[MUD-Dev] Re: Administrative notes

Marian Griffith gryphon at iaehv.nl
Sun May 11 11:55:37 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

On Fri 09 May, Miroslav Silovic wrote:

> First of all, it appears to me that more often than not, combat system,
> no matter how perfect, tends to get in the way. While I completely agree
> that a RP-oriented MUD could be greatly spiced with combat, in practice
> it actually takes from the experience as it attracts people to whom
> combat is end in itself. From that point, the game degrades into
> powerfest, loosing all its immersive value.

I have to slightly disagree with you here. It's not just the fact that
there's combat possible that degrades a game. It is often that combat
is the -only- thing that is happening automatically.
Consider muds. The only thing that you can do there is fight. So it
isn't too strange that players do just that. They could also start
to RP but there's nothing in the game to encourage that so players
who only want to fight quickly begin to drive out players who want
to RP. On mushes you can see this thing happening. Originally there
is nothing happening automatically there. So unless players RP there
they just sit there and stare at the rooms they desced. Often the only
thing that is added to them is a combat mechanism and almost immediately
you see that players use that, almost to the exclusion of everything
else the game offers. Simply because it's the only activity the game
seems to offer.

> I think that the RP game is really succesful if it produces 'Wow! I'm
> *THERE*' feeling. The important elements, at least to me, are good writing
> (this is the key. Try to hire real writers as builders... worked greatly
> for PernMUSH(es)), good characters (don't be ashamed to give classes
> on roleplaying. I've seen two months courses with weekly attendance),
> and devoted players (how to attract them? Your problem! :) ).

I completely agree here though. A successfull RP game must drag you in
in much the same way as a good book does. Good writing is equally
essential. But what I think is most important is that the game itself
isn't biassed to one type of activity. Make combat only one of many
possible things to do, and make everything equally rewarding. That is
in my opinion the best way to achieve a balanced player base.

> Now, I think that automated VR could greatly contribute to this - if
> one were able to deal with 'combat twink' problem. Do any of you
> have good solutions to this problem? Perhaps an Ultima-type game, with
> fully functioning NPC culture might work?

The simple way to get rid of combat twinks is to have a real (gamewise)
cost attached to it. Make armour and weaponry expensive to get and
maintain. Don't give it away for free with each corpse, but make players
purchase it with a armourer and weaponssmith. Make money hard to get at,
and make not having it a hazardous lifestyle (e.g. characters can really
starve to death if they don't eat enough, or the right things). Don't
reincarnate characters when they get killed but make that dependent on
the actions of other players. If you don't have friends then your characters
won't last long. That should make players who are looking to fight think
twice and give players who don't want to other things to do.

Yes - at last - You. I Choose you. Out of all the world,
out of all the seeking, I have found you, young sister of
my heart! You are mine and I am yours - and never again
will there be loneliness ...

Rolan Choosing Talia,
Arrows of the Queen, by Mercedes Lackey

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