[MUD-Dev] Level abstractions - Realism vs Game Issues

Matt Chatterley root at mpc.dyn.ml.org
Mon Jun 30 22:06:04 New Zealand Standard Time 1997


On Mon, 30 Jun 1997, Marian Griffith wrote:

> On Mon 30 Jun, Matt Chatterley wrote:
> 
> > On Sun, 29 Jun 1997, Jon A. Lambert wrote:
> > *giggle* Having a skill orientation, or at least influence on the game
> > complicates rating power - I'm having trouble writing balance documents at
> > the moment, and I suspect I'll end up inventing things such as "Combat
> > power", being the average stats for the players race, and skills for his
> > level, so that I can bandy them around, and have ratings to refer to.
> > Level exists as a rough guide for this, but given something of the
> > variation above, it isn't reasonable to assume that a level 20 has got his
> > attack skill maxxed, he may have thrown it all into something obscure like
> > haggling, or fishing.
> 
> I don't think I understand this.  You compare 'power' for combat only, but
> you still have skills that have nothing to do with combat? Doesn't it make
> more sense to compare fighting skills only, and say so?
> Or to get rid of the skills that don't have anything to do with combat?

The combat point is just one example case here. Combat is also a large
area of concern when considering game balance. Combat power is also likely
to be the biggest modicum for comparison (particularly if you get down to
"genital size" wars). Strangely I've not found myself requiring some way
to sum up overall haggling ability (or the like), partly because haggling
is far simpler (it relies upon four factors, two for the player haggling,
two for the thing being haggled at) than combat, and partly because the
game *does* have an adventure (and conflict) bias.
 
> > I'm probably going to leave direct modifications out of their control,
> > although they can take actions towards them (drink potions, put effort
> > into training.. nothing that will 100% guarantee an increase - and after a
> > point, magic becomes the *only* way to get better, and such magic is very
> > rare, and often temporary). Gaining permanent increases in stats will
> > typically occur as a result of completing a (relatively for the player)
> > difficult quest
> 
> At least do not make the importance of a single stat point so big as in
> the average mud where you can never catch up the difference between wis
> 17 or wis 18 from a low level. And where many skills have a dramatical-
> ly reduced chance of success if you're lacking a single stat point.

Probably one thing worth a basic note is that I dumped the classic
"intelligence" and "wisdom" stats, 'cause I really don't see much point in
simulating them, when the player can represent them far better ("Learning"
and "WIllpower" pretty much replace them, with slightly different
intentions).

I'm considering the merits of a continous stat system, rather than
discrete figures right now - not sure. The different between 17 and 18
would be as that between 1 and 2 - 1 point. It gets really confusing at
this point.

I think my main aim here is to set restrictions based on physical limits
of the race and individual, and stick more or less to them. I may not use
racial limits, but personal limits (not all humans have the same dexterity
potential, etc).

> > > Characters have two sets of stats, current and potential.  Current
> > > stats may go up or down upon attaining a level based on age.  It's a
> > > parabola effect.  Current Stats will increase initially until such time
> > > as the character reaches their peak (potential).
> 
> I think I like this, having predefined stats that can't be exceeded. Are
> you including magical and equipment wise stat increase in this as well?

The permanent limits are pretty much permanent (small chances for magical
increase beyond), but temporary limits are much more flexible from
equipment bonuses at least. Not commenting on the parabola thing asuch..
that belongs to a previous poster.
 
> > > Following this age peak stats will stabilize or degrade
> 
> I'm not too sure I really like this. It sort of penalises established
> characters which I think can easily work against your game. Jedi used
> to (still has?) a system where after a certain age a character had an
> increasing chance of dying of old age.  This was a crude mechanism to
> drive out old characters who had too much equipment collected and did
> not loose it in the rent. Having stats degrading will likely have the
> same kind of effect on characters.

I don't really like this, unless the game is skewed that characters are
more temporary, and can die (permanently) with some ease, with a suitable
degree of realism.
 
> > > Current stats may also fluctuate during game-play based on disease, 
> > > wounding, toxins, etc.
> 
> This I feel is very important. If you are wounded your constitution is
> not too good and you're likely weak as well. And a sleeping potion may
> have a lingering effect of making you more clumsy even after the imme-
> diate effect of the potion wears off.

Yup.
 
> > > This is sort of antithetical to heroic fantasy.  Maybe too close to
> > > reality; "making the best of what the Fates give you".  It's definitely
> > > not appropriate for all game types.  
> 
> This at least seems to suggest that you won't allow the potential stats
> to be exceeded even with magical assistence. Not that I'm at all in fa-
> vour of equipment that increases stats (or anything).

I think magical items bestowing improved physical prowess are fine - but,
not in the proliferation we often see them. ;)

Regards,
	-Matt Chatterley
	http://user.itl.net/~neddy/index.html
"He can't stop us, we're on a mission from Glod!" - Soul Music (Pratchett)





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