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

Caliban Tiresias Darklock caliban at darklock.com
Wed Jan 6 10:17:48 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999


-----Original Message-----
From: Andy Cink <ranthor at earthlink.net>
To: mud-dev at kanga.nu <mud-dev at kanga.nu>
Date: Tuesday, January 05, 1999 3:40 PM
Subject: [MUD-Dev] Re: Levels versus Skills, who uses them and when.


>I was presently thinking on borrowing a system used by
>a LP mud I used to play. They call it an "eval" system

Ultimate Universe (I can actually use the name now, since talks with the
original developer have concluded favorably) uses such a system, which is
based on what you *own*. Since there are no levels and no *skills*, either,
UU faces a particularly thorny advancement issue. Rather than game effects,
however, it confines the use of "ranking" to a vanity board which displayed
the top ten players and the top ten teams.

>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.

Having the additional benefit of nearly ten years of actual production and
play to draw on, I can point out something which I found rather fascinating.
Rather than trying to figure out how the system works and skew their ranking
UP, many people started investing effort in trying to keep their ranking
DOWN... because, with the unrestricted PK, being of high rank actually made
you a target. People would scan the top ten, find the high-ranking people,
and actively attack them. So a lot of people would try to "hide" by keeping
their ranking below the top ten, thus maintaining power but not becoming a
plum for others to pluck.

>As
>you gain levels, you gain access to cooler places that less
>famous people can't go.

One thing I've picked up from UU over the years is something which I find
reasonably profound:

Sometimes a feature is better when you don't use it.

The vanity board on UU had very real effects on the game, but the server's
knowledge of rankings was limited to maintaining the vanity board -- which
for all intents and purposes was irrelevant to the game in terms of code.
There was no "you must be this cool to enter" clause anywhere. Ranking was
nothing more than a yardstick, and had no effect on the server anywhere. But
it was a very important part of the game, even though there were no
mechanics associated with it. This can be applied to other things, as well.

| Caliban Tiresias Darklock            caliban at darklock.com
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