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Old 09-11-2003, 01:28 PM   #1
CTA
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Hey,

I just thought I would throw this out there to see what feed back comes from hopefully a few muds with a decent player base.

I have long since thought of my mud Call to Arms as a business and run it between a cross of Military chain of command, and a business that has customers(players). I must admit sometimes I loose my cool though when players log on and can ask questions that there are help files for on public channels. Or when I run into a player that is constantly whining about why something is the way it is. I guess I can assume that is just what you have to learn to deal with as a adminstrator.

However this is what I have done:
I have let lower staff know that they better rush to answer questions before I have too, because I am sometimes abbrasive with how I answer some questions.

I have put in all my help files for channels that I am running a whine free mud, if you have a complaint write a note about it. Please see the help files before you ask a question on a public channel. As well as added it to my rule book they are issued at creation.

And finally perhaps the most important part I have added to my STAFF rules
PLAYERS ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT THING PERIOD.

Without them there is no mud.

Treat players with the golden rule, and the Vladaar rule.

Golden rule: Treat others how you would want to be treated yourself.

Vladaar rule: When all else fails pretend to be interested in what they say
and have sympathy for their plight.

I am wondering if someone has like an ettique written for handling players
with their staff. Like you will always use please, thankyou, and so on?

Vladaar
Call to Arms
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Old 09-11-2003, 01:52 PM   #2
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People are attracted to what they cannot possess.  I recommend you demote yourself to level 64 or whatever the highest is minus one, and make a fake person at that highest level, who does not really exist but who is supposedly your boss.  All mysterious and such (go ahead, spread rumours).  Players should be your most important priority, but they should not be able to *sense* this...  it should be more subtle.  If players percieve the gods are pushovers, the MUD is a joke.
Never assume people read a guidebook just because you issue it to them.  Guidebooks tend to be very dull.
If you ever catch one of your fellow deities doing something like teleporting to a player and healing them, or giving them potions or anything of that nature, that deity needs an immediate reprimand, placement on a watch file, or possibly demotion.  This sort of thing completely ruins a MUD when it happens.
So what I'm saying is, be approachable but "above it all".  Answer questions unemotionally and in your answer try to give an appropriate helpfile reference.  But if you do this, please, make sure the helpfile is actually up to date...  especially on stock muds, you wouldn't believe how often a mud will be up for years and still have helpfiles which make explicit references to some other mud where the codebase was developed.
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Old 09-11-2003, 02:15 PM   #3
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Erdos thanks for the advice.

I do have strict rules on cheating of any kind already.

I don't quite see why I would want to demote myself
a level and have a fake Admin. Are you saying you
would do it, so you wouldn't get bothered as much,
and or could get more work done that way?

Anyway, what I am in the process of developing is
just a standardized system for dealing with players.

Something like a book of ettiquete for Staff.

Even with bad players I don't think we should stoop
to their level. I want to be seen as a mud of
professionals, that are curteous. Reason number one
being is many muds loose a good deal of their player
base from word of mouth about abusive staff members.

Thats the what I was looking for ideas on how some
other muds may have handled this, if any have.

Vladaar
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Old 09-11-2003, 02:48 PM   #4
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I think that there are times when you can be "too" nice to a player. When the player is taking more of your time than you can afford to expend, on issues that involve only himself, or OOC situations between himself and another player, it's time to take a step back and tell the player - nicely - that you are sorry about his situation but there's nothing you can do, and remove yourself from that situation immediately.

Sometimes a new player will show up and complain about something they don't like, and suggest it be changed. Sometimes, that "something" exists because it works great, and the existing player base enjoys it. All you can do in that case is tell them exactly that, and then again, remove yourself from the situation immediately.

