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 Post subject: About recent events - Account locking 101
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 11:53 pm 
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I do not generally believe in responding to dirty laundry that has been aired publicly, but I do feel there are a few points that need to be addressed. This forum is open to anyone, not just players from the game. I do not want the negative things in Gydins post to be their first and only impression of Distant Lands players and staff.

Multi-playing is clearly spelled out, along with the consequences in the game rules. The staff makes every effort to educate and help people understand when they do things wrong. We are not about punishment and sitting and waiting to catch people doing something wrong. We believe in giving second, third and even fourth chances. Unfortunately, there are some times when people refuse to take responsibility for their actions and learn. They adopt a quasi ‘Players vs Staff” mentally/attitude that hurts not
only themselves, but all the players and the game in general. This is a game, we need to work as a united team – players along with the staff – to keep it growing and interesting and fun to play. But rules must be followed. They are in place to keep the game fair and as balanced as possible. In specific, isolated situations, the staff has to take further steps. If we feel allowing something to continue to erode the spirit of the game and the comradery of the players is at risk, then we have to do what we have to do. It is not always popular but is definitely done with the best of the entire game as a whole in mind. We can’t always release all the details of a situation, nor do we wish to. We respect the privacy of those involved and believe that rehashing some situations over and over again publicly only erodes the morale of both staff and players.

With that having been said, I would like to clearly state that the current staff has never and will never sit and witness any sort of “errant” behaviour that is clearly stated as unacceptable in the rules for our “entertainment”.

We also do not allow staff to “get away with” things that players can’t. We do not multi-play as was implied I was capable of doing. One account per person. Even the great Nezmar himself only has one account.

If someone on staff is suspected of doing something wrong, report it. We can not know something is wrong if you do not tell us. It will always be investigated fully and if we find wrong doing, trust me, we’re harder on staff than on any regular player. We hold the staff to higher standards, always.

Staff also does not hold grudges or generally “dislike” anyone. We are human, of course, and are entitled to our personal opinions, but that does not affect decisions made that affect the game. If anyone feels disliked by the staff, check your own actions first to think of why we would have cause to. What I personally dislike is cheaters. And cheaters who do not take responsibility and learn from their own mistakes. It is clearly the person who did the rule breakings fault, not the staff who caught them. Own your mistakes. Stand up, say you messed up and take on the burden of learning from it. If you see someone breaking the rules, and feel you can’t talk to the person to try to redirect them on your own, let us know. We’ll do our best to help educate them.

I know that players put in many hours on their characters, leveling, finding the right equipment, etc., and we’re glad you’re here, enjoying, playing and challenging yourselves to be the best of your class. Moreso, kudos to the many, many of you who play and rise up because you are the best at it and not because you break the rules to get there. Thank you, from us all, sincerely. We honor you and keep working hard for you. The staff knows without the players, the game is without it’s spirit.

And to the other staff members, thank you, from the bottom of my heart. I know full well the heartache. The endless hundreds and hundreds of thankless hours you have put in here. I know the sore muscles from sitting too long, the lack of progress on your own mortals because you committed to finish something staff-side and buckle down to finish it. I know the tears, the wounds to your very soul when you see someone tear down the hard work with just a few words and thoughtless actions. Hang in there. There is a large, quiet majority of players who really do care and appreciate it. They are why we do this, they are why we care.

Lastly, for everyone – there is still now, and always will be – the open door of communication. Do not think the staff won’t listen. If you’re not comfortable telling me of concerns in the game, mail one of the others. Nezmar and Amaessara will always welcome your mail if you have issues as well. Communication and a cooperative spirit and willingness to work hard together to resolve things will continue to move Distant Lands into the future and into being the best mud out there.

With my warmest regards,
Myrrima


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 Post subject: Re: About recent events - Account locking 101
PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 12:57 am 
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I couldn't agree any more than if I had said it myself.

