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Old 02-18-2004, 07:10 PM   #1
Dubthach
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Why I Won't Play Your Mud

This post is basically a rant that arose after becoming frustrated with the dearth of good playable muds. Of course, this is just my opinion, and I'msure that many people have different requirements for the games they play.

Recently, I've been looking around for a new mud to play, and I've tried many of them off this site and mudconnector. I have about seven years experience playing muds, and I just got off a year of playing MMORPG's, mostly Dark Age of Camelot. I've tried at least 20 muds in the last couple months, and haven't found ANY that I wanted to play the day after I first logged in.

As an aside, you'll see that I reference Achaea several times below. This is for a couple reasons: 1) I played Achaea for maybe ten hours while I was evaluating it 2) Achaea is a pay mud that doesn't allow reviews, so I think its good to get some dialog out there and 3) it seemed like a good game
when I was trying it before I was blown away by the attitudes and rules.

You'll also notice that I compare muds to graphical games. Whether you know it or not, you are competing with graphical games. More and more mudders are playing them, and they are getting better all the time. I would guess that muds would want to attract people who are out of college, who don't
mind paying a little money toward a game that they spend a lot of time on, but it seems that this is not the case. MMORPGs are snatching those players up.

You may think after reading this that I am a "problem player". I certainly don't think I am one, and I have never been booted off of a mud, 1212'd, etc. The rules that I take exception to I got from reading help files, not from being yelled at by an Imm.

Anyway...on to the reasons that I won't play your mud!

Reason 1: The reality is not what was advertised.
Achaea, for instance, on both TMS and MC, is listed as "rp encouraged". I tried Achaea, and shortly after I was accepted to a guild, I was upbraided for not being RP enough on the guild newbie channel. Seems like RP enforced, no?

Also, with Achaea, it was too hard to figure out what the deal was with it being pay to play. I don't mind paying for a good game, but I expect the price to be up front and clearly explained.

Another big one here is if you say the world is "Mostly Original" but you just wrote over some stock areas. There are many many muds that do variants of this, and it is annoying. I _will_ play stockish games from time to time, but don't lie about it, cause that just ****es me off.

Reason 2: You have inane rules.
One of the big advantages that MMORPGs have over muds is that MMORPGs are businesses that are run for money. As long as you pay the money, you can play. Muds are full of stupid, random rules that are backed up by the tired excuse "I (the admin) pay for the server, you are here at my whim." That
may be true, but it doesn't impress me. I'm looking for a good game that is either free or competitively priced, that I can expect to use reasonably as I would any other game.

No AFK
Several muds that I have tried lately have had a "no-idling" rule. If an admin sends you a tell, you have a minute or so to get back to them, or they will punish you. Why is this? Is that socket I'm taking up so darn expensive that you need to worry about stuff like this?

One of the big advantages that a mud has over an MMORPG is that you can use your computer for other things while you mud. Most graphical games turn your PC into an appliance for playing their game. I can mud while I code, surf the web, write a document, listen to CDs, and so on. Since I'm not chained to my computer I might also have to stir something on the stove, put the bird in his cage, go talk to my wife, help the kid with his homework, and so on. In other words...I'll be AFK sometimes!

If your rationale for a no-afk rule is that the game has advantages for people who are constantly logged in, you should remove those advantages. Chief among these are xp penalties in ROM for people who do not have a certain number of hours per level. Aardwolf is an example of a mud that has
this just right. When you're in AFK mode, you don't get a lot of the spam that you would normally and you can't do much of anything. That way you can stay afk for huge amounts of time (which people do), and not take up very much bandwidth.

I flat out refuse to play games that have this rule. Perhaps the immortals would be understanding...but frankly I don't want to have to talk to Immortals about my behavior all the time (see Reason 4).

Obligatory Achaea dig
Amazingly, even pay muds have these stupid rules. On Achaea, you can expect to be deleted if you use leet speak at all (oh no! I just said leet, I'm gonna get deleted). Or if you're found to be AFK. Wow.

Reason 3: You cost too much.
Because of my frustration with the inane rules that free muds have, I thought I would try a couple pay muds to see if the code was better and if players were treated more like customers than guinea pigs.

