[MUD-Dev] Containing automation?

Koster Koster
Tue Jul 20 09:31:07 New Zealand Standard Time 1999


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Matthew Mihaly [mailto:diablo at best.com]
> Sent: Monday, July 19, 1999 6:08 PM
> To: 'mud-dev at kanga.nu'
> Subject: RE: [MUD-Dev] Containing automation?
> 
> On Mon, 19 Jul 1999, Koster, Raph wrote:
> 
> > And in commercial games it goes to the extent of custom
> > packet-altering software for maximum possible speed and efficiency.
> 
> Good point. What an awful world we live in.

If you're interested, I can go into great detail about the forms these
things take when taken to the extreme... :)

> > There aren't many muds where there is an economic system at 
> all, so they all
> > tend to be fairly basic, based on simple a + b = c types of things.
> > Eminently dull to actually manufacture things, and extremely 
> automatable.
> 
> Hmm, yeah, that's true. If you're going to go with an 
> economic system of
> that type though, why not just let the players hire mobiles to do the
> grunt work?

In UO we do this for the task of running shops. Many players complain
however that it reduced player interaction... we have an interesting
experiment running right now, called "Siege Perilous." It is a UO server,
only with specific changes to the ruleset:

- no selling to shops at all
- only one character allowed per account
- no rapid transportation spells
- numerous tweaks to ensure that every skill has a significant cost to using
it

It its first few days of operation, this has jumped to being the mot popular
UO shard. But we'll have to see if it remains. The most ironic thing is that
it is also the closest to the original conception of UO in many ways--which
was a vision that broader audiences found too difficult. Apparently the
playerbase is now ready for that degree o difficulty, in a way they were not
when the game launched.

>  Assign specialties to each type of work, and have general
> labourers. Each type of work takes X investment in raw materials and X
> investment in labour-hours. How much a labour hour costs 
> would depend on
> the type of work being done. Just hire the workers, and let 
> them go at it.
> Totally automated, but also a totally level playing field as 
> no one has to
> know anything about clients to do it.

It would certainly radically alter the economy! Some things I can think of
off the top of my head related to this:

- you can't tie it to an advancement model then, since all players would
advance steadily at the same rate from it. Certainly not a usage-based
advancement model. I have come to hate usage based advancement models though
(and will gladly explain why if anyone asks. :)
- is there any reason NOT to have this running 24/7, other than the gold
drain? I ask because the gold drain typically isn't going to be enough to
stop it, and it will lead to massive quantities of items created, with
concomitant usage of memory and database storage.
- it basically precludes the hand manufacturer since they will never be as
cost efficient, unless you provide special capabilities to those who are
making stuff by hand. A careful balance to tune there--if the handmade stuff
proves to be more profitable and a more consistent seller, then all that
automation will be ignored by players. If the automated stuff is more
profitable, the roleplayer types who want to be actual craftsmen will be
drowned out by the powergamers who automate everything.

-Raph


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