[MUD-Dev] Re: MUD-Dev digest, Vol 1 #163 - 25 msgs

Dave Rickey daver at mythicgames.com
Sun Jul 16 12:49:24 New Zealand Standard Time 2000

-----Original Message-----
From: Dr. Cat <cat at realtime.net>
To: mud-dev at kanga.nu <mud-dev at kanga.nu>
Date: Saturday, July 15, 2000 8:53 PM
Subject: [MUD-Dev] Re: MUD-Dev digest, Vol 1 #163 - 25 msgs

>The dominance of combat-oriented muds is a temporary phenomenon, caused
>largely by the fact that the small minority of the human population that
>hardcore gaming geeks represent (a group I'm a member of, by the way) are
>much more willing to do hard work early on to make something like a mud
>possible.  When the masses are using online environments, character
>advancement and killing monsters will be a fringe genre, with most people
>using muds for socializing.  Most of them *gasp* not even roleplaying,
>just pretending to be "myself talking to my friends through the computer".
>Or at most "myself in a funny space-alien costume, ha ha."

   Err, I think you're right, for the wrong reasons.  When it all shakes
out, "character advancement" and hack-and-slash games *will* become fringe.
The mainstream will belong to games that let people kill each *other*.

    It's possible, as a literary excercise, to write a novel in which there
is zero conflict.  The general public will never read it, will not be able
to understand why anyone would *write* it.
>At that point, some mainstream mud developers might discuss "Why
>Combat-mud players are our Comrades".  I certainly think it's worth
>considering, when building a get-the-most-players-possible mud,
>whether you should allow combat-type play in there at all but make
>sure it's segregated and won't both most players...  Or just not have
>it anywhere to avoid attracting a crowd that will be too disruptive
>to the socializers.  We're going mostly towards "no combat" in Furcadia.

    Going?  Thought you'd always been there?  Last time I checked it out
(it's been a while) you didn't even *have* combat.  But Furcadia is the
philosophical descendant of FurryMUCK, a subgenre that has never been known
for it's combat.  If you make a game without interesting combat, it's kind
of a given you're going to get players who don't care about combat.
>Numbers for the latest reality check - a recent article I saw (don't
>remember the source, so feel free to consider the numbers as questionable
>as you like) said there were one million hardcore gamers on the Internet,
>and thirty million casual gamers.

    Numbers so bogus it boggles the imagination, they are not only counting
John C. Gamer twice when he's registered at different sites, they're
counting him multiple times on  the same site, often once for every
different game he plays, and for each IP address he logs in from.  I've said
it before, I'll say it again, for commercial purposes (yes, I realize most
people on this list don't have commercial motivations) the "casual gamer" is
a myth.
>The question in my mind isn't how to work socializers in, but rather how
>to make a place that caters primarily to socializers - the majorit of

    Err, no.    According to the stats on the Bartle Test, Explorers are the
largest single segment, with Socializers a close second.  Now, if you define
SE and ES players as non-combat oriented, you've got a point there.  But I
really question if even non-combat oriented player types can, in general,
maintain interest in environments that supply no meaningful routes of
conflict resolution.

    We have a long way to go in finding ways to attract and hold
Socializers, but starting by completely abandoning Achievers and Killers is
probably not the best bet.
>Standard disclaimer applies, many mud developers don't have "get as many
>players as possible" as one of their goals, in which case the above may
>not be relevant to them.
    Sorry, but I can't see how it is relevant to *anyone*, who isn't
starting from the presumption that this whole "Combat Oriented Gameplay"
thing that has dominated the *entire* games software industry from the
beginning is just a fad.  Even in Online Backgammon, the attraction is that
you're playing against a live person.

--Dave Rickey

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