Most of the pay muds that I have checked out are MORE expensive than MMORPGs! This blows my mind. I can't think of any rationale that would explain this. MMORPGs use massive amounts of bandwidth compared to muds. They require more developers to get the job done (let alone QA, marketing, etc.) They are played by tons more people.

No ceiling pay to play
Achaea has no guidelines for how much money is needed to make you competitive. You can pump hundreds of dollars into your character when you first create him. If I pump more money into my toon than you do into yours, your toon may not be able to compete with mine. I have a problem with this model. I think the MMORPG's have the best model: play a month for free, then pay us a flat monthly fee to get to everything in the game. If I'm paying for the game, I don't want to have less potential power than another player.

Flat out ridiculous cost pay to play
I heard that Gemstone3 and DragonRealms were good pay to plays so I checked their websites out. I was a bit shocked that they were as much as $13 a month, but then I was floored when I saw that that was just for the "basic" service. If you want to get to everything in the game it's twenty dollars more per month. One of the things I've become partial to in MMORPGs is having my own house. You'd need to pay the $30ish fee to get a house in these games...and it will still just be text. End result: never logged in.

Unlike Achaea, at least Gemstone3 and DragonRealms are up front about their costs.

Aside: Elysium
I haven't really tried it yet, but Elysium seems to have a workable, reasonable pay to play model in which you pay for each hour your toon will play. At 250 hours for 8 bucks, Elysium is competitively priced with an MMORPG, and would cost considerably less for a casual player.

Reason 4: Your Imms are too touchy feely.
In a perfect game, I never want to have to be face to face with an Imm, especially if the Imm is instructing me on how to change my behavior. If I log in, make a toon, run through the mud school, maybe ask a few questions on channels, and then proceed to whup on the mobs a bit, I SHOULD NOT BE IN CONTACT WITH ANY IMMS. I don't want to hear that I'm holding my sword wrong, or that my description doesn't include my eye color, or my name would look better with a K than a C, or any other stupid thing that might come up.

This happens a lot on RP enforced muds, which I don't play. My girlfriend does, however, and the following story is an example of why she won't play your RP enforced mud. :p

I forget the name of the mud this happened on, but we both logged into a mud one night to try it out. It was fun, a stockish ROM with RP requirements. I didn't really care for it, but she did. She read all the helps she was supposed to, constructed a detailed, well written description and was playing in her first group when she got to level 10 on the second day she played the game. A few minutes later, she was whisked away to a room in the mud school by an Imm. The Imm made her reread stuff in the mud school for several minutes before it came out that her toon's description contained a lot of good information, but didn't have her hair color in it. The Imm's description had spelling and grammar errors in it, but did catalog every physical feature that the help files said were required. While this
conversation was going on, the mud crashed. When it came back up, the Imm was gone, and my girlfriend's character was trapped in the room. Guess where she didn't log in again?

This story is pretty representative of touchy feely Imms. Here are the mistakes that I see:

* Pulled character out of a fun situation. (Grouping with another fun player, seeing new things in the game)
* Placed character in a prison room for no good reason.
* Didn't straight out tell her what the problem was/assumed she hadn't made an effort to read the helps.
* Stressed a catalog of traits instead of good writing.
* Violated the internet law that states you will make a spelling or
grammar mistake when you critique someone else's writing.

I mean, honestly, if you require that everyone specifies their hair color, eye color, height, weight, ad nauseum, why not put it into your character creation process? Then have code that spits out this stuff when another player examines you, and let players specify some other thing for their description?

Players do not want Imms ordering them about. Code the behaviors that you want into your game, and then you won't have to interfere with people as much. Your players will appreciate the effort.

Reason 5: You think you're better than you really are.
<dons flame retardent gloves>
I'm sure this will offend people, but it's true. This one is related
to Reason 1, but it's different enough that I think it deserves it's own little place.

