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

Koster Koster
Fri Jan 15 10:06:52 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999

> -----Original Message-----
> From: J C Lawrence [mailto:claw at under.engr.sgi.com]
> Sent: Thursday, January 14, 1999 10:22 PM
> To: mud-dev at kanga.nu
> Subject: [MUD-Dev] Re: Levels versus Skills, who uses them and when. 
> On Thu, 14 Jan 1999 13:31:13 -0800 (PST) 
> Adam Wiggins<adam at angel.com> wrote:
> > 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.
> My first thought is that not removing characters from the game upon
> player logout would handle this, but that doesn't work because if
> there's a necessity (and there is) to be able to make characters
> safe during player-absence, then that applies just as well to mules
> while stashed awaiting their next tool-handler.
> Note to Ling:  Need to add mule definition to the FAQ.
> The real problem of course is that mule exploit game design
> weaknesses where certain functionalities are desirable but not worth
> playing with as a regular basis.  Hurm.  More interesting question:
>   Is the existence and use of mules *really* a problem?  Why?
> Mules add complexity, interdependence, and some amount of flavour to 
> a game.  They are also tantamount to robots (just player based
> robots).  While not "fun" per se, do they actually *damage* the
> game, or do they really add a value in an area a game is already
> lacking in?

Well, an interesting definition of mule was offered up for me by Dennis
Francis Heffernan, a UO player. He cited a mule with whom he has logged
hundreds of hours of gameplay. This mule has adventured in parties, has
run businesses, has struggled to reach his level of achievement, and has
in general been "played" quite as thoroughly as his main character.

Dennis defined him as a mule because (paraphrase) "the character still
exists for the benefit of another character".

Yet from a game design sense, I don't give a damn. That character seems
to me to be just as real a character as any other--unlike, I might add,
the occasionally logged in use-for-one-thing-and-discard type of
semi-bot. I see that character he calls a mule as actually someone
*playing the game*.

Yet I see his point. It ultimately works for someone else's benefit, in
his eyes. Then again, to my mind, both characters are working for the
player's benefit, and that's what I need to keep an eye on as a


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