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Old 09-03-2007, 01:47 PM   #21
Molly
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Re: What Does "Fair" Mean?

Heh, I was almost resolved to stop posting here, but this topic lured me out.
So here are some of my thoughts on the subject ‘Fair Play’.

To me a Mud is a skill game.
In this context I am only talking about Muds with a competitive element, meaning that the viewpoint for some RP enforced Muds might be a bit different from mine. But in a competitive Mud, especially if it involves PvP, whatever results a player reaches in the game IMO should be based on their personal skills and game experience. To me this means that they should at least start on the same footing, and that money in any form shouldn’t influence what progress they make.

Sure, you can argue that some players have more time to put into the game than others, and that this isn’t ‘fair’. This seems to be the most common argument to why time should be replaceable with money.

But time isn’t the only element involved in the game. What really should matter mostly is player skill. And player skill involves elements like knowing the world in detail, knowing what certain objects are good for and where you can get them, knowing the weaknesses of any ‘boss mob’ in the game and how to defeat them, knowing what tactics, weapons and equipment are most effective against different mobs and players. And at least in my own game the best equipment can only be acquired by having the patience and intelligence to solve a number of Quests, which are quite a bit more complex than the usual ‘fetch-and-carry’ or ‘kill-that-mob’ Quest.

Most of these things involve knowledge that you can only achieve by playing the game, i.e. spending time on it. But two players spending the exact same amount of time will not end up equally powerful. The more intelligent and knowledgeable – ‘skilled’ – player will always be the better one. Things like reflexes also play a role. Younger players usually have quicker reflexes, but that is often balanced by older players having more game experience.

But when you add an element where one player can buy advantages to even out or surpass those natural differences, then you also add an unfair element.

Some people like to defend unfair elements in a game by naming other things that also are unfair. To me that is absolute BS. Just as two wrongs doesn’t make one right, adding another unfair element to something that is already unfair doesn’t make it fair. It just makes it more unfair.

Some people also like make sweeping allegations, meant to insinuate that various wrongdoings are very common elements in a community. And since sweeping allegations always manage to make my hackles rise, let’s have a closer look at some of those simple ‘truths’ and what conclusions you cannot automatically make from them:

1. Life isn’t fair. This doesn’t mean that everything in life is unfair.
2. All horses are animals. This doesn’t mean that all animals are horses.
3. The fact that something is legal doesn’t automatically mean that it is fair or ethical.
4. The fact that something is common practice doesn’t automatically mean that it is fair or ethical.

Now let’s apply a similar way of reasoning to some examples of things that are usually considered ‘unfair’ in the Mudding Community :

1. ‘Some imms cheat and/or play favourites’. This doesn’t mean that all imms do this.
2. ‘Some players cheat’. This doesn’t mean that all players cheat.
3. ‘Some Admin are crooked/corrupt'. This doesn’t mean that all Admin are crooked/corrupt.
4. ‘Some games are unfair'. This’ doesn’t mean that all games are unfair.
5. ‘Some Mudowners would lie or be consciously misleading about the content and/or financial model of their Mud’. This doesn’t mean that all Mudowners would do it.

Not even somewhat more restricted statements, like ‘All players/Admins would cheat, if given a chance to do so without risk of being discovered and punished’ hold true.

For this discussion to be valid, we need to at least recognize that concepts like ‘fair’ and ‘ethical’ not only exist, but actually matter to some people, whatever your own personal standards and viewpoints might be.

While the statements listed above will be recognized as true by most people, I am aware that the definition of ‘fair’ will vary with the person. So in the following concrete examples, I will only state my own opinion of what is fair.

1. Is it fair that player A was born a lot more intelligent than Player B, and consequently has a bigger chance of being good at a skill game?
No, it isn’t fair, but we have to chalk it down to the general unfairness of Life, since it has got nothing to do with the fairness of a Game.

2. Is it fair that Player C was born in a richer family than Player D, and consequently has advantages in many different ways?
No, it isn’t fair, but again it’s due to the general unfairness of Life as stated in point 1.

3. Is it fair that Player E, who is a college student, has a lot more spare time to play Muds than Player F, who works full time?
Again see Point 1. (And at least this will probably change over time).

4. Is it fair that Player X, who has spent several years playing a Mud is a lot more skilled and powerful than Player Y, who just started mudding 3 weeks ago?
Yes, I think it is. It’s not only fair but natural.