I find it very distracting if I see you extolling yourself as a paragon of some virtue, and then you demonstrate that you are not. The example that springs to mind is spelling and grammar in your mud. I am not, by the way, extolling myself as a paragon of proper spelling and grammar. You can send all complaints of this sort to /dev/null. :)

I tried a mud yesterday. While I was playing, I pulled up their website and read it (unwittingly breaking their one minute no-idle rule since I hadn't read help rules yet!). On their builder application page was some text that said something like:

"Rules for building (I'm sorry if they seem harsh but that's the way it is):

1. You will bear responsability for spell checking all of your rooms.
..."

Whoa! I didn't know that responsibility had an "a" in it. But seriously folks, I wouldn't have thought anything of reading something with a spelling error in it, except that it's right out there in the open where you're telling people to check their own spelling! Then with this little nugget in mind, I go find a custom area, and discover a myriad of grammar errors in each room. I wouldn't be looking for them except that you said you wouldn't have any...and then it goes downhill from there.

Aside: In this nameless mud's defense, I reported the bad spelling as a bug and they fixed it almost immediately.

Reason 6: Your help files suck.
I'm kind of running out of gas on these last two, but I think they deserve mention. If you are running a mud that is based on a stock codebase...have help files for everything that is different about your mud from stock! This seems pretty basic to me, but all too often the help files lag behind the code changes.

Reason 7: Movement penalties.
I tend to spend a lot of time sleeping while I'm exploring the mud because my movement runs out. This isn't a deal breaker for me, but it is very annoying. If you want newbies to run around your mud, explore, have fun, get hooked, etc, consider getting rid of movement penalties for the first chunk of levels. ROMs are particularly bad here, since the "recall" command costs half your moves by default.
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Old 02-18-2004, 07:49 PM   #2
Hephos
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Sounds like you should try our game...
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Old 02-18-2004, 08:01 PM   #3
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If you've not already, stop by Necromium and check us out. necromium.com 4000 I'm certain we don't share any of the negative aspects you've pointed out above. Should you find something to critique, I would be more than happy to hear from you.

tocamat@necromium.com
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Old 02-18-2004, 08:03 PM   #4
Yui Unifex
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Question

Ok, this is a preemptive strike for the rest of you.  This shouldn't be an advertising thread!
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Old 02-19-2004, 12:25 AM   #5
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Interesting post, knowing where some players stand on these types of things can be very beneficial to MUD administrators.  Other than going into a long rebuttal about some of your opinions ( many of which I agree with) I will just point out one flaw with the text community vs graphical game comparisons.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
I think the MMORPG's have the best model: play a month for free, then pay us a flat monthly fee to get to everything in the game.  If I'm paying for the game, I don't want to have less potential power than another player.
Although not always by the game companies choice, nearly all of the MMORPG out there (most definitely the more popular ones) have a "buy your way to power" mechanic in place.  It is pretty common to find players in these games who have acquired things by paying rl cash through auctions or broker services.  Also expansion packs for MMORPGs increase the available content at additional costs, much how the DR / GS games charge for extended services.

Best of luck in finding one that suites you.
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Old 02-19-2004, 12:59 AM   #6
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Some of your issues are obviously genuine. Requiring descriptions catalog hair color, especially in that way (I actually understand if you poke new characters to add hair color in) is not really great, and trying to enforce it when you can't spellcheck your own description is horrific. Same goes for some of the other things.

That said, some of them have rationale behind them. For example, no-afk rules are nice, though they should NOT be so strictly enforced (a good one is a simple idle/limbo room, which is very common). The solution is not "remove time-online-based features", since, if your objective is player addiction, they can be very effective, but to simply enforce no-afk rules in a logical manner. It's not always wrong to have the rule, as there is rationale behind it, and if that's one of your main criteria, I'm not sure the admins behind a mud with such a rule actually want you.

