[MUD-Dev] Re: Laws of Online World Design

Darrin Hyrup shades at mythicgames.com
Mon Oct 12 22:24:07 New Zealand Daylight Time 1998

At 12:50 PM 10/10/98 -0500, Raph Koster wrote:

>A first pass on this project. Please feel free to question, debate, add,
>etc. Only try to do it in pithy little statements. ;) Many thanks to all
>those who helped with some of these laws, too.

I've been lurking on the list for about 6 months now, and while I usually
don't have time to say much, this seemed like a good opportunity to chime
in with some of the lessons I've learned in my 10 or so years of commercial
MUD experience...

o No matter how many new features you have or add, the players will always
want more.

o Despite your best intentions, any change will be looked upon as a bad
change to a large percentage of your players.  Even those who forgot they
asked for it to begin with.

o If something can be abused, it will be.

o The more detailed you make the world, the more players will want to be
break away from the classical molds.

o It is not possible to run a scenario or award player actions without
other players crying favoritism.

o The longer your game runs, the less often you get kudos for your efforts.

o Servers only crash and don't restart when you go out of town.

Finally, for those who have paying MUDs, something that I've always found

o The higher the fee, the better the roleplayers.  (And of course, the
smaller the playerbase.)

Btw, since you probably have no idea who I am... in my tenure in the
commercial MUD biz, I've worked as a designer and/or programmer on Gemstone
(during the early years on GEnie), Dragon's Gate (in all its incarnations,
currently on AOL), Darkness Falls (currently on AOL and Gamestorm) and
Magestorm (a graphical MUD of sorts, also available on AOL and Gamestorm.)
I've also worked on a lot of non-MUD related online games to which many of
the same "laws of online world design" apply.

Like most of you, I am also developing my version of the "Ultimate MUD
Server / Ultimate MUD Universe" which, as usual, is more an exercise in
design technique than anything else, and may never see the light of day.



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