[MUD-Dev] Proposed Law

Matthew Estes tos at maintree.com
Thu Oct 25 15:10:07 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001


-----Original Message-----
From: Paul Schwanz <paul.schwanz at east.sun.com>
> Matt Mihaly wrote:
 
> Actually, my argument probably wasn't formulated very well.
> Additionally, it is based on some personal preferences, so it
> probably is best described as an opinion vs. and argument.  It
> goes like this:
 
>   1) I don't like re-spawns for aesthetic reasons.  They interfere
>   with my suspension of disbelief no matter how consistently done.
>   My preference is for a game to kill things it wants dead and not
>   to kill things it doesn't want dead.  There may be exceptions to
>   this, but I prefer them to be exceptions rather than the rule.
>   I covered some of this in another post.
 
>   2) I also prefer to give as much freedom of choice as possible
>   to gamers.  In other words, I'd like them to be able to kill
>   things they want to kill and otherwise destroy things they want
>   to destroy.
 
>   3) Given the first two points, along with the knowledge that
>   destruction burns content, I need to present the gamer with some
>   reasons to not destroy.  One method of doing this involves
>   having many different dimensions of interaction with game
>   pieces.  As the utility of a game piece goes up, so does the
>   consequences of its destruction.
 
> I hope that is a bit more clear.

I'm new to the list, but I figure I could toss in my own ideas
here. I like your first two points, although respawns don't bother
me as much :), but my main problem with respawns is that it makes
what I'm doing seem inconsequential. In my experiences with
EverQuest(its been a while though) it really bothered me that most
things respawned, and you would have lines of people waiting to kill
a certain NPC.

Anyway, I would suggest rather than presenting reasons NOT to
destroy to encourage productive stuff. For instance, in your
prototypical fantasy world, let there be some nasty dragon who
pretty much terrorizes and kills would be adventurers in some
region. Someone comes along and kills the dragon, he stays
dead. Incorporate that into the history of your world, including the
name of the player(or team) that managed to off the dragon. The game
would have a running plot line that the players affect. Basically,
if someone plays long enough they should have a reasonable high
chance to perform some world changing act.

Of course, that "burns" content as I think you're meaning it, but if
the game is actively administered(rather than fire-and-forget) you
could introduce some new protagonistic forces(which you would want
to do anyway to keep things from getting stagnant).

Here's another way to look at the "content burn" issue. If your game
is "static" and allows permanent destruction, that sounds like a
better model for a single player game, however, a big multiplayer
environment ought to do better, and make use of the greater
intelligence available by having humans instead of one player and a
bunch of "NPC's" to mold a continuing story.

Heck, involve the high level players, maybe form a committee of the
most powerful players to discuss out of game what plot lines(with
outcomes to be determined in game rather than in advance) to
explore. For instance, let two high level "kings" decide out of game
they should have a war, and so in game they find some reason to pick
a fight. All the other rulers jump in on it, and soon you have a
world wide conflict, which results in all the players getting
imbroiled in the conflict, and then record all the "mighty deeds of
valor" in the war and let the politcal "boundaries" change
dramatically. In the running history which is available to the
players, they will see how their actions impact things and be drawn
into the illusion even more, hopefully increasing the fun they have.

Just some thoughts.

     Matt Estes


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