[MUD-Dev] Re: Levels (was: Administrative notes)

Adam Wiggins nightfall at inficad.com
Thu May 15 22:08:12 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

> Its a matter of grain -- make the grains fine enough and use does
> improve skill.  The problem with this is that you then have to handle
> bleed-over.  While my above tree-chopping will not have done a lot for
> my axe melee skills it will have done a lot for my upper body strength
> and general ability to control the motion and exact placement of force
> with an axe.  One could argue this was just an exremely fine grain,
> and thus there is no bleed-over, but this will result in your having
> an unmanagably huge set of skills to manage (quick guess 10^4+).

Nod...well, there's a point at which no one cares anymore.
I'd be disappointed if all that axe-swinging did nothing for me.  If all
it did was give me a slightly better ability to use axes and possibly
increased my strength, I'd be perfectly happy.

> >A method I would much prefer is requiring -trainers- to increase
> >skills and require -usage- to keep the skill from loosing edge. 
> I'm in two minds on this one.  I sodding well despise the model of
> having to go track down some mobile so I can then issue a standardised
> command (or perform some standard obesiance/duty) and have my "skills"
> automagically increased in response.  Blech.

Agreed, when you put it this way.  But...

> OTOH I am quite fond of having to figure out what other player may
> know something about XXX skill that I don't know, and then tracking
> him down, and personally persuading him to teach me (followed by the
> same automagical part).  

I like mobiles as teachers just fine.  For one thing, they are online
24 hours a day.  More importantly, I like the scenario of a person
hiking deep into the wilderness to find the hermit who is rumored to
live somewhere high upon a mountain.  The hermit declares that he will
only teach her the fabled herbal recipe for his cure-all concoction if
she will bring him the blosom from the century plant which grows upon
a faraway peak, and is blooming sometime in the next three months.

What I _don't_ like is only being able to practise, or being limited (ie,
I can only learn so much on my own) by what the mobiles teach.  Our system
allows you to learn anything you like on your own.  In most cases you won't
necessarily know _what_ to do, so learning from someone else (or a book)
is a good idea.  Also, you can learn much more quickly under someone's
tutiliage.  The best route to learning, say, swordplay, is to go find a
trainer (hopefully for cheap).  Since your chance of learning is based
largely off your opposing skill level (*), the teacher can choose to use
his skills at a level comparable to yours.  Thus you'll learn up many
combat-related skills (parry, dodge, weapon skills etc).  There are other
methods.  You can just go out and fight; less effective since they are
not necessarily fighting at your same skill level, plus they don't (usually)
give you tips while you're fighting.  Also possibly dangerous, though probably
cheaper.  You can learn from a book, which will give you knowledge but not
applied skill, which is the one that 'counts' for actually doing it.

(*) Your chance to learn is based off a lot of things (how much you've
been doing it lately, whether you've learned lately, your intelligence,
how high the skill currently is, how high the related skills are) but
one of the primary rolls (ie, executed before any other) is your skill
versus your target's skill.  Someone with a 30 skill in parry will not
learn much from trying to parry someone with an 80 weapon skill, or a 10
weapon skill.  They'll have a pretty good chance of learning versus someone
slightly better than them...I believe about 33 would be ideal.  A teacher
will always fight close to your ideal, or as close as they can, based on
their own skill in the given skill you're trying to learn, and their
skill with 'teach'.

> The obvious fault with this scenario is, "How are the players going to
> learn the skills with no pre-existant teachers?"  You can either do it
> all yourself as a Wiz (ie everything ends up sourcing from you), or
> (and I like this one) given enough activity and cogitation (yup, add a
> "think" command) in an area, a player character will have
> "cognitions", resulting in them realising that there's some other
> nifty specail thing they could also do in XXX area.

I played a mud where the mobiles which taught the skills for each
(bleh) class only taught one person.  That person then became the
'guildmaster' for their class, and could charge exhorbent amounts to
teach others.  Or teach them for free, at their discresion.  At any
rate, it didn't really work, because the guildmasters would either
not be on when people wanted to learn, or would just quit playing altogether
meaning that if there was no one else learned in that skill it was
basically lost forever.
Two things; first of all, this didn't work very well, and I see no
reason to try to do something along that line.  Secondly, I want
my mud playable even if there is no one else online.  This means having
NPCs 'fill in' when there aren't players around.  If all teachers
were players that would kick ass, but you gotta be realistic.  Especially
when you've got hundreds of skills to choose from.

> <<Actually I'm still debating on the "think" command.  Currently I'm
> against it for the same reasons I'm against any general IQ stat.>>

Hmmm.  I don't find that idea very interesting either as a player
or a creator.  I'm still not sure why you don't like mental stats;
they reflect your charcters ability to do certain things in the world,
they don't have the mud try to do the player's thinking for them.

> Note also that this tracking down of some other player who has the
> desired skill is a bitch.  For one there is no global namespace for
> player names, so the best you can do is to rely on personal
> observation ("he did something I can't do") and asking about ("You
> know anybody who can do XXX really well?").  Call it enforced
> socialising.

This is a given.  Currently your motivation to explore is related to
getting money, experience, and equipment.  On our mud there is no exp,
and money is more easily made by getting a job.  Equipment is best gotten
by trading money to the blacksmith for a custom suit of gear.  The main
reason to explore is to find new skills and abilities, and to make use
of the skills you already have.  In fact, I'd say that this is the
primary thrust of our mud: character development.

> Having a game requires certain definite components.  There must be one
> or more goals (be they defined internally or externally to the game),
> barriers to achieving those goals, and freedoms (abilities) to achieve
> the goals.  raise the barriers to high and the game is though
> impossible.  Make too many freedoms and the game is twinkish.  

Hehe...yes.  More specifically, the satisfaction one receives at overcoming
a particular obstacle is proportional to the difficulty of that obstacle.

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