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

Mik Clarke mikclrk at ibm.net
Wed Jan 13 21:35:18 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999

Koster, Raph wrote:
> > -----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.

Well, I'm not so bothered as My post was in response to someone who was
talking about a system where crating things cost essence, but the only
way he mentioned of getting essence was by killing things.
> 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
> race.
> - "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.

On CthulhuMud I have replaced classes with professions (borrowing a bit
from Warhammer RPG).  Each character has a primary profession that
determines which skills they are offered to practice. When they gain a
level, they also gain a level in the profession (and possably access to
new skills).  It is also possible for characters to change profession
for a fairly low cost (3 practices and can't change again until 3rd
level in the new profession).  They keep all of their old skills, hits
and whatever, but are now studying something different.

At the moment I'm working on quests and the like to give players some
way of getting xps without having to kill things.


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