5. Is it fair that Player Y can buy ‘the Sword of Uber Slaying’ for 500 dollars and kick Player X’s behind in a PvP fight, even though Player X is a much better player?
No, I don’t think it is, and I’d never play a Mud myself, where this was possible.
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Old 09-03-2007, 02:51 PM   #22
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Re: What Does "Fair" Mean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Molly View Post
5. Is it fair that Player Y can buy ‘the Sword of Uber Slaying’ for 500 dollars and kick Player X’s behind in a PvP fight, even though Player X is a much better player?
No, I don’t think it is, and I’d never play a Mud myself, where this was possible.
This example is the orange among the apples of the previous four examples. Using this reasoning to determine "fairness," you should also be asking:

6. Is it fair that Player Y can acquire 'the Sword of Uber Slaying' through extended grinding and camping and kick Player X's behind in a PvP fight, even though Player X is a much better player (she is a better problem-solver, she is better at fighting npcs/players within her level range, she is more efficient at locating gear) and lags behind solely because she hasn't been able to put in geologic amounts of time into the game like Player Y?

Note that this question isn't about the "fairness" of Player Y having more time than Player X. I agree with you that this is just a part of the general unfairness of life. The question here is the "fairness" of Player X being rewarded in game for this. If #5 is unfair, wouldn't #6 be unfair as well? In both cases the game is rewarding someone for having more of a particular out-of-game asset.

Of course, as I've stated before, I don't think either situation is unfair. In both cases we have game rules which are applied evenly to all involved. In situation #5, the game rules state that you can gain advantages by spending real world money. In situation #6, the game rules state that you can gain advantages by spending real world time. It doesn't matter that these rules aren't necessarily written down somewhere (in the case of #6, especially, they almost never are). They are understood by the players that participate in these games.

You obviously don't like the game rules for example #5. You clearly wouldn't play a game that incorporates such rules, and it would make little sense for someone to argue that you should do otherwise. After all, if you don't like cabbage, you don't like cabbage. In what way, however, does that make the rules in question unfair? These are rules which people volunteer to play by. And assuming they are applied impartially to all who volunteer to play by them, then they are, by definition, fair.
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Old 09-03-2007, 02:54 PM   #23
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Re: What Does "Fair" Mean?

Stop dreaming, nothing is fair in love, war, or Muds.
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Old 09-03-2007, 05:26 PM   #24
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Re: What Does "Fair" Mean?

Fair is when a game is coded and implemented in a way where I can play however long or short I want, and be ahead of everyone else. Whether that means having the better equipment, or getting to be the leader in a hunting group, or the High Muckety Muck of the city. If someone else gets to have that, and I get left in the dust, then the game is obviously unfair. Especially if it's free and full PK.

What I really would rather know, is what does "is" mean?
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Old 09-03-2007, 05:41 PM   #25
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Re: What Does "Fair" Mean?

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Originally Posted by Atyreus View Post
You obviously don't like the game rules for example #5. You clearly wouldn't play a game that incorporates such rules, and it would make little sense for someone to argue that you should do otherwise. After all, if you don't like cabbage, you don't like cabbage. In what way, however, does that make the rules in question unfair?
I didn't say the Rules for the example #5 game were unfair.
I said the Game was unfair.
There is a difference, you know.

Of course it always helps if the Rules are the same for everybody, and if they are made clear from the start of the game.
Then everyone gets a fair chance to choose the kind of game they like.
And I never argued that they shouldn't.
I made it very clear these were MY preferences, not everybody's.
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Old 09-03-2007, 07:35 PM   #26
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Re: What Does "Fair" Mean?

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I didn't say the Rules for the example #5 game were unfair.
I said the Game was unfair.
There is a difference, you know.
Well, given that games are ultimately just groups of players interacting in accordance with a set of rules, you can simply substitute "game" for "rules" in the last sentence you quoted if you want. The point of the argument remains the same.

Quote:
I made it very clear these were MY preferences, not everybody's.
Of course. I'm not interested in knocking anybody's preferences (well, not in this thread, at least ). But the supposed topic of this thread is the "fairness" of certain type games. And this topic is rooted in a fairly long-running series of arguments on these boards in which people have tried to argue that an openly and impartially applied set of rules are somehow inherently unfair, with some even going so far as to suggest that the games applying such rules are crooked and somehow cheat the players who participate in them.

It's just worth considering that these games are simply what they are - specific sets of rules that aren't going to be everyone's cup of tea.
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Old 09-03-2007, 10:51 PM   #27
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Re: What Does "Fair" Mean?

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Originally Posted by Atyreus View Post
Well, given that games are ultimately just groups of players interacting in accordance with a set of rules, you can simply substitute "game" for "rules" in the last sentence you quoted if you want. The point of the argument remains the same.

