[MUD-Dev] Containing automation?

Matthew Mihaly diablo at best.com
Tue Jul 20 12:49:37 New Zealand Standard Time 1999

On Tue, 20 Jul 1999, Koster, Raph wrote:

> 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.

Say, this is something we've often thought about doing, but weren't sure
if it would work (may not, given that our playerbase is at least a
magnitude less than UO's). Am I right in understanding that people cannot
transfer their characters from one version of UO to another?

< stuff written by me about using labour in an economy snipped> 

> 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. :)

Well, this doesn't happen in real life, and I'm sure things could be
designed so as to make sure there are judgement calls that require
experience and skill, thus giving advantages to the more clever.

> - 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.

Well sure! How many manual labourers do you know (especially before the
invention of electric light) that work 24/7? In any case, as long as you
are paying your workers a large percentage of the final cost of the item,
price fluctuations to the downside will ruin someone's profit margin.
There certainly exist ways to screw with people who do this.

> - 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.

Indeed. Just divide up stuff into "standard" and "custom". Just like real
life, the big "corporation" (player employing lots of workers) will
produce the standard stuff quite well, whereas the noble craftsmen will be
needed to produce products suitable for the horsey set.


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