A lot of us, players and staff alike, have had errant behavior in the past. It's not so much that we make mistakes; we're only human. It's how we own up to those mistakes and take responsibility for our actions that make us who we are. Hell, I've screwed up a couple times really bad. But I did my best to make it right again. It just didn't sit well with me that I did the things in the first place. But that's me.

Those of you that know me, know that I try to keep a very objective view when it comes to balancing Staff & Player. A lot of times I side with the players. Sometimes I side with the staff. I'm not always privy to information in a first hand basis. Most of the things I hear are third person. So, like everyone, sometimes I make mistakes and go all righteous on people.

But in this particular case, I believe very strongly. Multi-playing is a very big no-no. It not only undermines all the work everyone has put into this game to keep things fair and balanced, but it robs all of us, eventually, of our individuality, our passion of the game and even sometimes our will to play.

And, to be honest, this is more like a society than a game. Some of us have "lived" here a very long time. We've been through a lot of changes, and have discovered a lot about our fellow man and even ourselves. Many of us call this place home. We may go on vacation, run a way for a while to get a breath of fresh air, but in the end, we always come back. We love this place, this game. We love our fellow players, even if we sometimes want to kill them. :twisted:

When we break the rules, in the end, everyone suffers. I have both witnessed it and experienced it. Trust me, it happens. That's why rules are in place. If everyone broke the rules, this game would most likely either not exist, or would not be the place it is today. I don't know about you, but I rather like this game. There's hundreds and probably thousands of other MUDs out there... But this one? This one's unique. It's home.

I digress. What I really want to say is... Rules are in place for a reason. You may not know the reason, but please, trust us that there is a reason. Nezmar does not hand out trust lightly, and you probably do not either. But, we, the staff, are in our positions because Nezmar (and hopefully you, too!) trust us enough to do our jobs right, with impartiality. We love this place, we shed tears for this place, we beat the hell out of ourselves for this place (mentally, or otherwise).

Trust us. If you feel we're incorrect, by all means, talk with us (politely, of course). We're more than willing to listen to you guys. But sometimes you'll just have to trust us, because it wouldn't be very polite of us to just give out any tidbit that's available. Some things are private, and should be.

Sincerely,
Jorlain

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We can MUD if you want to, we can leave your friends behind. Because your friends don't MUD, and if they don't MUD, well, they're no friends of mine.


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 Post subject: Re: About recent events - Account locking 101
PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 5:25 pm 
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Yes, we've all made our share of mistakes at one point or another. The important thing is to try to learn from them. I remember a player from back in the day who was deleted no less than 10 times for problems. You know what he went on to do? Build 23 zones including all of Rocksport and eventually became an Assistant Implementor. Now, he hasn't been around for years so he can't tell you the story himself, but he's the poster boy for how to turn things around for yourself in DL as far as I'm concerned. He's the proof it can be done, there is hope for us all. It is all in how you approach it once you truly understand the ramifications of your mistake(s).

It is worth noting at this point that while we do have an "open door" policy for all practical purposes, Myrrima is in charge of every aspect of the day to day operations of the game. If you mail me about something, more than likely, I'll refer it to her (unless it is related to a bug). While Amaessara and I still hold the right to override Myrrima, that's exactly what it is, an override (which of course we do not take lightly), for all intents and purposes, she runs the show and should be your typical final decision maker for any issues.

Best regards,

--Nezmar


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 Post subject: I love being the only schmuck talking...
PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2008 4:31 pm 
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But I have a serious problem with what has happened here. Firstly, because of the way the Multiplaying rules are written: I see that Myrrima said the rules are clearly spelled out... but in fact the rules call into use the reader's own common sense/imagination to understand the full extent of the rules. How can you LOCKOUT / DELETE a player who has played with you side by side and helped all of the newblets who have come to your game for 7 years... for breaking a rule he was SUPPOSED to have IMAGINED on his own? If you don't want to "punish" people; you need to make rules that are very CLEAR. In many cases, a code of hazy undefined rules that are then harshly executed can leave players VERY frustrated and may even create a situation where people feel like it's Staff vs. Player... It's important when you create rules for them to be enforceable and for that to occur they must be very cut and dried. There aren't any good laws that leave the criminal act up to common sense/imagination. If you are seriously going to punish one of your most faithful helpful kind and considerate players for violating a rule that DOESN'T EXIST; how can ordinary players like me, and my friends that I brought here, even hope that when we accidentally break the rules - you won't just lockout our accounts, delete our characters or ban us? I promise... I will not play this game anymore until this given attention because I believe that someday; one of the moderators will just hop on and ban me for something that is not given clear attention in the rules.

