[MUD-Dev] RP thesis...

Marian Griffith gryphon at iaehv.nl
Mon May 12 20:22:54 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

On Sun 11 May, Matt Chatterley wrote:
> On Sun, 11 May 1997, Jeff Kesselman wrote:

> > Some ways to caue this to happen:
> > (1) Design your game with interlocking dependancies, players must need each
> > other.

> Well noted. Players should be able to play alone to some extent, but
> should require other players to progress in any way, shape, or form.

This can be further simplified by ensuring that no one player can accumulate
all things needed for significant progress. That way they will be forced to
interact, and interact cooperatively to get anything worthwile done.
You have to be sure the players know this though.

> > (2) Design so that groups are mroe efective then individuals.

> Perhaps, but it should still be possible to be an individual, and relate
> to other individuals and groups. :)

Goals may be different for each group member. E.g. in a trading caravan
setting the primary goal of everybody is to cross the 'forest of raiders'
mostly unscathed and in possession of all their goods. The reason why
they want to cross that forest may differ wildly between the various
people. The trader wants to bring her goods to a city at the other side
to make a profit. The guard wants to because it is her job and she wants
the rest of her pay. Players play individually to achieve a common goal,
nothing wrong with that.

> > (4) Do NOt design your game so any single player can., on their own,
> > acquire everything they need to be succesful. if yo udo, they wil lstop
> > socializing and focus on solo accomplishment.

> Right. While it should still be possible to be an individual, and succeed
> to some extent in individual projects, one man trying to build a bridge
> will take longer than four men working together to build a bridge. One man
> cannot open a bar and instantly have a profit - he'll probably need staff,
> or at least customers. The concept of a 'group' can be abstract, since
> they don't have to share a common goal or aim.

Players are predictable. They prefer to minimise effort and maximise reward.
Most games the effort of coordinating a group is too much for the reward it
offers. It's easier to kill more things at little risk than get a group and
kill a few big monsters. Like on merc muds: each level is a thousand fidos.
Or 4 big bad monsters that might kill you three times before you kill them.

> > (5) Design out "dominance games", (Im higher level and can beat you up,
> > etc...)
> > Tehre is a snmall, EVRY destructive component that wil lotherwise domiante
> > your game and ruin almos tal lsocial interraction.
> > (6) Make sure that posuitive social behavior is a "winning" strategy and
> > that negativ social behavior is a losign one.

> While the first is mostly right.. someone has the power (be it someone in
> the government, or somesuch). The concept of 'levels' and other such
> mechanics should really not feature in RPGs at all, IMHO, since they cloud
> everything over. Negative behaviour can be fun, but usually destructive.
> It might be fun to RP a bank robber, at least, fun until the cops shoot
> you down infront of the bank.

I think that is something you have to be -very- carefull with, allowing
players to fight each other. Power levels on the average game is much too
unbalanced to make that something feasible, and it typically is open to
abuse too much. Two or three obnoxious players can ruin the entire game.
Within weeks.
Also, if the apparent -aim- of the game becomes to prove 'I am better than
you because I can kill/do XXXX' there's little point left in interacting
in a positive or respectfull manner. The best way I can think of to get
around this is to make power something that is granted by the -other-
players. E.g. one player is made head of the guard. Not because she
killed more monsters but because she has shown to be the best to lead
the guard. There's still a chance of abuse, but it is easier to control
and people can always vote with their feet.

> > (7) DEFINE the goals of charactrs in your game (in the large) and make
> > palyers aware of them.  The "its just a great big real world" DOESNt work,
> > players end up at cross puproses and having no fun.

Yes. The goal must be something that is simple to keep in mind and possible
to achieve in discrete steps. And something that is hard to come by.
Personally I don't belief that 'experience for killing to gain levels' is
a very good solution, though it has the advantage of being incredibly simple.

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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