[MUD-Dev] Players Controlling Monsters

rayzam rayzam at home.com
Tue Oct 16 23:58:23 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001


----- Original Message -----
From: "Dan Burke" <flynx at primogen.com>
> Brian Hook writes:

>>  Let players control monsters.

> This is something that has been employed in LARP (Live Action
> Roleplay - in many ways VERY similar to MMO just without the
> lag...well for some people ;)) for several years now.  Having
> players (in LARPS) do shifts as NPC's is needed in most games, as
> otherwise you wind up with 70 PC's and 10 NPC's who have to
> entertain them all.  But if each team (typically people play in
> groups) does a 4 hour NPC shift with some minor reward for their
> character, typically extra XP or Items it balances out nicely.

> The up side - In an MMO game you would have monsters who behave
> differently from standard AI monster.  Also it means that in areas
> of your world that are monster deficint suddenly you have
> randomized spawns popping up that can't break the players
> killrestkill rut.

> The down side - difficult to balance.  There would instantly be
> those players who work out ways to co-ordinate in order to
> maximize the loot/exp off a player driven monster.

> My own $0.02 on how to arrange this - Let people who want to do
> monster time work their way up the way they do a character.  Start
> out at Goblins or some other a-typical 1 hit die creature, when
> they have entertained (read died to/killed off) other players they
> can upgrade to the next grade of monsters.  Uniques would be a bad
> idea IMO "No you don't get to Ride vox today" but common monsters
> and random spawn (ie you are given a range of creatures you can
> spawn as, no control over region) would keep it interesting.
> There COULD be an option to allow players out as RP characters,
> NPC's who can communicate like a player normally would.
> Potentially In-Town or out and about "Hey look its Tommy the
> baker!" would be very interesting but difficult to moderate.  The
> old fashioned Kilrathi style "Choose insult 1 - 4" sort of
> communication might be best. 

We had a variety of this at one point. The Wraith player race
couldn't do anything on their own, but could attempt to inhabit an
NPC for a corporeal form. The implementation is different than you
suggest, however, the hitch that came about would be the same. For
the player to truly be able to intelligently control the monster,
the player needs to know all about the monster: a listing of
abilities and stats [even if it is just in ranges]. This becomes
disseminated information via the web. Furthermore, the new,
unexpected game mechanic is to have a player get this information
from the NPC side before anyone goes against it from the PC side. If
you prevent the player controlling the NPC from having access to the
abilities/spell lists/skills/whatnot of the NPC, then you circumvent
the point of the exercise: having NPCs that are better than game AI
to provide more player advantage.

In which case, why not have a plethora of races, including the NPC
style ones, and set up a PvP environment, or limited PvP?

    rayzam

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