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

Koster Koster
Thu Jan 14 09:50:41 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Andy Cink [mailto:ranthor at earthlink.net]
> Sent: Wednesday, January 13, 1999 9:05 PM
> To: mud-dev at kanga.nu
> Subject: [MUD-Dev] Re: Levels versus Skills, who uses them and when. 
> 
> 

You made a lot of interesting points, but I've got to seriously quibble
with this notion:

> If they want to start over, let them make a new 
> character)

I have been playing the same "character" on muds and in standalone RPGs
for fifteen YEARS now. Virtually everyone I know has done the same
thing. Character persistence and identity is not something to mess with.
If in order to obtain the full depth from the game, you are REQUIRED to
abandon a previous sense of identity, many will not make the leap.

You cited an example:

> (That is to say, that ultimately, a mud with 200 total skills that
> let people jump ladders at will, and another mud where each class
> had 200 skills, and you couldn't jump ladders, would have the same
> potential for being fun and engrossing? Obviously this is an
> exaggeration, but just for the sake of argument..)

Sure. It's also x times more work to implement, where x is the number of
classes. That's a very very real consideration, because it leads you to
thinking about what you can actually get done, and by when. Most muds
never open; most muds that open don't open when finished; most muds that
stay open never get to the lofty goals they had when conceived. Initial
overdesign is really common in text muds, and a total lack of awareness
of the amount of work involved is too.

The common mentality on many stock mud expansions seems to be to add
classes or races (ladders), and what suffers is the depth in said
ladders. So yes, in the case you mention, 5 ladders with 200 milestones
each is better than 1 class with 200 milestones. But you're a lot more
likely to end up with 5 ladders with only 40 milestones instead. And I
firmly believe that you will NOT find most players willing to start over
5 times.

You also made this point:

>>- Classic classes and races curtail the potential length of the game
by
>>requiring creation of a new character to switch "ladders".
>
> I don't see why this is a bad thing, necessarily. Having the potential
> to learn all skills, or jump "ladders" at will leads to a mudding
> syndrome I will call "my-character-itis". This disease, (of my naming)
> refers to a person who, has only one character on a mud, who is
> effectively, a supercharacter. This is to say, some muds have no
distinct
> ladders or classes, and people can more or less learn everything they
> want or need. (Healing, tanking, damage, etc.. perfect solo chars)

Yes, this is what JC and I were talking about in that other post. It is
a classic pitfall of classless systems.

Here's an interesting question: I have NOT noted any real decrease in
player grouping as a result of there existing optimum characters in a
mud. Yet said decrease is always offered as a standard argument for
having classes. What's the list's experience with this? Does increased
character interdependence REALLY result in more interaction? Or will
people interact anyway?

-Raph




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