Top Mud Sites Forum Return to TopMudSites.com
Go Back   Top Mud Sites Forum > MUD Players and General Discussion > Roleplaying and Storytelling
Click here to Register

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 01-17-2004, 12:02 PM   #1
Burr
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 123
Burr is on a distinguished road
Let's say a dragon is terrorizing a town.  Nothing will placate it except sentient flesh, slightly crispy.  And even that only lasts until it gets hungry again.

You could start a quest in such a fashion, in which the goal is to kill the dragon.  But let's be cruel and have the quest fail, except in that the late, noble company has provided the dragon with enough food to last a while.

Is it necessarily a bad thing to have an unwinnable situation?  

The question of who to sacrifice next could have an interesting effect on both politics and friendships.

Of course, there's the possibility that players who are tired of their characters will use this as a means of suicide.  That would cause concern about the problem to lessen, which wouldn't make terribly good IC sense.

Anyway, just wondering if anyone has tried a significant and long-term lose-lose situation, and whether it turned out to be good or bad for RP (and gameplay, I suppose) overall.
Burr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2004, 10:33 PM   #2
Jherlen
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 47
Jherlen is on a distinguished road
A while ago on a MUD I used to play (I won't name names), one of the implementors ran a storyline in which an undefeatable, invincible monster was attacking the game's main city (which was also the recall point for the majority of newbies.) Anyone who entered the city was immediately attacked and most likely killed by this nameless monster, and the administrator stated that the only way the players could avoid it was not to enter the city. Groups of over ten people would attack the monster, and they'd all be struck down and sometimes slayed outright using wiz commands.

Then, the administrator got bored and simply left the monster sitting at the recall point until finally a more compassionate lower admin transferred it away (and SHE was very nearly denied for doing so.) After that, the game progressed as usual, except that most people had died at least once.

The whole thing was very poorly done, had no point from a storywise aspect, and seemed simply to be an administrator having fun at his players' expense. There were no lasting consequences and no explination was ever given. This probably is why I greatly dislike throwing unwinnable situations at your playerbase - in my opinion it's just going to upset people needlessly and for no reason. Players don't like to feel like they have no options, they want to feel at least somewhat in control, not just pawns to be pushed around.

Then again, the situation I described was very poorly done, with no storyline backing, and no overarching plot (even though the game is supposedly "RP intensive"). I'd be curious to see if no-win situations have ever been done in a more mature and thought-out way, and what the reaction of the player base was.
Jherlen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-18-2004, 05:20 AM   #3
sosaria
New Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Australia
Posts: 5
sosaria is on a distinguished road
Send a message via ICQ to sosaria Send a message via MSN to sosaria
Thumbs up

On the 11th of January, the mud I was playing launched a major assault of the evil forces against the good ones. It was Gondor vs Morgul.

Now, I'm pretty sure that the good forces lost, which was meant to be, making it a lose-lose situation. Many of the players died.... However, they're taking it well. I was one of the soldiers that died, and had to make a new character, and I was quite adamant about the outcome. I KNEW we were going to lose, I KNEW we were no match for Morgul.
But I still participated, because of the fun factor.

The entire scenario was organised by the imms, of course, but they did a VERY good job at it. It wasn't one imm's whim or boredness that drew it. It was the combined efforts of several imms. The players in this mud are very mature; they didn't complain about their deaths. There were around 8 of us in the death room, laughing at how we died.


Shadows of Isildur

middle-earth.us
4500
sosaria is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-18-2004, 05:38 AM   #4
Jherlen
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 47
Jherlen is on a distinguished road
Were all the PCs on the "good" side, fighting back an "evil" NPC assault, or were there "evil" PCs as well? If so, it seems like it wasn't a lose-lose situation for the entire playerbase, since one side won.

It sounds like the SoI immortals planned out and conducted the entire scenario well, though, and if even the people who died had fun I think we could conclude it's possible to carry out no-win scenarios successfully. I think I'd still likely avoid it myself, if only because I like winning and I think players do too, but with planning and maturity (which the experience I related lacked on both counts) I guess it is doable after all.
Jherlen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-18-2004, 10:22 AM   #5
erdos
 
Posts: n/a
A wise MUD admin will realize that you HAVE to always have some unwinnable situation if you want a healthy playerbase. This should, however, be much more subtle than a #### invincible mob at recall. Ideally it should be more of a sort of nagging in the back of the mind that slowly grows until the players are utterly obsessed.