Essentially, the admin doesn't exist to babysit his players. Once in awhile he'll be needed to mediate, but it should be on the low end of his priorities. Serving the game as a whole is his #1 priority and if a single player detracts from it, then the single player needs to be stopped. Whether by a team of "underlings" or by a polite but firm "Not my problem" - depends on your brand of administration.
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Old 09-11-2003, 03:56 PM   #5
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You don't have an obligation to be nice to new players, be rude and obnoxious. But I personally believe if you are going to run a mud you have an obligation to them to be informative, helpful, and to teach them, even if you do have help files on it, no one's time is that precious that they can't take a newbie aside for 10 or 20 minutes and give them a talk to try and help them understand the way things work and how they can self-teach themself mostly everything. Just the way I see it and the way I would do it.

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Old 09-11-2003, 04:51 PM   #6
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I'm always split on this.

On the one hand, having spent a lot of my admin time as the person who deals with players so abrasive Imps don't have to, I understand the importance of being nice to players.

However, nice has qualifications, at least in my way of doing things. Nice does not mean that any player, however valid their point, has the right to be abusive to staff or other players. Nice does not mean being polite to the one at the expense of the whole. Nice does not even mean that a player is owed instant answers to their qustions.

Sometimes work is its own reward.

This is not to say be abusive. But there's a line between abusive and making people actually do work to get ahead. If someone has a question, point them to the helpfile before answering it straight up. Otherwise, and I know this from experience, then the next time they forget that bit of information, they just ask again... and again...

So, as a long answer to a short question, we don't have anything written. We have a complaint system in place. When an imm has to deal with a mortal whose behavior could possibly lead to disciplinary action (ie spamming questions or other mild nusiance activities) we ask them to log the event. And if someone is accused of antagonizing players without cause, they're warned. If the behavior's seen by other imm (again, logging is good) they're demoted on probation, meaning that if no other incidents occur within 2 months, their original level is reinstated.
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Old 09-11-2003, 11:37 PM   #7
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There are no simple answers and while you can take the time to publish simple guidance and suggestions, it's the kind of topic that's always full of the dreaded "gray areas" junior Imms hate.

The general rule of thumb I've found to be effective is for the Imms to stay invisible unless running a quest or doing some roleplaying just for fun. Helping or hindering mortals in their daily lives is just not acceptable normal behavior. Occasionally though, a respectful, decent newbie actually does appear and they "may" get blessed by a God to retrieve that totally lost corpse with their treasured eq hoard.

I totally agree we exist to cater to the morts by providing the world and it's interactivity, fix code or oversight caused wrongs and perhaps smooth over rough spots with interpersonal relations. There's a limit though and a certain aloofness must be maintained or they WILL walk all over you and your staff. Morts for some reason get the impression that free muds are somehow public domain places and they have a right to demand service, change or information from any Immortal they see. If they can see you, all of a sudden you get bombarded with a plethora of tells ranging in topic from "Yo Dood, when ya gonna fix dat cause it blows" to "Hi, long time no see, I'm new here and can you help me level?" The ones that always get my goat the most are those that decide you're an Imm and as such deserve immediate suck-up as well as access to their private life situations as if you've been friends forever.

Our staff has taken the time to sort of condition our regular players with the idea that the newbie of today may very well be their clan mate or be guarding their back someday and deserving of assistance. That seems to have worked well for us and spares us playing ready help files or encyclopedias of mudding for the challenged ones. I occasionally prod mortals I see sitting around on their duffs into helping the newbs out too. If we don't see they are getting help with questions, the staff will usually provide a short, simple reply like <type help> or <index> which shows an alpha listing of all the help files. Rarely, one will actually go and provide one-on-one guidance.
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Old 09-11-2003, 11:48 PM   #8
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A lot of these suggestions would be swayed horribly if the mud was RPI. Big difference, you run a pk mud much differently then a roleplay mud. So all this advice depends on your mud.
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Old 09-15-2003, 02:00 PM   #9
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Just to throw in my two cents..

Necromium is neither a RP mud or a full on PK mud (although we do have pk in restricted areas and a clan-based pk war system) so our staff is a bit of an oddity.

We have a full player assistance staff and many processes put in place to help new players get moving.  First, new players are offered an automated tour that shows them around the city, runs them through basic combat, provides the starter equipment, and explains our death system.