As far as special rules, such as no l33t... Those are perfectly fine. You have to realize the difference between 99% of muds and MMOs. MUDs are not looking to get every Joe Schmo to come and play (which is often a good thing: look at Sims Online). They're often as much a place for the admin as anything else, and that means they want like-minded people around. This is not inherently bad, because you're assuming they want or need tons of players. If you look at it that way (and I would, as most muds I've been an admin on have strict policies to cull out unwanted players), these rules are perfectly reasonable. You may not like them, but they don't like you either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
Most of the pay muds that I have checked out are MORE expensive than MMORPGs!
For better or for worse, this is sometimes true. However, if you think about it, people are willing to pay for a reason. While I'm not a big fan of Gemstone or DR or Modus Operandi, etc, they are able to charge high prices because people really really want that level and type of RP/code cooperation. If you think that a mud like Gemstone is in direct competition with MMOs, though, you're horribly wrong. RP muds (well, decent ones, anyways) are still way ahead of anything similar in the MMO world (though some up-and-comers are beginning to push the RP direction a bit more). If you want a heavy RP world, muds are your only real choice.

As far as too much imm interaction: that's actually a plus to many players. I love imms, generally, and having imms that are actually around, get involved, and who will point out stuff that I'm doing that doesn't fit with the mud's theme, or whatever, is a major plus to me (and many others! Again, this is not supposed to be direct competition with the hands-off, mass popularity approach of most MMOs. It's a sense of community, as well as the ability to enforce useful rules you can't really touch on large games (such as enforced RP).

As far as helpfiles, I've actually been on dev teams where we decided against more than minimal helpfiles (always for RP muds, though). You'd be surprised the positive effects RP-wise if you can a) justify character ignorance, and b) have the playerbase and IC documentation to back it up.

And, movement penalties... Let's just say that some muds use them, and many of them have good reasons.


Preemptive Statement:
If you want to defend your points, feel free, but don't try to pluck on minor diction issues, etc, because that's stupid. I'm writing this as fast as I can type. Go after main thoughts, if you wish to post back. I'm all for discussion.
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Old 02-19-2004, 01:00 AM   #7
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Eh... Most muds are not perfect. Inane rules? You try dealing with a person who does nothing but leave his player on all day botting, then expand that to twelve or more people because there is no rule against it. Or someone who makes your relatively small playerbase completely miserable with endless PKing sprees. Maybe you'd like it if you had twenty people utterly unbalance your game abusing a bug. The fact is, MUDs are quite different from MMORPGs. They're smaller, with fewer staff and thus less ability for the players to report abuse, less breathing room for players to take advantage of, and generally, more difficult to maintain because there is no company above you which can give you money in an emergency. Text also puts signifigant challenges in front of builders and coders, to portray a world well, challenges that aren't always bested. This is what MUDs are. If you don't like the fact that MUDs do not always have boards of researchers learning what a change will cause, hired police ready to teleport in and fix a problem 24/7, people payed to document everything and anything a player could need help on, and more than a handful of coders, artists and coordinaters, all to make the players happy and keep them sending in dough, play another type of game, because that's the reason why a lot of MUDs don't satisfy you. Ultimately, MUDs are not state-of-the-art, they are going to have blemishes and imperfections, and for the most part, they don't make a lot of money to help these problems get fixed quickly.

They are a niche market, an artform, not a science for the most part, and to try to make one into a MMORPG in text would be silly. I'm sure many people would disagree, but I have yet to see a MUD advertised on as large a scale as a MMORPG, and until I do, I'm sticking to my opinions.
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Old 02-19-2004, 02:42 AM   #8
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I'm going to sleep now, but I'll reply more fully tomorrow.

Spazmatic, you are absolutely right that there are a lot of muds out there that don't want players like me. Time and again in your post you talk about "only RP muds". If you read my post, you'd see that I don't play RP enforced muds. The only point in my OP that dealt with RP muds was the hair color story. So, um, care to respond in a manner that actually addresses the topic that I brought up? IE, these situations in non RP muds?

In general though, I don't want to play those games that you are talking about. I demand good code and good documentation. Removing help files so that characters will have to bumble around is probably amusing to the admins, but it is not fun for most players. I was targetting any muds that are trying to get new players, and can't seem to get them. There are many, many muds out there that make these basic mistakes. In most cases, I don't think they do it intentionally. Perhaps in your cases, they do it intentionally to drive off loony guys like me who like gameplay and not RP. Which is good, because they succeed and I don't end up wasting time on a game that I won't like.

Dub
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Old 02-19-2004, 02:52 AM   #9
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Wow, Eagleon...that was quite a gushing defense of mudding in general.

