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

Marian Griffith gryphon at iaehv.nl
Thu Jan 14 20:30:23 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999

In <URL:/archives/meow?group+local.muddev> on Thu 14 Jan, Koster, Raph wrote:

> J C Lawrence wrote:

My appologies for misattributing your law to Dr.Cat

> > I quibble with that slightly.  Clear, or at least apparent
> > advancement paths to known goals are important.  However I also see
> > significant value in sideline growth opoortunities that are
> > "advancement" per se (the player/character can now do things he
> > could not do before), but which don't necessarily relate to known
> > longer term goals (eg "learn to whittle chess pieces from
> > driftwood").

> "Side ladders," sure. Though my experience has been that players
> promptly ask that said ladders be full ladders of their own. :)

Would it not be possible to arrange it so that people do not (can not)
know how all these skills relate?  Part of the problem I think is that
most players  see a clear advancement of skills,  and only bother with
those that increase their 'power'.

> >  As soon as you get
> > characters being gradated variations of the same definition you've
> > lost, as you then have a battle for nearest approximate to a single,
> > and thus known, goal, and that instantly reduces the player-apparent
> > complexity of the game down to a selection of which particular
> > uber-target to go for next. 

> In UO terms, the "tank-mage." A common problem to most classless
> systems, however. If you'll take a leap of faith with me and visualize
> classless systems as a rubber sheet... :) Time for a physics
> experiment...

> Usually there's a single intersection point at which the rubber sheet is
> distorted (tankmage, for example). Characterballs rolled on the sheet
> will tend to fall into that depression. Secondary depressions will also
> be formed, but one of the depressions will probably be more powerful.
> Even if you strengthen the secondary depressions, you're never going to
> get a flat sheet. A chessmaster/fisherman is simply never going to be
> regarded as being as valuable as a warrior/mage, any more than a
> grandmaster buggy whip manufacturer is regarded as being as valuable as
> a computer programmer today. Certain skills and skill sets are not in
> common everyday demand, and thus are not as well-regarded.

> In addition, I'd note that on the face of it, it seems somewhat
> incompatible with the atrophy-and-learn-something-new model that Marian
> described in her post. Thoughts on merging the two?

hmm. How about putting a fire underneath the rubber sheet, at a nice
safe distance of course. However as soon as more people head for the
same hole in that sheet their marbles will stretch the rubber sheet,
getting closer to the fire, until it gets really uncomfortable there
and they must find other things to do?
Maybe it is not the same but could this not work as well?

> BTW, one factor that is overlooked here is the "mule" phenomenon--it's
> rampant on UO, perhaps because of this very design concept. I had never
> heard the term before Meridian 59, but I am sure it must have existed
> before. This is where players simply make alternate characters to make
> use of the lesser-used skills. Your "main" character fits a
> stereotypical ubercharacter ideal, but you make alternates for those
> occasions when you want the secondary skills. In UO, that is generally
> for the crafting skills.

*grin* This sounds like an excellent business opportunity to me :)
You could always charge players for secondary characters...

Yes - at last - You. I Choose you. Out of all the world,
out of all the seeking, I have found you, young sister of
my heart! You are mine and I am yours - and never again
will there be loneliness ...

Rolan Choosing Talia,
Arrows of the Queen, by Mercedes Lackey

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