Vote for Our Mud on TMC!
 
 
Geas Home
 
Play the Game

Who

If it's no bug or an idea, but it's still mud-related, it goes here.

Moderator: Wizards

ferranifer
Hero
Posts: 365
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2005 3:16 am
Location: Norway

Who

Postby ferranifer » Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:13 am

I want to talk about the 'who' command.

I have always been a big proponent of setting up strict controls in the visibility of info in the who command for two reasons:
1) taper abuse of the system through avoidance behavior (i.e. I'll logout because Luminier is around)
2) protect those players that want to play alone (i.e. I just wanna mine without being bothered)

After many years of using our latest incarnation of the who system I am now convinced that the underlying mechanics of the who command are detrimental to the game, in several different ways. This is going to sound like an echo of woes of the past for some of you, but here they go:
A) with a waning player population, we should be promoting interaction, not anonimity and segregation
B) it is too difficult for players to find each other through IC means, even when they suspect or even known that the other players are around
C) it is impossible to know with certainty if someone is actually around or not
D) playing with other people should be (and typically is) preferable to playing alone
E) I don't believe the individual's right to play alone is more important than the overall health of the game

I'd like to propose a new approach to the who command, focused entirely on promoting interaction between characters.

1) Who should be an IC command. It should just be a special sensory power that everyone has. As such, it should have a cost associated with it. This could simply be a mana cost.

2) The information in who should be representative and reliable of the current amount of actors in the game at that moment. While showing a history of everyone that was online reccently is good, it's also useless to me as someone looking to spend the next few hours in the game. I need to know who is playing right now, and I need to know without a shadow of a doubt.

3) Who should give at least an approximation of an actor's location. It's ok if it's a rough approximation like (Somewhere in Elvandar). Depending on the location, the information could be more granular. This can be used to promote meeting spots like Marketplaces or Pubs.

4) Who off shouldn't exist. Ideally nobody would want to be who off, but I think people that play certain types of characters feel it's important to be able to. The reality is that who off is a mechanism that only promotes abuse and strife between players, not between characters. If preserved due to social issues it should be an IC mechanic, and it should be taxed heavily to make it an unattractive mechanic to use. 'Shrouding' oneself out of the who should be something you do IC that can be seen IC and has heavy consequences. I.e. you can make a pact with a spirit that allows you to become shrouded for an IC year, but no guards will let you pass if you're shrouded. Even after this I would still make who show the presence of shrouded actors in the last few days or more. Shroud makes your location or current online presence a mystery, but not your existence. This is equivalent to the current # state. Shrouded players should not be able to see anybody's location or online status at all. For them, everybody is shrouded.

Example who output, with a shrouded mechanism instead of who off:


Code: Select all

(Remember that the 'who' command is an IC command!)
You concentrate and feel the presence of:
(character emotes: Ferranifer closes her eyes and concentrates intensely.)

* Arsicas                           (Elvandar Marketplace)
* Aslak                             (Somewhere in West Amward)
  Dalamar                           (Faint lingering presence)
* Ferranifer (YOU)                  (Scribe's Guild)
? Izydor                            (Shrouded)
* Korsario                          (Somewhere in West Amward)
  Koschei                           (Faint lingering presence))
  Lightning                         (Somewhere in Giat Mountains)
* Luminier                          (Somewhere in the World)
* Nadie                             (Somewhere in the World)
* Roseywood                         (Padorn's Inn)
* Sirfalas                          (Scribe's Guild)
  Stonebeard                        (Powerful lingering pressence)
* Wade                              (Somewhere in the World)
  Zehren                            (Faint linering pressence)
  A male dwarf                      (Powerful lingering pressence)
* A masked darkelf                  (Somewhere in the West Amward)
* A masked darkelf                  (Somewhere in the West Amward)
* A masked human                    (Somewhere in the West Amward)
* A newbie female elf               (Elvandar Marketplace) 

135 characters have been around in the last @week.



In that list:
Izydor is shrouded (who off) OR offline. Probably up to no good as usual.
Dalamar, Lightning, Koschei, Stonebeard, Zehren and some dwarf are offline.
A newbie elf is.. talking with Arsicas in Elvandar? (btw, newbies should not be allowed to shroud)
Korsario and Aslak are.. killing stuff in Ironhold? Or only Aslak is and Korsario is at the bugbears? Searching for herbs? Killing darkelves?
Luminier, Nadie and Wade are in some non-descript location, i.e. a dungeon, or their guildhall. Main guildhalls and certain dangerous deadend locations would always show as Somewhere in the World.
Sirfalas and Ferranifer are at the Scribe's Guild summoning the end of the world. Secondary guildhalls are always shown because they should both be promoted as encounter spots AND also deincentivized as hiding locations.
A bunch of masked people is looking for trouble in West Amward.
All the lingering presences are players that were online in the last 3 days but are offline at the moment.
Please note that the summary player count is for the last week, not the last 3 days.