And this topic is rooted in a fairly long-running series of arguments on these boards in which people have tried to argue that an openly and impartially applied set of rules are somehow inherently unfair, with some even going so far as to suggest that the games applying such rules are crooked and somehow cheat the players who participate in them.

It's just worth considering that these games are simply what they are - specific sets of rules that aren't going to be everyone's cup of tea.
Well said.

The same logic some posters are using here to lob complaints of 'unfair' against specific sets of game rules could be equally applied to, for instance, any MUDs that insist that English be the language of choice. Those rules create an incredibly uneven playing field (insofar as success in a MUD ever requires active communication with other people, which is the case in most text MUDs and many graphical ones) for people who don't speak English.

That doesn't make those MUDs (which include my company's) unfair even if non-English speakers are at a huge disadvantage. It just means that the rules (both hard and soft) that define the MUD are oriented toward permitting success for people with certain real-life advantages or proficiencies. Or rather, it does make it unfair if you prefer, in which case unfairness is not a negative.

--matt
P.S. Those of you pointing out that everyone has the same amount of time available are correct, but missing the bigger picture I think. Maslow's hierarchy of needs essentially dictates that people spend their time on essentials before entertainment.

The lower runs have to be satisfied before the higher rungs become important. MUDs don't start coming into play until tier 3 (Love/Belonging), though they certainly are applicable to the 4th and 5th tiers too (Esteem, and Self-Actualization).

In other words, while it's accurate to say that everyone's got 24 hours of time in the day, it's far more accurate to say that the actual amount of time any given person has to play a MUD is 24 hours minus whatever it takes for that individual to fulfill tiers 1 and 2 in the hierarchy, as well as to meet whatever parts of tiers 3, 4, and 5 a MUD cannot.

The idea that human beings literally have 24 hours per day available to do any single activity is so simplistic and reductionist as to be pointless. Missing the forest for the trees comes to mind.

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Old 09-04-2007, 02:39 AM   #28
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Re: What Does "Fair" Mean?

Quote:
The lower runs have to be satisfied before the higher rungs become important. MUDs don't start coming into play until tier 3 (Love/Belonging), though they certainly are applicable to the 4th and 5th tiers too (Esteem, and Self-Actualization).
I believe for some hardcore people muds might start coming into play even from the bottom of the pyramid :P Hehe. It might be their way to get sex... eww.

And the safety sphere definately must be mud related. Some people might argue that their characters, equipment etc are their "property" much like any IRL item would be. Since some games use cash to buy these items, it just makes sense i guess.

Just some observations

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Old 09-04-2007, 02:56 AM   #29
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Re: What Does "Fair" Mean?

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I believe for some hardcore people muds might start coming into play even from the bottom of the pyramid :P Hehe. It might be their way to get sex... eww.
You can't have sex in a MUD any more than you can kill a dragon. It's called the 'reproductive urge' not the 'masturbate while typing' urge for a reason, not to be snarky.

Quote:
And the safety sphere definately must be mud related. Some people might argue that their characters, equipment etc are their "property" much like any IRL item would be.
We could get into legal discussions here about how players don't own the stuff that their avatar "owns" in the in-game fiction since they are just entries in a database owned completely by the game developer, but I don't think that really gets to the point in this case.

The short version is that you're reading "property" way too broadly. Tier 2 refers to physiological safety, which, of course, has essentially nothing to do with the virtual sphere.

--matt
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Old 09-04-2007, 03:29 AM   #30
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Re: What Does "Fair" Mean?

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Originally Posted by Atyreus View Post
Of course. I'm not interested in knocking anybody's preferences (well, not in this thread, at least ). But the supposed topic of this thread is the "fairness" of certain type games. And this topic is rooted in a fairly long-running series of arguments on these boards in which people have tried to argue that an openly and impartially applied set of rules are somehow inherently unfair, with some even going so far as to suggest that the games applying such rules are crooked and somehow cheat the players who participate in them.
(my highlight)

I wasn't aware that the topic was restricted to that. I actually thought that we were supposed to discuss various things that could make a game unfair - (including fairly common problems in all Muds, like botting and bug-abuse, bias and imm 'favouritism', and the potential conflict of interest with imms who also have morts) - and how to best handle those problems.

But of course, if the topic is going to be that restricted, it also makes it less interesting to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by the_logos View Post
The same logic some posters are using here to lob complaints of 'unfair' against specific sets of game rules could be equally applied to, for instance, any MUDs that insist that English be the language of choice. Those rules create an incredibly uneven playing field (insofar as success in a MUD ever requires active communication with other people, which is the case in most text MUDs and many graphical ones) for people who don't speak English.
That's an example of those arguments that seem to be lobbed out just to muddy the waters.
There are some German or Spanish-based and, I suppose, Chinese-based Muds out there. To people seeking one of those, the information that a Mud is solely English-based is just valid info, for instance in a search engine. 'Fair' has absolutely nothing to do with it.

