Letters to the editor
- Scatter ///\oo/\\\
How Young is Too Young?
- Holly Fanelli
Why do a 3D mud?
- Tommi Leino
The World Does Not Need Another (Diku) mud
- Jeff Bennett
I Think, Therefore I Role play
The WorldForge Gaming System
- Bryce Harrington
Enter your email to be informed when this site is updated.
I Think, Therefore I Role play
A few months ago, one of the Armageddon mud coders, Morgenes, put in a
command that has no effect on a player at all. It doesn't get you gold
(or obsidian, in our mud's case), doesn't raise your skills, doesn't open
the mystic portal to the realm of Waterdeep, or anything at all like that.
Yet it was a change that would end up becoming one of the most popular
commands ever on the mud, with at least one thread on our discussion board
devoted to lavish praise of it from players and staff alike.
The command was 'think.' Its syntax is simple. The player types think
'Woah, hey, did I just see a coin lying in the road back there?' and gets
this back: 'You think 'Woah, hey, did I just see a coin lying in the road
back there?' Easy, no? And at first glance, somewhat pointless.
To explain the immense popularity of this command, one needs to understand
that Armageddon mud is more than role play intensive. It's role play
required, and players who fail to stay in character or interrupt the flow
of the vast interactive story that staff and players are spinning together
usually mend their ways fast. Or are asked to leave the story, usually
not in a particularly polite manner. Armageddon's had the reputation of
having the rudest immortal staff on the net for a long time, and while
that's changed considerably, there are, I suspect, staff members who still
cherish that attitude to a degree. Players who aren't staying in
character find out fast that it's not appropriate, or appreciated, on Arm.
Given this, think has proven invaluable to the players whose actions might
be incomprehensible to the staff. If a staff member happens to be
monitoring a player, and glimpses a few thinks here and there, they know
what's going on and why, precisely, that crazed Krathi is sitting out in
the desert. She's waiting for a vision, which she might choose to supply
of her own accord via think, or with which a staff member might help. Why
did that elf suddenly take off running? He thought he saw a mantis,
gythka staff in mandible, approaching his hiding place. Think not only
helps the player solidify what it is she's doing, but lets the staff know
what's going on as well.
Beyond that, the command's entertaining and helps the player flesh out the
character. Is he thinking 'Did that templar just look at me?' If so, he
may scurry back into the Labyrinth to hide from the unwanted attention.
Perhaps while that wily gypsy is trying to sell her a luck charm, the
player's sitting there thinking hard on how to sell the gypsy out to the
dreaded Blackmoon. Personal beliefs, spiritual beliefs, reactions to
other characters - all of these, and more, get played out via the think
command in a way they never were before. One of my favorite moments was
monitoring a conversation between a pretentious noble and the commoner
they were upbraiding, who while keeping their eyes downcast was thinking
of the multitude of ways that noble could be humiliated.
I've seen other benefits as well. At least one character has
accidentally typed talk instead of think, and found themselves saying
aloud what's in their head, leading to assorted and interesting results.
It slows down some of the fast typists, who otherwise tend to overwhelm
other players with the multitude of their emotes and speeches. Some
players use it while sleeping, to create intricate and sometimes rather
lurid dreams. We've some plans to tie think into the psionic skills on
the mud eventually, though that's a far and future notion. But the
benefit to the role playing of the mud has been tremendous. I'd urge other role playing muds
to at least...think about putting this command in.
January 2000 Imaginary Realities, the magazine of your mind.
© Copyright Information