[MUD-Dev] Roleplaying in Muds

Caliban Tiresias Darklock caliban at darklock.com
Fri Jul 21 15:18:29 New Zealand Standard Time 2000

Ben wrote:
>     Many MUDs make the mistake of assuming that the role everyone wants to
> play is that of a hack-n-slashing mass murderer... not everybody feels that
> way.  

Not necessarily. But you get what you measure. When you point at any
given thing and say "this is what we will examine to determine a
player's rank", you are effectively saying "this is what you must do in
order to succeed". All the peripheral things related to it are also made

In most MUDs, level is rank. Level is obtained through experience. Since
experience is gained from killing things, killing things is power. With
most RP-based status indicators being power-based -- you must be 20th
level to join this guild, you must be 30th level to have this title,
etc. -- anyone who wants any sort of game status must either go out and
kill things or get the local staff to hand them levels on the sly. 

> I think that the best way to make a roleplaying MUD is to completely
> do away with "levels" and the such.  

I think pretty much all of us have been wanting to do this. ;)

> this means that the quests are
> gonna be played a lot more, for the massive exp and good items recieved upon
> the completion of a quest.

How will you structure your quest system in such a way that any player
can attempt a quest on a timetable that fits his schedule? How do you
prevent a player from making the same quest over and over, once he
figures out that the rewards are greater than the risk? How do you
prevent someone from monopolising a quest? What about roles that don't
fit in well with the available quests? 

One of the roles I really prefer in MUDs is the benevolent scholar, a
spellcaster who hangs around town and casts spells and/or assists in
difficult puzzles as a sort of "brain for hire". There is no denying
that such a role interacts with and is valuable to other players, so the
stamp-collector's dilemma doesn't enter into the picture. But this role
is next to impossible to take unless I first go out and slaughter
innocent creatures for several days, just to get to the point that my
knowledge is actually extensive enough to be valuable. If that doesn't
fit in with my perception of who my character is, I have to break my
role to achieve the goals I want to follow. That's not acceptable from
an RP standpoint, since the entire point is to remain true to your
character's motivations and desires -- but those motivations and desires
will not get you anywhere unless they fit the very narrow definition of
what constitutes "experience". 

Even with the quest system in place, you condemn all characters to the
role of wandering vagabonds. If it is not in character for me to wander
around the world seeking adventure, I am just as screwed as I would be
if I was some sort of pacifist.

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