Blaise Pascal writes about this phenomena in great, excruciating length in his Pensees. A recommended reading for mud admins, for the insight it will shed into human nature. Most libraries will include it- ask them if they carry the "great books of the western world" series, which usually should include Pascal.

This does not by any means need to be mob related. It could be politics, an unsolved puzzle or mystery, or even the existance of a particular actual PC that everyone hates.

Show me a riled up, ****ed off player and I'll show you a player who isn't likely to leave the MUD any time soon. Assuming it is done right, and with subtlety.
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-18-2004, 11:46 AM   #6
OnyxFlame
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 153
OnyxFlame is on a distinguished road
Post

On DM, there was once a group of evil PC's who ruled the world with an iron fist. This would've been all well and good, except they cheated heavily in order to do it. Sometimes other PC's would attempt to overthrow them, only to die in the attempt. Every now and then, one of the evil PC's would get killed, but their players would just tell their friends, who would then train up their new char really fast so they could rejoin the dark side. While this ****ed off a lot of the players who weren't in that group, most of them still kept playing and having fun, and attempting to avoid the evil PC's.

Later on, a comet struck, destroying the main city and several castles. There was nothing anyone could've done to stop it, but since it also deleted (and sitebanned, imagine that ) the cheaters, most people decided they could live with it. Then there was this really tricky and long quest to restore the world, because there was so much smoke and ash that crops wouldn't grow and the water was poisoned. This quest took several days to complete, and no matter how bored or annoyed people got, they still tried anyway.

Once, a long time ago, a gorgon somehow got loose in town. It was possible to avoid it, however since no one had ever seen a gorgon, some people would walk right up and look at it...and get turned into stone. And they stayed that way for quite a while, as others ran around trying to figure out how to cure them.

Once there was a vampire (PC) who rampaged around town, biting or killing people and causing general panic. Efforts were organized to kill him, but nothing was terribly effective. This situation wasn't by definition unwinnable, but a lot of people (especially newbies) thought it was. And yet this period in the mud's history was when we reached our highest level of active players. (The maximum number of logged in players allowed even had to be increased to handle it.)

These situations aren't necessarily exactly what you're talking about, but they come as close as I can think of in my experience with DM. By and large they had no negative impact on our player base, and in some cases we had *more* active players than otherwise. So I think if it's done right, you can do just about anything with your mud that you want to.
OnyxFlame is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-18-2004, 05:16 PM   #7
Jherlen
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 47
Jherlen is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by
A wise MUD admin will realize that you HAVE to always have some unwinnable situation if you want a healthy playerbase. This should, however, be much more subtle than a #### invincible mob at recall. Ideally it should be more of a sort of nagging in the back of the mind that slowly grows until the players are utterly obsessed.
I'm not sure I agree with this. I'll concede that they're doable and may work now and then - but I don't see how continually forcing no-win situations on your players would benefit them.

Players want to be satisfied, they want to feel like they're in control, or have at least some way out of the problems you're giving them. Otherwise, the players will feel like they have no real affect on the game, because no matter what they try, they'll never win. What you seem to be suggesting is that to keep players around, you should **** them off, and that just seems contradictory to me. It certainly isn't the way I would want to run a MUD.
Jherlen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-18-2004, 08:12 PM   #8
erdos
 
Posts: n/a
Quote:
Originally Posted by (Jherlen @ Jan. 18 2004,17:16)
Quote:
Originally Posted by
A wise MUD admin will realize that you HAVE to always have some unwinnable situation if you want a healthy playerbase.  This should, however, be much more subtle than a #### invincible mob at recall.  Ideally it should be more of a sort of nagging in the back of the mind that slowly grows until the players are utterly obsessed.
I'm not sure I agree with this. I'll concede that they're doable and may work now and then - but I don't see how continually forcing no-win situations on your players would benefit them.

