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

Adam Wiggins adam at angel.com
Thu Jan 14 13:31:13 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999

On Thu, 14 Jan 1999, Mik Clarke wrote:
> Adam Wiggins wrote:
> > Anyone else have any good examples/ideas of how to make skills which
> > work this way without making muling rampant?  I've yet to think of a
> > good way to make a object-repair skill work this way, for example.
> Well, you could make the skills more level based.  If a character has to
> be able to wield a weapon before they can repair it (and you have level
> restrictions on item usage) or if the effectiveness of spells increases
> with the casters level, mules become somewhat less attractive.  For the
> mule to be able to continue to assist the real character, the mule has
> to go up levels along with the real character.  This means that the
> player will have to spend almost as long running each mule as they will
> the real player (although the might be able to use the real player to
> assist the mule somwhat).  I also suspect that getting the mule to 20th
> level will be somewhat harder than getting lunk-brain the warrior to
> 20th level.

Oh, of course.  I don't consider this a solution however, because I've
seen it before.  Mules are always max level and have maxed out their
mule skills.  If they are useful enough for someone to want to play them
at all, they are useful enough for someone to max them out.

To pick the most extreme example I've witnessed:

On AnotherMUD, it typically took 400-500 hours of play to get a character
to level 50.  At that point you could choose your "specialization"
(eg, mages had the choice between alchemist, illusionist, necromancer, and
archmage) which set you back to level 1.  Then you had to climb back to level
50 on the same exp scale.  After the first playerwipe, it took players
(experienced ones - they knew the mud already) nearly six months to
get some characters back to level 50 spec.  The vast majority of players
who played there never specialized, let alone reached spec level 50.

Even so, it was equipment that was the hardest to come by there.  Despite
having no diku-style "limits" on objects, most of the best items were in
extremely high demand.  Part of this was because the mobiles were so
intensely powerful compared to players (most any good item took groups of
a dozen or more players to get, and the best ones took 30 or more), and
part of it was because mobiles only loaded their equipment about 5% of
the time.  The other problem was that items got damaged by dragon's breath
and other such effects, and there was no way to fix it - EXCEPT by a
high-level alchemist casting "repair artifact" on it.  Of course, this
spell had about a 10% chance to destroy the item completely, or higher
if the alchemist was lower than 50th level.

Needless to say, there were several mule alchemists 'owned' by regular
players.  After a trip to a frag-happy mobile (ie, a dragon) they'd
remove all of their damaged gear and put in it a bag, log off, log on
their 50th level alchemist, and repair the whole party's equipment
(including their other character's equipment, which was in the bag).

If people were willing to invest 100 or more hours into a mule character
like this whose usefulness is not even all that high, IMO, then I'd
say that using the technique Mik describes above is probably going to
be fruitless.  It may *reduce* the muling somewhat, but not get rid
of it.

Incidentally, I didn't know a single "real" alchemist in all the time
I played there.

Adam W.

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