[MUD-Dev] Character development [was Re: ]

Koster Koster
Thu Apr 9 12:00:14 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

On Wed 4/8/98 JCL said:

> True.  An idea I've been playing with for a while now for more
> "typical: MUDS is the idea that the character as a net whole never
> changes, but that the balance of allocation of stats changes.
> Possibly the simplest example:
>  The initially create character has almost no strength, but 
> endurance.
>   Given hard woork and sufficient "development" the character now 
> enourmous strength, but is exhausted within seconds...
> Other models are easy to come up with, and pose some intersting
> challenges.  (Note: This is a variation on the sum-zero particle
> economy I use).

This is the heart of the UO skill system. It leads to very interesting 

1) You have to intelligently pick what goes down when a given thing 
goes up. There's lots of methods to do this.

2) Boy did we have problems by combining a usage-based system with 
this. :) Everyone screams when something they don't use goes down!

3) It solved the problem of the fixed-size scale for advancement, but 
raised the issue of limited advancement. Just today I was discussing 
with someone how power (meaning, greater ability at things you already 
do, such as more hit points) and advancement are traditionally tied in 
games, when really what works better is possibility (meaning, access 
to a wider array of capability) and "ownership" in the game as a means 
of measuring status. So UO went the route of having a LOT of different 
things to do,a nd the ability to gather hirelings, pets, houses, 
guilds, etc, to provide the sense of status, in place of "level" as an 
abstraction. Now, level is awfully convenient, and players quickly 
found supplements for it, but I find that severing the advancement 
scale from character ability works quite well.


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