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

Koster Koster
Wed Jan 13 17:32:35 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Marian Griffith [mailto:gryphon at iaehv.nl]
> Sent: Wednesday, January 13, 1999 3:05 PM
> To: 'mud-dev at kanga.nu'
> Subject: [MUD-Dev] Re: Levels versus Skills, who uses them and when.
> On Wed 13 Jan, Koster, Raph wrote:
> > 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.
> I think this makes excellent sense. Maybe we should name it Dr. Cat's
> Law of Perpetually Interesting Games.  (or something a bit less grand
> if you like :)

Heh, why should he get the credit? ;)

> You could  of course  put the ladder on quicksand.  A special type of
> quicksand that sinks faster the higher you climb the ladder.  In this
> way you can easily stay out of the bog but climbing to fame means you
> have to work hard at it,  and keep working hard.  As soon as you stop
> working then you sink back into anonymity, fast at first but increas-
> ingly slower after a while.

EG, "atrophy." Unfortunately, players tend to react very negatively to
it. I haven't heard of a better way to handle the problem yet, though.

> Even better is it  if you have many different ways to advance in the
> game but you can excel in only a few of them,  while the others drag
> you down slowly.  That means a player can work to reach fame in some
> profession but never reach omnipotence.  And specialising means that
> other skills suffer from it.  Remaining a generalist means the play-
> er can do nothing well and will never become famous (unless you con-
> sider it investing in social skills over game skills).

You just described the design and intent behind UO's skill system. It
unfortunately doesn't have enough skills that are useful to quite work
yet. I believe it was even included in the original Legend skill tree
document (URL was posted a couple of days ago) as a feature. Advancement
in one skill has a chance of depressing the status of other, unrelated


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