Players want to be satisfied, they want to feel like they're in control, or have at least some way out of the problems you're giving them. Otherwise, the players will feel like they have no real affect on the game, because no matter what they try, they'll never win. What you seem to be suggesting is that to keep players around, you should **** them off, and that just seems contradictory to me. It certainly isn't the way I would want to run a MUD.
Notice that I said *subtle*. Which means, not a bloody unkillable dragon at recall like you apparently interpreted it.

Players want to be satisfied, but on a deeper level they want to be unsatisfied. This is the whole point of 'conflict'. Ever read a novel without it? Many MUD admins try to satisfy all players 100%. Their muds are failures. If you are going to go down this path, I suggest you incorporate a lot of mudsex into your mud, because otherwise there'll be no reason to play it.
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-18-2004, 10:27 PM   #9
Jherlen
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 47
Jherlen is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by
Notice that I said *subtle*. Which means, not a bloody unkillable dragon at recall like you apparently interpreted it.
If you'll read my responses to the other threads, you'll note that I actually liked most of the examples other people related. The one I talked about isn't my only view of a no-win scenario: I just brought it up to demonstrate how these sorts of things shouldn't be done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
Players want to be satisfied, but on a deeper level they want to be unsatisfied. This is the whole point of 'conflict'. Ever read a novel without it? Many MUD admins try to satisfy all players 100%. Their muds are failures. If you are going to go down this path, I suggest you incorporate a lot of mudsex into your mud, because otherwise there'll be no reason to play it.
Conflict between PC's generally results in some PCs winning, and some PCs losing. Conflict between PCs and the IMM-controlled enviornment should not result in the PCs losing 100% of the time. If it does, then why bother to play? Nothing you do will matter, and the IMMs will gladly trot along with their pre-planned plotlines, blatantly ignoring anything the players do.

Suppose, for example, that you decide that a player-controlled kingdom on your MUD is going to be invaded by an outside force bent on destruction and subjugation of the kingdom and its people. You further decide that no matter what the players do, the invasion will be successful. You've suddenly created a no-win situation for your players. No matter what they do, they're going to lose. No matter how "subtle" you decide to be, the players will lose. They could sit and do nothing, or spend hours and hours organizing a resistance, all to the same effect: they lose.

How is this healthy to your MUD? In one fell swoop you, the admin, have destroyed something players were a part of and put effort into, and they had no way of stopping it. This is not bringing them conflict, this is essentially forcing them to be witnesses to your own little MUD-novel. Nothing will upset your players more than to put herculean effort into resisting your invasion, and then having it thrown back in their faces when you toss it all aside. It's unfair to them, and it WILL **** them off. I don't think that sort of rejection is at all healthy to your MUD atmosphere, and I do think it will make your players leave, rather quickly. People don't like to feel like they don't matter and don't make a difference.

You can't please all your players all the time, and I've never said people should attempt to do. I agree with you that that's probably not a good way to keep people interested in your game. However, treating them as if they don't matter and forcing no-win situations down their throats is arguably even worse. A game like that is truly one with no reason to play: you could pick up a book and get the same effect.
Jherlen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-18-2004, 11:19 PM   #10
erdos
 
Posts: n/a
Quote:
Originally Posted by (Jherlen @ Jan. 18 2004,22:27)
Conflict between PC's generally results in some PCs winning, and some PCs losing. Conflict between PCs and the IMM-controlled enviornment should not result in the PCs losing 100% of the time. If it does, then why bother to play? Nothing you do will matter, and the IMMs will gladly trot along with their pre-planned plotlines, blatantly ignoring anything the players do.

Suppose, for example, that you decide that a player-controlled kingdom on your MUD is going to be invaded by an outside force bent on destruction and subjugation of the kingdom and its people. You further decide that no matter what the players do, the invasion will be successful. You've suddenly created a no-win situation for your players. No matter what they do, they're going to lose. No matter how "subtle" you decide to be, the players will lose. They could sit and do nothing, or spend hours and hours organizing a resistance, all to the same effect: they lose.
Ahh, now I understand, we are at a disagreement on what I meant by "subtle".  I apologize for the confusion, I suppose I ought to have been more explicit.  I am unclear what your definition is, because I have difficulty imagining one where it would be possible to "subtly" invade a kingdom.  This would be like Germany "subtly" invading France :P  just doesn't work...