I'm not attacking muds as a genre. I enjoy muds. I understand that there are difficulties with muds. I did not defend botting in my OP, I'm not quite sure where you got that from... I did not suggest that muds have NO rules, just that they don't have silly rules like I described.

In all ways, muds are spurring MMORPG's on. It is very obvious when playing SWG , for instance, that it is based on an idea that started with muds. It even has a DIKU command option. What I was trying to say is that muds should adapt and compete with MMORPG's at the same time.

I don't accept your statement that muds are not state of the art. Except for graphics, muds should be able to have better gameplay than MMORPG's because there are no limits to what you can describe with text. Spazmatic kind of touched on this idea with his defense of GS3.

Dub
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Old 02-19-2004, 09:19 AM   #10
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Hey there, Dub. I'm going to address a couple of points you've made, but not all.

Re: the whole thing about how MMORPGs are stealing mudders - they're not. They're taking people who prefer graphics over text. Text-based entertainment is a niche market, and will always have its staunch supporters who have no interest whatsoever in graphical venues. Text games as a whole aren't going anywhere. As long as there exist people who like to read books more than they like to watch TV, there will be text muds. The day the last text-based mud in the world disappears is the day I start reading -more- books than I already do. I will never play graphics games. I just plain don't like them.

Re: your concerns with RP-encouraged games -
I realize you are not referring to RP-intensive or RP-required or RP-enforced (whatever the catch-phrase of the day happens to be). But in an RP-encouraged game, there exist people who WANT to roleplay, albeit in a more relaxed atmosphere than an RPI.

Imagine the person who -wants- to roleplay - coming across your botting character. Imagine perhaps that this is me and you. Imagine that we have had run-ins in the past, that we are adversaries. Imagine me trying to start something with your character. Imagine your character doing nothing about it - because you're watching a movie on TV in the other room. Imagine my disappointment when I realize that the only thing I can do is PK your character with no RP at all, or pretend your character isn't there and move on to something else. Imagine me trying to move on to something else, and running into 10 out of the 25 people playing who are -also- botting. Imagine how little fun I'm going to have, all because I actually decide that day that I'm in the mood to RP in an RP-encouraged game.

This is why games have no AFK rules. Some rules are less strict than others; Gemstone has a rule that says you can be AFK all you like, as long as you're not absorbing experience or scripting to gain new experience at the time. For an RP-allowed (I won't even go as far as to say it's encouraged because it isn't) game, I think that's a very fair rule.

All rules can be broken, all can be bent, all can be worked around, and all can be abused. It's just the nature of rules in general. Perhaps instead of "demanding" strict criteria in your search, you might ease up slightly and allow for exceptions. There are dozens of games that -almost- fit what you're looking for, though within each game there might be a player or two who breaks the rules and you -will- at some point run into them. Or perhaps the game breaks -your- rules only marginally, a shade of grey that most people wouldn't even notice.

For what it's worth, those are my thoughts and opinions on the points I wanted to discuss. I wish you luck in your search.
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Old 02-19-2004, 01:03 PM   #11
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Some very good points, and very true.
I couldn't agree more about the imms who interact with newbies promiscuously. "Enforcers", as some pathetic piles of fly-ridden human failure call themselves, serve absolutely no purpose.
I found it amusing that people were immediately filled with the burning, insatiable urge to rub their dicks all over our computer screens by replying to a genuine post with advertisements.
I have made a mental note to avoid Necromium like the plague, and any mud whose name even vaguely resembles Necromium. Also, I have made a mental note that Hephos' MUD is not worth the bytes required for his DNS service to store his address.
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Old 02-19-2004, 01:40 PM   #12
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re: erdos

I guess some people dont have enough intellect to remember things without posting their mental notes on a bbs
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Old 02-19-2004, 01:56 PM   #13
Yui Unifex
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Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by (Jazuela @ Feb. 19 2004,08:19)
Re: your concerns with RP-encouraged games -
I realize you are not referring to RP-intensive or RP-required or RP-enforced (whatever the catch-phrase of the day happens to be). But in an RP-encouraged game, there exist people who WANT to roleplay, albeit in a more relaxed atmosphere than an RPI.