And if you read the threads, I think that you will find that the complaints are not primarily directed at the pay-for-perks concept, but the fact that some pay-for-perks Muds are painting themselves out as 'Free to play' in their adverts, (which may be true in a very literal sense, but also is misleading). That is what the 'What is Free' thread mainly is about; the request for a search engine that distinguishes between different types of monetary policies as accurately as possible - you could even say in a 'fair' way.

But since this is already covered in that other thread, how about we stick to various things that make a game unfair to the players in this one? I believe that is why Xerihae opened a new thread for the subject.
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Old 09-04-2007, 03:54 AM   #31
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Re: What Does "Fair" Mean?

Molly wrote:
Quote:
I wasn't aware that the topic was restricted to that. I actually thought that we were supposed to discuss various things that could make a game unfair ......
But of course, if the topic is going to be that restricted, it also makes it less interesting to me.
[/quote]

I see. You would like to see a discussion on a variety of topics that factor into various people's idea of fairness...

Quote:
That's an example of those arguments that seem to be lobbed out just to muddy the waters.
...unless, apparently, you don't want to discuss that issue. If it's too hard it's because someone is just "muddying the waters."

How about instead of addressing your perceived motive of the poster, you address his argument? We'll get a lot further if we stick to criticizing ideas instead of people.


Quote:
There are some German or Spanish-based and, I suppose, Chinese-based Muds out there.
Huh. So, just like there are MUDs that mandate different languages, there are MUDs that mandate different business models and because of that, they're fair? Sounds reasonable to me.

Quote:
To people seeking one of those, the information that a Mud is solely English-based is just valid info, for instance in a search engine. 'Fair' has absolutely nothing to do with it.
What does a search engine have to do with this thread, entitled, "What does fair mean?" The search engine doesn't define what fair means. Whether a MUD is english-based is no different from whether a MUD sells placemats or whether it has orcs from a search engine's point of view except insofar as whether it's english based is far more important than almost any other aspect of it in most likely consumer's minds, including the business model. Being purely English-based is, by any reasonable standard, FAR more "unfair" (by the definition you seem to be using) to non-English speakers than a "pay for perks" mud is to people without much real-life money. At least those people can reasonably play the game. Non-English speakers face discrimination from the moment they log into the game.

The thing is, of course, that there's nothing wrong with that.


Quote:
And if you read the threads, I think that you will find that the complaints are not primarily directed at the pay-for-perks concept, but the fact that some pay-for-perks Muds are painting themselves out as 'Free to play' in their adverts, (which may be true in a very literal sense, but also is misleading).
I'm not sure what you're referring to. I never mentioned pay-for-perks or free-to-play, nor did I refer to them specifically any more than I did to "roleplay enforced" or "allows half-orc characters" or any other subset of the complete rulset of a game world.


Quote:
But since this is already covered in that other thread, how about we stick to various things that make a game unfair to the players in this one?
Exactly why I bring up the issue of language competence. That's an OOC resource (just like money!) that nonetheless can have an effect of varying level on the success of players in-game. That seems to be why people cry 'unfair' about the virtual asset sales model.

I've watched many a player for whom English is not a first language struggle because of their language deficiency. There is no feasible suggestion for their disadvantage but that they don't bring the OOC resource of English fluency to the game. No different, at all, from not having the monetary resources to pay WoW's subscription or buy a virtual sword in Achaea, or whatever. You can spend the time to learn English (if you have the time), just as you can spend the time (if you have it) to earn the money to pay WoW's subscription just as you can spend the time (if you have it) to earn the gold to buy credits to get a virtual sword in Achaea.

--matt
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Old 09-04-2007, 04:24 AM   #32
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Re: What Does "Fair" Mean?

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Originally Posted by Atyreus View Post
6. Is it fair that Player Y can acquire 'the Sword of Uber Slaying' through extended grinding and camping and kick Player X's behind in a PvP fight, even though Player X is a much better player (she is a better problem-solver, she is better at fighting npcs/players within her level range, she is more efficient at locating gear) and lags behind solely because she hasn't been able to put in geologic amounts of time into the game like Player Y?
Umm...
How did player Y access 'the Sword of Uber Slaying' in your example?
Through extensive grinding and camping?

That seems to me to be an example of very bad Game design.

