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Setting: A Mud. Two opposites, the players and the creators. The creators code, the players play. But who really deserves who? Do we, as players, expect too much or too little of the creators? And do the creators likewise expect too much or too little of the players?
Let us look at the situation. The creators are responsible for coding and upkeep of the Mud. They are the ones who spend their free time putting in unpaid efforts--coding, bug fixing, helping other players. When things change, the usual responses are quite often complaints and unhelpful comments. What is often forgotten is that the creators are putting in their time to try to make the Mud a better place, often doing so under the direction of others. Players often selfishly look at the "degrading" of their game play and can't see above their own point of view. What's wrong with looking out for the good or "balance" (usually a dirty word in most cases) of the Mud?
The Devil's Marbles, a rock formation in the Northern Teritory of Australia.
On the other hand, are the creators above us all? Do they spend enough time actually using what they code, observing what the code does, what it causes, how it really affects players, and how the game play has changed? Creators have to think about the priorities of coding, as well as what is to be coded, how it's going to work, and how it's going to change things.
How much input do players have, and how much do they deserve to have over what should be coded? Should players expect creators to have recoded areas, items, NPCs, all of the above and sundry new in the game every so often? Should they be expected to listen to players, and implement their ideas, maintain code and game play to acceptable standards? Do creators spend too much time out of circulation, and therefore not get enough playing time to realize what happens when something that they've implemented works properly (or screws up)? Do they rely too much on players to find and report the bugs, instead of abusing them? Do they ignore bug reports and rush pieces of code into the game before they are ready?
Or, when looking at the relationship between creators and players, do creators go out to screw players over? Do players aim to make creators' lives misery? Do players aim to make creators' lives misery by abusing the code and bugs to try to screw over other players?
I somehow doubt that these accusations describe your stereotypical Mud. There will always be players and creators who don't think before they act, or don't consider the whole picture. There will always be those who can't accept what they don't like, and won't come back. A Mud is a place for all involved, a Multi-User Dungeon. Creators need to think about how what they do will affect the Mud. Players need to remember that creators don't have to do what they do. If everyone would remember that a Mud is supposed to be fun for all, and "just a game" in the scheme of things and should be treated as such, then maybe everyone would get along better.
Creators do code. Players do play. Everyone is human, everyone makes mistakes, says the wrong thing, or says the right thing the wrong way. If we all remember that, try not to judge, try to be constructive as players, and try to accept those ideas as creators, I'm certain that Muds can always remain as a fun place for everyone involved.
November 1999 Imaginary Realities, the magazine of your mind.
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