[MUD-Dev] Re: mudschools

Mike Sellers mike at bignetwork.com
Mon May 25 08:04:29 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

At 06:52 PM 5/24/98 +0100, Marian Griffith wrote:
>On Sun 24 May, Mike Sellers wrote:
>> I still think the whole idea of mudschools is condescending and tends to
>> decrease rather than increase someone's initial interest in a MUD.  It's
>> kind of like saying, "glad you want to play -- please fill out these=
>> memorize these arcane commands, make these decisions though you don't=
>> the consequences, and go through this artificial and pointless process --
>> and then you can play!"
>Depends on how new you are to mudding and how the mudschool was designed
>does it not?  First time players certainly would not agree with you.=20

I'm not so sure.  Many new players complain about having to make decisions
in character creation or training that they don't really understand.  Also,
the method of teaching commands via automatic tutorial is problematic --
and not just for MUDs. :-)=20

>> Here's an idea: why not use the age-old apprenticeship program?  Just as
>> many (esp older) muds have quest requirements for getting to high levels,
>> why not introduce a requirement that says that you must help <n> newbies
>> get to a certain percentage in your primary skill area before you can
>> advance?  This would give higher-level people an incentive to find=
>> and help them out, including equipping them, helping them learn the=
>> etc.
>The big problem with this is that it creates 'oldbies' players who are
>fairly high level but are basically clueless.  They have been taken by
>the hand by a couple of high level players,  grouped while their guide

>took out some pretty tough monsters and have not learned nothing about
>the game itself.  By the time they are on their own  they are clueless
>still and revert to either newbie behaviour  or give up after they are
>killed a couple of times.

Making this work is a matter of thinking carefully about the design.  There
are all sorts of ways to make sure that the newbies get the the early help
they need without having everything handed to them.  If clueless oldbies is
a problem, limit their overall experience or rate of skill increase with
the percentage of the world they've seen, for example.  You could also
limit the experience they get from any encounter to the ratio of their
experience with that of the highest experience person present, if that's
how your MUD works.  Finally, I think this would be a great way to give the
newbies more than a limited, canned experience by having their mentors send
them on "quests" to get items they need or do similar apprentice-like
tasks.  The most useful part of this though is giving newbies a known
contact who knows more about the world than they do; this may be the single
biggest factor in getting and keeping new players.  Yeah, some older
players will not want to deal with new players, forgetting that they were
new once too.  But do you really want to facilitate people like this in
your game? =20

>> (and it gives a reason for the more powerful characters to be interested=
>> equipment and parts of the game that would otherwise be irrelevant to
>> them).
>Well, it is still irrelevant to them,  but now they are forced through
>it so they can advance. I would not expect highly motivated mentors in
>this way.  However  the idea to make old and new players work together
>in some way is a sound one, regardless how it is done.

Anything that people need to advance in a game is relevant to them. :-)
Thus, if they need to help others to get ahead to advance themselves, what
these others need becomes relevant to them.  Right now people are 'forced'
to fulfill often pointless quests, and so become motivated to finish these
-- often multiple times.  In general, people will do what you reward them
for doing.  If you reward them for helping (but not spoiling :-) ) newbies,
that's what most of them will do. =20


Mike Sellers=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0 Chief Creative Officer=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0 The=
 Big Network
mike at bignetwork.com=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0

             =A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0 Fun=A0=A0 Is=A0=A0 Good =20

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