[MUD-Dev] Character Restraint & Capture.

Eric Random e_random at yahoo.com
Fri Mar 12 22:34:40 New Zealand Daylight Time 2004


Jester's Bounty Hunter system could be summed up as player-run law
enforcement The most important aspect of a justice system is
consistent law enforcement.  Player-run law enforcement is LITERALLY
a JOB to maintain consistent order, and job implies
responsibilities. It is one thing to go on a raid, and maintain
order of a force for a limited amount of time, but to attempt to
maintain it over long periods, consistently, requires a lot of
player dedication, player communication, player cooperation, player
coordination, and a whole lot of resource management.  Anything less
is inconsistent, and inconsistent enforcement is not justice.

Restraint&Captivity could be better used as a feature in which
players can participate in if they wish, but player-involvement in
enforcement should not be mandatory so that consequences be provided
to unlawful characters.

As Jester has already realized, the character could have other
consequences (see Sullied Reputation update) instead of just
captivity. This aspect, Reputation, instead of being an addendum,
should be the main target of consequences! If a criminal is unable
to use a town bank, town spawning point, town-guard protection, town
merchants, town trainers, etc., and is KOS around town guards, he is
already experiencing real consequences. Captivity should provide the
criminal with the opportunity to get those consequences removed,
with minor adjustment to reputation and record. Positive adjustment
in reputation should only be offered for explicit actions which
provide a benefit to the town and it's lawful citizens (and should
not be in the form of entertainment (like dueling), which is easily
ignored). Dueling should be offered as entertainment mainly for the
captive, whether a citizen watches or not.

In Jester's plan, the victim must explicitly request justice, and
tie up his own capital to facilitate it.  Not only did the victim
have to take time out to be victimized, but now they must take time
out and pay money to seek justice. An enforcement system should not
have to rely on victim participation.

If a victim has to ante up a bounty sum upon bounty request, what if
the offending character simply doesn't log in again for quite some
time? Economic resources are being tied up in the meantime.

If an offending character logs on for short periods of time (just
enough time to offend someone else and log off) this will reduce his
chances of being captured.  He just needs an alternate character to
be eyes and ears to make sure that his mark is an easy kill, or
perhaps even lure the mark to his login point.

A hunter will need to know that his prey is logged on before he can
begin the chase. What if a bounty hunter begins his chase, gets
close, and the prey logs off?  What if a bounty hunter begins his
chase, and his prey is already captured or killed? That could be a
very frustrating waste of time for the bounty hunter. Does the
bounty hunter get anything for his efforts?

What if a hunter restrains his prey, and just holds him indefinately
(ie, finds a secure place and just stays logged on for days)? What
if a hunter restrains his prey, and the prey wants to quit for the
day?

What if the offender doesn't have anything in his bank, or any
money? How will the victim get any return on his intial investment?
The offender just logs on, gives all his stuff to his friend, then
turns himself in to his friend. His friend gets the bounty, and the
offender has no money. The victim loses his bounty money, and gets
no return.

I'm not saying that such a bounty system should not be a feature of
an enforcement system. If a character wants to offer a bounty on a
criminal, whether to kill or restrain for capture, I've no problem
with that. If a character wants to take the time to track down
another online character and attempt to kill or capture him for
money, I've no problem with that. That sounds game-enriching. There
is an implementation to resolve each of these questions, consume a
lot of pages, and is beside the point. The main issue is not relying
upon the player-base (and namely the victim) for law-enforcement to
be successful. Law enforcement should already be successful without
a strong and dedicated player-base, but the player-base should be
given the opportunity to participate in law enforcement if and when
they desire.

-Eric Random
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