[MUD-Dev] Re: Administrative notes

Adam Wiggins nightfall at user1.inficad.com
Mon May 12 06:34:32 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

> > Risk is crucial for a good game because you can't really have
> > players getting reward for typing in ten commands correctly.
> This is something that has always boggled me when people start trying
> to convert their combat oriented games to a more "role-playing"
> focused one. Why is there still this concern about levels, and
> advancement, and so forth? If there are any rewards for
> role-playing/not killing things, they should only indirectly be
> related to any system mechanics. Becoming the recognised leader of a
> group shouldn't have any mechanics effects *whatsoever* - it's just
> that other characters recognise her as a leader and do what she says.
> It is folly, in my view, to try and keep the idea of advancement based
> on mechanical risk when introducing non-mechanical tasks. Let those
> who fight get better at fighting, and those who heal better at
> healing, and leave it at that.

Agreed 100%!  Not only does this make a lot more sense, but it's really a
far simpler model to create and to play.  Designers these days seem to
spend far too much time trying to balance risk with reward.  Why does it
have to be that complicated?  You have a task, and you try to do it correctly.
If you do it correctly, your 'reward' is just that you completed the task.
Combat just happens to involve two people who are trying to hurt or kill
each other, so there's a large element of risk.  If I'm trying to forge a 
sword, the element of risk is very, very small.  If I 'fail', I just get
a shitty sword, some wasted time and some wasted materials, and maybe the
scorn of my teacher or the anger of my customer.

As to the original comment above, you're over-analyzing.  If I know I can
kill mob X with a backstab, I type:

> backstab X
You place your dagger in X's back, causing its immediate death
You recieve 3000 experience

Now I've just received a 'reward' for a single command.  Of course, it's
silly to think of it this way.  The command isn't what trigger the reward.
It's that I made a character, learned the skills necessary to be a good
backstabber, got my hands on a good dagger, found X, took a chance the first
time (not knowing how 'easy' of a fight it would be)...now my reward is
that I can cruising around poking X's in the back and getting 3k experience.
How, then, is this different from learning the skills necessary to forge
a sword, aquiring the raw materials, getting your hands on some good tools
and a forge, then spending the time it takes to forge the sword?  I'd hardly
say that my 'reward' (the sword) was gleaned from typing 10 meaningless

Man...'experience' wasn't a bad idea when it was first ported over to computer
games, but it boggles my mind that this archaic, kludgey concept is still
in such wide usage today, given the technology and better, well-proven systems
we have availible.

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