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

Koster Koster
Wed Jan 13 09:58:36 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999

> -----Original Message-----
> From: J C Lawrence [mailto:claw at under.engr.sgi.com]
> Sent: Tuesday, January 12, 1999 6:46 PM
> To: mud-dev at kanga.nu
> Subject: [MUD-Dev] Re: Levels versus Skills, who uses them and when. 
> On Fri, 08 Jan 1999 21:22:15 +0000 
> Mik Clarke<mikclrk at ibm.net> wrote:
> > Be careful that you don't end up with a Diku type problem where
> > the only way to gain essence is to kill things.  That will make
> > peaceful artists and sculpters (folk who don't kill but do create)
> > somewhat rare (or they'll be running a continual essence debt).
> Quoting from:
>  http://mud.sig.net/raph/gaming/laws.html

Presumably the quote was offered up to make you consider whether having
sculptors or whatever is desirable, necessary, or even feasible. Quite
aside from whether it is, I have become convinced that the secrets to a
really long-lived, widely appealing online game *in the gaming sense*
are multiple paths to advancement, ease of switching between paths of
advancement, clear milestones in said advancement, and ideally, no sense
of running out of significant milestones (eg the ladder does not feel
finite). These four secrets together are a tall order.

An analysis of classic designs based on the above four principles would
argue that:

- Classic classes and races curtail the potential length of the game by
requiring creation of a new character to switch "ladders".
- Classic level systems curtail the potential length of the game by
running out of milestones. Adding levels merely means that you run out
of *significant* milestones instead, which is just as bad. Hence the
sense of many that "600 levels is pointless."
- Remorting systems & the like are ways of permitting switching ladders,
but they require reaching the top in one ladder before being able to
change the emphasis.
- The most successful gaming muds that use the above systems succeed
because of the range of activity they permit within a given class or
- "Static" skill trees and webs suffer from some of the same flaws,
unless they allow you to "forget" skills in favor of others. The problem
with starting over to switch ladders is that you are likely to lose a
significant portion of your players who feel that it is not worth it.


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