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

Caliban Tiresias Darklock caliban at darklock.com
Wed Jan 20 13:01:47 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999

-----Original Message-----
From: J C Lawrence <claw at under.engr.sgi.com>
To: mud-dev at kanga.nu <mud-dev at kanga.nu>
Date: Thursday, January 14, 1999 10:47 PM
Subject: [MUD-Dev] Re: Levels versus Skills, who uses them and when.

> I find a lot of what I do I'd term "meta-play".  I don't really
> play the game as a normal player, but as an uber-player, one who
> knows and understands many games, and is playing more for the
> enjoyment of understanding the current game/old_friend, than in
> any immersive involvement.

I do this when researching game features, and I can never really get away
from it -- my SO can attest to this after my long diatribe on how the Final
Fantasy engine has changed and why the changes suck and which laws of UI
design they've thrown out the window and what's wrong with the concepts
behind it -- but at heart, I'm still a gamer. Sometimes I want to forget
about the internals and just play the game.

> At the danger of treading into meta territory, considering MUD-Dev
> as a MUD, what of the same danger and problem with the more
> established (well known, reputations, etc) posters in MUD-Dev, or
> even of myself here?  There is a definate peerage (nod to Lambert)
> in the older posters in MUD-Dev.  I find it worrisome.  It also
> acts as a significant barrier to entry for new posters.

I would think the *biggest* barrier is the need to ask permission to
post.  I would have been reluctant to do so, because many of the
people here are Big Names if you pay attention to the industry. (I
feel reasonably unworthy of membership every time Dr. Cat posts.)
When the list was invitation only, you got a nod from someone else
first; someone would encourage you and say hey, it's okay, you'll
fit in here, your ideas are good enough for us.

When you have to ask, it immediately puts the list in an
exclusionary light: you must petition the great and powerful Oz for
the right to post. When the great and powerful Oz has people out
roaming the world and inviting "compatible" people in, then it's
more of a community-building thing.

Can you imagine the agony you'd go through if you were a reasonably
young and inexperienced MUD developer with some new ideas who had to
compose a post "worthy" of this list? People resist change, and
familiarity breeds contempt: so the ideas must be fresh enough to
interest, yet not so different that they become uncomfortably
radical. I could spend weeks composing mail like that.

I don't really have a solution to this, because allowing everyone to
read this list is the Right Thing. Allowing everyone to post to it
without qualification is the Wrong Thing. We can still encourage
others to join up, but it's intimidating as hell when you first get
here. I felt very much out of my depth. (Still do, a lot of the

Perhaps the best thing to do is to encourage people reading the
archives not to be afraid of the list. I think most of us were
scared of it at some point, but then we realised that everyone else
is still sort of lost too.  ;)

| Caliban Tiresias Darklock            caliban at darklock.com
| Darklock Communications          http://www.darklock.com/
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