[MUD-Dev] more classes (Usability and interface and who the hell is suppo)

Brandon J. Rickman ashes at pc4.zennet.com
Fri Sep 26 07:50:20 New Zealand Standard Time 1997


On Thu, 25 Sep 1997, Ola <olag at ifi.uio.no> wrote:
>I don't know if this has been used in muds, but how about providing a
>very limited wellknown set of classes (I'd go for just one class) when
>you first log on.  After some time playing you'll probably discover
>that this wasn't the right thing after all, then you get the option of
>rerolling class/skills but keeping the skillpoints/xp (within reason).

It sounds interesting but it would probably be of more benefit to
experienced players than new ones (I haven't followed this thread too
well, perhaps this is a desired result).  While it gives new players a
chance to learn the game, more experienced players would use it to
determine the "path of least resistance" to character development.  For
example, if an experienced player knows that magic users have a 
disproportionate advantage at higher levels but it is easier to train
fighters they could optimise their training.  There are a lot of 
assumptions about the general game system here, so I will give another
example.

In Daggerfall, as I have played it (though never to completion,
I just don't give a fig for the fate of the dead king, the quests are too
obnoxious by half) the Monk class is almost the optimal character class.
Although Monks cannot use armor, armor is actually of little benefit (as
is usually the case in these games) except as a "location" for magical
effects.  Monks cannot use weapons either, but eventually the hand-to-hand
skill is the most effective offense (weapons will eventually break).  And
with Dodging and Critical Strike, this character completely unbalances the
combat system.

So, after playing the game with a Monk I restarted the game with a custom
character class.  I gave my character all the "good" Monk skills, plus
better magic skills. (There are other ways to optimise, such as making
a paralysis-immune character a strong vulnerability to paralysis.)  Now
I suppose this may fall into the sphere of "powergaming", but only because
the game itself was vulnerable to the powergaming approach.  And all of
this takes in a general assumption that I will mention briefly below...

(Perhaps I should describe my general gaming strategies as "minimal".  In
the original Civilization I carefully manage my cities to keep them small
and productive, thus never requiring any of those extraneous things like
Temples, Grainaries, &c.  Ah, Despotism.)

>In my opinion, if everybody starts with weak characters (as seems to
>be the common case in muds), then everybody should start out alike, no
>differences whatsoever (except for looks), and your actions would be
>your destiny. If you do what vampires do, you'll eventually become a
>vampire, and gradually start looking like one as well. (your teeth
>grow etc)

Should a player acting like a vampire become a vampire?  If so, where is 
the conflict between what the player wants and what the game/dungeon master
lets them do?  In brief, who says you should give players what they want
(_internal_ to the game system; interface issues can, lacking any compelling
artistic reasons not to, be resolved according to player demand)?

I would say a player pretending to be a vampire is a more interesting
character than a vampire playing a vampire.  Because, ah, vampires suck.

And why does everyone start with a weak character?  In heroic science fiction
or fantasy characters start out with some expert skills.  But in muds,
characters with expert skills can unbalance the game, especially when 
they are combat-related skills (again some assumptions about the game
system here).

In Chicago,

- Brandon Rickman - ashes at zennet.com -
While I have never previously found a need for a .sig, this
may be considered one for the purposes of this list



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