ARTICLES OF COMBAT: USING AUTOMATION or a "BOT" for COMBAT
When two fighters confront each other, it is perhaps for the challenge, a conflict of ideals, or a deep-rooted hatred. For whatever reason there is to fight (of which there are many), the honour which goes beyond the politics of the realm should be remembered. Whether you are evil, wicked, saintly or neutral, there is a certain unspoken code of conduct. One of these is not to bore your opponent to death by automating your side of the fight with triggered response commands (c..f. HELP THEORYGLOSSARY). Not only is it offensive that you made the challenge yet have your MUD client fight for you, but it proves only your weakness in battle.
A person who uses automation where there is any "evaluation" being parsed without player involvement soon comes to rely on this "bot" type of play. It begins as a convenience and becomes a crutch. Defensively it can seem to work well against mediocre opponents, it is flattered by combats overweighted with mere afflict-cure exchanges i..e. battles of simplest abilities without attack innovation or continuity round to round. We have all seen the honeymoon period of inherited "bot" automation for players who'd been struggling - less deaths, increased kills, it flatters to deceive but against an opponent above the average the story will be a different one entirely. The better fighters will have their controlled 'reactions' whose modus operandi might seem similarly automated just as systems purchased or inherited by the 'bot'.
What's the difference? It's as simple as the mechanic who builds a 'super' car from component pieces, researching, gaining insight, perceiving how it all fits togehther and even experimentating in ways to supercharge the final vehicle - compared this to the showroom midrange - smoothly purchased, instantly working for you and getting you around in comfort, high rated in collision, parts and labour under warranty. The poor sucker with the half-constructed 'super' car looks like he made a bad call: more work, more to go wrong, longer to get to proper fighting and a dozen components having to be perfectly aligned to do the same thing the showroom buyer can make his Toyota Corolla switch on with a thumb-flick on the steering wheel.
#, but for anyone developing their character's fight-skills by natural accumulation of abilities, each one assessed and understood in its own right before integration into an evolving repertoire, will know the long-game pays dividends. The inherited automaton will plateau while the fighter who knows every piece of his setup will be able to read a fight, spot his mistakes, improve weak areas and - most important of all - seek the holy grail of fighting mindsets: the
There is a world of difference between an evaluation being automated (the "bot") and triggering a reaction where none is needed (a mere "trigger"). The latter is a feature of modern play just as the calculator is faster than pen'n'paper sums no matter how fast your arithmetic. This does not make the calculator a better mathematician and when automation crosses the line where it replaces human ingenuity (or seeks to ape it) especially in attack, the limits of the "bot" will be exposed by every player of courage and quality. The crutch will be kicked away and the owner's busy calculator-combat collapses like a bad souffle.
You will never become a good fighter if you rely on triggers. You'll only defeat fighters who are baffled by them. Every trigger has a way to be fooled and, short of writing an artificially intelligent MUD client, you're not going to profit by the use of triggers except in ensuring you stay mediocre.
There is a much more important, and yet overlooked, disadvantage to using triggers. Namely, if you are assuming the trigger is going to take care of the problem you've set it, you'll not watch the text. Instinctively, you'll blot it out of the screen and look for other things. Not only does this make the fight boring for yourself, but it also means you've set a huge limit on yourself. By training your instincts rather than your computer to recognise text, you inevitably help your creativity in battle. Someone who just thinks 'megillos cures yavin' is totally missing the point. And that's about as far as you can go with triggers.
However, triggers are not entirely hopeless. I've known many people who have used them in an 'advisory' capacity. In other words, what you may have heard called 'colour triggers' and 'highlighting'. Instead of having your MUD client react for you, you create a trigger which only colours the text on the screen. No actual command is sent to Avalon. Variations on this idea are triggers which produce a sound instead of change the colour of text and triggers which substitute (c..f. HELP THEORYGLOSSARY) lines of text -- for example, 'You feel a twitching on your scalp.' becomes just 'WYG'. I would recommend colouring over substituting only because the actual lines of text are atmospheric. You run the risk of tiring yourself if a fight is just comprised of 'wyg', 'web', 'nann', 'mouurark', 'net', 'jab', etc. Don't underestimate the usefulness of text to help your creativity in battle.
Of course, there will always be some who think triggers are a nifty idea and will use them, maybe even extensively. They'll not last long, if not only because of equilibrium and balance (c..f. HELP LEVELLERS).
To continue, read HELP USINGMACROS.