P.S.: I've been involved in many discussions and arguments about how who worked, should have worked, and all the different (typically very passionate) opinions and gameplay dynamics around the function of 'who'. My stance on this used to be one centered around protecting the individual rights to anonymity and personal space. That was a mistake. That might have worked when the game had a bigger and more mainstream playerbase but imho it does not work now (or perhaps never did). The enjoyment of the whole must be more important than any individual's personal goals and MUDs are inherently multiplayer experiences. If you want to say I told you so, go ahead, I'll accept that and hope you understand where I was coming from.

Skragna
Champion
Posts: 590
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2009 5:48 am

Re: Who

Postby Skragna » Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:28 am

Holy wow. Aside from shrouding being a very long-term thing, I can get behind all of this. Shrouding should be as simple as a magical object's activation. Like all magical objects, it has penalties for being on your person. (In this case, shrouding you from everyone at the penalty of the usual lowered mana and inability to detect who.)

User avatar
Arsicas
Veteran
Posts: 133
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2011 4:20 am

Re: Who

Postby Arsicas » Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:46 am

Hm, I'm kind of against showing people's locations. Although, as you say, with the current playerbase there's really not a whole lot of interaction going on, so even knowing whereabout someone is to attack them would promote some kind of interaction. I think people have suggested before a kind of opt-in system to say "Hey, I'm here looking for rp." But... if this is an IC system (maybe us Mages can implement something!) then maybe showing location would be okay. I wonder if there would be magical devices/obelisk-type things you'd have to touch that are only in certain locations. Probably one in each town at least.

I do like the idea of showing "a male dwarf" or some sort of thing for people you haven't met because as a newbie, seeing an empty who list is kind of disheartening. Is there even anyone around to meet? It would be nice to at least know that there are people around.
Duncan hisses in Common: love not keepzss zssomeone alive
You speak softly in Common: Sometimes it's all that keeps one
alive.
You smile slightly.

ila
Experienced
Posts: 44
Joined: Mon Sep 25, 2017 2:30 am

Re: Who

Postby ila » Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:08 pm

I think I'm generally against this specific idea. I play Geas to get away from silly "everyone is psychic!" stuff used to explain who/tell in games that keep them IC. If people are psychic, logically it should be a skill, and then they have to train it, and then it doesn't benefit new players as much... at least, that's how I view it.

The thoughts behind it are okay though. Unless someone opts out, the command should tell you when people are online, albeit only if you 'remember' them first. I wouldn't mind if there was an OOC opt-in to show your location, and if it showed players beyond those you know under those circumstances.

I think the idea of magic structures giving a kind of 'who' functionality would be neat, perhaps having a limited range but telling you who's within that range, and maybe approximately where if you focus on someone. However, it'd sort of clash with anti-magic roleplay, wouldn't it?

I think it'd also be fine if there was some non-magical way for people to easily find out who's in town or recently been in town (and how long ago and which direction they've left) by asking the background NPCs.

ila
Experienced
Posts: 44
Joined: Mon Sep 25, 2017 2:30 am

Re: Who

Postby ila » Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:01 pm

To be honest, after thinking about this a bit more, I think there's a crucial misunderstanding about the underlying problem. I know the who list is merely an example, but the hopefulness that so many players would be around at once fully expresses this understanding.

I think the bigger problem is that all the players who ARE active have limited enough playtime that it's very easy to miss one another. I'm logged in pretty much A LOT, and from watching 'who' like a hawk, I can confirm: y'all rarely log in at the same time, if ever.

I think a better solution to think about might be ways to better schedule interaction. It works very well between Ila and Koschei, for instance. This could be ICly, could be OOCly, and probably would be best with options through both channels.

ferranifer
Hero
Posts: 365
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2005 3:16 am
Location: Norway

Re: Who

Postby ferranifer » Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:11 pm

The underlying premise there is that chronic lack of accessibility is what caused the lack of people to start with. Changing how who works won't suddenly make a lot of players appear, but it might get back some that left because interacting was too difficult, could never find their friends or were put off by the obscurity of the perceived PvP threats of the game (as in, too scared of confrontation to "step outside"). 'Who' is just one facet of a complex cultural problem. It's a pretty easy one to fix and get out of the way though. This change does not exclude whatever other measures we could ask for to promote other forms of interaction.

