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

Caliban Tiresias Darklock caliban at darklock.com
Wed Jan 13 16:02:45 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999

-----Original Message-----
From: Koster, Raph <rkoster at origin.ea.com>
To: 'mud-dev at kanga.nu' <mud-dev at kanga.nu>
Date: Wednesday, January 13, 1999 8:41 AM
Subject: [MUD-Dev] Re: Levels versus Skills, who uses them and when.

>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

It may actually be easier to provide none of the above, which will look
quite a bit like all of the above. You can advance however you like, switch
paths at a moment's notice, and see exactly where you're headed at all times
as well as never reaching the end of the path. Why? Because the player
himself has set his advancement conditions and milestones. When he hits a
milestone at the end of a given path, well, he'll just switch to another
one. He may not even realise he's switched.

Which leads me to the obvious conclusion: Infinity and zero are more easily
confused than they ought to be. If there is no way to advance provided, you
have really provided the player with the unanswered question (read "puzzle")
of how to advance. In general, the harder it is for him to find one, the
more challenging and satisfying he finds the game.

This only works on the ignorant, however. As soon as you up-front admit that
your game has no way to advance, most players will quit looking for ways to
advance and find the game (appropriately enough) pointless. Those who have
found one will feel cheated, assume you are laughing at them, and think they
have been deliberately made fools of. In a very real sense, ignorance *was*
bliss, and the magic *is* gone.

In a more cynical fashion, I might restate this as "People will always be
impressed by your proven ability to make them do your job, as long as they
don't *know* they're doing your job."

| Caliban Tiresias Darklock            caliban at darklock.com
| Darklock Communications          http://www.darklock.com/
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