[MUD-Dev] Re: UO rants

Matthew Mihaly the_logos at achaea.com
Wed Aug 23 18:17:19 New Zealand Standard Time 2000

On Tue, 22 Aug 2000, Schubert, Damion wrote:

> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Matthew Mihaly [mailto:the_logos at achaea.com]
> > Unfortunately, I think we can expect that to be par for the 
> > course with
> > licenses and massively multiplayer worlds. It happened with 
> > Ultima. Sierra
> > completely mucked up the Tolkien license and wasn't even able 
> > to deliver a
> > decent friggin' game on time. I shudder to see Star Wars 
> > Online. In their
> > defence though, I don't put the blame on the large commercial 
> > designers
> > though. They are under a mandate (presumably either explicit 
> > or implied)
> > to make money for their employers. 
> Being able to pay your employees salaries is, like, cool and stuff.

Yeah. Otherwise they get grumpy.

> Seriously, most licenses are _not well designed_ to be turned
> into MUDs, because MUDs are usually somewhat static, 
> predictable worlds with spawns and campers and D00dz and easily
> twiddleable alignment systems and ludicrously stupid NPCs who
> will give you the same quest every day of the week and plots 
> that move forward extremely slowly if at all and fiction that
> rarely if ever turns the hero into the center of attention and
> players who insist on naming themselves Beavis and wandering 
> around the world going "'heh-heh-heh-heh... he said 'Shaft'".

I know! I think the ranter was somewhat aware of this to.

> That doesn't make the desire of thousands of players to live
> in the world of Tolkien, or Star Wars, or Dune, or Anne Rice,
> any less.  It is, in fact, far more compelling to your average
> user than a world created from scratch.  You only need to
> take a look at the MUD list to see the sheer number of well
> populated dikus, LPs and MUSHes based on existing properties.
> Most MUDs that aren't strictly one fiction have Python areas,
> Robin Hood areas or Tolkien areas which tend to be more 
> popular because they are mentally accessible to the user.  
> Places you know are more comfortable places to 'live'.

But this is the point of the ranter. These worlds aren't being 'ruined'
for the sake of the players. They are being ruined for the sake of the
almighty dollar (again, I emphasize that as long as you don't do it to
Tolkien, you are safe from my wrath). 

Also, I question your logic that because there are many license-derived
MUDs because that is what people want. Instead, I would point to the
general lack of imagination among mud admins. It's like the way Hollywood
copies itself constantly. Was there some big public demand for TWO major
'meteor' movies two summers ago? (Armaggedon and Deep Impact) I don't
think so, but it's a case of "If you build it, they will come." 

(I'll also point out that we can only HOPE for the day when the majority
of license-derived muds are from such quality properties as Tolkien and
Dune. Nay, go to the Mudconnector and you'll see that the top properties
appear to be crap like Dragonball. The top two muds by telnet requests,
right now, are, in fact, Dragonball X and Dragonball Series.)

> And for what it's worth, I don't know of any fiction that 
> captures the realisms of the genre, such as the ones I 
> listed above.  The decisions behind all of the things 
> mentioned above were made by the UO, EQ and AC teams for
> solid reasons, more often related to time and code 
> complexity than to money.  The realities of the MMPRPG
> genre are so specific that they must always be in the 
> driver's seat, which means that the fiction, oftentimes,
> is not.

Yes, I know all this, and it's all an argument for not using the property
if it's going to be messed up. Would a bunch of Muslims get upset if you
made a big fat commercial mud based on the Koran, with Mohammed as an NPC
you can kill and abuse? Damn right they would. Why should it be any
different for Tolkien or Star Wars (or whatever) fans?

> >If that means destroying a 
> > well-loved
> > property, well, so be it. Really, it's just the sort of thing 
> > you'd expect
> > from EA. *starts ranting about how incredibly lame it is that EA is
> > shutting down both Meridian 59 and Kesmai*
> Meridian 59 is being shut down by the company that owns it,
> which is 3DO, not EA.  Now, I probably love that game more 
> than anyone on the planet, but it's numbers at this time 
> are very low (i.e. usually less than 80 people online at
> a time), which is to say, almost certainly unprofitable.

Right, sorry. I like to blame EA for all sorts of things. I'd also argue
that Meridian 59's current failure is due at least in part to a lack of
marketing effort on the part of 3DO, and a general lack of attention put
into the game on the admin side. 

"He that is wounded in the testicles, or have his penis cut off, shall not
enter into the congregation of the Lord." Deuteronomy 23:1

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