[MUD-Dev] [STORY] Story and population size

Wells Wells
Thu Dec 6 15:41:00 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

-----Original Message-----
From: John Buehler [mailto:johnbue at msn.com]

> I think most folks are agreed that the EverQuest-style cycle is
> passe.  I found it to be such about the time my first character
> reached level 10.  I was simply pointing out that even the newest
> games are not doing what is necessary to permit players to be
> involved in activities that are in any way memorable - or
> noteworthy.

I don't agree at all.  In fact, I would say most folks have found
the Everquest-style to be engaging and entertaining.  Memorable,
noteworthy events occur constantly in Everquest, albeit on a small
scale.  Time and time again I have overheard conversations or seen
IRC chats revolving around instances that have occured in a dungeon
or city on Norrath, some dating back two years or more.

> Simutronics was recently discussing the creation of a game called
> "Hero's Journey".  After some thought, it occurred to me that you
> can't have a MMO experience where everyone is a hero.  Ignoring
> the fact that being powerful doesn't make anyone a hero, heros are
> the extreme exceptions in a society.  In a MMO experience,
> everyone will become powerful, negating the value of the
> achievement.  I want the equivalent of "Joe Average's Journey",
> which is just an environment where I start out being a normal,
> capable person in a society of normal, capable people.  And I stay
> being a normal, capable person.  The fun isn't in mindless power
> accrual, but in engaging entertainment.  Actually ENGAGING things
> to do.  Things that I don't want to macro, because I want to
> experience them.  I find it hilarious that Dark Age of Camelot
> refuses to lose focus because they want to discourage macroing of
> their game.  If the game is that mindless, it SHOULD be have
> people running it with macros.

For many people that is exactly what Everquest is.  A bunch of
friends get together and find a place to hunt monsters, get loot,
and socialize.  It is no different for them than a group of friends
going bowling, playing basketball, or watching the game together.
It just happens to be in a virtual world called Norrath instead of
Joe's Bowlarama or the local park.

> As for "entertainment density", I made it up.  It seems a good
> phrase to communicate an important notion.  Current games are very
> low in entertainment density.  On a scale of 1 to 10, I put
> Watching Paint Dry at a 1.  I put current MMO games at about a 3.
> And that's primarily due to the social aspects of the game.

This concept is subjective.

> One last observation would be that it is my opinion that
> implementations of MMO experiences need to back WAY off on their
> ambitious goals.  They need to figure out how to bring a number of
> people into an interactive environment and give them simple,
> entertaining things to do.  Folks need to stop trying to create an
> online world with graphics and story and instead come up with
> something simple and entertaining.  Take a first competent step
> instead of jumping off a cliff and hoping to fly.  As this just
> occurred to me the other day, I'll have to ponder it a bit more to
> see what would be good entertainment.

I believe Everquest does exactly what you describe here. It gives
people simple, entertaining things to do.

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