[MUD-Dev] Character Restraint & Capture.

Marian Griffith gryphon at iaehv.nl
Wed Feb 18 22:03:42 New Zealand Daylight Time 2004

On Sat 14 Feb, Damion Schubert wrote:
> And Jester Spoke:

>> I've been mulling this one over for some time; I am considering
>> implementing a system whereby a character can be restrained,
>> and/or captured by other players. I fully understand that unless
>> I get this 100% right it will be universally hated, so I thought
>> I'd get the views of this list's members.

> At least in the commercial games, pretty much any feature that
> steals the ability of movement and decision making from the user
> is going to cause ire and frustration.  Common examples also
> include:

Also keep in mind that just because it is hated that does not auto-
matically mean it should be removed or avoided. Players hate to die
but few games have eliminated *that* annoyance.

>   - Long stuns and paralyzes, such that Meridian and DAoC had.

>   - Charm and Fear spells, where your character moves without you
>   giving commands.  At launch, EQ had a charm spell monsters could
>   cast on you which forced you to attack your party members, who'd
>   then be forced to 'put you down'.  This is one of those things
>   that was infuriating at the time, and absolutely hilarious in
>   retrospect.

And here you have the key issue I think. If it enhances gameplay it
can be something you want to add.  Even more so if you can plan for
it,  or counter either before or after.  Being blinded in itself is
no fun, but dealing with it when it happens (and being able to) can
be entertaining. The being forced to attack your own group is sour-
ce for many amusing stories afterwards, even if it is not nearly as
funny while it happens.

Of course we have had this disagreement before and I do not want to
revive that particular thread.

>   - Blind, such as Meridian had.  Nothing like not being able to
>   target or tell where you're hightailing off to.

> A good rule of thumb is that any time a player can sit back from
> his keyboard and say, "Well, now all I can do is sit here for 20
> seconds and watch my character die"... it probably needs to be
> toned down.

Not necessarily. What it needs is a way to deal with the situation.
if you can indeed do nothing but wait then you have a problem.  But
if there are ways out, then those 20 (or more) seconds may give the
other players enough time to help you. A 2 second stun is an annoy-
ance that you have to wait out. A two minute stun with a dozen ways
to break it adds excitement to the encounter.

> So all of these drove players nuts.  Does that mean don't do 'em?
> Not really - more like 'exercise extreme caution'.  What will the
> counters be?  Can any single individual do it, or does it require
> teamwork?  What are the risks of pulling off a 'capture attempt'?

In this case you have to be aware  that you open yourself to a huge
can of worms of griefing.  Players are infinitely creative  when it
comes to ways to annoy each other (or worse).  Giving them a potent
means like this is asking for trouble  unless you can think up some
pretty incircumventable safeguards against abuse.  And even then  I
would not bet against the players.

Yes - at last - You. I Choose you. Out of all the world,
out of all the seeking, I have found you, young sister of
my heart! You are mine and I am yours - and never again
will there be loneliness ...

Rolan Choosing Talia,
Arrows of the Queen, by Mercedes Lackey
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