[MUD-Dev] Re: mudschools

Marian Griffith gryphon at iaehv.nl
Sun May 24 12:40:30 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

On Sat 16 May, jacob langthorn wrote:

> Forgive my naivete but why have a school at all.

Because there are three types of players coming to a mud. The ones who have
never played a mud before. The players who visit the mud for the first time
and the players who create a new character on the same mud. All of them are
in need of some things to get their character started. The mudschool is the
place where that is provided.  A 'What is a mud in four easy lessons' for a
player who is totally new to mudding.  Some basic equipment for the players
who have a new character,  and a bit of both  for the players who visit the
mud for the first time.
The annoying thing is  if the mudschool forces players into the wrong path,
or when it takes too long to get a player started. E.g a school that is too
lengthy,  or experienced players who are forced to go through the school to
get their basic equipment.

> All mud's have zones,
> whether they called dungeons or cities is irrelevant. Why not have a
> starting city that is just like the rest of the world only tame, and
> then a main city for every one else.

This is more or less what the 'arena' part of the typical mudschool is.  It
is a place were the new players can get some experience with the game with-
out the risk of going out in the big bad world.  If you are hunting rabbits
and lizards or a (fake) townspeople is less relevant. Of course being asked
to chase rabbits, butterflies and similar harmless anmals  is somewhat con-
descending, and players tend to resent that.

> By this I mean in the tame city the
> guards are more likely to over look overt acts were in the main city
> they act as you would expect. This is only one example of how to scale
> the environment for new players. This tame city would allow a new player
> to discover how the world works and get basic equipment while not being
> in to serious threat of death.

I tend to think the threat should be serious, but the effects and the pro-
bability should be reduced somewhat, as well as the peripheral risks  have
to be removed. Things like assisting cityguards or monsters and chance en-
counters with far too dangerous critters must be avoided in a mudschool. I
admit being guilty of the later in the one mudschool I wrote though. I did
add it because it serves another purpose. It drives home the lesson that a
mudworld is a dangerous place  and the players must be cautious where they
go and what they do.

Apart from this it is more a matter of design  than of an inherent flaw in
the concept of mudschools that most of them do not work too well. It isn't
too difficult to create a mudschool that does not talk down to the players
and gives them a sense of accomplishment  without exposing them to all the
dangers in a mudworld.

> To provide a lure for senior players to
> come back to the city and be examples and answer questions I would place
> something extraordinary there such as a half price healer or some such
> thing depending on the genre. Just an idea.

One of the bigger problems with this kind of things is  that it keeps the
players in the school area  long after they should be going out exploring
the world (and their own abilities). In quite a few muds the newbie areas
are crowded with players five or more levels above the range the area was
meant to be for. Luring players back is rarely a problem but keeping them
out may well be.
If you really want to mix players of various levels  you should provide a
challenge and reward for the high level players  without exposing the low
level players to that kind of danger. And of course you will find now the
newbies will fight the wrong monster and become disgruntled because there
are creatures in a 'safe' area that can wipe them out in one round.

Yes - at last - You. I Choose you. Out of all the world,
out of all the seeking, I have found you, young sister of
my heart! You are mine and I am yours - and never again
will there be loneliness ...

Rolan Choosing Talia,
Arrows of the Queen, by Mercedes Lackey

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