[MUD-DEV] a shrinking pool of players?

Koster Koster
Wed Feb 16 09:47:06 New Zealand Daylight Time 2000


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ryan P. [mailto:ixiterra at earthlink.net]
> Sent: Tuesday, February 15, 2000 11:23 PM
> To: mud-dev at kanga.nu
> Subject: Re: [MUD-DEV] a shrinking pool of players?

> I've played EQ before, and I would say roughly 80% of those 
> people have no
> clue what a text-based mud is.

I would say that similar percentages of stock Diku mudders have no idea what
a MOO is. I am not sure what this is supposed to demonstrate.

>  EQ is a commercialized video game in
> every sense of the word. It is akin to UT and Q3A except for 
> the fact that it
> focuses more on a roleplaying aspect rather than kill, kill, kill.

They are competitors of mine so I make a policy not to talk too much about
their game design, but I will say that I find EQ to be extremely like an
advanced Diku mud, with a wide selection of races, classes, equipment, and
areas.

Now, I see "commercialized" to be completely independent of the nature of
the game. You can commercialize any sort of game. I assure you that the fact
that EQ is commercial has not affected its basic mudness in any way.

> I wouldn't even consider EQ/UO part of the mudding community. 

An interesting assertion. Whyever not?

If you're getting caught up in the graphical interface, don't. To do so is
to ignore BSX muds, WOODS/ChibaMOO, and the various overhead ASCII text map
muds, none of which were commercial. Graphical presentation has nothing to
do with whether or not something is a mud.

If you are talking features and interesting aspects of game design, I've
noted before that I believe more boundaries are being pushed in the
commercial arena right now than in the hobbyist arena (measured by actual
working code that does new things). I'd wager that many of the most
cutting-edge ideas talked about on this list will first see public unveiling
on a commercial system, not a hobbyist one that is open to the public.

If you are talking in terms of whether or not the two playerbases form a
coherent single group, then I'd agree with you--but I'd disagree that it is
because the games cater to completely different audiences. I have seen large
amounts of overlap. I'd also say that I have seen far more people moving
from text muds to graphical ones than the other way around. This may be
because of where I am sitting, of course. (BTW, I think JCL's estimate of
the current commercial mud population to be low).

Of course, from a design perspective, they are extraordinarily similar,
except that having to be a triple-A computer game title and a profitable
service business as well as a successful mud imposes tougher challenges on
the developers. Certainly, though, we're part of the same community on this
list, at any rate. :)

> Anyone who
> has started on one of those games then attempts to switch to 
> a text-based
> mud will not be a happy camper.

I would question this as well. I know many people who have gone one way or
the other, or still play both.

>  It's just like trying to get 
> heavy video game
> players to play AD&D, it is very difficult unless they have a 
> modicum of
> intelligence and a bit of creativity.

You could almost boil down what you are saying to, "emote doesn't work as
well on a graphical system." Which is true. It only works as well as it does
on text muds, not up to its full potential. Remember, commercial graphical
muds offer a superset of text mud commands in that your old favorites are
all still there. EQ offers just about every Diku command known to man. It
just also happens to have a very nice 3d presentation.

Emote is about the only thing that brings text muds closer to AD&D (and btw,
the reference to AD&D alo indicates me to me a narrow view of text mudding).
And on what this list terms "goal-oriented" muds, emote isn't exactly a core
command.

>  Text muds are one step 
> between AD&D
> and video games. EQ/UO are video games, plain and simple.

Fighting words, my friend. I'll leave it to other posters to decide whether
or not UO, for example (but I could just as easily pick one of the others)
is a more simplistic mud than your average (or even moderately customized)
text mud.

Now, if they are capable of being played that way in order to attract more
people... does that make them less a mud? Well, no. It arguably makes them a
better mud (for that specific purpose).

None will argue the expressiveness of text more vehemently than I. And I
would agree that the interface causes players to self-select. But to argue
that the guy on Arctic and the guy on EQ aren't engaging in basically the
same sorts of activities is to miss the forest for the trees.

-Raph



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