[MUD-Dev] Less constrained environments

Chris Duesing cwac5 at hotmail.com
Sat Apr 10 17:56:46 CEST 2004

John MacQueen wrote:

> IMHO most (mass market EQ type crowd) players play a fantasy
> environment to allow them to go do things they wouldn't if it was
> reality due to the consequences.

Ok allow me to step back and try this again. I started off my
original post in the spirit of a player, and did not differentiate
between the type of game I like to play and the point I was trying
to make about design. My apologies.

I would like to clarify the kind of system I am talking about. I am
suggesting something that works a little more like the real
world. There are a set of possible actions in real life largely
governed by physics. There is absolutly nothing preventing me from
walking up to a mean looking pitbull and poking it repeatedly. There
is an equivelant set of rules in a game world, with definite
limits. I can usually move around, attack things, talk to other
players, pick up items etc. Now within that particular set of
possible rules I propose that we do not artifically add barriers
based on circumstances. For instance if I can attack a villager I
believe it should be just as easy to attack another player. This
should be possible because to not be able to do this is immersion

This immediatly makes people think of a full on PVP world, anarchy,
lawlessness etc. Well I will once again swing the analogy back to
the real world. I do not walk up to angry pit bulls and poke them
because I know it will get me hurt, and I do not like being
hurt. You will quickly notice that this kind of cause and effect
holds true for game worlds as well. If a newbie walks into a dragon
cave they are not likely to walk out. So why should PVP rules work
differently? I do not believe they should. I think that a system
such as Jester proposed adds consequences to the act. Can you still
do it? Of course. Will you like what happens? Probably not, but at
least you can make an informed decision and have more game play
options open to you. I think there is some danger of immersion
breaking in the system Jester proposed as well. If there is no
visual distinction between a villager and a player, why should I not
get a bounty placed on me for attacking a villager? If we say that
these acts are no different and treated similarly then we are left
with the basis of a consistent, wholistic experience.

> For example I would love to drive a motorcycle at 250mph etc. but
> that's dangerous. In game it isn't. If I saw a 10ft tall Orc in my
> front yard, the last thing I would do is go outside with a sword
> and hit it.

I do not suggest the rules of the game be the same as the rules of
the real world. I see no problem with suspension of disbelief, story
telling etc. I simply propose that it be consistant. Whatever rules
you establish as possible within your world always remain possible.

> Still it has to be sanitized to a degree, and rules have to be
> applied, such as no friendly fire killing and other anti grieving
> measures to prevent griefers from obtaining and exploiting
> advantages.

Friendly fire should be possible, but the consequences should be
dire. Court marshal for example. I also think if something exists
that gives griefers an unfair advantage or the ability to harass
people into quitting, then there is either a bug, a design flaw or
someone's expectations at fault. There will never be a way to
elimiate annoying people from game worlds, but there are mechanisms
for minimizing their impact on the enjoyment of other players. I
will concede that sometimes these rules will not alwayts fit into
the game reality, but they should be designed with this goal in
mind. For example if a griefer tries to spam me over a communication
channel, most games offer an #ignore command. I am now free of the
nuisance with only a minor break in my immersion and no game play
was limited or removed. This could easily turn into its own thread,
so let me just say for further discussion let us assume griefers can
be dealt with so we can focus on the game play issues.

There is another caveat with a system such as this. It is up to the
designer to make sure that the consequences of actions are known to
the players, at least until a time where a system like this was the
rule rather than the exception. Also, to Raph's point about the
number of players a game such as this might have, I do believe there
would be a transtion required and not everyone would immediatly take
to a system like this. In the end I suspect people will find it more
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