[MUD-Dev] Critiquing Muds

Marian Griffith gryphon at iaehv.nl
Thu Jul 8 21:43:47 New Zealand Standard Time 1999

On Wed 30 Jun, Travis Casey wrote:
> On Monday, June 21, 1999, Marian Griffith wrote:

> > There probably are many more, but these must be sufficient to start with.

> > Game Oriented Play is where the player triest to beat the game. The player
> > is not looking for an immersive experience,  or for any kind of experience
> > at all.  Instead the aim is to achieve some kind of goal that the game has
> > set. The most common type is the traditional mud where players must try to
> > achieve the next level.  The means by which that is achieved may vary, but
> > the players themselves are busy working towards that goal.

> > Role Playing is where players do just that.  They have a character and are
> > playing a role in a larger setting or scenario.  Many single player compu-
> > ter games that are marketed as roleplaying are in fact game oriented play.
> > The player is not playing any role but is rather trying to defeat the com-
> > puter game.  The roleplaying aspect comes from the fact that there -is- a
> > scenario that is being followed by the game. GOP games lack even that.

> > Acting is the most immersive form of gaming. It is related to Role Playing
> > but the player is trying to act out a character in a (game) world,  rather
> > than playing a role in a scenario.  There is no clear distinction  between
> > these three types of games, though in general  they focus  on one of them.
> > Many roleplay oriented games vary between the acting and RP, or RP and GOP
> > and even acting oriented games often have RP bits and pieces in them.

> Some thoughts:

>  - One way of distinguishing between GOP and RP is by the level from
>    which major goals come.  In GOP, the player has certain goals, and
>    uses the character as a game-piece in order to achieve those goals.
>    In RP, the character has certain goals, and the player attempts to
>    generate subgoals that the character might use to achieve its
>    overall goals and achieve those.

>    Thus, it's not actions which distinguish between the two, but the
>    source of motivation.  The same actions might be taken by both a
>    GOP player and and RP player, but for different reasons.

[Example snipped]

>    There is, however, one major difference in how GOPers and RPers
>    tend to try to achieve goals:  an RPer generally attempts to work
>    within the game world, while GOPers often go outside the bounds of
>    the game world.

I feel this is the more important distinction as it has a significant
effect on what each type of player considers important in the game.

>  - This brings up the idea of "firewalling" -- something often talked
>    about among "paper" RPGers, but which I've almost never seen
>    discussed by mudders.  Put simply, the idea is that characters
>    should only be able to act on knowledge that the character
>    possesses, and not on knowledge that the player possesses but the
>    character shouldn't.

The reason you rarely see this discussed is because muds at present
really are strongly game oriented and only tolerate roleplaying, by
the way the are set up. The concept however is fairly common in the
games that traditionally are more strongly roleplaying or acting o-
riented. It is in fact one of the reasons why it is considered such
a rude act to kill somebody's character against their will in those

>  - Re: the "Acting" form of gaming.  I don't really see where this is
>    a separate form -- to me, it's just immersive RP.

There is a real and important distinction between the two.
Roleplaying, as the term already says, means that a character has a
-role- to play. There is a purpose to the character that is defined
in terms of the game world.
Acting on the other hand requires no particular role.  A player may
adapt one for her character,  but it is not part of the game. Pern-
mushes usually are strongly acting oriented where white wolf mushes
tend to be more roleplaying oriented.

> Hmm... I wouldn't call that unrealistic *unless* they either were the
> only two goblins in the game, or there was no evidence elsewhere in
> the game that goblins could become powerful.  If, say, there were
> other goblins about that were more powerful than usual, but less
> powerful than this one, there wouldn't be a problem.

The point I was trying to make is that by fantasy tradition and by the
early expectations  the player is led to belief that goblins are fair-
ly weak creatures. If that expectation is betrayed then the game is at
that point unrealistic. Not because goblins -must- be weak but because
in that gameworld the player can justifiedly expect them to be weak.

> > Completeness is the complement of Realism.  Where Realism is about consist-
> > ency,  completeness is about the level of detail that is applied throughout
> > the game. Again this is somewhat nebulous and encompasses more than the ob-
> > vious meaning. The size of the game world, the level of meaningful details,
> > things that are named are described or shown, and so on. For game mechanics
> > a similar leve of completeness  is required.  If the game has fighter, mage
> > and other classes each  of them must have a similar level of detail applied
> > to their skills, abilities and gameplay.
> I'd say that the completeness with which different parts of the game
> should be presented depends on how important you want that part of
> the game to be.  For example, if combat is not supposed to be
> important, but social interaction with NPCs is supposed to be
> important, you might want to have very abstract combat, but have
> detailed systems for interacting with NPCs.

You are absolutely right about that. By what part of the game you make
complete you give the players an unconscious message about what is im-
portant in the game.
It still means that  if two things are equally important  they must be
implemented equally complete.

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

MUD-Dev maillist  -  MUD-Dev at kanga.nu

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