[MUD-Dev] Role-Playing Games Are Not Dead

Michael Tresca talien at toast.net
Wed Nov 28 08:07:28 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001


Don Healey posted on Monday, November 26, 2001 12:49 PM

> My extensive comments can be briefly summarized as: Pen and Paper
> role playing is important to the development of MUD's as it can
> expose people (importantly designers) to the fuller, purer role
> playing experience, thereby raising the bar for what can be
> implemented in a MUD.

EXACTLY.  This is the point I've been trying to make (and failing,
apparently).

> I have written this rather lengthy response as this experience
> seems to be so different from some other peoples experiences. And
> more importantly it shows that the pen and paper module describe
> as being CRAPPY is actually a social model for playing, not an
> aspect of pen and paper role playing games.

Thus my horror to see RPGs cast in such a light.

> But if the user hasn't had the experience of the ideal then they
> are less able to ask for it. And I think that is a problem with
> some of today's MMO's.  I know from what I have read that there
> has been some young development teams (and certainly the computer
> system development of some games appears to have been performed by
> teams with limited commercial experience). It is possible that due
> to their age and/or cultural/social environments that they have
> not experienced (what I referred to earlier as) the purer form of
> RPGing. I have certainly seen major MMO companies advertising for
> staff with technical experience in the tools used for the
> production of levels for games rather than good background in
> gaming. If the designers do not know the destination, they will
> not take the product there.

It's disturbing to hear that the RPG experience is being seen as an
inferior model for playing.  But worse, if you believe that the RPG
experience is inferior, it's going to alter how you make games --
more technical, less gaming background.  I consider RPG experience
an important aspect of to the gaming experience (ESPECIALLY the
fantasy gaming experience), PRECISELY because MMORPGs imitate the
pen-and-paper versions.

This model reflects itself on MUD development.  I've seen too many
MUDs run by the guy with the most coding experience.  This is by no
means a guarantee that that person can "make a good game," and
usually proves itself out with code that works but games that suck.

> So to summarize what I have been saying lately: Pen and Paper role
> playing is important to the development of MMO's as it can expose
> people (importantly designers) to the fuller, purer role playing
> experience, thereby raising the bar for what can be implemented in
> an MMO.  If they don't have that experience it will be hard for
> them to implement it.

Well said!  In my frothing zeal, I wasn't able to elucidate nearly
as eloquently. >:)

Mike "Talien" Tresca
RetroMUD Administrator
http://www.retromud.org/talien





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