Secondly, as staff and the people who have worked hard and long on this game... shouldn't some of your primary concerns be things like maintaining a long lasting dedicated fanbase? What about attracting new people to the game? I can tell you already the biggest reason very few new players stick with your game is because very few people help newbs very much anymore... I can tell that you've lost alot of big older players because of the same reason I am considering leaving... Building a system that rewards helping younger players become established and helping them get started roleplaying would be much more beneficial to the community, no? We've already started to see some serious problems with the economy, and instead of talking about raising the community, we talk about creating some overriding system of increased equipment degradation which is not going to fix the economy, only stimulate quitting, we're putting more and more people on the brink of just leaving. (which is why the economy is failing... the community needs to be a certain size to maintain the effect of a dynamic economy; where there is trickledown in valuable gear and trickleup in basic resources. There also needs to be sinkholes that make gold valuable no matter what level you are (IE potions, scrolls, repairs, temporary or one use items))

The economy isn't broken!!! There aren't enough people to maintain an economy... help us please... I love your game... No... I love our game. I played it the first time in 2001 also but I took a 6 year long vacation... the solution to the problems in Distant Lands is more players... so don't alienate us newbs... help us.

In response to what Jorlain said about not needing to know why a rule is in place; just trust the staff... I don't want to be overly harsh I understand you come from that perspective out of a desire for integrity and peace... but honestly as people (and I mean everyone) we will not follow ANY rule if we cannot perceive or are not showed how it is beneficial to the community. And that's an important aspect of law or rule making... is education. Obviously if a society perfectly implemented its laws and educated people, there would not be a tremendous amount of problems... from what I have heard and seen; a tremendous amount of old longstanding players have had problems with the rules. Now do you think that's a problem with the people or with the rules?

Again I will repeat; until the rules are given some definition and set in stone, until I feel safe enough to put more time into my lvl 90 mage Darrkcen (who I am in the process of creating a sweeping and truly scary story for...), until I hear a dedication to reforging and reconstructing this community by positive reinforcement... I will be considering quitting this amazing game. I urge the staff to reconsider and put the greater good of the community first; me and my mates don't want to leave.

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- Darrkcen - Perjur - Admerickk - Shiviaz


Last edited by drakkenox on Sat Apr 26, 2008 5:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: About recent events - Account locking 101
PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2008 5:02 pm 
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My point about people complaining has been made so i deleted my own post.


Last edited by gyrak on Sat Apr 26, 2008 7:10 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: About recent events - Account locking 101
PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2008 5:12 pm 
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A little more on what's important.

Edit: You'll notice that I never mentioned anything about whether Gydin was talked to before about the rules of multiplaying... the truth is you can NEVER know a rule if it is not concise and specific. Try and give everyone the benefit of the doubt that we're all attempting to help.

This is not me complaining about what happened to Gydin. This is me trying to support the community by providing my two sense - I can look at the situation and see why Gydin doesn't like or understand what's happening - I also understand that if people were allowed to multi-client and twink their own characters that things would be very bleak and unrewarding for the rest of the players. This is me telling the admin that if they create indistinct rules... then people will not be able to follow them. As people; we can't grasp illusory or inexplicable rules... for a rule to be a rule... it must be clear.