Quote:
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For some reason, most games seem to have no problem with unfairness that benefits people with a lot of time. The grind model of advancement and the growing trend of no (or a very small) death penalty just make this worse. When dying does not set you back, skill is even less of an asset and sheer time becomes even more the only thing you need to get ahead. At least in older games, incompetent players would die a lot and lose levels frequently. This would give better players with less time an opportunity to "catch up."
This is a very good point.

I have noticed the generally diminishing death penalty myself, (even in my own Mud), and it irritates me. But since it seems to be a general trend, muds that apply harsh death penalty actually are put at a disadvantage. Players, who are used to dying every five seconds without any more penalty than having to re-wear their gear, are not likely to stay long in a game where death sets you back a lot, or even is permanent. I guess you could say that those are not the type of players you'd like anyhow, but let's face it, if all the players were of the ideal type, our Muds would be very empty.

"In the old days, young whippersnappers, dying would set you back so may levels that it would take weeks to catch up again, and we didn't have any of those 'portals' or 'transport items' or fancy swords either..."

There is actually a general trend of making a lot of things easier in Muds nowadays. Not just death penalties but almost everything gets smoothed out, so that players get babysat and led by the hand and skill becomes less and less of an asset. So even the foolhardy or downright dumb players can advance like crazy nowadays, where in the old days they'd go down in a blaze of fire and have to recreate, because they were so far in the negative that recreating would be a quicker way. (Nowadays I guess they'd just quit instead of recreating, and find themselves an even easier game). :P

It's sad, really.

There are of course ways to counteract this tendency and put some sort of challenge into the game, but they are not always effective, and they are almost always made at the expense of a large playerbase.

Our own method is to offer alternatives to grinding, as ways to get ahead. Above all we use Quests that are not just 'fetch-and-carry, but actually require a lot of attention and at least some thinking to solve. This is where the best equipment comes from in 4D. On top of that we put wear-flags on the quest equipment, so that you can only use it if you have done the quest yourself.

Of course this makes the players who are unable to solve the Quests on their own very frustrated, and I bet they are saying that it's 'unfair'...
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Old 09-04-2007, 04:59 AM   #33
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Re: What Does "Fair" Mean?

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Originally Posted by the_logos View Post
The same logic some posters are using here to lob complaints of 'unfair' against specific sets of game rules could be equally applied to, for instance, any MUDs that insist that English be the language of choice. Those rules create an incredibly uneven playing field (insofar as success in a MUD ever requires active communication with other people, which is the case in most text MUDs and many graphical ones) for people who don't speak English.

That doesn't make those MUDs (which include my company's) unfair even if non-English speakers are at a huge disadvantage. It just means that the rules (both hard and soft) that define the MUD are oriented toward permitting success for people with certain real-life advantages or proficiencies. Or rather, it does make it unfair if you prefer, in which case unfairness is not a negative.
who is/are that 'some' posters? can you give a name please? if that's me, read that post again carefully.
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Old 09-04-2007, 07:06 AM   #34
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Re: What Does "Fair" Mean?

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Exactly why I bring up the issue of language competence. That's an OOC resource (just like money!) that nonetheless can have an effect of varying level on the success of players in-game. That seems to be why people cry 'unfair' about the virtual asset sales model.

I've watched many a player for whom English is not a first language struggle because of their language deficiency. There is no feasible suggestion for their disadvantage but that they don't bring the OOC resource of English fluency to the game. No different, at all, from not having the monetary resources to pay WoW's subscription or buy a virtual sword in Achaea, or whatever. You can spend the time to learn English (if you have the time), just as you can spend the time (if you have it) to earn the money to pay WoW's subscription just as you can spend the time (if you have it) to earn the gold to buy credits to get a virtual sword in Achaea.
--matt
By all means, let’s discuss language then, if you find it that important.
I am not an English major myself, so I can appreciate that it has some impact, but to me it’s a minor one, compared to many other problems.

By playing – and above all by building - in Muds, I have increased my own vocabulary, spelling, grammar and general language skills a lot. Sure, there were times in the past when I encountered words in Muds that I didn’t know the meaning of, and having to look them up in a dictionary slowed me down a bit. (For instance I didn’t have a clue what 'jerkin' or 'coif' meant).
But I don’t see that as a major handicap, compared to many other bigger issues.

Perhaps a better example would be a group of players we had from one of the former Soviet satellite states. Their English was so bad when they first started playing with us, that they seemed almost illiterate. But this did not perceptibly slow them down in advancing, in fact they were all typical ‘power players’ and they had obviously played other Muds before ours. Their main problem was that some other players mistook their bad English skills for stupidity, and started to banter them. This lead to mutual resentment, and eventually to some disastrous clashes that affected the entire Mud.

