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Old 09-19-2002, 11:13 AM   #1
snowfruit
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I have always loved the idea of having politics on a mud. Players work and bribe and kill and please to get positions of power. I.e a head of government, a church man, a clan head etc.

Now of course comes the implementing of ideas like this, and i was wondering if any of you out there have tried it, succesfully or otherwise
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Old 09-19-2002, 11:25 AM   #2
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I'd have to say the main focus of SL these days is the political game. It's alot of fun and it gets pretty intense. I dig it!
Mostly I think you just have to have a system where people are rewarded in some way, but only in competition with one another. For us it's a House Ranking System determined by the Emperor.

Another game that does this VERY well, imo, is Armageddon. The harsh environment only adds to the backstabbing and conniving that goes on there. Very cool.
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Old 09-19-2002, 06:26 PM   #3
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A long time ago..on a MUD far far away, prior to it's "pay-to-play" downfall, there was politics involved in I guess you could say a multi tiered system. The towns and guilds were run by the players and the game offered the feature of following whatever god/goddess you chose that fit your char's RP. Now when the time came to elect Guild officers (1 Guild Leader and 2 Lts.) it became heated sometimes (and everyone knew it was all IC which was good) BUT..because the guilds had "parton gods" (ie staffers that made sure their guild's items and rooms etc didnt crash the MUD and also helped out Player problems to be eased more) the elections became really heated. Imagine..a Warrior's Guild with say Brody as the Patron Immy..now two people are running for the position of Guild Master and Timmy Powergamer follows Alaire while Bobby Supertwink follows Snowfruit. Debates get held on the vboards. Characters form imprompteau (sp?) rallies to support their canidate and the outcome can be interesting (future Guild ties were always in question when any election came around..will the Rangers still ally with the Mages or will they befriend only the Druids? Will the Warriors delare friends or enemies with the Barbarians? And will thief kill thief just to get their canidate elected?) So if done right, it can lead to fun for the players AND staff AND also lead to some interesting RP.
Politics, ICly, can be fun to do on a MUD. However you figure out to do it, always remember the one important thing..it's all in fun and IC.
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Old 09-20-2002, 01:39 PM   #4
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In my experience, it is not a difficult fact to program different political structures, unless of course you want them to be able to do nifty things, like recruit a group of people for a draft, or other tidbits.

The difficulty comes in fostering that kind of community. Politics are inherent, in Non Anarchical societies. (Which some MUD's are). But you will see the older, wiser, more powerful players tend to have more say and pull in the direction of the player base. A type of oligarchy.

Maybe someone who has fostered an alternative political system in their game could give us some pointers?
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Old 09-20-2002, 06:25 PM   #5
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A poltical system would be a great thing to have in MUDs. Yet, if the Queen of Andor was a character who only logs on once a week, and the King of Cairhien demands something or else there will be a war, Andor is screwed (Please excuse me adictivness to WoT). It will depend on the amount of players on daily, and the people who would want to do it.

I would love the idea for RP, but it's pretty much impossible on my MUD.
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Old 09-21-2002, 02:58 PM   #6
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A poltical system would be a great thing to have in MUDs. Yet, if the Queen of Andor was a character who only logs on once a week, and the King of Cairhien demands something or else there will be a war, Andor is screwed
What id the Queen of Andor had a panel of military advisors, each with a certain set of permissions to make decisions for the kingdom. Advisors number 1 and 2 could move armies about, change the defenses of the city, declare war, and attack other armies.

Advisors 3 and 4 could do eveything but declare war.

Maybe she trusts advisor 5 with the ability to do everything but change about the city's defenses... maybe advisors 6 and 7 8 and 9 can do everything, but only of there are two of them on at the same time and in agreement about the proposed action... and so on.

This concept can be used in countless situations where the game would otherwise grind to a standstill waiting for one specific player to log in... now you're waiting for 1 of 5, or 6, or 15 people to log in, which is much more doable.

Also keep in mind that in a game with a good and epic scale, entire armies cannot be mobilized and moves across kingdoms to lay siege to some unsuspecting city over the course of a rl hour or so. It's gotta take a few days irl. That way, nations and city-states and what-have-you's have time to anticipate and plan for battles and stuff. There's a lot more strategy to it than "Well, I've got my defenses set up; let's hope my castle is still standing when I log in tomorrow." It's also more realistic.

As for politics outside of war, there are 2 real keys.

1. Have a viable economy. Make money worth something, and having lots of money a rare but very cool and useful thing to have. People will form alliances, backstab, and fight over money -- just like in real life. If the only real commodity in your game is monsters to kill and the equipment they're carrying, you're in trouble.