Regardless if you've played a game for 7 years or 70 years... a rule that specifically states that it is not a concrete rule; it is open to anything that can possibly be seen as multi-play .... is not a good rule. It's very important to the community that people do not make 2 accounts at once and play with each other. It's very important that players not twink their new characters (which has been coded into the game; kudos Nezmar and admin good thinking) with their old ones. (Even though almost every time I've seen an avatar make a new character they're instantly set-up by all their buddies. Which to be honest; is a blatant break with current multiplaying rules - that I've never seen punished.) It's very important that people don't use a huge avatar they have to benefit their level 5 newb. But you can't restrict someone from helping newbs with their avatar just because they themselves have a newb... and you can't restrict people from telling others what characters they play OOC... and therefore you can't restrict people from being twinked by their friends... which is ALREADY what's happening that I don't see anyone trying to stop. If my main character has interactions with everyone on the server; does that mean my Alt must play by himself? By definition of the rules if my alt has interactions with anyone my main has interacted with; I would be in violation of the multiplay rules. (Using my own common sense, I have deduced this; obviously if this is not how you want the rules interpretted... you must change them to no longer be vulnerable to this logic.)

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- Darrkcen - Perjur - Admerickk - Shiviaz


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 Post subject: Re: About recent events - Account locking 101
PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2008 9:12 pm 
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There are a number of reasons why things are the way they are -- we've spent about 15 years now putting these rules in place. Some of your arguments, on the surface at least, are fair enough, but what do you propose then? What would satisfy YOU? I can point out problems all day, what we need is workable solutions (which are much harder to come by).

Best regards,

--Nezmar


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 Post subject: Re: About recent events - Account locking 101
PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2008 11:34 pm 
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Nezmar always has my standing offer of me resigning from staff if I mess up. I'd much prefer to be a simple GM than do what I have to do sometimes. But seems no one wants to take on the work of what I do. Please, feel free to come put in the time, energy, effort, sweat and tears. I'll gladly hand over the responsibility any time (Nezmar willing of course).

You say it's not about Gydin, but it most certainly is. Flat out, Gydin knew the rule well. He's violated it plenty of times and been given plenty of chances to redeem himself.

Remember the old Indian saying - Walk a mile in a mans moccasins before you criticize him.

I walk many miles in both my own and others moccasins before I make hard decisions.

Anyone want my stinky moccasins?

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Myrrima ~ Distant Lands Administration
Now go vote!!
--Life is too short to be uptight. Either find your sense of humor and enjoy it
or get over it and go away.


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 Post subject: Re: About recent events - Account locking 101
PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2008 11:38 pm 
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I just wanted to make a small point here.

Unless someone is BLATANTLY breaking the rules, chances of us bringing down the full extent of the proverbial hammer is very slim. We'll almost always give warnings first.

We don't like punishing people. We don't do it for our own enjoyment. We simply want what's best for the game and the people that play here. We don't come to these decisions lightly, either.

As far as the way the multi-playing rules are written... Yes, they are a little generalized. But it's not meant to confuse players. The list that is given is merely a dabbling of what can be considered multi-playing. If we went through and listed every possible way that a person could multi-play, and didn't give the "common sense" generalization, then when PC A somehow manages to swap gear with PC B, through the help of PC C, D, E et cetera, and it's not in the rules... Well, then they'll feel that they should be able to do that without consequence.

That's part of what this post is about. Informing the players.

And, to be honest, most of the time players leave because of change. A lot of people don't like change, or don't like starting over again. As far as new people go, while I admit I don't see everything, I don't think I've seen a new person that wasn't at least helped with a decent starter set of gear.