In spite of all this, the players stayed on, and their language skills steadily increased over the years. Today you cannot immediately perceive that they are not English, by ‘listening’ to them on the open channels. I don’t know how much part the Mud had in that, but it certainly had some. In fact you could argue that they didn't just 'waste' their time by playing a computer game - by playing that game they also increased their English skills. So maybe we even helped them to a ‘fairer’ life.

Incidentally I find players that drop capitals or punctuation, or use expressions like ‘R U stoopid?’ or ‘ I pwn U’ a lot more of a problem than those that don’t have English as their native language. Even in a RP enforced Mud, you could get past the problem by roleplaying a visitor from a foreign country. Since many roleplayers already adopt phoney accents, what’s wrong with playing a French Knight or a Bulgarian Ambassador?

And speaking of communication problems, we also have a couple of players that are blind. They never ask for any extra favours to compensate their handicap, (apart for some technical code things that could make things easier for them, like a toggle to turn off battle-spam and ascii maps). In fact I am amazed and impressed by how well they get along in the game.

Related to the communication issues is typing skill, which I see as a much larger handicap than limited English. My own typing speed has increased a lot by mudding, but I still have to look at the keyboard, which undoubtedly puts me at a disadvantage against skilled typers in most situations, not just combat. But I regard this as my own fault for being too lazy to learn to type by the touch method, and not something that makes the game unfair.

Last edited by Molly : 09-04-2007 at 07:24 AM. Reason: fixing typo
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Old 09-04-2007, 12:08 PM   #35
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Re: What Does "Fair" Mean?

Personally I think typing speed is much more of an advantage than lanquage ever could be. We have many foreigners on NW that have no problem competing in the game world both in combat and in roleplay. But typing...now THAT is a huge advantage. I have one player that types 140 WPM which is almost double my typing speed on a good day. Thankfully she is a grand roleplayer and a merchant at that, so she can whip out items, clothing, etc. very fast. I also understand she normally plays 3 muds at once, so just because she types fast, may not make her fast on our game unless focussed specifically at New Worlds.

Which brings back the issue, is anything really fair? Not really, because it is so hard to gauge.
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Old 09-04-2007, 01:09 PM   #36
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Re: What Does "Fair" Mean?

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But I don’t see that as a major handicap, compared to many other bigger issues.
Ok, so if I find a Finnish mud for you to play you think you'll not have a major issue playing that, even though you won't be able to understand the first word? I suspect you're wrong. I think you'll find that not speaking the language is, aside from not having access to a computer or internet connection, the most fundamental requirement for playing a text MUD.

Quote:
Perhaps a better example would be a group of players we had from one of the former Soviet satellite states. Their English was so bad when they first started playing with us, that they seemed almost illiterate. But this did not perceptibly slow them down in advancing, in fact they were all typical ‘power players’ and they had obviously played other Muds before ours.
So you mean they could actually speak English, at least to a rudimentary level. Most people in the world cannot speak English to any level at all.

Quote:
Their main problem was that some other players mistook their bad English skills for stupidity, and started to banter them.
That is indeed unfortunate and I see it happen a lot. In WoW, players who seem like they may be Chinese get a lot of grief from Westerners.

Quote:
And speaking of communication problems, we also have a couple of players that are blind. They never ask for any extra favours to compensate their handicap, (apart for some technical code things that could make things easier for them, like a toggle to turn off battle-spam and ascii maps). In fact I am amazed and impressed by how well they get along in the game.
Yep, we have blind players too. They're at a huge disadvantage in combat. Does that make our games unfair as a whole? I don't think so. It just makes them unfair to blind players.

My point is mainly just that almost every design choice that you choose or which is pushed on you (if you only speak English chances are you're not going to be developing a Bulgarian MUD) is "unfair" to someone. That doesn't make your MUD unfair in general, it just means that it's targetting a certain group of people at the expense of others.

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Old 09-04-2007, 05:29 PM   #37
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Re: What Does "Fair" Mean?

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I believe for some hardcore people muds might start coming into play even from the bottom of the pyramid :P Hehe. It might be their way to get sex... eww.
We know that there are humans that exist outside of a normal "model" at any given time, so I'm sure that in some cases, this is true. It would explain why so many people will game to the detriment of their RL obligations. For some, gaming IS the way they meet someone they will ultimately love/have sex with.

I think for most, though, taking care of what they already have comes first, and gaming wouldn't come into the bottom of the pyramid.

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Originally Posted by Hephos View Post
And the safety sphere definately must be mud related. Some people might argue that their characters, equipment etc are their "property" much like any IRL item would be. Since some games use cash to buy these items, it just makes sense i guess.

