[MUD-Dev] Affecting the world

Maddy maddy at fysh.org
Mon Sep 8 17:48:05 New Zealand Standard Time 1997


Previously, ##Make Nylander wrote....

> [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.

I would imagine that female players like the mental challenge of solving
puzzles too.  As for social interaction, you're thinking in terms of points
& scores so you've missed the obvious reward for talking to X - information. 
Information is power too (or so they say), if Freda finds out from talking
to Bubba that the pixies of the wood like flowers, and Freda has some
flowers, then she's just discovered a useful bargaining tool with the
pixies.

> | 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,

What about NPC interaction - is Frumpy the fearless not allowed to join a
clan just because he's not a player?  Having some kind of NPC interaction
will probably make any mud look a lot busier than it really is.  If you only
have 3 players on, having a load of NPCs wandering about doing things (like
fighting monsters) may lure them into thinking it's busier.

> 	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 :)

GMs face this problem in real life too, and the guy who GMs for me the most
has a fairly simple solution.  Cheating.  Well ok - it's not exactly
cheating, I think a more fair term would be "biasing the dice rolls". 
Essentially he rolls the dice for the missing player(s) if they need to do
anything and if it's something likely to result in their death, he makes
sure they don't die.

A good example is if we're in combat, he'd pair the lowest rolling
"victim(s)" with the missing player(s).  A feasible solution to your
example above, is the guards protecting the ruler a little bit more lucky. 
Not so much that the usurpers die, but enough to put them off.  Or make it
so that the king flees for his life, I'm sure the player would rather he
were alive and without a kingdom, than dead.

> 	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,

Monsters breed.

>                                                      all valuables
> 	hoarded by a handful of characters (who may have already
> 	quit playing for good)...? 

Make it so that valuable items can be made.  That sword of instanting
slaying might be owned by Bubba, but the dwarfs that made it aren't going to
just sit around and do nothing.  They might forge another sword, which could
get stolen by the evil orcs, which leads onto yet another quest.

>                                  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.

Well it sounds like for players to be good at combat, the combat itself has
to be complicated for them to be able to learn the hidden secrets of it. 
Once a player learns that typing "hit orc" will eventually kill the orc,
they would have reached the limit of knowledge.  For it to be worth while,
you'd have to have lots of different combat moves (parry,slash,stab etc..).

> 	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.

Having run a talker (well ok - I still do), I find I get a lot of people who
log on, and start with "kill X" or "get all" or something like that.  When
they realise they're not on a mud and they can't kill anything or whatever,
they leave in disgust. (Note: the default is to talk not to do commands - so
I don't snoop everyone in case anyone was wondering *P).

Maddy



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