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

Marian Griffith gryphon at iaehv.nl
Sun May 24 13:13:05 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

In <URL:/archives/meow?group+local.muddev> on Fri 15 May, J C Lawrence wrote:
> 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.

This does not necessarily make it a good idea for a game does it?

> >> 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
> discussing.  

> 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. 

You could of course tell them that the world outside the citywalls  is a
dangerous one,  and provide more safe, but slower, methods of traversing
that dangerous area.  Trade caravans have been used to this end for many
centuries haven't they?  There remains a problem with the reduced atten-
tion span of the typical player,  but the travel itself  could take lots
of time  and become an adventure in itself.  I know this has been talked
about before on this list. I n fact, players could even set up shop as a
caravan, hire guard (players or otherwise) and transport goods and other
players between the densely populated cities. Their game wouldn't be the
same as the players, finding safe routes, managing their trail, supplies
and security where the city players are interested in the same things as
they are now. Or perhaps other things as well, like ensuring the caravan
arrives as planned or the city must do without some amenities like food.

> 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.

It could also be a matter of teaching.  But probably  it would require a
change to the game.  If going out and dying in the wilderness means that
you have to resurrect your character and start again then there is not a
lot that prevents players  from exploring in suicidal mode.  If a corpse
is required to resurrect on the other hand,  then explorers would become
more cautious I would wager.

> > 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
> spreading.

One of the great things that kept people bottled up for so long is the
knowledge that if they left there would be no returning.  The colonies
were a one way trip  for both the volunteers  and the forced settlers.
And the inherent danger meant that only the desperate would try. While
you can not recreate that kind of desperation in a game something like
it would definitely help.

> >> 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.

Actually I think the idea of densely populated areas separated by very
dangerous lands are a nice way to implement this 'new world' idea in a
way that is not too different from the current game.

> > 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...

Actually, it produces people who are willing to take high risks for any
kind of reward, as long as it is better than what they have.

> 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.

But is not the chance that the effort fails part of the risk they must
take?  And it requires both explorers and settlers to start a new com-
munity.  So yes,  you must somehow ensure that players who are leaving
the 'safe' game can not turn back to it. Perhaps if they leave the ex-
plored lands for the unknown  they can no longer be resurrected in the
old places?  If they die  they stay dead,  or they must have a kind of
functioning settlement  for them to return to.  That would be a strong
encouragement to make an effort succeed I would think.

> >> 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.

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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