[MUD-Dev] Levels and XP

Martin Keegan martin at cam.sri.com
Fri Jun 27 13:38:09 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

On Wed, 25 Jun 1997, Huibai wrote:
> There are a lot of people not wanting to implement levels, or
> experience points, or character classes.  I see that as that
> you actually want to 'move on' as opposed to omit them.  You
> don't want to quantify player A as 3 better than player B, or 
> to limit player A to a predefined subset of abilities, or to say
> that doing X for so long gives you Y points to spend on anything.
> XP, levels, and classes in their current forms are rather black-
> and-white.

Levels and XP, no matter how much one criticises them, have two great
strength: simplicity (conceptually, and coding-wise), and enjoyability.
I'm not one to give in to player demands on anything, but I think that
having clearly defined levels, and not too many of them, is great for
encouraging inter-player competition. Levels make very powerful milestones
and goals, so long as you don't have too many.

The worst thing about levels is the existence of muds with over 20 of
them. At this point, it just gets ridiculous - I've seen muds with more
than 800 levels. This blurs the distinction between levels and XP - Advent
didn't even have 800 available POINTS!

> So don't jump my boody when I mention levels and xp, for I
> too am 'moving on' - just not by dropping everything.  Well, I
> am dropping classes now - gonna try my hand at integrating
> 'skills' to replace classes altogether, instead of just being a
> support group of variables.  My goodness, the effects you
> people are having on me.

My problem with classes and races is not a problem of principle, but of
implementation. I'm the first to flame someone who hates quests just
because every one he's seen is poorly written. The way I've seen classes
and races implemented (primarily on Dikus, less often on LPs, and seldom
on Tinys (and let's face it, that covers 90% of muds)) is of a choice made
(usually irrevocably) at character creation time. Moreoever, the muds with
N classes/races (where N is large) tend to have very bland systems, where
class/race is just a stat modifier instead of permeating one's existence
within the mud.

IMO, if you're going to have distinct, strongly differentiated groupings
of players, the choices between them should not be presented at creation
time, but be presented as career moves during gameplay.


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