Imagine the person who -wants- to roleplay - coming across your botting character. Imagine perhaps that this is me and you. Imagine that we have had run-ins in the past, that we are adversaries. Imagine me trying to start something with your character. Imagine your character doing nothing about it - because you're watching a movie on TV in the other room. Imagine my disappointment when I realize that the only thing I can do is PK your character with no RP at all, or pretend your character isn't there and move on to something else.  Imagine me trying to move on to something else, and running into 10 out of the 25 people playing who are -also- botting. Imagine how little fun I'm going to have, all because I actually decide that day that I'm in the mood to RP in an RP-encouraged game.

This is why games have no AFK rules.
A couple of points:
First, he doesn't say he was botting.  Being AFK does not imply the implementation of scripts, and it's quite silly to think that way.  I can leave my other games on pause while I go make dinner; it has absolutely nothing to do with my circumventing poor game design.

Second you describe a scenario in which one person who wants to roleplay is coming across people that are AFK.  You're essentially stating that no AFK rules are there to accommodate the RPers in such a situation.  I think that's backwards.  Why are the RPers deserving of special attention in a mud in which RP is not enforced?
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Old 02-19-2004, 05:22 PM   #14
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Okay, Dub, maybe you should define your post better. The way I see it, botters are AFK (it stands for away from keyboard, you know), so they apply to that rule. What is a reasonable, to you, AFK rule? I'd say fourty five minutes idling and you're kicked. Enough to watch a short program that really interests you, or to make dinner, or any of the other things mentioned, but not enough, say, to watch a movie. O.o It bugs me to see people idling because I can't respond to their presence. They're another NPC, except they're completely unscripted. If a widely-known killer is AFK, sitting right in front of me, and I can't even touch him because of another rule, that creates a situation where people are tempted to abuse the MUD, and the fewer of those there are, the better the MUD is.

Which silly rules in particular bug you? I didn't get a clear idea of what was bothering you. Is it the hair color issue, or some of the others? Because then you would have listed things twice in one list. That's confusing.
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Old 02-19-2004, 06:24 PM   #15
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Yui... You were right. Please ecxuse my inexperience in these forums which resulted in the inapproriate advert. Of course, to those of you who went out of your way to be nasty and childish, you may suck what you suggest I rubbed on your computer screen.
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Old 02-19-2004, 07:00 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Eagleon @ Feb. 19 2004,16:22)
Okay, Dub, maybe you should define your post better. The way I see it, botters are AFK (it stands for away from keyboard, you know), so they apply to that rule. What is a reasonable, to you, AFK rule?
Yes botters are AFK. But not everyone who is afk is botting. Got it? :p

I suppose this could just be a terminology problem, but in the muds I've played, a character is botting when they program their client to play the game for them while they are not there, usually to gain xp or items. Its a shortened form of "robot". Most muds have rules against this, although not all. I'm ambivalent about it. I have run bots where it is legal to do so, but that is not what I was addressing in my OP.

IMHO, Aardwolf has a #### good AFK rule. You can stay afk indefinitely. Beyond that...I think not having an official rule would be best, with maybe the Imms pulling your plug (but no more than that) after you were gone too long. "Too long" could be 30 minutes or more, or tailored to the circumstance. In no case should being AFK require any official punishment or face to face with an Imm.

Someone else mentioned special protection for AFK people. I don't think this is appropriate, and was not arguing for it. If you play a full PK mud and are AFK, expect to be full looted if you are not in a safe place.

Dub
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Old 02-19-2004, 07:08 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Eagleon @ Feb. 19 2004,16:22)
Okay, Dub, maybe you should define your post better. The way I see it, botters are AFK (it stands for away from keyboard, you know), so they apply to that rule. What is a reasonable, to you, AFK rule? I'd say fourty five minutes idling and you're kicked. Enough to watch a short program that really interests you, or to make dinner, or any of the other things mentioned, but not enough, say, to watch a movie. O.o It bugs me to see people idling because I can't respond to their presence. They're another NPC, except they're completely unscripted.
Why does it bug you to not be able to respond to the presence of someone? You obviously can't respond to their presence if they're not even logged on, so what's the deal? Perhaps you're just saying that it's a good idea to kick people because you lack the willpower to ignore someone who's ignoring you. I think that's ridiculous.

