[MUD-Dev] Re: Levels versus Skills, who uses them and when.

Andy Cink ranthor at earthlink.net
Tue Jan 5 15:31:06 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999

At 12:02 PM 1/5/99 -0600, Koster, Raph wrote:
>Rather than argue the semantics of what a "level" is, it seems like it
>would be more fruitful to discuss methods of giving visible levels
>without curbing the myriad ways of advancement possible. Thoughts?

I've been giving this a lot of thought lately, because my mud
is going to use a levelless system. The problem now becomes,
A) How do we show a clear path of advancement? and B) How can
players keep track of "where they stand" compared to the other
players. I was presently thinking on borrowing a system used by
a LP mud I used to play. They call it an "eval" system (maybe
they all do, I only found one LP mud I really got addicted to)
but the eval system works by making a composite number score
based on the stats and skills a person has over what they started

So it may be something like: (highest offensive skill) + (highest
defensive skill) + (highest profession skill) + (each point an
attribute has been raised over the racial norm x 2) = the char's
eval. Eval is kept in a toplist format, so anyone can check the
list (which is updated every 5 minutes or so) and see exactly
where they stand in the mud's playerbase. Which is kind of cool,
to know you're ranked 264 out of 2000 players, or whatever.

The problems are numerous, however. Some players will have a lot
of points in less useful skills, and still be granted eval for
it. (Or some classes simply have more skills or less powerful
skills than others) This leads to a lot of doctor-type class
people complaining that a fighter-type of half their eval just
kicked their ass in the arena. But a fighter type's eval skill
may come from headbutt, and a medic's may come from surgery.
This creates a fundamental power imbalance, since eval is really
pretty arbitrary, and even fairly easy to manipulate by picking
up skill levels in select areas.

I'm presently wondering how to come up with a fair way of
handling this on a levelless system. I was considering
doing away with all kinds of levels, and going to some kind
of nobility or status system. You start as a peasant or
unknown, and as you attain fame (many ways, from killing
to donating money and doing quests) your "level" rises. As
you gain levels, you gain access to cooler places that less
famous people can't go. (Select mud areas, clubs, pubs, and
maybe even stores with nicer items that only cater to those
of status). And of course, some trainers might be so snooty
as to only teach their magic to a famed magician, or whatever.

Anyways, I'd be very interested to hear the ideas other
people out there have..


EARTH FIRST! We'll stripmine the other planets later.
Head Coder for Renegade Knights MUD
Ranthor at earthlink.net

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