I rather know that the masks are on the prowl than never see them at all. PvP actions are very powerful roleplay. A large chunk of the game is designed around this concept. The world IS a PvP world and it has always worked best when it was an active PvP theater. A more openly confrontational and overt environment will give both PvPers and PvErs what they want.
I rather forfeit the who system to 'psychic' powers than play an empty game. This one is purely a matter of game vs simulation, and for me game wins.
I rather sacrifice my own ability to hide to be constantly put in interesting social interactions. Yes, this means getting out of your comfort zone and playing the game less like a single player game and more like a collaborative act.

ila
Experienced
Posts: 44
Joined: Mon Sep 25, 2017 2:30 am

Re: Who

Postby ila » Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:32 pm

I'd still rather see this as an OOC feature that people are encouraged to metagame blatantly rather than an IC one where everyone becomes psychic, but maybe that's just me.

Wade
Journeyman
Posts: 74
Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2014 9:35 pm

Re: Who

Postby Wade » Wed Jun 13, 2018 2:23 pm

A telepathic IC who list sounds great to me and it would solve any issues of meta gameplay.

I don't like the location giveaway though. I think learning people's usual stomping grounds through actually seeing them in those stomping grounds is kind of rewarding. Studying their movements and so on... getting inside their head. It makes it an actual cool surprise if someone pops out of the woodwork to attack you, or you spring a trap on someone unsuspecting.

I have no substantial opinion on shrouding at this time.

ila
Experienced
Posts: 44
Joined: Mon Sep 25, 2017 2:30 am

Re: Who

Postby ila » Wed Jun 13, 2018 5:35 pm

My major gripe with the original idea is that I think "everyone's psychic!" is a bit of a cop-out for explaining game conveniences, and also if someone is psychic, it should be way cooler than just a couple game-y commands.

However, I do like the core of the idea, so I present my attempt at fluffing it with Geas in mind!

It's already true that words hold power in the setting of Geas. A prayer from a priest, a song from a skald, a couple words of power from a mage.

Therefore, I propose that to cover features like this, which are undeniably magical yet undeniably better if everyone has access to them, common spells be added.

These spells would not require magical training, though some fluff spells could be added later on which use unusual languages. Simply know the word and say it.

They still require mana, as something has to power them. The words would be like proper nouns, not easy to accidentally say or stutter.

The only proposed word for now is to cover this expanded 'who' functionality. It would not require any language (so even tshaharks should have no trouble using it).

I think this is a nice compromise between utility and setting. ^^

The source of these words could be anything from meddling mages to semi-divine entities. They could be the name of a great daemon or angel that fulfills the spell via a strange covenant granted to mortal-kind, or the result of magical experiments to stretch the power of spoken magic. Or maybe they were magical all along since ancient times and merely forgotten.

User avatar
Arsicas
Veteran
Posts: 133
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2011 4:20 am

Re: Who

Postby Arsicas » Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:58 pm

I dislike the idea that everyone is suddenly psychic, because magic is supposed to be this esoteric thing, and mages already have certain spells that work in the capacity of finding people. Thus, I'd rather see this incorporated as IC magical devices or left as an OOC thing. Knowing who is on, even seeing vague descriptors of people you haven't met yet, would at least let you know there are people around to interact with. And technically being "online" is an OOC thing anyway, since everyone still exists in the world even when we're not playing. :P

Regarding Ila's comment of asking NPCs, you can already ask NPCs about who they've seen recently, but it's not all that great since they only list up to 2 people I think (and this includes NPCs). And it doesn't seem all that reliable either, as I've seen people walk by or seen recent tracks and the NPC doesn't mention them. Maybe this feature could be upgraded to be more useful?
Duncan hisses in Common: love not keepzss zssomeone alive
You speak softly in Common: Sometimes it's all that keeps one
alive.
You smile slightly.

User avatar
Delia
Overlord
Posts: 2489
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 11:22 am
Location: Finland

Re: Who

Postby Delia » Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:00 am

Who-command has always been very different depending on how much you play. If you play daily you kinda get into a rhythm and learn the habits of other people. As such the command is more informative and in a way you rely much less on it.

