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just something

1997 Topic Index

Posted by Tyche on 08/19

I found an article in Computer Gaming World that I found interesting and thought some of the rest of you would want to read. It refers to a previous column that was about cheaters, pkillers and such in MUDs and Diablo. It's titled "What's the Deal with...Killing Reality?" by Martin Cirulis. Anyways, here it is:

The "Psycho Geeks" column was fairly predictable, with no support for the Wreckers or Cheaters, and many, many tales from ex-Diablo and MUD players stating how the psychotic, self-esteem-damaged killers had made their favorite game pointless. The handful of rabid letters from Psycho Geeks defending their right to kill other players in games not really intended to foster murderous rampages was also predictable, but what _was_ a surprise was the outrageous pretension in their logic. To hear these guys go on, you'd think that sneaking up behind somebody who is busy fighting a troll and then stabbing them in the back is as important to the cause of human freedom as being a co-writer of the Constitution. These self-proclaimed champions see themselves as the driving force of realism in online RPGs. Guess what? It's time to stop getting off the bus at the corner of Delusional and Insipid. First of all, let's state again that the angry majority of the online (and sadly, the ex-online) community sees PKing as a random act of idiotic violence that has little, if anything, to do with what is going on in the game. Pretentious PKers always seek to drive the argument into all-or-nothing territory, which is patently ridiculous and a surefire way to make sure nothing changes in their little worlds. The issue is not whether players should be "allowed" to kill each other. Instead, it's a matter of what steps game administrators have to take to keep their RPGs from spiraling into pathetic sub-versions of Doom, where a few people get to play and the rest of the players get to be moving targets--with new players constantly replacing old players who get sick of the BS and quit. The Ultima Online folks have stated that they are in favor of player-to-player violence that adds to the environment, and for the most part, I agree with them. I mean, if I'm sitting in a virtual bar and a Dwarf walks up to a table of Orcs and says, "Hey, aren't you from the clan that wiped out my village?" I'll be more than happy to duck and start laying bets on who'll survive. I'll even go as far as saying there is no harm in walking along a country road and having a guy pop out demanding my stuff or my life. These are all the things petty and violent that make High Fantasy so much wholesome fun, and most gamers don't really consider this to be PKing. On the other hand, some little goof sputtering, "Your broadcasts are too lout. I am going to kill you, dude!" or running around trying to kill as many lower-level players in one night as he can, is not exactly the next installment of the Small Kitchen Implements of Shannarra. And it is exactly the kind of crap that will keep online RPGs utterly marginalized as a form of entertainment. Oh, do I hear tedious cries that say that players doing everything and anything they want is the essence of RPGs? Excuse me? Do you have a clue what the letters RPG stand for? I'll give you a hint they don't stand for Really Pathetic Guy (or Gal) taking out their frustrations on other players--the ones who are actually trying to role play! The only game that the behavior of most PKers actually fits into would be Lord of the Flies 2--A New Beginning. Have any of you people actually thought about what the concept of an RPG is? Have you considered that there are concepts being blayed out that are more important than pumping up your ego to maku of for your boss/parents/ teachers treating you like a moron? Given PKer logic, most of the great works of fantasy literature would have been three of four pages, tops. Let's see...instead of defeating the dragon, Bilbo Baggins is killed while he's taking out the garbage by some rabid adolescent with a fireball spell. Thomas Covenant is stabbed in the back and tossed off the World Cliff by a young woman who wishes she could assert herself in real life. Oh yes, and the grand and powerful Witches of Darkover are killed from behind, while fighting their true enemy, by a sad 30-year-old guy who is angry because they won't have cybersex with him. Ahh yes, that's real roleplaying for you! You PKers want to be the champions of reality? Try having enough bloody imagination to start a war where stuff is destroyed forever! Or better yet, be really brave and push for a game where death has real implications, and see how enamored of it you are. How many PKers would be thrilled with a game that erased characters when they died, had towns where, if you were caught killing another player at random, you were tossed in a cell and then faced a trial by your peers--where "guilty" meant that you were banished from the server for 5-10 years? Not so eager for reality now, eh? There is no doubt that rabid PKers will continue in their petty ways. I just wish that they would be honest about it, and admit that they are afraid to play a game where violence is expected, and that they have no concern at all (beyond self-gratification) for the reality, well-being, or value of the RPG community they prey upon.
--I don't see Legend as bad as this yet, but it's heading in that direction. Just something I thought some people would like to read.