Just some observations
Again, you do see this with extreme gamers. They will actually put their virtual property before their RL ones. I don't believe this is the norm, though, which is why it actually makes headlines. (Normal stuff just doesn't make headlines.) Yes, every now and then we get the story of the Korean dude who went and killed his buddy because his buddy sold off an uber sword from their mutual account, but again, that's not normal! Obviously, that dude threw physiological safety out the window real fast.

Quote:
Life moves on. For me personally I have a wife, a 3 year old daughter, a home to maintain and a number of contracted projects to complete. You could argue that I "choose" to do those things so shouldn't expect to compete with someone in a game that has 12 hours a day free. I'd argue the point on "choose". It is the equivalent of arguing that those with no money could ""choose" to make more money and buy perks so they have just the same options as anyone else.
I highlighted "choose" because I believe that this is the basis of fairness in a gaming system. As long as everyone has the same ability to CHOOSE the same things, it's a fair system. One of the biggest reasons that life isn't fair is because we don't all have the same choices. Someone in Sierra Leon can't just choose to move out of the country to escape slaughter. Someone born in Asia can't just choose to change the color of their skin when they move to the US in order to fit in better. In gaming, we get to choose these things down to the type of game we choose to play. The only "unfairness" that really comes into gaming, imo, is when each player gets a different set of rules or options based on their relation with the devs. For example, if player X asked to purchase some XP from the devs and was told that this option is "not available", but player Y was allowed to purchase XP from the devs at the rate of 1 xp per $1,000, that would be unfair because player X obviously isn't allowed the same options as player Y. In gaming, the most "fair" you can be is to allow everyone the same choices.

Granted, there are a lot of things that can seem unfair in a game due to game balance, game design, etc. One could argue that it isn't fair that a healer class can't level as easily as a warrior class via solo combat. At the same time, a warrior class could argue that it wasn't fair that they couldn't gain xp by healing safely from town like a healer class could. Unfortunately, if things like that were "fair", then everyone would be playing the exact same class with the exact same power, allowed to make the exact same coin and XP in the exact same amount of time. At that point, why even have a game? Arguments about fairness in payment systems, game balance, etc. are all based on SUBJECTIVE fairness. It's a matter of opinion, and opinions obviously differ vastly. The real "fair" factor is the fact that all players have the same CHOICES available to them in the game, and I'm not really sure that the word "fair" really applies. Can Player X and Player Y both choose to level to 100 through pure time? Can Player X and Player Y both choose to pay $1 dollar for 1 xp? Can both players choose to roll up a healer? Can both players choose to go through the steps to create a Jedi of Badassedness? If so, then that's about as fair as you can get. Trying to enforce the definition "fair" across all games in regards to game design is futile and a bit presumptuous.
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Old 05-09-2008, 08:28 PM   #38
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Re: What Does "Fair" Mean?

Sometimes, a thread title seems only a dictionary page-flip away. It was with this confidence that I went to Dictionary.com, in order to have a definitive basis for my reasoning.

Start here:
'56 results for: FAIR':
Right off the bat, I'm in trouble...
First problem, easily overcome...the page only actually defines the word 'fair' 31 times, the rest of the entries being devoted to related terms, usually defined with the word 'fair' in them. So scratch those. Some, of course, deal with skin complexion. I can safely say that many games have pimples, so most of them aren't fair.

The in-betweeners, I devote to humor.

1.free from bias, dishonesty, or injustice: a fair decision; a fair judge.
This one is worthy of three new threads. "What is bias, dishonesty, and injustice?" IMO if perks can be bought with RL cash that cannot be obtained with game-time pursuit, the rules are unfair. It can be semanticized into 'undesirable for my condition set of enjoyment', all day long. I'll simplify it to a very easily understood concept. Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. If I don't sense that level playing field, I don't play.

2.legitimately sought, pursued, done, given, etc.; proper under the rules: a fair fight.
These have been covered. I don't think any of the extreme examples of favoritism posted on earlier NEED to be mentioned as unfair.

3.moderately large; ample: a fair income.
Now THIS makes sense. Only the largest games, making the largest incomes are fair. Here, all we need are some ledger books, and a definitive boundary of population and income, and we can know right then and there which games are fair. I love dictionaries.

4.neither excellent nor poor; moderately or tolerably good: fair health.
Oho! Modify #3. Now even the middling 80% of MUDs, this time, determined by game quality, are fair. This just gets fairer and fairer all the time.

5.marked by favoring conditions; likely; promising: in a fair way to succeed.
EXCELLENT! Now even the games that play favorites are fair, or any game 'marked' by people as playing favorites. I think by now, we've hit 99.999999% of all MUDs out there. The one MUD that hasn't been accused of favoritism being the NEXT one to be started. We've managed to be fair in calling almost every single game out there 'fair'.

