[MUD-Dev] Story Implementation

Jeff Cole jeff.cole at mindspring.com
Sun Dec 9 10:09:44 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001


From: "Marian Griffith" <gryphon at iaehv.nl>
Sent: Saturday, December 08, 2001 5:39 AM

> The reason why quests are closed, linear and repetitive is because
> players must, by nature of the current muds, be unable to alter
> the game world. Every new player must experience the same game as
> every other player that has gone before her, with the same
> difficulties, the same challenges and the same rewards.  There are
> good reasons for this, but they make for a game that can not
> fundamentally be changed by the players.

I think that a much more logical and simple explanation is the
recycling of content.  It is less that each player "must experience
the same game as every other player that has gone before her," and
more that developers cannot generate enough content such that each
player experience a significantly different game than every other
player that has gone before her, at least vis-a-vis quests.

Real change is also going to require that the developer break the
rather strong Pavlovian conditioning to which the current customer
base has been subjected.  Of course the flip-side is that there is a
vast, untapped market of potential subscribers that have no
preconceptions.

> The problem is of course that the game worlds are much too shallow
> to trust players with the ability to permanently alter
> it. Somebody else said that if you give players the ability to
> burn down things the gameworld will be permanently burned
> down. That is unfortunate- ly true, and it is the reason why I
> said that the gameworld must be large enough (not inert enough !)
> to be able to absorb the player's actions.

I think (hope) that you are not equating "too shallow" with "[not]
large enough."  What the game world needs is sufficient "inertia"
(in the Physical sense) such that considerable pressure is needed to
affect the evolutionary vectors.

Inertia can come from size, density or both.  Simply increasing the
size of the world is a brute-force solution (and a rather inelegant
solution at that).

A better solution is to increase gameplay density by providing
players more opportunities to and better interfaces through which to
interact and transact.  Consequence is sorely lacking from the
current crop of MMO*'s.  Not code- (server-) imposed consequence but
the ability of developers/players to impose consequence on the
player populations.  Without consequence, you cannot possibly trust
players to materially affect their world.

Yrs Affcty,
Jeff Cole

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