[MUD-Dev] Affecting the world

##Make Nylander thenewt at use.usit.net
Sun Sep 7 17:56:03 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

[Original message sent by Marian Griffith]
| they are now  it is probably even essential.  Currently they are geared to-
| wards  what I (cautiously) would call a masculine playing style:  going out
| and be the strong powerfull hero  by beating monsters and demons.  I do not
| attach any value to that but I have observed that this is the kind of thing
| that is primarily enjoyed by males.

	The objective of most MUDs being beating monsters and demons is
	not necessarily because of any bias towards "male" activities
	but simply because of capabilities and limitations of software
	implementation. It all boils down to is "what motivates players
	to play". I assume majority of male mudders get their satisfaction
	out of character advancement (i.e. gaining more power within
	the mud world). Correspondingly, maybe "female mudders" get
	more enjoyment out of social interaction in the game world.
	Representing character advancement through implicit physical
	actions (e.g. killing monsters) is easy, you kill a monster,
	you gain experience points, you become more powerful.
	However, implementing an automated system for rewarding player
	characters for social interaction is more difficult.

| list where it is somewhat inappropriate.  What I -am- trying to say is that
| to remain interesting in the long run and to attract a more balanced player
| base a mud needs more diverse goals.

	I agree. I've always been more attracted by social than
	gaming aspects of mudding, and currently I'm trying to
	introduce more diversity into a MUD server I'm
	tinkering with. I have a game world with villages, keeps,
	castles and fortresses of varying sizes. In the beginning,
	all dwellings are controlled by NPCs, but PCs can conquer
	and overthrow NPC rulers. Any PC can at any time form an
	alliance (in Dikuish terms a "clan") with any other PC or
	PCs and wage war against other alliances. I'm trying to
	create an environment that promotes player-to-player
	interaction (but does not enforce it) and is fun to play,
	i.e. is not too complicated or "realistic" ("realistic" and
	"fun" aren't, of course, mutually exclusive, it just depends
	on your target audience -- mine are "twinkie" mudders, 
	because I find them most amusing). 

	The problem I've run into is how to keep PCs in-game even
	when their players aren't online. If I'm to allow a PC to
	become the High King/Queen of the Realm, then other PCs should
	have a chance to overthrow him/her at any time, not just
	when the player happens to be logged in. Turning a PC into
	a NPC when the player quits would be the obvious solution,
	but probably not the most feasible. I mean, the High King/
	Queen would be most royally pissed off to log back in and
	find his/her character killed meanwhile. There are several
	alternative solutions, but the bottom line is, it's very
	difficult to have a persistent mud world when having
	non-persistent players :)

	PCs' actions should have lasting effects on the game world,
	but making these effects "irreversible" may not be feasible
	or even sensible. When you have new players entering the
	game world all the time, how do you keep their interest
	if all the powerful monsters have been killed, all valuables
	hoarded by a handful of characters (who may have already
	quit playing for good)...? My solution is to present players
	"an illusion of persistence" -- when they manage to slay
	a powerful wizard, instead of falling down dead the wizard
	disappears in a cloud of smoke shouting "I'll be back!";
	when they kill every single goblin in a forest, the goblins
	re-appear gradually, increasing slowly in numbers; when
	a character dies, _that_ character is permanently dead, but
	the player can create a new character with almost matching
	qualities but with different name. Also, I'm presenting them
	"an illusion of power"; player characters advance very little
	in physical strength or combat prowess, instead, their power
	comes from learning in-game mechanics, contacts and interaction
	with other players.

	I perceive a MUD more as an interactive social environment
	than a simulation of a real world, I believe one can maintain
	a sense of wonder and suspension of belief with a lot of simple
	little tricks and bells and whistles without making the system
	overly complicated or technically sophisticated.

		-- Newt

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