[MUD-Dev] Re: Administrative notes

Marian Griffith gryphon at iaehv.nl
Mon May 12 19:51:18 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

On Sun 11 May, Todd Lair wrote:
> [On 05/11/97 Marian Griffith <gryphon at iaehv.nl> said]

> >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.

> I think this the appropriate way to go.  The only difficulty with this
> approach is maintaining the risk involved with non-combative activities. 
> Risk is crucial for a good game because you can't really have players
> getting reward for typing in ten commands correctly.  This is what is so
> attractive about combat for both implementor and player; it provides
> substantial risk with possible reward.

Well, yes. You are completely right for a game that is based around combat.
As others have pointed out already that is not necessarily what roleplaying
is all about.
Also, you make the basic assumption that most people with their roots firmly
in muds (or ad&d) make. You equate risk with violence. This is not necessarily
true either. E.g. a farmer gambles her entire property each year in the
expectaction that this year's crop is worth more than the amount of money
invested in it. There's definitely risk involved but no violence.
The real reason somebody pointed out to me why combat games are so popular
is because they are -glamorous-... to the majority of young male players.
Nothing right or wrong with that, just a statement of fact.
When you are thinking about roleplaying games you just have to keep in mind
that combat and violence aren't the only things to base a game on. And that
experience points are not the only way to reward a player within the con-
text of such a game.

> For example, a healer type should simply heal.   It's a bit contradictory
> to job title if that player must also go out into the world and actually
> kill.  Now, you can't have that same player sitting in the middle of town
> square healer non threatening injured players while leveling up a storm.

I'm not sure I understand exactly what you are trying to say here. But I
think you can be fairly sure that players would be -very- carefull with
their healers if health is hard to come by and easy to loose. On most
muds healers are conveniences more than anything (though their presence
has led to the rise of monsters that hit so hard that players must be
healed during a fight.). Players will heal up from just about anything
given enough time. Were this not the case then players would be forced
to adopt a radically different style, for good or bad.

> One possible solution would be to force healers to first assume the
> injuries of other players and then attempt to heal themselves; that is
> they would only be able to heal themselves.  This involves some risk, but
> a careful player could be absolved of any substantial risk.

There is no need to force the -healer- to take any risk. If the ability
is rare and draining that's a way to deter players from being a healer.
Also, without things to heal there is little point in being a healer.

If you want to follow this line of reasoning you must be prepared to
rethink the very basic premises of the game. Typically it is: create
a variety of monsters to fight and minimise the time spend between
fights to avoid players becoming too bored. But make the fight itself
challenging enough to attract players for the adrenaline rush. Also
don't bother players with inconveniences (too much) and put in enough
instruments of mayhem to placate those who want to explore and tinker
rather than kill anything that moves. As they become more successfull
they will be able to kill bigger monsters and explore new areas and
tinker with new skills.
A roleplaying game starts with: A player assumes a character in a
fantasy (or otherwise) setting and must act out the behaviour of
that character through the events the game and the other players
put her through.
You will have to find some kind of 'reward' inherent in the game to
encourage players depending on the type of game you're trying to get
at. This may be basically the same as with muds: the ability to kill
bigger monsters, but you may opt for completely different approaches.
But between the premise and the reward must you define the way your
game is going to be played.

marian (in a philosophical mood)
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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