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 Post subject: Re: About recent events - Account locking 101
PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 12:24 am 
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Ok i personally dont like seeing any players leaving as the more the better BUT.
Whether it is spelt out in the rules clearly what Gydin did was multi play, and as he and all his friends have clearly told us he has played the game for 7 years so for that reason him of all people should know that he was breaking the rules so he has no excuse. Now even if one of my best friends done what he did i would not post on here in there defence as i would know that they were wrong and it makes you think if you defend cheating maybe deep down you must think it is ok to cheat. Now Gydin should have just faced the facts and said yes i cheated im sorry. Darreken as for you Dont threaten to quit there is no need for it, all i can say as use your common sense this decision was made for a reason and you may not know all the facts about this sitiuation also. What Staff do is for the best of the game, Hell i know for a fact Myrrima really tried to help Gydin after he cheated last time she even took time out of her busy schedule to help him with rp and other things so please take that into account. Sometimes people go to far and they need to be taught a lesson look at a dog if it bites someone you try and train it not to do it again but if it continues to bite then normally the dog will have to be put down for the safety of all around it, This is not the first time Gydin has multiplayed and proberbly would not be the last. So Darraken instead of threatining the game maybe learn from Gydins mistakes and become a better player. Use your common sense which im sure most of us have and you have nothing to worry about.
Eracules


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 Post subject: Re: About recent events - Account locking 101
PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 1:14 am 
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Personally, I think a lesser punishment would have dimmed the over inflated situation that arose. I mean clearly you still want to make a point, but pick your main character or banning? Heck I'd pick banning too. I know the situation may not be resolved yet, or I may not even have the facts straight, but I personally think a fair punishment that would have gotten the point across would be say.... "Gydin, pick one item you're wearing on you that appraises for more than 100k right now" junk it, then pick another item of the staffer's choosing, junk it. Now let's take away 5 levels. I think this kind of punishment would:
A) not cause you to lose a player
B) gets your point across quite strongly and clearly
C) makes the player play again to get try to get back what they lost
In all honesty, this may be bias since i don't have both sides, but I genuinely do not believe Gydin thought what he did was wrong, from his side of the story i do think the rules were ambiguous but since I only heard his story my point of view is skewed and really doesn't mean a whole lot.

The key thing is HE didn't believe what he did was wrong, why would he admit to a mistake?
Taking a few pieces of treasured gear and setting him back a few levels which are hard to regain at that level I think would have been more than enough of a slap on the wrist to make anybody rethink things.

From what i've seen... punishments generally go by: few warnings, mortal keeps causing problems, time for deletion. Why have I never seen an inbetween? Setting back levels? taking SOME gear? I dunno... I think if I had my main character deleted, I wouldn't WANT to come back, if some stuff was taken away, i'd get the harsh message, but i'd want to keep going. Personally I think so many warnings are a little too light on the punishment and don't quite get the message across, instead of warnings, actually set a player back a little bit. Conversely I think actual punishments are a little too severe, a complete deletion of a character i think is over the top. Just my two cents, I think if the warnings were a tad harsher messages would be easier to get through, and deletions of characters should only be done when things are BLATANT. By the sounds of it, Gydin's actions were likely borderline, definitely not blatant disregarding of rules.


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 Post subject: Re: About recent events - Account locking 101
PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 1:52 am 
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My apologies, I am mistaken, there was an "inbetween" punishment that did take place beforehand and that did involve Gydin losing some gear previously. However I do stand by my opinion that deletion was over the top, this is punishment #2, I still don't believe it mandates deletion. I think lesser actions could have been taken with better results for our community as a whole. I do think of mostly everybody I play with as friends, and I see losing Gydin as a major loss for our community, but I would not blame him one for bit for turning tail and finding a different place to call home. The players that play up at higher levels do so to try to be their best, taking a character that has taken many years to build up and deleting it is over the top in my opinion. Some players do have the will to come back and play and rebuild after a fall like that, most don't. I wouldn't.

