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

Koster Koster
Fri Jan 15 09:58:14 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Andy Cink [mailto:ranthor at earthlink.net]
> Sent: Thursday, January 14, 1999 5:52 PM
> To: mud-dev at kanga.nu
> Subject: [MUD-Dev] Re: Levels versus Skills, who uses them and when. 
> At 09:50 AM 1/14/99 -0600, Koster, Raph wrote:
> >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 
> >abandon a previous sense of identity, many will not make the leap.
> Well, I have to admit, I think I underestimated just how much a
> person may want to hang on to their character. All the same, though,
> don't many of these people have a certain type of character in mind?
> For example, let's say I have a character I like to play 
> named Ranthor.
> Ranthor is always an elven ranger. Assuming I like Ranthor and I play
> Ranthor on every mud I possibly can, doesn't it seem inconsistent that
> I would want to jump ladders, and become Ranthor the cleric? Not that
> I couldn't, but wouldn't it be inconsistent with the character I'm
> currently playing?

Sure. For example, I tend to always play Dusty, a bard, and have been
doing so for years now. (Interestingly, she used to be a thief, back in
the mid-80s or so, and was male, and was named Rusty instead--the
"character" was largely the smae however). But Dusty in different games,
based on the class restraints, has taken different forms. On Worlds of
Carnage she was a ranger who used a lot of emotes, because there were no
bardic skills. On Legend I made a point of coding in bardic skills so
she could be what she was supposed to be. On UO, Dusty is still a bard,
but she's also a tailor because it was a good way to make money. Now,
changing to cleric isn't likely, but I can easily see Dusty acquiring
some clerical skills, *as long as she doesn't have to surrender being a
bard*. Hence the advantage to having "side ladders" or the ability to
pick up secondary skills. I can try new things without actually
surrendering the core identity.

> Let's pretend I was a 45 year old nuclear physicist, and I decided I
> was bored with my job, and wanted to go into genetics. I'm getting
> rather old, but I've still got time enough to do it. What carryover
> value will my career in nuclear physics have to biology? Virtually
> none, I would really be better off (in a mudding world, anyways)
> to just "start over" as a biologist instead. If you really wanted to
> make your character into a biologist, would there be a significant
> difference in loss between "jumping ladders" and starting over? I
> guess it depends on the design of the game system.

In a case this drastic (like, say, if I wanted to change Dusty from a
bard into a necromancer) the difference would be mostly psychological.
The question of whether I want to invest substantial amounts of effort
into creating another alter ego, or whether I am more comfortable
remaining with the persona I have established over so many years. One
handy way to define mules is, are they characters in which you feel

>  In a AD&D like system (which still is at the roots of a great many
> muds out there today), there's not a significant difference between
> starting a new character, and returning an old character to level 
> 1 in a new class. (There are some differences, and you do pick up
> your old class abilities at a future point, but in terms of stats,
> there is little change in values. (if any, at all) In a more detailed
> system, perhaps a person could change ladders in a minor sort of way,
> and carry over part of their old class skills to their new class.
> (Maybe a ranger becomes a druid, and some of their nature oriented
> skills remain intact, or whatnot)

Right--and in a classless system, or say an atrophy based system, the
changeover could easily be gradual, and you could be "climbing" two
ladders at once, or whatever.

[snip interesting analysis of character interdependence]


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