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

Adam Wiggins adam at angel.com
Tue May 12 12:49:51 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

On Tue, 12 May 1998, J C Lawrence wrote:
> Adam Wiggins<adam at angel.com> wrote:
> > 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 class.
> I've seen this as well.  My assumed cause (given that the various
> forms actually were reasonably well balanced) was the differences in
> the learning curve and progression rates of each.  

Well, in the example I gave above, I don't know that one class
neccessarily more difficult to 'power up' than the other.  The differences
were more things like: my character was immune to magic.  As a barbarian,
he "didn't believe" in it.  Thus, he could not be healed, get a sanctuary,
get a strength spell or a fly or a regenerate or any other of a dozen
spells that characters relied heavily on.  He also had *terrible* armor -
he was actually less protected than if he were naked!  These things
resulted in him being extremely vulnerable to attacks of lots of small
critters, which were usually no problem for the well-armored, sanc'd, and
healable tanks which abounded on the mud.  On the other hand, it meant
that fighting the many spellcasting creatures on the mud was a snap.  The
master lich in the swamps was a breeze for me, because all he did was cast
a spell that did around 1000 points of damage once a round, every round.
This kills most tanks outright.  I didn't even know what the spell was
supposed to do until someone explained it to me.
There's more, but this is an example of a character trait that is very
powerful in certain situations, and a huge weakness in others.

> Consider two character types, X and Y.  Both progress to equal "power"
> ratings of Q in time T.  However, X rises to 80% of Q within 25% of
> time T, and then climbs slowly to Q.  Comparitively, Y climbs to only
> 10% of Q within the first 80% of time T, and then gains the last 90%
> of Q in a rocket rise at the very end.  Now add a third character
> type, Z, which also accomplishes Q power in time T, but does it in a
> steady linear progression over time.
> Which is the "better" character type?
> Which is going to be viewed as the better character type?

I'd say this depends a *lot* on Q.  First of all, the less well defined Q
is, the more interesting the play.  Equipment plays a big part (perhaps
the biggest part) of your character's power on most GoP muds; character
level is easy for anyone to max out just given enough time.  So, is the
guy with the vorpal blade that has a 1% chance of instantly decaptitating
anyone he fights more powerful than the gal who just has a big-ass axe
that does a ton of damage?  What about the thief who can kill most
anything in a single backstab, but if he ever misses or gets caught by
surprise, or has to take on multiple opponents at once, becomes the most
useless fighter in the world?  What about that cleric - she'd have to work
hard to kill a fido, but without her there's no way the party could have
taken out half the critters it fought?

IMO the time it takes to rise to "max" power is pretty irrelevant.
Dedicated players will always devote as much time as it takes; there were
folks on AnotherMUD who had been playing for years.  It's true that folks
with less time on their hands may decide on a character type which can
rise to power more quickly, or require less "maintinence" once they are
there - I know I've done things like choose to be a monk rather than a
warrior just so that I don't have to pay rent on a lot of expensive
equipment many a time.  But the most powerful people in a given mud will
always be people that are willing to devote as much time as is necessary,
and for this reason the only thing that matters to them is how high the
character's power maxes out.  I just enjoy making "power" a very difficult
thing to judge.

> A MUD I don't recall the name of of, among other things offered a
> "slime mould" species type.  It moved extremely slowly.  Could carry
> or wield nothing, had zero magical ability, could not open doors or
> other objects, etc.  It was their best attempt to make something
> unplayable.

Ha!  If you remember the name, post it.  I'm curious to see what that
would look like.


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