[MUD-Dev] Re: PK and my "Mobless MUD" idea
Mon May 4 09:46:50 New Zealand Standard Time 1998
On Saturday, May 02, 1998 5:29 AM Marian Griffith
[SMTP:gryphon at iaehv.nl] said:
>On Fri 01 May, Dr. Cat wrote:
> > One of the common complaints (probably about 3th or 4th after free
> > I've read in my brief web reading on UOL is that early players
> > to acquire stats, possessions (eg castles), and positions with
> > ease (due to being there at the beginning) which are no extremely
> > difficult to acquire. The complaint is that this temporal
> > somehoe "unfair".
>It is only unfair to those who are at the wrong side of the
>frequently found that players who complained about unfairness were
>heard of when they had the advantage. To me the whole discussion
>unfairness allways is suspect and more often than not blatantly
>This is another observation of mine. Players can be told a hundred
>that they are testing a game, and that things are likely to change
>night yet when that actually happens they are very upset and threaten
Ah, fairness. :) What fairness really seems to mean is the status quo,
in many ways. Sometimes it means an even more elusive beast, the
player's IDEA of the status quo.
I'm with Marian--when a player screams that something "isn't fair," I
approach it with a large degree of skepticism. As a rule of thumb, the
average player is seeking to get their own position ahead, and will
not have much perspective on the issue as it applies to other players,
much less the game as a whole. There's also the curious notion that a
virtual world must be "fairer" than the real world, which ties back
into the fact that players have higher expectations of virtual society
than they do of the real world, on the grounds that they are spending
their leisure time on it and therefore it should serve as an escape
from the pressures of real life. These expectations manifest is all
sorts of ways--I think I have commented before on the players in UO
who had the expectation that expended labor would always result in
profit, despite the many problems that such an odd idea creates.
In the real world, things do change overnight. Hula Hoops fall out of
fashion. An amendment to the Constitution creates income tax. Social
Secutiry is created. It's not fair that the first settlers to a new
continent get all the prime land, either. It's not fair that when a
property tax gets instituted, those who buy land after the tax is put
in place will have a higher overall expenditure for their land over a
given period of time than people who purchased before the tax was in
effect... but as designers we have to make changes in systems
sometimes, either because a flaw in the system was found (schools
aren't getting enough funding, so we need property taxes to provide
revenue) or (our prerogative as designers) because we wanna try
We're just fortunate that in the online genre, we can actually change
it in an existing system rather than making a new game from scratch.
>That's the problem you get when there is no real penalty to being a
>derer. In fact you can even see it around you where the people with
>of money get away with things that other people would be punished
One of my axioms is that there is NEVER a real penalty for being a
murderer in a virtual environment. There are only increasing
obstacles. In the final analysis, it is not technologically feasible
to completely bar someone from your environment. If you have a truly
determined jerk, he can and will kill everyone on your mud as many
times as he wants. Fortunately, few people are that determined.
>The better solution for ultima online would obviously have been not
>make acquiring money and equipment so much harder, but instead to
>keeping it much more difficult. That way the early players had a
>start in the game, as a reward for their supporting the game in
>early days, but every player who joined later has an equal chance
>acquiring the same wealth and status.
We ended up doing both. One problem that muds with "rent" have faced
for a long time is that players can grow to hate ongoing expenditures
or costs associated with "maintenance" of their characters. A classic
example is "having to eat" or 'having to rest." Now, these are
expenditures of either resources or time, and can be very valuable and
interesting strategic elements in gameplay. They are also boring.
(Paying bills is boring. Nonetheless that's where most of my salary
goes). There's basically two approaches you can take to making keeping
money more difficult. Have it be taken away, either passively (the
players gives it away for some reason, ideally one tied to
maintenance) or actively (the money is stolen by thieves). The one is
potentially tedious (or alternatively, potentially an interesting game
of resource management) and the other is "not fair!" (or
alternatively, an exciting battle against brigands).
> > I'm trying to instill a strong sense in the old-timers that
> > welcoming and helping new players is one of the most desirable
> > person could do. The "influence trees" mechanism I plan to put in
> > should do a lot in service of this.
> You mean that players gain power from other players who 'follow'
> That sounds very interesting :)
Asheron's Call from Turbine (distributed by Microsoft) is going to
make each newbie enter the game as part of an influence tree. Older
players then jockey to acquire new players, as that requires keeping
them happy somehow. The older players gain standing based on how many
players they have as followers.
When I read this, I liked it a lot, so I made the power structure in
UO's guilds function in a very similar fashion: the leader of the
guild is determined via a "fealty tree." However, I've noticed that
nonetheless guild leadership tends to remain static, and there are few
power struggles. This may be because there is no visual display of
rivalries. I'll have to toss one in and see how "threatened" guild
leaders start feeling.
MUD-Dev: Advancing an unrealised future.
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