[MUD-Dev] Number Economy

Michael Tresca talien at toast.net
Tue Jul 11 17:23:02 New Zealand Standard Time 2000

Adam wrote:

> This would be especially interesting to implement on a mud, because you
> could make a dynamic "economy" of character traits.  Each time a trait
> is chosen, its cost raises by some tiny amount (say, 0.01).  Each time
> a trait is present and not chosen (or, alternately, if the trait is not
> chosen at all within a 24 hour period) its cost goes down by 0.01.  Only
> whole numbers are displayed to players.

> This means that the most "popular" character traits will quickly become
> inflated, and people will start shopping amongst the more uncommon traits.
> Which is a desired effect as far as I am concerned.

This concept can be very useful in many different situations.  We used
"damage economy" to help mitigate damage types on our MUD, and it is one of
the only factors that has worked in curbing the min/max stat-ing problem.
Because the players often slavishly follow trends based on the highest level
character (yes, I know, the ugly MUD level paradigm), we found that new
players focus exclusively on the "best tactics" (which are, in fact, just
the most commonly used tactics) and refuse to consider any other means of
playing.  Worse, they then exclude those who do not match their thinking,
which causes a self-reinforcing spiral of rigidity.

This required some forceful guidance, and the best self-correcting mechanism
seems to be the number economy system.  Whenever something gets too out of
whack, something else is reduced.  In the case of damage types, whenever one
damage type (say, electrical damage) is overused, its opposing damage type
increases in power while electrical damage decreases in power.  This end
result slowly but surely curbs the crazy trends as well as points out the
flaws in our system (if the players continue to use something despite it
being less effective, it may be an inherent flaw rather than just player

I abhor point creation systems precisely because of the min/maxing issue.
They're great for role-playing games, but are much more difficult to control
for unmonitored character creation on a MUD.  However, with the stat economy
you suggested above, I think it could work quite well.  I imagine the
concept can be applied to more than just stats and damage types too.  Anyone
else applying the "number economy" to other MUD systems besides damage types
and character creation?

Michael "Talien" Tresca
RetroMUD Administrator
telnet://retromud.org 3000

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