[MUD-Dev] I Want to Forge Swords. [Another letter to game

Auli auli at bellsouth.net
Sun May 6 13:04:21 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

S. Patrick Gallaty wrote:

> Sticking to the point originally made - which I don't feel you have
> really addressed, is that trade skills are enhanced by localization.
> You may disagree with localization for other reasons, but that
> doesn't change the fact that it enhances trade skills this way.  As
> with other complex elements of mmog, some goals are (partially)
> contradictory.  Some needs are exclusive.
> Given your own constraints, I would suggest that the 'travel tedium'
> element so prevalent in everquest does not categorically need to be
> a component in any localization designed to enhance tradeskills.
> One can localize resources in some other way, plenty of ideas come
> to mind without really thinking hard about it.

Perhaps if the original article had been entitled "The ONLY Thing I
Want to is Forge Swords" I would agree.  Unless you are literally
building a trade skill simulator as the primary focus of your game
then I think my points are still valid.  To date, at least on the
massively commercial scale this is not the case.  Role playing games
with cooperative adventure as their central theme is the norm, trade
skills are secondary.  I wouldn't want to stake my investment on a
game based wholly on baking bread or forging swords (though stranger
things have happened, Deer Hunter anyone?).  Does anyone think a
midevil economic simulator is a good idea as the primary focus for a
MMOG?  Allow me to re-quote Mr. Ming:

  "We would like to be known as the best bronze smith in Three Creeks,
  or the only certified droid tech on Revoli Seven. If popping from
  location to location is too easy, then people will not settle down
  and call one location home."

The question becomes 'what good is it to be the best bronze smith in
Three Creeks?'  Assuming extremely limited transportation system who
now lives in Three Creeks?  In Everquest if Mr. Ming were a gnome and
he was the best bronze smith in Ak'Anon exactly where is the community
to buy his wares?  They certainly aren't in Ak'Anon, the place is a
ghost town.  No one goes there because its too hard to get to in spite
of there being a druid portal in the adjoining zone.  Once the newbies
leave the nest they are gone for good.  Our intrepid gnome may
adventure to East Commonlands and sell his wares, but he'll never be
known as 'the best bronze smith in Ak'Anon' because there is no
community centered in Ak'Anon.

While it may be true that localizing resources may localize craftsmen
to a certain extent, remember he wants to forge swords.  What good is
a sword to a community of blacksmiths?  The adventurer who is playing
the central theme of the game isn't part of that comunity anymore,
he's moved off to find his adventure and he can't get home.  The MAIN
point of the game is exactly the opposite of 'settle down and call one
location home' for the vast majority of players.  On the other hand,
if, at the end of the day, our adventurer could get back to Three
Creeks our smith might have a loyal customer.  If the travel is
tedious and time consuming he'll buy his sword from the nearest smith
in the nearest town.

I made the point in my original mail that there were two different
social organizations in The Realm.  The second one was your neighbors
who were also your economic contacts.  The reason was because they
were the people closest to your home, and it was easy to go home.
That one spell insured that every town in the game had its own viable
economy.  I KNEW the best smith in Caer Fandry (well my favorite
smith, there can be no 'best' once the game is sufficiently matured)
and when I wanted a new adamantium longsword I went home and bought it
from him.  I have absolutely no idea of even the race of the person I
last bought a crafted item from in Everquest.  It was just some
anonymous player in East Commons.  It may have been the best smith in
Ak'Anon.  If so, I certainly didn't know about it and I didn't waste
the time to go to Ak'Anon to buy it.

Auli  aka

Dwayne A. Hall
Savannah, GA

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