2. Create a detailed political system, with meaningful positions. I've seen far to many games where all the girls would give their right arm to marry the prince, but the princess has no real power.. just the title. Sure, RP'ers will fight to get the position of princess, but they will fight all the more if the position actually carries powers and abilities to make decisions that concretely affect the game world.

RP arises from conflict. In the real world, conflict arises around religion, money, love, and survival.

In a mud, a lot conflict is thinly-veiled "I want to be the biggest and most powerful badass with the coolest sword."

Introduce religion, a working economy... take away the assumption that the players will always have enough food to eat or a safe place to spend the night.
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Old 09-23-2002, 09:43 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by
What id the Queen of Andor had a panel of military advisors, each with a certain set of permissions to make decisions for the kingdom. Advisors number 1 and 2 could move armies about, change the defenses of the city, declare war, and attack other armies.
I love that idea especialy as I shudder to give any one player absolute power over any group or area. I think they shouls at least have to consult with a 'cabinet' or group of advisors before setting out to exterminate their neighbours etc.

The idea behind using politics is to draw attention from the usual 'find, chase, kill' scenario. Just killing ever bigger monsters leads and getting ever better equipment no where (in my opinion ). politics however add a whole new level of RP posibilities. Thats why I found this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by
Have a viable economy. Make money worth something, and having lots of money a rare but very cool and useful thing to have. People will form alliances, backstab, and fight over money -- just like in real life. If the only real commodity in your game is monsters to kill and the equipment they're carrying, you're in trouble.
a very useful idea. But I am having a little problem envisaging just exactly how to set up an economy... what did you have in mind Kallian? (or anyone else)
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Old 09-23-2002, 12:43 PM   #8
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You really need a lot of players to pull off good politics, and I don't think we've gotten to that point. We do have the other main requirement: separate groups, each with their own drives and desires.

It's also an arena where OOC stuff seems to start festering, perhaps because that's one way (although an unfair one) to get an advantage over another group.
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Old 09-23-2002, 01:10 PM   #9
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I dunno Sanvean, but unless by "politics" you mean a governing body, and not diplomatic (and undiplomatic) relations with the varying authorities, your game has TONS of politics. I'm just totally amazed at the plotting, scheming, backstabbing (no, not the skill ya wingnut!, and manipulations in it. I've become obsessed with the ongoings of the assorted nobility and templarates, learning about this and that, paying close attention to the IC gossip and the like.

In fact it's the biggest draw for me. I LOVE intrigue!
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Old 09-24-2002, 10:08 PM   #10
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Well we figured out my only problem.

The best way I have seen to go about giving the players their deserved positions is to have them earn points via RP. Give points for stories, RP logs, originality, whatever you guys want. The players pick the top 3 positions they want, and they are awarded those if they get the most points.

If the didn't make a position, there are screwed
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Old 09-25-2002, 09:15 AM   #11
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I love mud politics, but I can't for the life of me figure out how a good political system could exist without a bunch of idiots ruining it with ooc drivel. Even in a mud as complex as the one I play, they haven't figured out how to remove all of that ooc cheating. I think this could be because they require too much proof before they do anything to a suspected cheater. All I can say to this is if I had my own mud, I'd go ahead and punish people if I was pretty sure they were cheating, rather than waiting for 6 pieces of concrete evidence. (How do you GET concrete evidence anyway? Logs, whether of in-game interactions or ICQ chats, can be faked. Easy enough to spy on in-game interactions, not so easy to spy on ICQ.)

Cheating aside, I really like the political system on the mud I play. Guilds periodically elect a new GM (typically when the current one stops playing long enough to impede the functioning of the guild), and houses are run by whoever gets enough people to swear fealty to them. The lord of one house can also swear fealty to another lord, in which case it increases the overlord's rank. Nobles can appoint house members to various positions, but they'd better not stop playing for longer than a RL month or they lose all their fealty points and anyone who feels like it (and can defend themselves from their buddies) can take over their castle.

Unfortunately, the towns are pretty much anarchy because we don't have enough players to have mayors or city councils or whatever. (Some years ago, someone formed a city council, and all the members were pretty quickly killed off.) The rulers of the castles don't really have any concrete power outside their castle, except for killing who they don't like. For that matter, guild leaders don't have that much concrete power either, except the healers for instance can deny service to people who offend them. I guess overall there's not really any laws, just the requirement of having enough common sense not to annoy anyone who can kill you. Even with all that though, the political maneuvering gets really complicated, as people vie for power that doesn't really exist.