Quote:
Originally Posted by (Eagleon @ foo)
If a widely-known killer is AFK, sitting right in front of me, and I can't even touch him because of another rule, that creates a situation where people are tempted to abuse the MUD, and the fewer of those there are, the better the MUD is.
No it doesn't. It's a one-liner to disallow hostile actions against a player that is AFK, and similar code is already in place to keep them from quitting if they've recently been in battle, so this can be applied to those that are AFK as well. Since it's a coded rule there is no possible abuse.
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Old 02-19-2004, 07:21 PM   #18
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This thread is interesting to me, because it brings up two thing is Muds that I personally loathe, namely
1. Muds that pretend to be 'totally free to play' while in effect players can get advantages by doling out RL money, which will take a player who doesn't pay a very long time to achieve,
and 2. muds with excessive and silly rules.

I am not going to get into point 1, since too much has been said on that subject in the past, and most people on these boards know my opinions about it already.

About point 2, I have some comments however,  both from the player's point of view and the Admin's.

The first Mud I ever played was of the kind with tons of rules. When you logged on to the Mud you where 'required' to first read a long list of helpfiles, titled HELP POLICY, HELP RULE, HELP RULES and so on. Most of these rules were unnecessary in my opinion, and many of them were downright silly. Since the Mud was described as a 'family environment', players were muted for weeks for saying things like the four word letter for 'urine' on open channels, and even rather mild jokes with the slightest implication of sex were  banned. On top of that, the imms snooped and spied on players and reported every comment that could be interpreted as negative, even if it were over tell.

The head imp was a control freak, and all in all the situation instigated a sort of desire in me and my equally unruly friends to break as many rules as possible as openly as possible. In fact, baiting the head Imp soon became our favourite pastime. Childish? Yes.  In retrospective I can see that we were totally immature, and it is actually surprising that we didn't get banned quicker than we were.

Much later, after becoming an Admin and  Imp myself, I can at least see things a bit from her perspective. Most of the Staff in my present Mud came from that other Mud, and that is probably why we started out with the ambition to have as few rules as possible. From the beginning our only rule was the old biblical proverb; 'Do onto others what you want them to do onto you', which in our somewhat profane transaltion became; 'Act like a jerk and you'll be treated like a jerk'.

It all went well for a very long time, and even though  the language on the open channels could be a bit rough at times, our players were mostly mature enough to handle the freedom of speech with some responsibility. Until the day when some new players arrived, who were so bad-mouthed that a number of the older players started to complain about it, and in the end it got too much even for my own pretty wide-stretched tolerance. And suddenly I found myself implementing a rule called 'Common courtesy', which had more or less the same wording as the one I so detested in my first Mud. We don't need to enforce it much, but a fact remains, the rule that I swore I'd never have is now there.

Next item: idlers and 'botters'.
I have no problem with players that just go AFK, those can easily be handled by letting the code transfer them to some sort of limbo room, after 5 minutes of idling. The problem is
players who set up scripts to advance their char while being AFK, whether it be by endlessly practising spells, doing the same simple quest over and over again,  or by what is commonly referred to as 'camping' (which means that you place your char at a spot where some reasonably easy aggressive mobs spawn, and then just leave it there while you go do the laundry, walk the dog or watch television, The mobs will respawn and attack, and your char will get exp). Most Admin dislike this type of playing style and I am no exception.

Since many things in a Mud that is at least partly based on hack'n'slash gets repetitive by nature, sooner or later you get some players that use botting to an extent that makes it downright irritating. In my mud we try to fight it mainly by throwing in the occasional nasty surprise, and by making the Quests non-repetitive, but it's still hard to stop completely.

