[MUD-Dev] Roleplaying in Muds

Patrick Dughi dughi at imaxx.net
Sat Jul 22 22:23:16 New Zealand Standard Time 2000


On Sat, 22 Jul 2000, Solmyr of the Azure Star wrote:
> 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.  I think that the best way to make a roleplaying MUD is to completely
> > do away with "levels" and the such.  Instead make a system where experience
> 
> I don't know why people think that levels or lack thereof somehow affect
> people's roleplaying. RP is not dependent on the technical rules, it
> comes from the player and his own imagination. I fail to see how
> removing levels and/or combat would somehow suddenly improve the quality
> of RP on a mud, if its players didn't make any additional efforts to
> roleplay.

        I can back this up with real world experience.  I recently left a
mud which I felt was making a slow decent into unplayablity.  The mud was
originally Circle based, and has been running for around 3-4 years, though
it's switched sites at least 2 times.  It had a fairly constant userbase,
and a decent influx of new characters.  Builders generated a new zone
around 1 every other month (sometimes faster).  After a series of moves
attempting to popularize a sort of roleplaying I call 'storytelling'
(imagine a mush where players do not have the ability to create anything -
not rooms, objects, etc), players began a mass exodus.

	If storytelling is your idea of what roleplay _has_ to be, take my
advice; start over.  You cannot change a mud into a mush without removing
the percieved worth of every existing player.  This not only means that
they all quit because one of their primary reasons for playing is gone
(leveling/GOP), but they stop other people from going there because of
their poor review of the game getting around to others.  

	Now, if you're reasonable, you'll realize what mr. 'of the star'
says above, and that roleplay comes from players wishing to do so of their
own accord.  You don't need to remove levels, or abilities, or skills.
You can roleplay on most game systems where you have at least one
omnipotent person to help (providing world effects, props and correct
scenery).

	You can choose to make it easier for people to provide that
roleplaying atmosphere;  provide storylines, detailed scenery and props,
etc.   You can create world-affecting code based on religions, or clans,
or whatever your world story is all about.  It's easy to add.

	You should realize though, that the reason that people play your
game is because they are already roleplaying, at least a little.  If they
didn't want to roleplay as a mage or warrior, they'd play a sci-based mud.
If they didn't like that, maybe a western, or the sort.  If they don't
like roleplaying - in the end - they won't play a role playing game.
They'll play quake, or diablo(II).

	Any sort of forcing of the roleplaying (including allowing people
to advance in GOP via roleplaying sessions..yes, to a GOP, they _HAVE_ to
do this to maintain their power, and power gain at the same rate) will
cause problems with your players just like the above.  If you choose to
add things to your mud which affect any goal-oriented play, you're going
to want to be _very_ sure that you make whatever it is possible without
any sort of roleplay.  To do otherwise will cause a schism you will not
want to have to deal with fixing.

	Someone posted an example though where the most influential player
in the game was not the most powerful in their game system by levels/etc.
I find this a very positive message, I would like to hear more about that
roleplaying system, and the level at which there is an interaction between
strict roleplay and strict GOP.

								PjD




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