6.Meteorology. a.(of the sky) bright; sunny; cloudless to half-cloudy. b.(of the weather) fine; with no prospect of rain, snow, or hail; not stormy.
7.Nautical. (of a wind or tide) tending to aid the progress of a vessel.
Also, if your game has a sky or an ocean, it's fair, unless the weather is crappy. It has to be REALLY crappy, though, or your game is still fair under rule #3.

8.unobstructed; not blocked up: The way was fair for our advance.
If people can log into your games, then you have a fair game! This is really covering all but the most infinitesmal fraction of all games! Wow!

9.without irregularity or unevenness: a fair surface.
10.free from blemish, imperfection, or anything that impairs the appearance, quality, or character: Her fair reputation was ruined by gossip.

WHOOPS, back to square one. NO GAMES ARE FAIR. Damn, we were doing pretty good up to this point.


11.
easy to read; clear: fair handwriting.
12.of a light hue; not dark: fair skin.
13.pleasing in appearance; attractive: a fair young maiden.
Okay, these are font, coloration and aesthetic issues. I can't be fair about this one. I have poor eyesight.


14.seemingly good or sincere but not really so: The suitor beguiled his mistress with fair speeches.
Oh HELL yes! Now even the DISHONEST MUDs are fair! God Bless Clarity In Speech! We're back on track, since now all a mud has to do to be fair...is lie.

15.courteous; civil: fair words.
The only fair word that can be expressly defined here is 'fair', so if your mud has the word 'fair' in it, it's a fair mud. Partial credit will be given for the word 'courteous'.

16.Medicine/Medical. (of a patient's condition) having stable and normal vital signs and other favorable indicators, as appetite and mobility, but being in some discomfort and having the possibility of a worsening state.

EXCELLENT! All muds are fair again.


17.Dialect. scarcely; barely: It was just fair daylight when we started working.
So, even if your game is still in Alpha, barely coded, scarcely legible, it, too, is still fair. Fair is a really awesome word!

–adverb
18.in a fair manner: He doesn't play fair.
Whoops, it looks like we might have to start alllllllll over.

19.straight; directly, as in aiming or hitting: He threw the ball fair to the goal.
20.favorably; auspiciously.
21.British, Australian. entirely; completely; quite: It happened so quickly that it fair took my breath away.
–noun
22.Archaic. something that is fair.

19-21: If your game has aiming or hitting, and does so auspiciously, especially if it hits Brits and Australians until they can't breathe, and has something within its content that someone, somewhere, might call 'Archaic', you have what is referred to as "Fourfold Fair" and may check that box on the TMS mudselector menu.

23. A woman
Okay, there we go. If your game has women....


On the other hand, I did find in this thread what I've believed my entire life was the single best-worded definition of 'UNFAIR'.

"targetting a certain group of people at the expense of others."
Divide a room of kindergardeners right down the middle. Tell the ones on the left they get a treat, while the ones on the right do not, and for no other reason than because one group was on the left, and one group was on the right. Ask them what they think of that.

They won't be hyper-semantic about it.

In that sense, NO game is fair.
And still, I do believe most people know intuitively what fair means. Buy Ubersword that cannot be brought in game unless RL cash is paid? Not only is it unfair....GAH, IT'S SO OOC!
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Old 05-09-2008, 08:34 PM   #39
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Re: What Does "Fair" Mean?

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Not only is it unfair....GAH, IT'S SO OOC!

Any roleplaying game in which player skill has any effect on the game is already involving OOC factors. Personally, I think that keeping everything in-role (ie completely dependent on the character rather than the player) makes for one heck of a boring game. I like to be able to use my knowledge, intelligence, skill, etc in games even if they're OOC resources (just like free time and money are).


--matt
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Old 05-09-2008, 08:45 PM   #40
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Re: What Does "Fair" Mean?

Semantics:

I'll amend:
"SO HORRIBLY OOC AND POTENTIALLY HIGHLY DIVORCED FROM DESIRABLE SKILLS TOWARDS GAMEPLAY THAT LUMPING 'FOUND $20 IN A DUMPSTER' CAN EQUATE TO 'STUDIED ENGLISH, TYPING, HISTORY, LITERATURE, PROBLEM-SOLVING AND ACTING FOR 30 YEARS' BELEAGUERS CREDULITY".

That's what I really should've said.
I'm sure that can be semanticized and rationalized into triviata, but it also something easily and intuitively understood by most people. Ask the kindergardeners.
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