[WF-General] Distinguishing Admin and Player

Tess Snider malkin at Radix.Net
Tue Oct 10 04:34:36 PDT 2000

On Mon, 9 Oct 2000, Bryce Harrington wrote:

> So when we talk of cheaters, we're not really talking specifically about
> bug 'sploiters, nor really distinguishing between in-game or out-of-game
> behavior.  We're speaking of, in general, people who are making the game
> annoying.  And the power and responsibility to address the problem ought
> to be available to the people being annoyed.  IMHO, of course.  ;-)

I know I already explained my position on this, but I am a firm believer
in distinguishing between in-game and out-of-game behaviour.  It is
*because* people have failed to correctly make this distinction in games
like UO that people can't tell the difference between a player who plays a
character who kills other characters, and a "grief player" (that is, a
player who gets his kicks by making other people miserable).  While a PKer
may also be a grief player, he is not *necessarily* a grief player, and
the current batch of big-name games have confused the matter terribly,
making it almost impossible to roleplay a proper villain these days.

In a game where characters are expected to be played IC as much as
possible, it is absolutely *crucial* to draw the line between IC and OOC,
and to keep it clear and unmuddied.  Characters should follow their own
motivations, and not those of their players.  Without that purity of
intent established, players become too afraid to allow their characters to
be themselves, lest any personal flaws that character has might reflect
badly on the poor player.  They become afraid to take chances.  They
become unwilling to make concessions, and compromise in the name of a good

I am willing to play a murderer.  I am willing to play a cat burglar.  I
am *not* willing to exploit a flaw in the server.  In the first two cases,
my character is the villain.  In the latter case, *I* am the villain.  If
I am a villain, I do not belong in the game.  If my character is the
villain, that's just part of the game, and should be handled in the game.
People talk of "community," but there are really TWO communities.  There
is the community of players who participate in the game, and there is the
community of characters who inhabit the game (including NPCs!).  If I
exploit a bug in the server, I violate the external community's rules.  If
my character kills someone, she might be violating the internal
community's rules.  The internal community has no idea what an exploit is,
anymore than they know who the Quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings is,
and they have no business punishing a character who may have done
absolutely nothing wrong in their eyes, because of something they don't
even know about!  By breaching the IC/OOC line, you damage the immersive
fiction of your world.

That said, there may yet be some merit to allowing players to deal with
annoyances, if it comes to that.  You could allow them to petition OOC to
ban someone, and hold an OOC vote.  This is subject to many problems,
however, including cliquishness, unfair smear campaigns, and gross
misinformation.  No matter how much you might want to run a game as a
democracy, it's really an abdication of authority on the part of the
administration, which may lead to the player base viewing the
administrators as weak and indecisive.  Your players aren't logging into
your game to find out about the latest exploit scandal, read up on all the
issues, and try to make an informed, civically responsible decision about
the case.  They're logging on to have FUN!  No matter what you do, never
forget that.


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