[MUD-Dev] Balance... RPG or Role-Playing Game?

Mordengaard mordengaard at redhotant.com
Mon Jul 31 20:28:42 New Zealand Standard Time 2000

Going for a multiple-point response on this one, so bear with me :)

> From: Malcolm Valentine <spin at fastlink.com.au>
> On Wed, Jul 26, 2000, Patrick Dughi wrote:
> <snipped>
> > There has been alot of talk recently on this list about how we
> > ought to not stratify the players, make them all nearly equal in
> > or lower the effective range of abilities.  Sure, this is great for
> > encouraging the casual gamer, for many reasons which have been
> > However, it discourages the concept of a Hero.  When everyone is nearly
> > the same, you end up with a world which has the same difficulty for
> > everyone.  In a system where everyone wants to strive to be a hero, it's
> > hard for static, alike characters to differentate themselves.  If in the
> > end you kill a dragon, there's not much to stop your friend from killing
> > a dragon, and so on.  You're not a hero, you're a regular.  Then it gets
> > boring.
> > Basically, I'm saying that a good step for a mud is to make a
> > division between your regular, and your hero.  Make it so it takes more
> > than playing time to be a hero - perhaps a characters max abilities are
> > set at generation.
>   As I've stated previously, depending on the game being created, players
> should be "heroes" from the start. Let the NPCs assume the role of the
> regular.

To tie a knot in this and another thread for a moment, "Hero" characters
usually require a lot of work (ie player time), which the casual gamer won't
be willing/able to put in.  A Hero-only mud is either a mud full of
mudaholics or a world where becoming a hero is simple a case of strapping on
armour and slaying a few "dragons" (quotes indicating that if said "hero"
had actually met a -real- dragon they'd be kebabs by now).  Both are equally
undesirable in my eyes.  So why not let players play the "normal" folk -if
they choose to-.  That, I think, is my key philosophy in creating Yhared.
Let the players do what they wish.

>   For an aside, most heroes tend to live fast and die young, yet many
> players feel they have "invested" too much into their characters for them
> to be cast down at a whim. Perhaps it is impossible to have true heroes
> without some form of permanent death, although I can think of a few
> cases where "Boffo recovers from personal tragedy to fulfil his destiny"
> comes into use.

I'm something of a fence-sitter on the "permadeath" concept.  As a player I
hate the idea of permadeath.  Put me in a situation where I might
permanently lose my beloved character which has (so far) had over two years
of playing time and I'm likely to run screaming.  As a mud coder, however,
and a "hobby" psychologist, I want my players to be -really- scared of the
bits of data that represent Gorm, the Great Dragon of the Orclands.  I also
want defeating Gorm to be a high point in one character or group of
character's life/lives.  This is partly because mobs in Yhared don't
"repop", but are "seeded" into the world (but that's for a different
thread).  Slaying Gorm will be a major world event (and leaving me Gormless,
but that's nothing new :p), reducing the current dragon population by a
third and earning major karma/kudos/money for the doer(s) of the deed.  BUT!
where's the fear, the anxiety, the buttock-clenchingness about approaching
Gorm's lair if you know that death will simply result in a quick trip to see
the Mistress of Death and the loss of a few bits of equipment?
In a twist, can I suggest instead a number of "lives", less than a cat's but
more than a human's, so that losing one of these lives is a traumatic
experience in itself (hopefully to the character, not the player), but that
the knowledge that "true" death is now a step closer might make the player
more cautious.  It's probably been tried before (I'm starting to think I'm
not that original after all :p), but hell, the car's been done before and
they're still bringing out new models.  Game on.

Mordengaard (Yhared MUD, in development in case you're wondering!)

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