[MUD-Dev] Story Implementation

Matt Mihaly the_logos at achaea.com
Thu Dec 6 20:43:11 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

On Wed, 5 Dec 2001, Veynom wrote:

> We have an alternate theory for the story implementation. Do not
> create quests. Instead, create a world with different
> groups. Allow people to join whatever group (good or bad, no AI
> here) and/or to do whatever kind of role they want.

The sandbox approach, then.
> Give them the tools to manage their group at every level and done,
> human nature being what it is, you have a world with a
> self-generating plot.  Some will want to conquer, other to get
> richer, others to protect, ...

Sounds good, but won't work well without admin intervention. Or
rather, to be more accurate, I've never heard of it being done well
without admin intervention.

Your approach was more or less what I intended originally upon
starting Achaea. It quickly became clear, however, that it would not
work. For lack of a better analogy, energy seems to drain out of the
pure sandbox approach after awhile, leaving players feeling like
there's nothing new that can be done, and no new challenges or
stories to be had. Other players have done it all before, etc. In
effect, I've found that what happens is that you get this huge
difficult-to-break box that players stop thinking outside of. You
get a few now and then that think outside of it, but without admin
encouragement, they are quickly shut up by the erm, 'thought
momentum" of the inside-the-box thinkers.

I believe you need to keep a system feeling 'fresh' by having the
admins constantly introduce new twists to the world. Our system
works very well for this, in that the admins mostly play in-role
Gods, with real powers over players. So, for instance, recently the
God of Evil decided to order his followers to wage war on the holy
shrines of many other Gods, who banded have banded together to
destroy nearly all the shrines (which serve as nodes for
religion-based powers) of the God of Evil. The God of Evil's
worshippers are now starting to be ostracized, and cast into exile
even from their own long-time city-states by rulers whom have been
forced by the war to choose sides. It's all quite fun.

Yes, it's possible that some mortal follower of an NPC God of Evil
might have decided to initiate something similar, and organized
something functionally equivalent, but it's been my somewhat
extensive experience that this doesn't happen nearly often enough.

I strongly believe your approach (which used to be my approach as
well) to generating player-led stories will work without worlds that
are considerably more complex than any existing or planned worlds
that I know of. Further, that complexity needs to be (in a nod to
some of the persuasive arguments made by the simulationists on the
list such as Nathan Yosepe) one that is derived from principles as
basic as possible, so that there is some logical relationship
between all systems.

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