[MUD-Dev] Re: PK and my "Mobless MUD" idea

Adam Wiggins adam at angel.com
Wed May 6 15:50:27 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

On Wed, 6 May 1998, J C Lawrence wrote:
> Koster, Raph<rkoster at origin.ea.com> wrote:
> > Yep, that's a pretty correct assessment of it. We changed game
> > mechanics because the old ones were not working out. I'd be very
> > curious to hear how other list members handle this problem, which I
> > am sure has arisen for them as well. Any mud that's constantly
> > adding things ends up with rebalancing necessary, and inevitably the
> > advancement curves, average wealth, etc etc of players changes
> > depending on when they began playing...
> The classical text MUD solution of course is a pfile wipe.

A friend of mine is a big UO player (and incendentally a long-time
LegendMUD palyer).  He recently started playing the test server because he
said it way much more like the "good old days of mudding: fewer people,
plenty of bugs to abuse, it crashes every ten minutes, and they do random
pfile wipes whenever the feel like it."

As a player, I enjoy pfile wipes.  Starting everyone at ground zero again
is a lot of fun.  (As long as they aren't *too* frequent.)

> > FWIW, we don't use any such justification. We just make the change
> > and say something along the lines of, "we're making houses more
> > expensive because there are too many of them in the world and it's
> > hampering play for server load reasons and for aesthetic/place space
> > reasons." I don't see "realism" as much of a crutch for design
> > decisions either, I'm quite in agreement with you on that.
> I always liked the approach:
>   "Hey guys I went and changed the rules like so-and-so.  Why?  Umm,
> 'cause I did.  Have fun now ya'hear!"

Players frequently don't understand why the changes were made, and even if
it were explained to them, they'd still complain.  I find it better to
just say, "Here's how things are now.  Just be glad we actually told you
up front instead of letting you figure it out for yourself."  For that
matter I like making changes that catch players by surprise (depending on
the type of change): it keeps them on their toes.  Players become too
complacent in a world that's too static, although I suppose you could
solve this by just making the world inherently less static (see my
discussions on making mobs "learn" from their previous incarnations).

Good powerplayers look at changes and say, "Okay - how are we going to
change our playing style to take advantage of the new rules?"  Whiners
(which is most players) say, "But I liked it how it was before!"
Not to say that the admin don't ever make bad choices about what changes
should be made...but generally they can judge it much better than any
given player can.  Players don't see the big picture.

>   X starts early and establishes a significant lead.
>   It is important to allow Y, who started later, ability to remove
> that lead thru __other__ means (socio-political, forming gangs,
> whatever), or to allow Y (who started later) to establish a
> significant lead in a different field.
> RL tends to do this by constantly changing the ground rules such that
> "power" in one contingent doesn't map well into power in another area.
> Really good boxers don't tend to also be well paid programmers, or oil
> tycoons the founders of fast food chain empires.

Absolutely.  I very much enjoy shaking the status-quo on GoP muds which
have been around for a while and have fallen into the old pattern of
thinking a certain kind of player is the best (that is, most powerful).
New players blindly take the advice of the more experienced players when
they say, "Oh yeah, make a mage-warrior with a high dex, they're the
best."  It's amazing how much this limits what people play.  Perhaps the
most profound effect I've ever had on a mud as a whole (at least, without
having been a builder or staffmember) was AnotherMUD.  Without boring
anyone with the details, I choose a class that no one played and everyone
warned me strongly against playing.  Three weeks later people were crying
out that that class was incredibly unfair and that my character was
ridiculously overpowered.  I abused no bugs, nor were there any code
changes between the time when people thought they sucked and when they
thought I was overpowered.  And of course, with the usual
short-sightedness of players, they overlooked the fact that I still
couldn't do many of the things the "best" classes could; but I could do
many things that they couldn't.  It was a different kind of 'power'.
People can't quite comprehend this, however - to them that class was now
the new 'best class', and everyone started making characters using that

Very few GoP muds have ever seemed to avoid the best character-type
syndrome; Legend was one, Arctic was another.  This is part of what sets
these two (and others) apart, IMO.


MUD-Dev: Advancing an unrealised future.

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