Tactical Interest Was Re: [MUD-Dev] Re: MUD-Dev digest, Vol 1 #142 - 4 msgs

Adam Wiggins adam at angel.com
Fri Sep 17 15:16:36 New Zealand Standard Time 1999

On Thu, 16 Sep 1999, Spin wrote:
> Sorry to chop this post up, but it only lightly touched on my current
> main sticking point, that of linear versus quantised values. In the shield
> example, shield effects are quantised to two values, success and failure,
> different shields either work or they don't. Coming from a diku 
> background, there are numerous examples of such quantisation, for example
> many spell effects are only available from a given spell and the fixed 
> benefit you gain from the spell toggles off and on with the spell.
>   If shield affects some combat statistic (damage avoidance) which is
> affected by other factors as well, eg character speed, then some players 
> will indeed survive both encounters with a light shield, or a heavy shield,
> or neither. Obviously this opens the system up to abuse by power gamers, 
> but this is really a game balance issue, which I don't even want to open 
> the lid on.

This gives me an opening to plug one of my favorite concepts: the idea
that a given attribute is neither good nor bad, but simply affects your
character and the world around it in many ways.

To apply this to a shield, consider: the bigger your shield, the more likely
you are to be able to block an attack (even without being very skillful).
But the bigger your shield, the less you can see, and the less likely
you are to notice anything from someone hiding in the shadows to an
incoming fireball.

By the same token, a heavier shield is more likely to hold up to powerful
blows, but takes more time to drag around and throw into the path of said

A hide shield can be very large and still stay light, and works great against
bludgeonous attacks, but any sort of edged weapon will cut it to ribbons
rather quickly.  By the same token a metal shield doesn't suffer this,
but it is much heavier and it is vulnerable to the 'heat metal' spell
that many fledgling mages like to cast on armor-bedecked warriors.

Etc etc...the attributes of the shield are not only single-bit values, but
they do not have a 'best' value.  It's simply up to the character to
decide what is most effective for them.  And a player who is well aware of
these interactions is going to do better overall: for example, being smart
enough to put away their hide shield when faced with an opponent wielding
a razor-edged katana, or knowing to throw their metal shield at that mage
standing in the corner casting those nasty 'heat metal' spells.


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