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

Mik Clarke mikclrk at ibm.net
Fri Jan 8 16:40:00 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999

Andy Cink wrote:
> 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
> at.
> 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.

You might want to consider using total skill points for the overall eval
and maybe figuring combat ratings based upon attack and defensive
skills. I currently have a compare command that computes an attack
rating (level + attack skill with current weapon), a defensive rating
(level + highest defensive skill + 1/3 of other defensive skills),
effective hit points (hits scaled by armor) and effective level (level
adjusted for special abilities - much like the AD&D xp calculations).
This gives the character some idea of whether or not they want to take
the other one on. Once I've worked out how to make predictions from it,
most of the information will vanish.


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