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Old 02-11-2003, 03:21 PM   #1
Yui Unifex
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Question

Every so often a post comes up seeking a solution to the age-old problem of troublesome players. You've searched in vain for the holy grail of player identification, but it's always been out of reach. You've contacted ISP abuse departments only to be ignored by lazy administrators. There seems to be nothing you can do to keep your game from falling into the hands of evil.

Barring extreme incidences, I think we shouldn't have to rely on outside forces to maintain our games. So my request is this: Does anybody have interesting technical solutions for maintaining their game, or even allowing the game to maintain itself?

I'll reply with one of my own solutions below.
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Old 02-11-2003, 03:31 PM   #2
Terloch
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I say we go back to the time-honored old Biblical tradition...stoning.
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Old 02-11-2003, 03:36 PM   #3
Yui Unifex
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Question

My favorite method of dealing with troublesome players is to completely seal off that player from in-game consequences to other players, but not to let them know that this has happened. Think of it as a honey-pot of doom: You lift the ban, and the griefer can connect and walk around as normal. He can chat and tell other players, and everything looks normal to him. But the other players never see him. He never shows up on the who list to them (or perhaps he shows up with a special flag), and his tells never reach anybody. If he tries to attack other players, he would become visible -- but he would be set at a severe disadvantage in a fight.

In this manner, the realization that he is not wanted is not so fast as a lightning bolt from the heavens and a site ban. He has to wander around a bit to figure out that it's not just the players and immortals ignoring him. Thus, it drains more of his resources to find out what has happened. One could even have a list of fake chats and tell replies sent to people flagged in this way, so the realization would come even later! The more time they spend in your honey pot, the more time you and your players are at peace.
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Old 02-11-2003, 03:43 PM   #4
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That's actually a lovely idea Yui, and would only be a couple of checks in the existing comms functions to really deal with...but I still think stoning would be effective as well...
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Old 02-11-2003, 03:52 PM   #5
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The ways I've dealt with such people...

Have an account to track all of the characters per person. Once the account is denied, the characters are no longer accessable. (done).

When person is very troublesome, notify everyone that they are to be denied on sight. Usually, by the time you find they made a new account from an AOL aocket, they've invested about 10-50+ hours into the game, and just lost it all -again-.

You know, when you deny their account the 3rd time or so, they get the meaning they are not welcome there, ever. I've yet to see any of them come back.

On the flip side, if they do come back and you do not find out it is them, it means their attitude/playing has changed, and they are no longer a problem player, and the solution is there regardless.
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Old 02-11-2003, 05:43 PM   #6
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My own way of dealing with problem players is not very technical, but at times it's amazingly effective.

I talk to them.

You'd be amazed how often that actually works, even with what might have seemed like hopeless cases at first. The troublemakers are usually quite intelligent. I guess that's why talking sometimes gives such good results. If you can put them on some meaningful task, making them work WITH you instead of against you, it usually works even better. Bored players quite often gets into mischief, so the trick is to keep them occupied with something that keeps their interest.

Troublemakers quite often make excellent playtesters and bug-catchers, because they know all the irregular ways of approaching a zone. Some of them make excellent Builders too, although not all of them have the patience for that.

They probably make even better coders, although I'd never trust any of them within the shell...
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Old 02-11-2003, 10:19 PM   #7
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We have a player flag within our game called Penance. When a player becomes very troublesome we attach this to him or her. Basically, it will not allow that player to execute any hostile commands. ie spells/melee. It also allows them to be Player Killed anywhere within the game. It basically makes the mud nothing more than a large chat room to the player. It is used sparingly and only when a player becomes a serious problem.

I do however agree with Molly. Speaking with 'said' player and finding out what makes him tick is the best first solution. I am very patient, so unless that player is making the game unenjoyable for others, we are willing to give them some time to adapt and mesh with the mud.

There are those who simply log into your mud for the purpose of causing trouble. Vulgar names, channel spam or just general abuse of the mud population. I quick purge and a site ban is often enough to deter them. We have on occasion contacted IPS providers of those who are relentless in their pursuit to hinder our game and the enjoyment of our players.
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Old 02-12-2003, 02:29 PM   #8
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Here's a good post on the subject from rec.games.mud.misc

Unruly Players
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Old 02-12-2003, 03:02 PM   #9
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On the MUSH I currently work on, I do something akin to Yui's solution.
Generally, since MUSHes are all roleplay, things begin to go from bad to worse for troublesome players, who find their IC lives sparse with happiness. Diseases, poverty, pain, misery, suffering, hair loss, shrunken body parts, painful tumors and cancers... All of these are my gifts to troublesome players ^_^
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Old 02-18-2003, 12:52 PM   #10
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I go for the newlock on the first instance. For the one with many IP's are they from the same account? then you newlock just the ISP, for AOL it's a good thing. And you can have people submit a character for the AOL account or something to be created. I use an account system, so i can ban a site, that others play, like AOL lets say, AOL is newlocked, but anyone with an account can log in, and they can make characters in thier account that is after the ban check so they don't have to worry about being blocked if thier ISP is blocked, because thier account is active.

Account systems are one of the best management things.
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Old 02-20-2003, 02:26 AM   #11
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I'm in the process of hard-coding as many rules and regulations as I can into my MUD (which is a little bit more cut-and-dry than most), but before the full recoding I had a player flag any admin could set: open season. Open season does the following:

You can't recall (or clanrecall, if you have clan halls).
You don't regenerate.
You can be pked by anyone at any time.
Your fighting skills are almost nil.
You can't quit.

Put them all together, and in a game where pk ratios matter more than qeq, well....I had maybe 2 troublemakers who explicitly broke a rule. For each, it only happened once.

-Visko
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