[MUD-Dev] Something in the water

John Hopson jhopson at nc.rr.com
Wed Jul 25 11:39:59 New Zealand Standard Time 2001


At 05:00 PM 7/24/2001, Caliban Tiresias Darklock wrote:

> Traditionally, I think the "reward" for RP has been the admiration
> and respect of other players.

Which is of course a great and good thing, but the players are
comparing it to the very tangible rewards they get from everything
else, and rp generally fares badly in the comparison.  On one hand,
they have swords of power, personal castles, and the ability to
grind their enemies into dust and on the other, they have someone
saying "Nice roleplay".  While I'm personally a hard core roleplayer
and find that more rewarding, it's obvious that most totally new
players look at the options and take their cue _from us_.  We've got
lots of rewards for being Conan, but none for being Shakespeare.

One popular response to this is the approach used by mushes: Cut
down the tangible rewards.  If you can't gain xp/equipment/levels
from killing things, the relative value of "nice roleplay" rises.
I've used the same approach on my own muds, with good results.  The
problem is that this is a niche strategy, not something that will
appeal to the average mudder and especially not the commercial gamer
market.  If I had a dollar for every newbie who said "What do you
mean, don't kill mobs", my game would be self-supporting.

The other strategy is to make "nice roleplay" translate into
something tangible.  We've discussed using trust metrics and players
assigning rp-points and so on, but those are all ooc effects.  I
suspect the answer lies in creating in character coded effects for
roleplay.  Right now, on most muds, IC approval can only manifest as
aid/hindrance in killing.  I roleplay with Bob, Bob likes me, Bob
gives me money/equipment/help levelling.  Bob dislikes me, he pkills
me, loots my equipment, etc.  The real game is levels and killing,
the roleplay is just something on the side.  In order for roleplay
to be meaningful and respected, it needs its own system of rewards
and punishments that is completely distinct from that of standard
kill-levelling.

Some of the things I'm trying as non-levelling related roleplay
rewards/punishments:

  Groups can ban people they don't like from their territory

  Groups can evict people from their territory (If they're not
  banned, they can reenter)

  Groups can have people in their territory arrested for short
  periods of time

  Groups can set individual ally ratings on other players, which
  affect how mobs in the group's territory treat them

What else have people tried?

         John




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