[MUD-Dev] Why Socializers are our Comrades (long)

Raph Koster rkoster at austin.rr.com
Fri Jul 14 21:32:34 New Zealand Standard Time 2000


> -----Original Message-----
> From: mud-dev-admin at kanga.nu
> [mailto:mud-dev-admin at kanga.nu]On Behalf Of
> Sam Axon
> Sent: Friday, July 14, 2000 3:51 AM
> To: mud-dev at kanga.nu
> Subject: Re: [MUD-Dev] Why Socializers are our Comrades (long)
>
> Brian Green wrote:

> I beliver that extended communications options such as you suggest are not
> the answer, and are intrinsically a bad idea.[snip]
> It, for one, means information travels faster. This takes away rewards
from
> exploration or experimentation to find new items or spells. You want
players
> to be rewarded for exploring and discovering new things for themselves -
but
> when you have open communications, news about just about everything there
is
> to know is heard all the time, and everyone is put on equal ground in
> regards to knowledge about the game.

This is already the case, thanks to the Internet. Everyone's favorite
example: http://www.stratics.com (pick either the EQ or UO sites for
specifics).

In general, if the game doesn't supply a solid communications system, the
players will use out-of-the-game tools to replace them. Information flows,
and restricting its flow in-game just means it will find other channels.

> Also, for PvP scenarios such as factions and guilds, the more global
> communication you have, the less seperated people are into their factions,
> clans, guilds, allegiances, or cities. This crushes potential PvP
scenarios
> because people begin to make friends across the globe and
> refuse to fight.

A lot here depends on the territoriality implicit in the game, I would
think.

> People became so attached to everyone in the world, that they no longer
> permit any form of PvP scenario where ANYONE might get hurt,

Never seen this happen in larger games. Smaller games, yes. cf the Laws and
community size.

> "Therein lies the tale", as they say. That's enough of an answer right
> there. The answer is to remove barriers in level. The reasons
> for this are as follows:
> We can't attempt to restrain killers, because socializers
> need killers to talk about.

Socializers can and will talk about killers that are fairly restrained.
They'll talk about ones that only emote, after all. I thin kthe correct
phrase is "we can't eradicate killers" which is a whole different ballgame
and leaves a lot of play.

> Socializers also need to talk TO killers because they need that
> wide variety of people you mentioned.

Actually, Socializers only seem to need their clique. That's one of the
biggest problems with them. The worst of them don't like meeting new people,
it seems.

> In order to please Explorers, we must expand the world size.

Or depth.

> The bigger the
> world gets, the less practical global communication becomes.

World size has nothing to do with the practicality of global broadcast
mechanisms--the number of people per channel does. And of course,
peer-to-peer with global range is unaffected by world size.

> Furthermore, by
> adding any form of global communication, we take away the sting of an
> Explorer's talents and playstyle because information becomes
> free and well
> travelled into ears of all shapes and sizes.

This is predicated on the assumption that information is static.

See, my observation is that by and large, static data like game statistics
does indeed travel too damn fast for any designer's tastes. But critical
dynamic data like "there are bad guys around here tonight" hardly travels at
all, lacks persistence, and might as well not be broadcast.

As I said on this list quite some time ago, "for muds to evolve they must
become unpredictable." Or as I put it in GDC roundtables, "static data
SUCKS." :)

> If we allow lower and higher level players to have more in
> common somehow,
> this doesn't impact anyone's playstyle in a dramatically
> harmful way, and it
> allows the socializer to socialize with people of all levels of power
> without having to 'acheive' any more than they want to.

Amen and hallelujah. :)

> Righto. The way I see it, the ultimate situation to attempt to localize
> players into specific towns (EQ accomplished this, if nothing
> else)

It needs to happen much more concretely.

> In the meantime, allow a level five player to have something
> in common with
> a level 30 player, so when they do meet in a town, they can at least
> *communicate* on the same level, even though they don't
> *fight* on the same
> level. The question is, what do you give the level five and
> level thirty player in common?

Other advancement ladders and interests. Which requries broadening the
notion of what muds can and should be about. There's an explosion of
experimentation in this now, as there should be (Dark Ages, Shattered
Worlds, Dark Zion, many others, and hopefully UO contributed to that in some
way) and it needs to continue.

-Raph




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