Keeping a Cool Head in the Heat of MUD Battle
Everyone loves to see their own name light up deathsight (on the right side, of course), as we dish out textual retribution and wage fiery wars for cities, shrines, resources, or anything else. There's something deeply satisfying about watching our STAT STATS kill/death ratio turn positive until we're the last one standing.
Victory is a heady sensation, but it's important to remember we aren't shooting grunts in a Halo single player game. There are people on the other side of every deathsight, a loser in a battle for every winner. Everyone has a rightful desire to be the victor, but restraint in victory, and a willingness to sometimes lose, are vital in ensuring there will always be opponents to clash again. Repeatedly crushing an enemy or faction can potentially suck the fun of conflict out of the game for them, especially when accompanied by an obnoxious attitude or lack of restraint, which can result in having no one who's willing to fight. This can easily be exacerbated in cases of group and organizational combat where every blow must somehow be met with crushing retaliation that can turn cyclical.
How can we work to ensure that things don't get over the top?
- Text pride isn't tangible, there is no loss of real face in letting your opponents have a win once in a while. Give them some encouragement in the form of small victories and perhaps you'll have opponents more eager to face you.
- Try and keep a handle on your group party numbers; the offensive side should rarely outnumber the defenders. General might, skill and artifact levels should also be accounted for. If the city you want to raid has twenty novices present, that's not an excuse to bring ten heavy-hitters. Think in moderation and what your opponents will enjoy clashing with, and give people a chance, else they might not try at all.
- Be OOCly reasonable. Other players have plans and schedules too, that should at least be considered when planning a raid. If you get an OOC message from the enemy saying they have something going on, it's usually best to back off for a time (maybe with a snarky shout or too) and return later.
- Practice restraint, and don't tally attacks. Someone raids, someone defends, people attack each other. Don't hold grudges and seek out every little person who aimed a kick, punch, warp at you hours or days later when they're not expecting it. There will inevitably be another raid, and with it a chance for retribution. Doing otherwise will only discourage people from participating in conflict in the future.
Your factional opposite isn't your real life enemy, and we're all people who love and participate in the same role-playing communities. It can be easy to get caught up in the moment and forget the importance of restraint or maintaining a good attitude, but we should take every opportunity we can to remind ourselves. Our games, enemies, shrines, and text-grudges will all be there tomorrow, so don't be afraid to back off and call it a night. On the flip side, if you're on the receiving end of constant raiding, don't be afraid to speak up. Most people are understanding of planned events and desire to end a fight, at least temporarily. If you find yourself getting angry at the happenings in the game, step back, log off for an hour and calm down. You're not obligated to get upset over a game.
Make sure your favorite MMORPGs are fun for you and the people you play with, and you'll always have enemies to clash against.
About the author:
A long-time fan of MUD games in particular, Julian Talley has spent a long time playing on both sides of most conflicts. A constant proponent of fair and reasoned gameplay for everyone, when he’s not playing his favorite games, he can usually be found attending college or practicing percussion.