay the cash.)

  9) The Admins are not stupid, and attempts to find 'loopholes' in
  the rules will not work. (Mud-dev: The most important one, of
  course.)

What these rules have the net effect of doing is preventing people
from killing someone else for less than what we consider a good
reason. Well, it doesn't actually prevent people from doing so, but
it does discourage people from doing it.

What I've found is that generally, the people who complain about
those rules are the bullies who see nothing wrong with killing
people randomly. Their oft-used, lame excuse is "I'm roleplaying a
serial killer." They never seem to grasp that if they can roleplay a
serial killer, one of the admins is free to roleplay a God with a
grudge against that mortal.

The PK rules end up having a couple benefits.

  1) They massively reduce random PK deaths and resulting pissed off
  players.

  2) Since they aren't hardcoded in (wouldn't be possible to do, as
  they allow for things like slaying someone who insults you),
  they're fairly flexible, and since punishments are only handed out
  for it manually, we have a lot of leeway to excuse behavior that
  is motivated by quality RP reasons, for instance, or come down
  hard on idiots who just want to victimize other players. (This
  drives some of the bullies crazy. They seem to think it's not
  legitimate to examine their intentions.)

  3) While they protect potential victims, conversely, they also
  protect killers from being harrassed by admins who may have a
  grudge against that player. If we removed the rules, players would
  never know when they were going to be punished for going
  overboard, as when that line is reached is too subjective without
  guidelines.

--matt


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