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

Travis Nixon tnixon at avalanchesoftware.com
Thu Jul 20 18:31:24 New Zealand Standard Time 2000

-----Original Message-----
From: Raph Koster <rkoster at austin.rr.com>
To: mud-dev at kanga.nu <mud-dev at kanga.nu>
Date: Thursday, July 20, 2000 6:10 PM
Subject: RE: [MUD-Dev] Re: MUD-Dev digest, Vol 1 #163 - 25 msgs

>Another perspective on this same issue: I ran into an interesting
>perspective when discussing design with someone else in the computer game
>industry recently. He disliked some ideas I suggested regarding "social
>professions" in an MMORPG because they were means of advancement that
>measured your actual, real-life skill at certain things that were social in
>nature--eg, using reputation systems to propvide advancement for being good
>at social activities like getting crowds to come to your tavern, for
>example. The logic was that in an RPG, the point is what skills reside on
>your character, not your "self."

I honestly think this is a dead-end in rpgs.  You cannot make a game that is
completely independant of the players' skill.  It is impossible.  Yes, you
can minimize how much the players' skill (knowledge, reflexes, understanding
of mechanics, etc) affects the game, but most of those paths lead to a game
that is inherently more boring.  For example, combat in a particular popular
MMHNS (hack-n-slash) is reduced mostly to hitting a key and watching.
Personally, I don't think this is very fun.  And before I get flamed for it,
yes, I understand there's a bit more to it than that, but not nearly as much
as there COULD be.

I'm all for having this "autopilot" option for players that don't want to
have to learn a more complex fighting system, but I really don't think that
should be the end of it. :)

Of course, then the question becomes, "How far do you take it, and how far
can you take it before you really just end up with quake?".

There are a lot of issues here, and the hardcore roleplaying community (is
there such a thing?) would probably scream blasphemy at me for even having
such thoughts, but I have them nonetheless.  Of course, I'm not talking
about putting a mortal kombat interface on an rpg.  Character skills would
still have quite a lot of influence.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that you can only take "in
character" so far.  There are simply many things that require player
"skill", and I think by discounting the possibility of using any of those,
you're throwing out entire universes of possibilities.  Social climbing is a
good example of this.  It's very easy for somebody to "roleplay" a
personality similar to their own.  I would venture a guess that most people
that play computer games are capable of this.  It takes quite a different
breed to roleplay a personality that's completely different.  So in a world
of politics, you're simply going to have people that don't go anywhere,
because they don't have the experience or the knowledge to roleplay a
position of power.  So in the idea of "keeping true to roleplay", should we
completely throw away ideas of political systems?

As always, please keep in mind that my thoughts are predominately directed
at a mass-market type of game as opposed to a niche, "elitist" sort of game,
where its perfectly reasonable to assume most of your players will be expert
roleplayers.  :)

MUD-Dev mailing list
MUD-Dev at kanga.nu

More information about the MUD-Dev mailing list