Yes, I agree, the only reason you would want an "unwinnable" scenario where the players are on the _defense_ would be if the MUD were closing its doors and you wanted to give it a dramatic finish.  What I'm talking about is more a scenario where the players are on the offense:  for example, a dragon *in a remote land far, far away from the main town* that noone can kill.  works especially well if, at one point, the dragon WAS killable, and dropped incredible artifacts, but has since been "upped" to an impossible level of difficulty.

Enter subtlety.  This won't work if you just make the dragon do 30000 damage room-wide, nor will it work if you have imms on standby to come control the dragon when it's attacked.  The dragon should be killable in theory, just incredibly difficult.

What I'm trying to get at here is that if everything is attainable with anything less than superhuman efforts, then sooner or later someone will attain it all, and then the mud is a hollow shell.

Allow me to quote the Silmarillion:
Quote:
Originally Posted by
Then Iluvatar spoke, and he said: 'Mighty are the Ainur, and mightiest among them is Melkor; but that he may know, and all the Ainur, that I am Iluvatar, those things that ye have sung, I will show them forth, that ye may see what ye have done. And thou, Melkor, shalt see that no theme may be played that hath not its uttermost source in me, nor can any alter the music in my despite. For he that attempteth this shall prove but mine instrument in the devising of things more wonderful, which he himself hath not imagined.'
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-18-2004, 11:51 PM   #11
Jherlen
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 47
Jherlen is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by
Yes, I agree, the only reason you would want an "unwinnable" scenario where the players are on the _defense_ would be if the MUD were closing its doors and you wanted to give it a dramatic finish.  What I'm talking about is more a scenario where the players are on the offense:  for example, a dragon *in a remote land far, far away from the main town* that noone can kill.  works especially well if, at one point, the dragon WAS killable, and dropped incredible artifacts, but has since been "upped" to an impossible level of difficulty.
Reverse my scenario then: suppose the players are trying to invade another kingdom and conquer its lands, but rather than reworking all your areas to reflect this, you simply decide that no matter what they do, you will thwart their invasion (I've seen this happen before.) The scenario is equally unwinnable, and equally harmful to the playerbase.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
Enter subtlety.  This won't work if you just make the dragon do 30000 damage room-wide, nor will it work if you have imms on standby to come control the dragon when it's attacked.  The dragon should be killable in theory, just incredibly difficult.
If the dragon is killable, then the players have a way to win: I fail to see how this helps your either your argument that no-win situations are beneficial or your argument that upsetting players would make them want to play your MUD more?
Jherlen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-19-2004, 01:46 AM   #12
Crystal
Member
 
Crystal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Name: Crystal
Location: Maryland
Home MUD: Advent of the Mists
Posts: 126
Crystal is on a distinguished road
Send a message via AIM to Crystal
Actually, the dragon in question was just an immortal guised as a beast.  It was not killable, and all it accomplished was to kill a bunch of characters, **** off a bunch of players, and allow the immortal to think he had a bigger dick than everyone else.

Not sure if that has any pertinence on the debate  

My 2 cents:

I don't see how an unwinnable situation will make or break a MUD. Unwinnable to me means stagnancy, and stagnancy is no fun. Now if by unwinnable you mean 'neverending' storyline, then that's something entirely different.
Crystal is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools


Sacrifice as an ongoing moral challenge - Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Open Challenge Boreth Advertising for Players 0 02-26-2006 01:45 PM
Moral Decay-Free fun, relaxed atmosphere Fetor_Hepaticus Advertising for Players 0 06-25-2004 05:48 PM
Looking for a challenge? Myra Advertising for Players 0 09-20-2003 03:36 AM
Review Challenge SoulTorn Tavern of the Blue Hand 2 08-18-2003 05:12 PM
Need a real challenge cow_gone_mad Advertising for Players 0 08-02-2003 12:49 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 02:29 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Style based on a design by Essilor
Copyright Top Mud Sites.com 2014