From there, our PAs run the Necromium Academy, which is a clan for players level 1-20.  The PAs monitor the Academy's communication channel to answer questions regarding basic game play.  All of our zones have help files.  Zones meant for new players include basic directions on how to reach those areas.

Players level 1-5 can recall for free, and players 1-10 are exempt from the penalties associated with normal combat death. (We have 165 total levels, to put things in prospective.)

At the end of the day, I would say we are on the extreme end of the new player assistance spectrum offering, debateably, more assistance than anyone should need.

Along with that comes the realization that we refer to ourselves as a staff and not "gods", as we dont enforce RP.

Anyways, hope this information was useful.
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Old 10-14-2003, 03:45 PM   #10
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Question

Too nice can be a problem. Aardwolf has problems with people who have learned to do nothing by themselves because others are too nice and do everything for them. When suddenly they are asked to level on their own or find their own equipment, they don't know how to. For this reason the Newbie Helper guild has rules and regulations that they themselves must adhere to, both for the good of the helpers and the newbies. The helpers are just players, so it is not in their interest to spend time constantly spelling newbies up, finding them equipment, etc. Instead they are to explain to newbies how to do things on their own. Helpers are not allowed to give newbies spellups, equipment, lead them around, etc. They are allowed to do corpse retrievals (but they are encouraged to let the newbie lead the way back to the corpse, and just take out the agressive things). The helpers also answer questions immediately. Since aardwolf has a small but dedicated imm staff and has MANY new players starting up everyday, they need the player help to get things done. The general motto when working with new players is 'teach a man to fish and he eats for life, give him a fish and he eats for a day' or however that quote goes. :) I think this is fair practice to teach players that while others are helpful, they need to be somewhat able to do things on their own.


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Old 10-17-2003, 12:44 AM   #11
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My two farthings: If I'm playing a new MUD, the first thing I look at is the people, and the way the immortals interact with the players. Aloof imms are fine for MMORPGs, who can afford seperate staff to deal with player complaints, but when the picture gets smaller, it becomes crucial for the entire staff, usually composed only of builders and coders who all do their small part in administration, to be closer to the players. If ideas and thoughts from players are considered, even if they aren't implemented, I stay. But it's not a good feeling to be hovered over. If you send thunder from the skies too often (for destructive and creative purposes alike) I'll quit. If, however, you explain your changes to your playerbase, I'd look further.

You can be polite while still being firm in your rules. You can laugh a little on the public channels without having to let a botter go unpunished. I don't like being insulted by players _or_ Imms, and holier-than-thou attitudes from _anyone_ generally make me leave somewhere. Even if you do have a MUD, and "Real Ultimate Power" over my character, I am still a person (just like you), and ultimately, if you don't respect me as one, you'll lose a player.

Whew, got a little bit ranty. If you were offended by that, it's not directed at you. Just a little annoyed with a few MUDs right now. Basically, whatever you do, respect is good.
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Old 10-20-2003, 10:03 PM   #12
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You have a seriously valid point Eagleon but there's a point where interaction is harmful and that's difficult gray area to iron out so all the Imms involved understand it. A certain amount of "aloofness" and "special" has to be adopted by Imms to maintain an acceptible level of respect from the morts because of policing duties. What I've seen on MMORPGs is the high end of the spectrum where they normally don't do jack and I've seen the low end where Imms are your bestest buds. I don't consider either acceptible but it's exceptionally hard to define exactly what is.

I'm in the process of adopting a platform of allowing Immortal city managers for the 9 cities we have and my goal with that is to allow the Immortal Manager to interact with their citydwellers in a limited roleplay form. No clue if it will work, but my goal is to afford a medium for Imms to actually play around and have some fun too. I function from pretty much a jaded perspective after all these years. If you socialize with mortals or are too accessible, they will do everything in their power to drag you into conflicts or pester you for favors and that's not healthy when you're training new Imms.

Ideas and suggestions and feedback on the other hand is a wonderful tool I suggest all use and not be shy about interacting with the suggesters. Even the bug abuser can be valuable.
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