[MUD-Dev] Proposed Law

Matt Mihaly the_logos at achaea.com
Mon Oct 22 15:56:35 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

On Sat, 20 Oct 2001, Adam Martin wrote:
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Matt Mihaly" <the_logos at achaea.com>
>> It's no more grossly disbelievable than any system of magic I've
>> ever seen. It's no more grossly disebelivable than the fact that
>> you have to eat in many of these worlds, but never have to
>> defecate or urinate.
>> Is it believable in chess that the queen rather than, say, the
>> knight is the most powerful piece? No, and it doesn't
>> matter. Internal consistency matters, and the queen is more
>> powerful in chess. In most MUDs, mobiles come back to life. So do
>> players, for that matter. It happens every time, or nearly every
>> time, and that's really what matters.
> I think you're being more than a little unfair with your analogy:
> Chess is a game of strategy; most MMORPGs seem to be games of
> immersion to a strong extent (otherwise why on earth bother with
> FPS 3D, for a start? Why bother with room descriptions at all -
> just have a world filled with "Room 345", "Room 6653" etc?). It
> does no harm to rename the chess pieces (at least given the number
> of "alternative" chess-piece sets that people are happy to play
> with this seems the case)

Focusing on one aspect of MUDs like that misses the whole. They are
partially about immersion. They are partially about strategy. They
are partially about socializing. Etc. There's no reason you couldn't
make a MUD that has nothing to do with immersion. JC claims mud-dev
is a MUD (not sure I buy that), but it's not immersive, to me at
least, at all. My point is just that we were talking about a
proposed law, and I'm just showing that it's not a universal one. It
only applies to a narrow set of possible MUDs, as I see it.

> I agree that lack of defecation is, the moment you stop to think
> about it, grossly unbelievable. But it's unbelievable by omission,
> and out of site does truly tend to be out of mind; monsters that
> die and then re-appear unharmed to start again are very much an
> in-your-face situation. To be honest, I generally stop engaging
> with a game once I see things like a respawn point...at that point
> I just switch to GoP and find it hard if not impossible to resume
> suspension of disbelief.

You mean like fire-breathing dragons? That's also quite in your
face, and that is equally unrealistic. The in-your-face 'unrealism'
of most MUDs starts the minute you create a character.

>From my POV as a player, I've never cared if mobs respawn, stand
there picking their noses, or whatever. I've never cared, and don't
like monster bashing. MUDs, to me (again, as a player. My POV as a
designer is somewhat different, but if I have that view as a player,
I'm sure many others do too), are all about interaction with other

I think you'd find, for instance, that Achaea's players are somewhat
more immersed in much of the game than Everquest players are, yet
our mobs are about as stupid and 'unrealistic' as they come. Fixed
respawn points. Fixed respawn times, etc. It doesn't matter really,
because that's that's how the world works, and it's consistent.

> I'm reminded of the FarSide cartoon, where a cow stands up and
> says "Hey, this is GRASS! We've been eating grass for all these
> years!" having just realised that there are much better things to
> be eating than grass. The fact that "In most MUDs, mobiles come
> back to life" doesn't AFAICS affect whether they should or not.

I love that one. (anything with cows in it is a-ok as far as I'm
concerned). I haven't heard any arguments yet that persuade me that
it's inherently a bad thing though, and I doubt I ever will,
particularly as I don't even see that it's possible to prove.

There are as many 'perfect designs' as there are players, and some
of the perfect designs are diametrically opposed to each other.


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