Enforcement [was Re: [MUD-Dev] Striving for originality]

Matt Mihaly the_logos at achaea.com
Wed Jun 12 18:38:54 New Zealand Standard Time 2002


On Wed, 12 Jun 2002, Matt Chatterley wrote:
> On Tue, 11 Jun 2002, Matt Mihaly wrote:

>> Isn't this just in how you look at it? I'd argue that all a game
>> can do is -allow- you to do things. Since the capability to do
>> them doesn't exist without the code, you can't disallow the
>> ability to do something as the capability doesn't exist until you
>> allow it anyway.

> Heh. I do disagree, I have to say.
 
> Although for the large part you're right (for instance, try to
> cast a fireball on a Mud with no fireball spell. It's probably
> quite tricky), not everything is based in code. Nor can it all be
> stopped by code, mind-you-me.
 
> Some things (slightly different to those I was originally
> referring to, such as abusive language, and so forth) are not
> explicitly made possible by the code! They can also be quite hard
> to prevent (well, without making the UI so rigid that it drives
> away the playerbase).

> Actually, I agree in part. It's a matter of perception.

Yeah, fair enough, I agree with that.
 
> Firstly -- actual abuse of the game server. Creating excess
> characters, trying to deliberately break it,
> spamming. Etc. IMNSHO, Ban these gits straight away. And if
> appropriate, lodge a note with their ISP explaining that they are
> complete tits who have 'attacked' your game, and your machine.

Threats of severe bodily harm certainly don't feel as if they'd be
out of place sometimes too. ;)
 
> With that one out of the way, I only want to mention one more type
> ;) In-game actions such as PK, PStealing, Kill stealing, etc. I've
> seen these dealt with in a number of ways, but the two most common
> appear to be admin enforced rules and a player council system.
 
> Admin enforced rules are all well and good, but adding stress and
> grief to often overloaded administrators who work on a project in
> their (often fleeting) spare time can be bad.. and player
> councils? Do they work?

We currently use an admin system, and it's really not a huge
burden. If you feel another player wronged you, you file an Issue
against that player, who can then record a reply to your
issue. Administrations go down the list, taking care of each issue
as best as they can. While it's not exactly fun, it's not a massive
amount of work either, when spread among all our admins. For
instance, last week, we had 53 issues filed. Probably 80% of those
were to do with a player complaining about another player killing
him, harrassing him, etc. Some issues may take a fair amount of time
to resolve, as PK issues get complicated (as you know), but, for
instance, a single admin handled 26 of those issues herself last
week.

As for player councils, they do not work in a system (such as ours)
that is fundamentally about PvP and, more importantly, Group
vs. Group. Some of the players have made efforts at handling this
kind of thing themselves, with, at best, limited success.

Example:

  Player Z, who is a citizen of Ashtan, kills Player A, who is a
  citizen of Shallam. Player A complains to one of his elected
  leaders about it, who goes to the elected leaders of Player Z and
  says "Hey, your citizens are killing mine unfairly." At least 50%
  of the time the reply player A is going to get is "Sod off, you're
  an asshole."

The problem is that there's so much animosity between different
factions of our playerbase, that it is literally impossible for them
to act in any sort of objective way. I like this, myself, as it
makes for a fun game, but definitely does not lead to
players-as-a-whole solving player problems.

Lots of players have suggested an overriding player council to
handle this kind of thing, but it wouldn't work in Achaea for the
same reasons. When players care so much about beating the other
side, objectivity goes out the window and factionalism dominates,
not unlike the way people act in the physical world (politics,
international relations, etc).

Also, on a practical level, our various city-states have their own
codes of laws (which may differ from, but not contradict our
admin-imposed rules) and constitutions, and so what is considered
'wrong' by one group may not be considered 'wrong' by another (again
much like the physical world).

--matt

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