I'd also like to see someone suggest ideas for a good economy, as someone mentioned earlier. We have one, but it's severely screwed up because people are always making and selling stuff that no one ever wants to buy and use. (Size 300 armor and clothing, and piles of 1000 roasts are common examples of this.) A shop that already has 50000 apple seeds will pay much less if you try to sell them more than if they were empty, but that doesn't keep people from selling other totally useless items and getting rich off them. At one time it was suggested that players be prevented from learning every craft, so a miner might HAVE to enlist the services of a smith instead of just making their own stuff, but I'm not sure I like that idea either (mostly because I like to learn all the crafts myself even though I rarely do anything with them ). I'd like to see someone who knows more than I do start a thread about economy, I have plenty of ideas but not sure if they can be coded, let alone if they're feasible with a reasonably large player base. Suffice it to say, on the mud I play, the rich guys are the ones who stockpile useless junk to sell all the shops out with at reboot when the shops have the most money, and that's a pretty lame way of doing it I think. (The rich guys don't necessarily end up with power, in fact I think most of the nobles just kinda appropriate a portion of their subjects' money. I don't really know why they bother when taxes aren't that high, unless they're saving up to build a moat or something.)
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Old 09-26-2002, 02:25 PM   #12
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You've already answered your own question...

Quote:
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A shop that already has 50000 apple seeds will pay much less if you try to sell them more than if they were empty, but that doesn't keep people from selling other totally useless items and getting rich off them.
If these items they're selling are totally useless, why are the shops even buying them in the first place? You have the shopkeepers providing an artificial demand for something which the players have a near endless supply of. You're subsidizing the players via stupid shopkeepers!
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Old 09-26-2002, 03:00 PM   #13
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Well, I'm new to these forums, but this is an issue that I've pondered on some, so I'll jump in this puddle.

I've speculated a bit on the economic issues of various MUDs, and with a mix of research and thinking have found a few possible solutions towards creating a balanced system (and maybe one really good one), but the basic questions involved come down to one thing:

Are you really willing to go through the effort of making a balanced economic system?

To really make a truely balanced economy (or as close to it as is realistically possible), it will require a lot of work, and might require a fundamental rewrite of your existing system. It might require more time or resources than you really have.

Most MUDs that I've seen rely on black box technology for thier economy. Mobs (black box #1) drop various forms of loot provide input to the economy without any real justification. Shopkeepers (black box #2) keep cranking out an infinite number of the same items at the same prices to pull a trickle of coin out of the economy. But players take more from the mobs than they spend on the shops. It's an unbalanced system from day one.

I think the developers have to be able to get beyond the traditional concepts of MUD design and ask themselves the hard questions. Where does this come from? Why does this do that? Is there a better way to do it? Can we do that in our game?

You might not be willing to go all the way in pursuit of a working economy, but I believe the process of thinking it through will reveal other possible partial solutions that could be implemented without completely gutting your code.

Hmm... I may be babbling. Any thoughts?
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Old 10-16-2002, 06:49 PM   #14
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Hello-

Being extremely politcally oriented myself, I would love to see more player-run politics inside MUDs. However, as pointed out already, it does require a large, dedicated playerbase to run a good political system. For instance, if you are running a school as a MUD, and one of the teachers could not sign on for every scheduled class time, knowone would be able to graduate/metriculate (if your elsewhere) until the teacher was on enough times to give them a good enough lesson. This would slow the entire school down and make people bored of it.

I also believe that if you are to have a political system, it has to be ENTIRELY player-run. This way, Players never get bored because they shape the politics of the game, and they get to change the politics if they feel the need too. An entire player-run political system DOES take a good, dedicated playerbase.

On top of all of this, people caught up in the political dregs of things often get bored because they do not get enough "action". Personally, I am fine to stay in the political aspect of things, but some people like to move around.

Overall, I would LOVE to see an entirely player-based political MUD come out. If it were to happen, I would definently join. I have also had lots of ideas about such a MUD.

-My two cents,

Letum
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Old 10-17-2002, 01:57 PM   #15
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You know, this last post really got me to thinking....

How often does Congress Convene? for nine months. Is attendance required? No. This leads me to think that policy makers do not always need to be present. They can meet at different times, in smoky rooms, in car garages and other things.

It's the paper pushers, and 'system' that keeps things going. It these people who process complaints, charges, and awards. Make all of these mobiles. Leave the policy making to players, and as long as the system is set up so that the 'system' can handle the new policies, the players don't need to log all the time.
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