[MUD-Dev] Player-admins, was wimping/wiping and the big blind spot
Wed Aug 9 18:54:36 New Zealand Standard Time 2000
On Wed, 9 Aug 2000, rayzam wrote:
> Why does an admin need to make a persistant character?
Once again, I'll mention that in my experience, the very best muds are
the ones where its creators play at least occasionally. The muds which
have the most power imbalances and other design problems are those where
the creators are distant from the players and would never stoop to creating
'real' characters, but instead just create quick test characters to make
sure that their newly implemented spell or skill doesn't crash the mud.
I will admit that this is anecdotal evidence. I can only claim to have
witnessed this phenomenon closely (one way or the other) on perhaps a dozen
muds, and from a distance on another dozen or two. Out of the thousands
of muds that have existed over that time period, this is a pretty small
However, this is also consistent with my own experiences building and coding
for several muds, including a currently running one. It's also consistent
with my six years of experience in the field of commercial video games
(which encompasses consoles, arcade games, and PC games).
It is very hard for me to dismiss all of this direct evidence based on
a few claims which no one even seems to be willing to support with
real-life data. (One person gave an example that I felt was almost
irrelevant to the discussion, but Brian nicely refuted it.)
> This lets you test out anything in your game. But without the
> issue of having a long built up character, interacting with non wiz-staff
> players, and from the advantage of knowing the game from the inside out.
...which is *entirely* different from knowing it from the outside in.
That's why you have to play a real character.
> Assuming you know how your game works, you can succeed at it better,
> faster with more goodies [eq/quests/points/whatever is used to note
> achievement], than others.
True to a certain extent. You don't have to spend the time getting
comfortable with the interface, or learning where the hidden doors with
hidden eq are located, or guessing at what a certain spell or skill might
You are wrong, however, in thinking that you will be the best player of
your game just because you created it. Players will always think of
new angles that you never considered, because you know the game inside
> In my opinion that makes it unfair to be
> considered a 'player', hence the category tester, playtester, whatnot.
You can call it whatever you like. Certainly it's not reasonable to expect
the creator of a game to play it the same way as a 'true' player.
My style, when playing my own games, and especially my own muds, is
very laid back. I like joining groups and just following, keeping a low
profile, and seeing how the other players approach things. And I fool
around a lot, trying to do things in ways other than what I intended
when I designed the game.
Yes, I usually do well, but I've never been able to compete with the top
players in the game. It's actually quite amusing; as an admin I watch
from "on high" as solo characters tear through areas that are supposed
to be incredibly tough, so I think, "Damn, I need to make that area harder."
Then I come through with my own characters, and realize that it IS
extremely difficult - the best players just make it look easy.
> the test characters should be specifically ignored from the achievement
> lists. I.e., we have a top player [based on experience only] list, test
> characters aren't on it. Or the top questors, or the top explorers. Anything
> that actually compares player vs player.
Agreed on that point.
Although - another thing that the admin can do is show that there's more
than one way to do things. Players tend to discover the most efficient
route to a certain goal rather quickly, and then all successive players
follow that same route blindly. An admin can step in and create an
off-the-wall character - perhaps a character class that most people believe
to be underpowered - and show that there's other routes, perhaps even
Or, in many cases - you, the admin, realize that the class that everyone
complains about being underpowered actually IS underpowered. You know
firsthand, instead of relying on player griping, which we all know
tends to be highly inaccurate.
> It's true that its a huge time commitment to try to play every
> combination, but thats only if you work up from teh bottom. Take a snapshot
> of any situation you want to know about from the player's perspective. And
> that'll also help keep from biasing the game towards the character you are
> progressing, because your progression no longer has a measurement or an
> investment in time.
One thing I'll mention is that it's much easier for me to play my own
mud because I created it to require a small time investment. Most of my
characters have less than ten hours logged on them, and most of that
was just goofing off while at work. Some muds require you to spend dozens
or even hundreds of hours to have a character that can do the "good" stuff;
but of course, I dislike those kinds of muds as a player as much as I do as an
I, just like most admins, want to spend most of my time improving the game.
But a certain amount of time invested into playing can make a big difference
in how you perceive your own game, and (in most cases) allow you to make it
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