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

Adam Wiggins nightfall at user1.inficad.com
Sat May 17 18:34:53 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

> >Yup.  This is one thing we've thought a lot about - how do you match the
> >simplicity of a mud where you log on, type 'score', and see 'You need 15
> >experience to reach level 2.'  
> Err, I don't and I don't intend to?
> My idea is that the sysyem itself is to be the mystery, and that
> advancement within the system will mostly take the format of greate
> familiarity.  As such it becomes the admin's/IMP's duty to actively keep
> the system changing and extending so that the player are always more or
> less in mystery.

Oh yes, of course...that's not what I'm referring to.  I'm referring to

> >...  It looked interesting,
> >but if someone who is an experience mud player can't figure out what to
> >do within the first fourty minutes, how are normal players supposed to be
> >able to get into it? 
> Word of mouth, the attraction of something different.
> (Note: I'm not arguing against accurate and extensive help systems)

This was DartMUD's one saving grace.  I usually spend at least ten
minutes perusing the help files before I even issue my first command
on the mud.  The only problem with this is that frequently the help files
bear little or no relation to the game itself, for whatever reason.
I particularly like muds which have a "help <mudname>" which tells you
the philosophy, gameplay style, features that make that mud cool, etc.
If they state out and out, "We love PK.  Do it a lot." and you aren't
interested in this, then they've done both you a favor (saved you
from wasting their time) and themselves a favor (getting rid of a player
who's not going to like the game, and even hinder it for others).

My point is that muds are for fun.  If I can't log on and start having
fun and/or doing something mildly interesting within the first 30 minutes,
I don't think that the game designers have done their job.  In particular,
I often run into things like my character getting hungry and thirsty,
but being unable to find a source of food or drink.  This is fun?
The advantage to a hack-n-slash mud is that you know what the point of the
game is straight out - to kill.  You find a likely mob, and jump it.
My dilema is that our mud is not like this.  So what to do?  A good helpfile
is probably the best answer to this.  Secondly is making sure that you
*can* have fun with a brand new character.  Too many muds subscribe to the
idea that the first few character levels should be "work" (ie, trying to take
out a squirrel by attacking it, fleeing, running to the healer, running back..)
and that the fun doesn't start until level X.  Why is this necessary?

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