[MUD-Dev] Death among Friends

Jon Morrow Jon at Morrow.net
Wed Aug 1 21:04:41 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

OOO!  More real-world examples to analyze!

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Michael Tresca

> We have random events on RetroMUD.  We stick by them, even though
> many players hate them with a passion.  But yet, when a host of
> angels swoops down from the heavens to smite evil, the evil PCs
> come together to defend themselves in a way they never bothered to
> before.  Newbies (who are not threatened by the invaders) scout
> them out, highbies track them down, and the PCs are engaged in a
> collective defense of their home.

Hmm.  I may have to come for a visit.  :)

Even if they hate the random events, have you measured your player
turnover?  And what about the events do players hate?  What do they

> This common enemy is all too often missing from multiplayer games.
> When PCs only have to worry about the monster they're killing, the
> player community becomes disjointed, insular, and in the most
> extreme cases, it's a PK/treasure stealing game where new players
> can't even survive.  NOTHING on a game should be 100% protected.
> On RetroMUD, castles decay, characters can slide backwards in
> advancement if they screw up enough, and few things are permanent.
> This cycle helps keep our economy going as well as filtering out
> inactive players.

Excellent observations, and in a different direction than I was
thinking. Do you concentrate on making your NPCs and events
challenging and interesting?

If the game is in a state of constant decay, how is it repaired?  By
NPCs?  Players?  Automatically?  How does it impact the player?  Are
they forced to perform boring tasks to keep their favorite castle
from collapsing?

> This of course has a downside.  In a virtual reality where people
> come and go as they please, those "random moments" can happen at
> the most inopportune times.  Similarly, those sparks of
> inspiration and camaraderie (in other words, those moments when a
> multiplayer game actually involves multiple players) happen
> unexpectedly.  The real quality player is the one who keeps his
> cool and marshals his fellow PCs to provide a formidable defense
> -- as opposed to the guy who read on some web site that the
> minotaur is vulnerable to fire and a +5 gewgaw is most effective
> against it.

Yes, it's always great for everyone to be given an opportunity to
participate.  Do you think it would be wrong to give players warning
signs, such as seeing a fleet of ships on the horizon if they walk
by the ocean?

> I don't think it's about social interaction alone.  That potential
> exists as soon as more than one player is on the game. It's about
> giving players a common reason to cooperate, distinct from the
> slavish devotion to killing monsters who wait like sheep to be
> "farmed".

Cooperation certainly seems to be a foundation concept for MUDs.
>From what you say, random events is an excellent reason to
cooperate.  But how can we capitalize on the concept in other areas
without forcing players into it?  I've found most people resent
being forced to cooperate.



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