The Player Wimping Guidebook! (Summary)

Many mud articles, posts, and thoughts circulated in the golden age of MUDding and the early days of the Internet. Much of them have vanished. Here is my attempt to keep the concepts alive, even if current laws prevent me from saving the source material.

Summary of "Welcome To The Player Wimping Guidebook!" by Tenarius the Druid of RECTITUDE

Tenarius the Druid of RECTITUDE wrote the original webpage (that no longer exists).

"With a little bit of time and dedicated effort to your own stupidity, you too can ruin your mud for the players, cause strife beyond belief, and take your mud down a slow spiral to implosion from within." Wiping and Wimping work best.

Wiping is deleting all player info and progress. Sometimes, this includes names.

Wimping [similar to "nerfing"] is the act of degrading skills, spells, or weapons. Or, increasing the danger of monsters. Or, removing gold from players' accounts.

Wiping and wimping are typically done to "balance" the MUD.

New MUDs often are born of disgruntled players from old MUDs. They go through an alpha and beta stage to create areas, mobs, items, and find the right balance for the MUD. The game then goes public (possibly after a player wipe with some sort of leveling token given to testers.)

During the honeymoon period after the new MUD is opened to the public, the admins "PLAY their own mud". "They CARE about how the players feel about the mud, and they are more interested in the people than they are in anything else." Requests are made for improvements by players, and the admin grants these requests. The MUD begins to grow.

Next, the MUD hits a midlife crisis. Admins start going invisible and gradually stop talking to players. "They start to see players as a bunch of whiney cheaters who are there simply there to take advantage of the generosity offered by the immortal staff." Admins become dissatisfied that players are playing the game differently than they envisioned. As a result, the admins start looking at how they could modify the MUD to force players to play the game how the admins want them to.

Next, often after a change in management, the admins start changing established game rules. Affected players complain, and the admins get angry that the players are complaining. The admins gradually begin to ignore player concerns and make vast changes without player input. At this point, admins consider players the enemy. The players in turn decide that the admins are the enemy.

Next comes the death spiral. The admins (aka immortals) are at fault for this death spiral. The players divide into the supporters and haters of the admins. The community is now fractured and filled with arguing and hate. Even the admins may divide into two or more factions.

The community splits into ...

  • "Self-Preservationists" - Those that go along for self-preservation, then are surprised when they get affected by a round changes.
  • "Ass-Kissers" - These agree with anything the admins do, so they can get something out of them later on.
  • "Genuine-Believers" - Some are just blind, and others talk themselves into believing the admins are doing the right thing for the MUD.
  • "The Betrayed" - Those that through dedication to the game have made significant advancements, only to see the admins take those away through changes to the MUD.
  • "The Bitchers" - "A certain group of MUDders who will always cause problems." Changes to the MUD are just their latest excuse to complain. They should be ignored by everyone.
  • "The Ethical/Moralists" - Those who thought through the changes to the MUD and disagree from an intellectual point of view, not because they were affect adversely in some way.

Factionalization "pits friends and players against each other in the same way as a civil war pits brother against brother or adultery pits spouse against spouse. There can be no winners once this occurs, only those who have not lost as much as others." The condition remains this way until the MUD shuts down, or everyone that is discontent leaves.

Why are you making changes. Is there a good reason, like player discontent?

What is the end goal of changes? Wimping and wiping will result in a bad game experience for your players. Don't do it to established rules.

If players complain classes aren't balanced, know that they always complain about this no matter what. Just put in a disclaimer that the classes are what they are. OR, ... give more power to the weaker classes. DO NOT take away power from the more powerful classes.

If a spell/weapon/something is over powered and you haven't caught it in the first few months of its creation, it isn't as over powered as you think it is. Leave it alone.

If the balance seems off because players are leveling too fast, don't change it unless the players themselves are telling you it is too easy. Leave the leveling alone.

Wiping the players between beta and public versions of the MUD is okay. However, you need to warn them ahead of time, and reward them in the public game in some way for their efforts.

New spells, skills and items should be changeable. Let players know that for the first one or two months, the new features are subject to change. After that, don't change them. Established skills and spells should never be changed.

"Sadly though we lose track of the real purpose of what we began our muds for. We lose sight of why we left our last mud, and begin to see our mortal players as the enemy. Is it any wonder why we offer so many times to quit or pull the plug? If the mud stops being fun for us because the damage curve has a little blip in it, or because when we try to correct that tiny mathematical anomaly and the PEOPLE we hurt complain, then have we not lost track of why it began at all..... I thought this was for the players to have fun, and for us to have fun in serving them."