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Old 01-22-2003, 10:44 AM   #1
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I am currently experiencing a very interesting phenomenon on the Mud where I work. Players blatantly ignoring our rp-enforced status. My colleagues and I have gone to what I believe are great extremes to make our in-world role play consistently interesting and exciting for the players. We have an established and clear history for our world and an ever-changing, ever-evolving storyline, we have created and instituted a role play point and reward system, have created special immortal “gifts” for outstanding role play, we have created in-character jobs and political positions for the players, we run weekly in-game minirp quests and institute a major world event or quest every month or so.

Still, the players would seem to prefer to ignore our role play enforced status. We are a rom/godwars hybrid codebase, which means yes, we have levels (attainable through experience gathering OR roleplay), yes we have classes, yes we have clans, etc etc.. Currently we seem to be garnering the type of player who just cannot grasp the concept of logging on to a game and playing not themselves, but a role, a character. For the most part, a good amount of our players engage in the events the administrators throw for them, yet seem to lack the drive to do any in-game role play on their own.

So I ask.. What makes you role play? What motivates you the most?

ShadowLight Questmaster
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Old 01-22-2003, 11:21 AM   #2
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What makes me roleplay is having other people roleplay with me. I will log on to a game and PREFER to roleplay, but it's nearly impossible to do so if someone all of a sudden starts asking you about anime and sports. You can either walk away from the person (and look like a jerk), or stay and chat with them about the out of character stuff.

If a mud proclaims itself to be roleplay enforced, then I think it needs to actually be enforced. You can't actually expect people to log on, see roleplay enforced and just behave accordingly. Well, actually, you can expect it to happen, but it's not going to happen. Thus, if you advertise yourself as roleplay enforced, then you're going to have to enforce it!

Keep in mind that some people who log on might not actually be interested in an enforced roleplaying environment. They might just be mud surfing and looking for a place to hang out. It's up to you, as an administrator, to develop your mud and provide the atmosphere you wish to "sell" to your players, whether that be PK, roleplay, or whatever.
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Old 01-22-2003, 08:17 PM   #3
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Our mud does enforce roleplaying, to the point where we ban griefers or people that keep ignoring the RP rule. But beyond that, you might want to make sure your expectations are conveyed to your players, and that you give them resources to work with. Lead a player-staff meeting talking about how to roleplay, or start the discussion as a thread on your board, if you have one. Provide them with links to roleplaying resources, or start posting logs of what you think is good roleplaying.
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Old 01-22-2003, 09:13 PM   #4
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Sorry I haven't responded to your email yet, Katrin, my juno account is being decidedly screwy again. I really enjoy the system that Armageddon has in place, and I will admit that my one experience logging on to Shadowlight was horribly marred by the immediate jokes on the gossip channel and someone "nicely" informing me what to kill to get to level 6.

I did, however, take the time to read some of your documentation via the help files and whatnot, and am looking forward to future communication with you.
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Old 01-23-2003, 06:34 AM   #5
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Although it would be ideal for players to see that your MUD is "RP Enforced" and automatically behave appropriately, you will have to cultivate an atmosphere that clearly conveys your attitude as well.

First of all, examine the mechanisms that you have in place for in-character day-to-day life:

Whether or not you should consistently reward good RP with in-character advancements is debatable, as such advancements are OOC by their very nature, and detrimental to a healthy RP environment. From a player's perspective, this is what I see:

1) The game places considerable emphasis on the exp/level treadmill, which:
2) Has two explicit methods of advancement. Roleplay, and Hack n Slash.
3) Roleplay is the less desirable means of advancement, as the reward is not consistent due to the nature of the implementation of the rewarding mechanism. I may put days of effort coming up with a few good IC poems and stories, put on a very good show in the pub, and get jack for my efforts simply because no immortals were on at the time.
4) Hack n Slash will be consistently rewarded, and I can make reasonably accurate estimates as to what kind of reward to expect for a given action.

Given that you explicitly reward RP with game-mechanical advancement, the attitude you implicitly convey is that RP is secondary to game-mechanical advancement.

Another important ingredient to a healthy RP atmosphere is suspension of disbelief.

Although it is not strictly necessary, removing all barriers to SOB from the character interface will help a great deal. Some tips are:

1) Strip all numbers from the interface. Numbers in the interface are a distraction that prevents the player from empathizing with their character.

2) For those parts of the interface that are described in text, use second person point of view. Instead of seeing something like "Health: Bleeding heavily", a player should see "You are bleeding heavily". Even subtle differences, like listing "You are John the human" as opposed to just "John the human" at the top of whatever you use for status info can be important.

3) Keep messages reasonable, and, for the most part, as simple as can be while yet remaining accurate. Consider the following:

"You shatter the goblin's skull with your mace."

