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

Paul Schwanz - Enterprise Services Paul.Schwanz at Sun.COM
Thu May 10 11:45:22 New Zealand Standard Time 2001


>According to Paul Schwanz - Enterprise Services:
>> Vincent Archer wrote:

>>> Well, having a large world is a good point when one wants to
>>> emphazise the Explore aspect of the game. It might even be argued
>>> it is good from a Social aspect, since it will probably force you
>>> to interact with more people. But it's also bad for community,
>>> because, unless your entire community migrates, you lose contact
>>> with it everytime you move.

>> Perhaps the problem is that you have to move...and often you have
>> to move a long ways away.  Note that this movement typically is not
>> based solely on a desire to explore.  Note also that exploration
>> doesn't always have to be solely geographical.  Most MOGs seem set
>> up to reward the nomadic life.  Is there any that offer comparable
>> advancement, rewards, or 'fun' to city dwellers?

> It is a lot easier to provide contents in the form of new areas than
> it is in the form of new game mechanics/interactions.

That makes sense to me.  However, I think that the latter method is
especially useful in situations where one desires to explore and
socialize at the same time.  Of course, the other option is to take
friends with you on your geographical exploration (as you describe in
your example) but I imagine that coordinating such expeditions could
be difficult at times.

But my comment also tried to address those many players who are not
primarily interested in exploration.  To me, it seems that these
players are forced to be nomadic in order to meet goals that have
nothing to do with exploration.

[snip of AC example]

> For us, the world is interesting at all levels, and we want to see
> all.  In EQ, we (the same friend and I) have visited about every
> zone we could get in (with the exception of the keyed dungeons of
> Kunark and the tail end of Velious). And lots of people want at one
> time to do that.

It seems to me that the satisfaction of this accomplishment is
directly related to how difficult it was to get to all the zones.
Maybe this isn't the case, but intuition says it likely is.  In this
sense, barriers to travel (and not just localization) seem to *help*
exploration.

Someone else mentioned that perhaps you could still encourage trade
while not precluding ease of travel if you made it simple for
characters to get to distant places, but much harder for them to take
much with them.  While I don't disagree that this would probably work,
I still think that there are additional benefits offered by
localization.  One is avoiding the "Southern California Syndrome."

For instance, players are supposed to be able to design and build
their own structures in World Fusion's Atriarch.  Really good
localization might mean that players in one area will tend to use the
same sort of solutions to their architectural challenges.  The
resulting buildings, though crafted by many different players, might
have some common themes that are not even recognized by local
builders.  However, the true explorer who overcomes the challenge to
get to distant places can experience the wonderful world of a whole
*different* set of architectural solutions at the new area.  To me,
this is the true reward of exploration.

Of course, if architectural solutions are player-based, then the
"best" solutions will be plastered all over the web anyway.  But if
the knowledge is character-based, I think it is entirely possible for
players to build things that give locations a certain style and
flavor...but this goes back to a different thread, doesn't it.  ;-)

--Phinehas

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