[MUD-Dev] Re: Enforcement

Matt Chatterley matt at eldoops.co.uk
Thu Jun 13 00:26:24 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

On Wed, 12 Jun 2002, apollyon . wrote:

> Going back to the issue of "disallowing" certain actions, if you
> have the code to prevent those actions which you deem harmful to
> the overall enjoyment of the game, is it better to use the code to
> keep them from happening in the first place, or to allow them to
> happen but provide for some penalty to the commitor?

A further question and discussion point. Is it sometimes desirable
to avoid using code which can prevent some 'bad things' (tm),
because a player-based (or other) alternative may actually prove to
transform the whole experience into something beneficial for the

If instead of hard-wiring things so that pstealing is impossible for
instance, you were to use a system of in-character guards and a law
system based around a player-elected council (or regularly
re-elected justice-of-the-court), for instance, would you find that
thievery became less of an annoyance and a frustration, and instead
became an accepted, but risky option for scraping a living? Would
more players tolerate it given in-character solutions?

> This issue boils down to choice and how much choice is good for
> the game.  Too little and the player feels railroaded.  Too much
> and the griefer ruins the experience for others.

True. A book on game design which I read recently iterates the point
that interesting choices are vital to the creation of a fun gaming
experience; something which I believe to be very accurate. If you
can play a thief, but you can't steal from PCs (sorry, I seem to be
overusing this example), is it still worthwhile? Surely part of the
fun is the thrill of a quarry who is not run by the games AI, and is
infact a dynamic human being who may get angry and pursue you, or
take various other courses of action?

> So, to restate the question, if there are actions that you do not
> wish to see in your world, but know that some (but certainly a
> minority) of the players will want to commit those actions, is it
> better to restrict choice by preventing (through game mechanics)
> the commission of those actions or to enable choice by allowing
> the actions but attaching a penalty to their commission?

Quite. And how should that penalty be implented? Of course, this
depends heavily on exactly what the action is, in many
cases. Stealing of equipment and gold can be very annoying and
frustrating, but is less likely to devastate a player than the death
of their character through a PKill.


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