"You utterly obliterate the goblin's head with your mace!"

or, god forbid,

"You <<<DISINTEGRATE>>> the goblin with your mace!".

The last obviously does to SOB what it describes as happening to the poor goblin. The differences between the first two, however, are more interesting. I, personally, am of the school of thought that descriptions should be spartan, yet evocative. The first description accomplishes this quite nicely, leaving most everything up to the player's imagination. The second, while still reasonable, is unnecessarily wordy and elaborate. In my opinion, messages should convey their meaning as directly and simply as possible, leaving it up to the player's imagination to color it with more emotional nuance.

The main thing to keep in mind here is that the goal of the interface is to bring the player as close to the character as possible. Unnecessary verbiage distracts the player from imagining himself in the character's position, making him/her instead take time to process the game's interpretation of the events that take place. Status information presented as numbers inhibits empathizing with the character because it is impossible, or, at least, incredibly difficult for players to relate to personally. I can imagine "bleeding heavilly", but I have no idea what "13/35hp" might feel like.

You might also want to analyze the methods used by existing successful RP MUDs to maintain a good RP atmosphere over a long period of time. Sanvaen's MUD, for example, is a respected and successful RP MUD. Their application process makes it abundantly clear, in no uncertain terms, that they are an RP MUD for people who want to RP, and not an "RP" MUD for people who kill stuff and do cool emotes afterwards. Our MUD's game mechanics simply do not reward Hack and Slash at all (exp-less, levelless, no benefit to killing something aside from the meat and hide you might get from the corpse). Other MUDs employ various other mechanisms as well. No single method is a silver bullet, but they work wonders when applied with careful thought and planning, and are well worth the effort to research them.

Finally, I'll offer a few thoughts on some of the things you mentioned doing.

Originally Posted by
We have an established and clear history for our world and an ever-changing, ever-evolving storyline, ...
Are the players involved in this ever-evolving storyline? While a good backstory is essential, immortal involvement in the continuation of the story can often reduce the emotional investment players make in said story.

Originally Posted by
... we have created and instituted a role play point and reward system, have created special immortal gifts for outstanding role play, ...
As I mentioned previously, this implies that roleplay is secondary to gaining whatever it is that RP points will get you.

Originally Posted by
... we have created in-character jobs and political positions for the players, ...
This relates back to the first statement. The RP value of these created positions is dubious at best, because they were not created IC. In-character official positions such as those are only meaningful if there is a place and purpose for them in the RP environment of your MUD. That is to say, such positions must have roleplaying significance to the players.

Originally Posted by
... we run weekly in-game minirp quests and institute a major world event or quest every month or so.
This might actually backfire, causing the "railroading DM effect", the effects of which I described in my comment on the first quote. What basically happens is that as players realize that their actions will always be trumped by the decisions of the DM (in this case, the immortals), they lose interest in the story. While this may be unintentional, it is quite easy to overshadow player RP, discouraging them from even trying.

Phew!.... hope this helps .
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Old 01-23-2003, 07:24 AM   #6
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In reality I think it comes down to extremes. From the sound of your post you are all trying your best to make sure the activities with and for the players are constant, you've gone through measures to ensure they have a history and something to relate to. Now the only thing that is left is a question you have to ask yourself...

What is more important, quantity or quality?

If the answer is quantity, then you bite the bullet and deal with those that simply cannot roleplay.

If the answer is quality, then you create some seriously sick mobs, keeping it IC, and ravage the area those fools are in, murdering them in ways obscene. Either that or just ban them/enslave them.


Simple. When it comes to rules/laws, there is no middle ground. A rule or a law is created for a reason.

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Old 01-23-2003, 10:36 AM   #7
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In the mud I play, the players themselves do most of the RP enforcing. For the most part our chars have created the flavor of the world they live in, so we have an interest in seeing it not only continue, but grow. If some poor newbie shows up and consistently refuses to RP, we kill him. We like our play to work a certain way and if they mess it up, they can make another char and try to figure out how to do it right. Sure we probably drive away players now and then but I think most of us would rather have an interesting gameworld than 500 players on at once, if 99% of those 500 were clueless and had no interest in getting clued in.

A lot of us are very protective of the environment we choose to waste large amounts of our time in. Most of the time creators don't even need to do anything because we enforce the rules to the best of our mortal abilities. This frees up their time for coding new stuff, fixing bugs, etc. We may not be that effective in the long run, but at least we try. Which is more loyalty than a lot of muds can probably boast about their players. But hey, it's worth it.
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Old 01-24-2003, 02:59 AM   #8
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Onyx, fantastic post. Simply beautiful.

Players that take responsibilities into their own hands, and immortals that actually allow players to "live", just beautiful.

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