[WF-General] Distinguishing Admin and Player

Alistair Riddoch ajr at ecs.soton.ac.uk
Mon Oct 9 12:25:33 PDT 2000

On Mon, Oct 09, 2000 at 12:49:03AM -0700, Bryce Harrington wrote:
> Since we're in the process of completing the design and implementation
> of the accounting code in the server, I'd like to spark a discussion on
> a relevant topic:
> What is the difference between an Admin and a Player?
> The reason I ask, is that I can anticipate a continuum from
> brand-spankin' new newbie, to guy-who-kicks-the-hardware-daily.  For
> instance:

I am going to give examples here of how I think a properlly desgined system
can allow many of the tasks listed below without an admin account.

> Newbie
> Average player
> Guru player who knows everyone on the server
> Mentor who walks newbies through the ropes of getting started 

To me it is clear that the above do not need Admin accounts. Please feel free
to disagree with me.

> Bug chaser, who is into seeking out bugs in-game and reporting them 

A modified client which allows the player to analyse the raw protocol stream
from the server gives someone plenty of information for analysing bugs. Admin
access would only be required for actually locking down and fixing the bugs,
which should preferably be done in an offline server anyway.

> Tattler, who habitually complains about abusers to others

No need for admin access here.

> Vigilantes, who take on task of "cleaning out" cheaters

Such a role could be effectively fulfilled without breaking the game
paradigm. Such a Player could have a character who is an officer in the
town guard who could arrest cheaters, and lock them up in the town jail. (*)

> One who composes background music for his guild and for others

I think it is essential that this kind of creativity is possible purely from
a player point of view. The player in question should be strongly encouraged
to have a musician character who is the channel for this creativity into the
game world.

> Player who draws character portraits for GM quests, for CP's

Again, I think this sort of creativity should be encourage in character.

> Person who doesn't play, but submits bug patches sometimes

I'm not quite clear why this person would need admin access to the
online server. Tampering with a server to find bugs should be done on an
offline server. Such a person should of course have admin access to the
offline server, but then anyone can do that.

> Developer who helps create quests, and has 5 char's in game

Here the line becomes fuzzy. As I explained in an earlier mail (which may have
got lost), I believe it should be possible to create quests using a Player
account to a large extent. This could for example be done, by logging in
as a Player account which owns some important "evil" NPCs. This player could
then direct the actions of some of these NPCs in order to move them into
the situation required for the quest to run. From a certain point of view
this person may seem to be an Admin, but the account they are using has no
special Admin privs, it just is the account that owns the relevant NPCs.
Some aspects of quests are going to need Admin access. An example of
this would be if a quest involved hunting for an ancient artifact that
has been hidden in some caves for centuries, then the object must be
placed there out-of-game.

> SysAdmin who runs the computer system

This person obviously requires an Admin account, but it should never be
a single individuals responsability to look after an entire server. More
than one person must hold such an account.

> Which of the above would get "Admin" accounts, and which would just have
> "Player" accounts?  What functions would one type of account have, but
> the other not?

In summary, I am a very strong advocate of using special admin privs as
little as possible. Using admin privs implies making something happen in
the game world, which would not otherwise be possible, which could
potentially break the game paradigm. Unless extreme care is taken
with admin privs, then cracks will appear in what we should try to keep
a seamless role-playin experience. Players should never see someone or
something appear out of nowhere, unless that someone or something has been
magically (or otherwise) teleported there by someone or something else
in the game.


* This relates to an idea I have been thinking of for a while. SOme of you may
have read a rant I wrote a while ago about consequences in Online games.
Sociable character behavoir can be encouraged by implementing consequences
for anti-social behavoir such as blatant stealing, or murder. Having
the character spend a while imprisoned would be a good consequence, and I 
think an effective one.

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