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

J C Lawrence claw at under.engr.sgi.com
Fri May 15 13:07:56 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

On Tue, 12 May 1998 22:16:13 -0700 
John Bertoglio<alexb at internetcds.com> wrote:

> From: J C Lawrence <claw at under.engr.sgi.com> 
>>> From: Dr. Cat <cat at bga.com>

>>> <Oasis is a player-run city built on one of the Ultima Online
>>> servers>

>> I'd argue not.  The sheer overcrowding of UOL creates something of
>> a hot-house environment.  Much like your fruit flies -- things
>> breed faster when they're hot, sweaty, and can't escape each other.
>> Interestingly enough this experiement has been done with rats.
>> They breed like rabbits, and eat and kill each other almost as
>> fast.
>> If you increase the world distance, travel expense, or reduce the
>> population density (all essentially the same effect at this level),
>> then the hot house suddenly just isn't as hot any more, and them
>> fruit flies are off communing with the glass walls more than each
>> other.

> Minor disagreement. The three examples cited above are not
> co-equal. The first two, travel distance and expense are essentially
> synonyms. But the third, population density is absolutely different.

Yes, they are different, but not at the level of the mechanic we are

Lets say UOL started with a truly enourmous world with few centers of
population and great dangers inherent in striking off into the
wilderness.  What would happen?  I'd wager than endless streams of
players would gleefully wander off into the wilderness, would die
there, and would then give up.  There's precious little of a _game_
nature to keep them in the population centers.  There is quickly
monotonous fun in exploring the wilderness where no virtual foot has
tread before.

> My suggestion was not designed to relieve population density. It was
> to create an _option_ for players who have reached a point in the
> game where they want to invest the time and energy to build
> something "away from the Madding Crowd".

Understood, and actually agreed with.  However, from a game design and
social perspective, you need the population density, uncomfortable as
it is.  To echo the assertion that UOL is paralleling European history
with great speed, we're not *quite* ready yet for the mass
colonisation of the barbarian and heathen wastes, the convict
colonies, or the colonial empires.  The pressure has to build a bit
more in the pressure cooker first.  If we allow the steam to escape by
opening the borders, instead the population will dissapate instead of

>> You *need* a turgid environment.  You need the constant
>> in-your-face presence of the "other" to force the reaction of
>> forming social sub-groups.  You need the instant reaction effect
>> forced by that constant presence to allow those same reactions to
>> positive-feedback into something notable -- without it they just
>> fizzle.

> You are correct. This is an essential part of the world. We had such
> a world during the "Age of Discovery". A few people risked all to
> leave high density Europe and UK to explore and settle the "New
> World." My point was that such a New World does not exist on UO or
> any other mud (that I am aware of). 

Umm, err.  It will.  UOL *has* to crete a new world to keep the game
moving forward, _and_ to implement new features not compatable with
the original base world design.

> The boiling caludren of people produces those who will take high
> risks for high rewards. When this world creates a group who is
> willing to take risks to improve their situation, there is no path
> open to them...

There is a simpler problem.  The mass of people so motivated is not
large and not cohesive enough that any attempt they make will survive.
They go out, they fizzle.  They can't afford to have them fizzle.

>> Yes, its not comfortable for the players.  Comfortable players
>> don't get their dander up enough to actually *DO* anything.  Rub
>> their face in it enough, and then don't let them escape, and they
>> DO do something.

> My postulate is that the "escape" is far riskier in terms of effort
> and resources than accepting the status quo. The planning of such an
> undertaking would be great fun for those involved. Even the security
> around the exodus would be interesting. If the start time was
> leaked, PK's would stay home from work (and school, of course) to
> attack while the group was close to a source of
> resupply. Diversions, feints, (ala the first RoadWarrior film) and
> the final caravan...an epic of sort thing in the game world.

Very much so -- one hopes that UOL will do something like this when
they open new areas.

J C Lawrence                               Internet: claw at null.net
(Contractor)                               Internet: coder at ibm.net
---------(*)                     Internet: claw at under.engr.sgi.com
...Honourary Member of Clan McFud -- Teamer's Avenging Monolith...

MUD-Dev: Advancing an unrealised future.

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