Personally I would not mind if it stays OOC and if there was a relaxed attitude about its use thus allowing convenience. You can setup any reason anyways for your interactions and how you get there, the command is just a tool to facilitate the story. I do not mind either way though. The end result is what is important.

I collected some ideas here for the IC approach.

1) as originally posted
2) make it a magic item
3) make it a "magic word" which I kinda like.
4) expanding on "3", make it a ritual. If you perform it with more people you get more accurate data.
"To be is to do" - Sokrates
"To do is to be" - Jean-Paul Sartre
"Do be do be do" - Frank Sinatra

Ariyana
Newbie
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2018 5:41 am

Re: Who

Postby Ariyana » Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:39 am

As a "returning player" of a VERY long time ago I consider myself a "new player" for basis of this conversation. Whereas I used to know hangout spots of old (Naga's inn, anyone?) now I just.. don't. I also don't meet much of a variety of people ICly to enable me to ask about it. The folks who hang around in parks trying not to make things explode... are the limits of my "find out their stomping grounds" capabilities I feel and I'd just like a way to meet with more players and/or find out where to meet them when the limited few I know are actually online. I don't know the best way to enable this but it's surely something that'd get me to log in more frequently and for longer.

PO Ari

User avatar
Delia
Overlord
Posts: 2489
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 11:22 am
Location: Finland

Re: Who

Postby Delia » Fri Jun 15, 2018 5:05 am

I play seldom these days but when I do I usually have something very specific in mind.

If I could see the unknowns online it could motivate me to search for them and make contact.

I once played this game who off but I also played a whole many lots and as such it was more like playing a simulator.

If RP and interaction is the goal, players would benefit from better "who" visibility be it IC or OOC. Be it as may, shame me if you will, results from "who" have always affected my play. Usually for the better of everyone involved. Get in contact with people, play and have fun. Everyone wins. Simulation is secondary IMHO.
"To be is to do" - Sokrates

"To do is to be" - Jean-Paul Sartre

"Do be do be do" - Frank Sinatra

Israfel
Experienced
Posts: 37
Joined: Tue Oct 24, 2017 6:51 am

Re: Who

Postby Israfel » Sat Jun 16, 2018 9:30 am

I support the idea as posted for the benefits it brings in retaining new players.

I truly believe Geas has a challenge on its hands with new player attraction and retention. Many MUDs do. One of the things to remedy that is to give new players the means to:
a) Know they're not alone in the game world and that there are experienced players to aid them; and
b) Be sought out and greeted by experienced players with the specific purpose of connecting them with the active playerbase.

Learning a new MUD is quite an investment in time. Savvy mudders are likely to shop around for something that tickles their interest with theme and mechanics etc but also meets a few basic criteria like accessibility, learning curve, rules, and active playerbase.

There are tons of MUDs out there to choose from and for players that come to Geas through a mud listing like TMS (of which I was one), an indication of how active and alive a MUD is will be one of the first things players look for. In Geas however, new players are left guessing a lot of the time exactly how active the playerbase is. That isn't exactly bad, and the 'introduce' system is something I really loved when I first started playing, but without anyone to meet those new players are going to take cues from what they see and read (and it isn't all good).

ie. when the latest notes on OOC board are many months old and say things like "does anyone still play?" that's a strong cue to any new player that they should maybe reconsider their investment in time and look elsewhere.

I've been hanging around since last year and even now I've only directly met a handful of characters. If your character isn't one to hang around marketplaces for hours on end, you can get by never meeting anyone for months. Which leads me to point b) above. I'm not going to hang around cities waiting for new players to show up. BUT if I saw a genuinely new player just hanging around the city on 'who', I'd probably find time to wander by and at least see what kind of character they're playing as or what path they seem to be interested in, make introductions, show them a few of the ins and outs of the local area etc.

User avatar
Delia
Overlord
Posts: 2489
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 11:22 am
Location: Finland

Re: Who

Postby Delia » Mon Jun 18, 2018 2:46 am

Very well put!

Other conveniences could work too in addition to who.

City orbs were discussed once for additional communication. Exact location info could be tied to the orb rooms too. General location info would show in WHO.

There was a seer once who could point your way towards a player character. Something like that could perhaps be good too?
"To be is to do" - Sokrates

"To do is to be" - Jean-Paul Sartre

"Do be do be do" - Frank Sinatra


Return to “General”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests

cron