I can actually understand Admin that have a rule against this. But you should never set up a rule unless you are prepared to enforce it, and in order to enforce a rule against botting, you either need to snoop the players, or to adress them in the manner that  Dubthack described.  And since I hate playing Mud Police myself, I'd rather not have the rule, and let a few the botters get away with it instead. Still, if my Mud were to be invaded by a gang of totally shameless botters... Who knows, maybe I'd change my mind in the same way that I had to do about the free language.

Finally; Bug abusers.
All new code has bugs, and most new zones have building bugs. However much you try to test everything to make it cheat proof, sooner or later there will always be a player who tries an approach that you didn't even know existed. Usually I am pretty tolerant against bug abusers, partly because the players that find and exploit the bugs usually are quite a bit more intelligent that the average, and partly because basically it's our fault, for allowing the bugs to exist.

We also have a sort of rule against bug-abuse, going something like; 'If you find a bug and report it, expect to be rewarded, if you abuse it, expect to be punished'. But naturally that isn't enough to stop players from abusing bugs. There even are some that take it as an excuse to keep abusing it after they reported it. So our main policy is of course to fix the bug as soon as possible.  

But there are times when the fixing isn't all that easy. Here's an examle that occurred recently on my own mud:
Our coder went away for three weeks vacation over christmas, after having installed some code that wasn't thoroughly tested. Pretty soon after he left, a player discovered a bug in the combination of two spells, that made the effect ridiculously powerful. It took some time before I was aware whart was going on, and even after that I wasn't sure what the exact bug was.

I am no coder myself, and there was no way to fix it, or even to disable the spells, until the coder came back. So I did the only thing that was left for me, I talked to the player and asked him to stop what he was doing. This would have worked with most of our players. Unfortunately this one turned out to be a 'Mud Advocate' of the worst kind. After arguing with me for about 2 hours about the nature of the bug, and the difference between a 'bug' and a 'feature', he kept right on abusing it, as soon as my back was turned, for the next weeks, right until the coder returned and fixed it.  

He was 'punished' in a way retroactively, by losing some of the levels and gold he had gained on it, but not nearly enough. And in retrospective I realise that I should have been a lot more hardhanded. So if something similar happens again, I'll most likely freeze the culprit until the problem can be fixed, regardless of how long it takes.

Now the above examples illustrate how our values and rules can get affected by a certain type of twink players. And of course, the bigger playerbase a mud has, the bigger  the chance that it picks up players of that type. So if a Mud has a lot of rules that seem stupid and unnecessary, there just might be some similar explanations behind them.

Or then again, there might not. After all, control freak imps and powertripping imms do exist.  And even the best of imms can have a bad day at times. We are none of us perfect.
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Old 02-19-2004, 07:49 PM   #19
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You bring up some good points I guess, but wouldn't most of your complaints be remedied by adjusting your search criteria for muds to play?  

The AFK rule is almost always a byproduct of a rp-enforced mud.  Barring a situation like Achaea's, which you felt was misrepresented, an rp-encouraged mud, 9 times out of 10, won't have that rule (I knew they existed, but I've never played a mud with such a rule- I think you'll find the proportion really is quite small).  Incidentally, an rp-enforced mud is more likely to have 'touchy-feely imms', as they are required to enforce certain standards for the sake of rp.  

The pay schemes are regrettable but you seem to have found at least one alternative and there's the ever exciting option of completely free- it's hard to tell if you visited any free muds at all.

The point is there are thousands of muds out there and the problems you described are not by any means inherent to muds or wide spread in the mudding community- they just happened to be problems with the muds you played, which may have been selected poorly in the first place.
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Old 02-19-2004, 07:52 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Molly O'Hara @ Feb. 19 2004,18:21)
It all went well for a very long time, and even though the language on the open channels could be a bit rough at times, our players were mostly mature enough to handle the freedom of speech with some responsibility. Until the day when some new players arrived, who were so bad-mouthed that a number of the older players started to complain about it, and in the end it got too much even for my own pretty wide-stretched tolerance. And suddenly I found myself implementing a rule called 'Common courtesy', which had more or less the same wording as the one I so detested in my first Mud. We don't need to enforce it much, but a fact remains, the rule that I swore I'd never have is now there.
Implement a command that allows you to ignore messages from other players. Problem solved without vague rules.
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