From: Ptah Tuesday, August 12, 03:21PM

Heh, and UO gets cited, even.

The UO solution, and in fact the Dark Sun Online II solution, as well as that of many mud theorists (yes, there are such people, and mailing lists of discussion devoted to said people, invite only), is that there need to be in-game consequences for actions such as rampant pkilling (or, on other muds, what is equally as bad a problem, pstealing).

In UO, this takes the form of making the world consistent and imemrsive enough, and then penalizing the player's reputation for negative actions. And then, making a negative reputation have a REAL effect on the game. Like, warnings from guards. Increased prices at shops. SHops refusing to buy your wares. Eventually, barred completely from towns, and guards in towns kill you on sight.

I've floated the idea of in-game consequences before, but nobody has ever been much of a fan of them. :) It's interesting to note that DSO 2 plans to do bnot only the above, but actually overhear players boasting about killing other players, and lower their notoriety just for bragging about it (via mobs with complex text triggers and pattern matching).

I have heard of no other solution that works, btw. Imploring players to be civil does not. Eliminating pk does not. Ignoring the problem does not.


From: Ptah Tuesday, August 12, 03:27PM

Whoops, forgot to mention, Legend ISN'T consistent and immersive, which results in difficulties applying a "virtual society sim" solution like that described above.


From: Orca Tuesday, August 12, 03:38PM

heh, yet another jerk off thinking only of himself and how the pkillers are making 'his' game less fun.

I'd come down heavy on those who just killed newbies too like what i witnessed on Duris once. (400 odd corpses in or around one inn) :) but umm.. while randomly attacking those who just like to RP maybe disruptive and harmful to the atmosphere of the game as for some reason they tend to only fight back verbally. If the game allows it's gonna happen, simple as that. I can imagine games such as UO will incorporate measures to stop it getting out of control as it's one of those games that will have to cater to more than just RP'ers. Just like Legend, we have people that tend to just sit and chat, those who enjoy pkilling with or without reason as it's just plain fun, those enjoy RP and the rest.

Just as the socializers wouldn't like to see chat yanked or the RP'ers with their descs and strings, don't expect pkillers to be forever patient and considerate of others when what they enjoy most is put on hold for hours on end when there's nobody to fight. (due to xp loss) -grin- had to throw that in once again.

From: Adobe Wednesday, August 13, 04:36PM

Cheer Tyche!!! Wonderful article. Thanks for sharing.

For those of you interested in putting some meaing into PKill, please contact myself or Stella for the new RP Council. We will be meeting to discuss RP ideas amongst the clans, sponcer games and challanges, and put some competition back into the game. We also need your ideas, tiny plots or mini-game suggestions. We are trying in earnest to restore the RP to PKill, and if you wish to help, please let us know.

Adobe, 5th kyu of the Shotokai

From: Charity Thursday, August 14, 11:34AM

I found this article interesting too, and I'm glad it was shared with the Legend community....

Just one word of warning tho, sorry if this sounds overly picky, but unless explicit permission was given by the author and/or the magazine, we're probably in violation of copyright laws by having 'republished' it without permission. It's an interesting enough topic that I didn't want to delete the post, but wherever possible, please give a URL or just sum up the contents yourself, if you aren't really sure that you're allowed to repost an article.

-Charity thinks that being sued by someone else would be an even bigger hassle than having to sue someone

From: Tuco Tuesday, August 19, 11:06PM


Just my take on what I remember of the article. I guess the question/concern I had was the basic assumptions being made about people who randomly pkill, or perhaps don't take time to work up a pre-approved rp angle.

One thing especially I noted was the suggestion that people into pkill for the sake of pkill would hate to be in a world where death really meant something, like permanent death. All I can say is that I have felt such a system was a great idea for a long time. No one else seems to think so, unfortunately.

The other thing I guess that irked me about the article was the idea that those of us that pkill for fun have personal problems RL driving the whole thing. Also, why is it evil to simply enjoy the computer program as a computer program, and test its boundries, as in the programming limits. test the program against the most meaningful and non predictable opponent. Another player. Why must everyone RP? Pker's don't deny RP'ers non- clanned rp clans. Why do Rp'ers deny pk'ers basic pk? RP for the sake of RP is ok, but PK for the sake of PK isn't?



1997 Topic Index