I still stand by that I don't think he KNOWINGLY or deliberately broke rules this time around and the punishment doesn't fit the crime. Gydin has broken rules before, so have I, I know when it happened before Gydin made no denial of what he did, neither did I. Plain and simple, I think punishments are meant to teach lessons to players to knowingly abide by the rules, the staff member enforcing the punishment probably believes Gydin did what he did on purpose thinking he would get away with it considering the degree of punishment, I do not think this is the case. Anyways, forums are for voicing opinions I think, and that's just mine :)


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 Post subject: Re: About recent events - Account locking 101
PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 3:20 am 
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Again i have to disagree your right in what you said about higher players though. Since we are higher players we SHOULD know better if we break rules we have been around long enough to KNOW better. Now Gydin brought this to the public to moan about. Alot of us have had punicshment just as bad but we were man enough to take it on the chin and not try to cause big arguments about it. It seems Gydin and his friends seem to think he is oh so important he is above the rules because he helped new ones and he played for 7 years well ill tell you something. Not that it matters but ive played dl for longer than gydin and ive also helped plenty of new players and i once done something wrong also, and you know what staff came down on me hard i did not moan or post about it because i damn deserved it, i was wrong and was man enough to take my punishment like a man and my punishment was not a light one believe me. If Gydin really is as good of a player as you guys make him out to be he will come back get strong and NOT CHEAT again. If people get away with stuff to much they will just keep doing it and i also think Gydin has had alot more chances than all of you realise. So lets get on with the game and not break rules if we do lets take our punishments and then carry on. In real life if you break a rule the law will punish you just like it will in our game.
Eracules


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 Post subject: Re: About recent events - Account locking 101
PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 4:22 am 
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This is always an emotive issue. My suggestion is always to calm down and think carefully and objectively about it. It can be very disheartening considering the time we spend on our characters, but as the Staff have pointed out many times already - they do not take action like this lightly.
I have been playing this game for many years now and in my experience (and those I know and have met along the way) the staff have always been fair, helpful and understanding. They are neither perfect nor omniscient and so will obviously not be able to deal with every single situation that might possibly arise.
They make sacrifices of countless hours of their time (unpaid) to try and make and keep this place fun. If we have thoughts or ideas on how to better the game / system why don't we discuss it with them and see if its workable and theres a way to implement it. I don't think thinly veiled threats and unjustified criticism is constructive at all. There is and old saying you'll find very true:
"You can't please all of the people all of the time"

As far as suggesting the rules be concrete and absolute, thats not really possible if you think about it. This is an open, live community where people can do unlimited variations of actions. It would be impossible to police *every* action or to account for *every* situation. Plus the game changes as new things are added to it which makes this even less feasible. Consider any other situation you'll encounter in your life, if rules were clear and absolute, then why do we have so many judges, lawyers, politicians, police on this planet? Show me a place where rules are absolute and I'll show you one crazy dictator (who is likely to change their mind anyways :)

I think the basics of the multi-playing rule are fairly clear. I guarantee if you any of the players "What would happen if you run into trouble (death, looting, death of a group member, theft etc.) and you then logged in with another character to *fix* that situation?" you'd get about a 99% answer rate of getting caught is going to get you in big trouble. I think deep down we know when we messed up - just sometimes difficult to come to terms with. (Denial is the easiest response).

So lets give the staff a break because I am sure they dislike banning someone as much as the person being banned dislikes it. We all want as many as we can here to keep it interesting, so lets work together to make it better.

OK, well - I'll shut up now - don't flame me too badly.

Peace,

Bannik.

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 Post subject: Re: About recent events - Account locking 101
PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 12:21 pm 
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Here's the truth; Nezmar has a sharp mind - Solution ARE much harder to come up with... whining about things is pretty easy but coming up with a bulletproof solution that has been turned and turned and turned and is flawless is much harder...

The question I have for the staff and community is this: Does it damage the integrity of the game for someone to recognize something on their young character; and then log in a bigger character to deal with it? If the answer to that is a yes... would it be all that difficult to create a timer of lets say, 15 - 30 minutes that is triggered upon entering a zone - which makes it impossible for other characters on the account to enter? This is an extremely challenging rule to enforce without game mechanic because it is very indistinct.

The only thing to appease ME is helping rewrite or rework the multiplaying rules... Your game is amazing... I have been thinking of a few things I will be back on here tonight or tomorrow when I am sure they're isn't some giant hole in my ideas...

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- Darrkcen - Perjur - Admerickk - Shiviaz


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