Matt Mihaly the_logos at achaea.com
Thu Dec 13 05:16:35 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

On Wed, 12 Dec 2001, Michael Tresca wrote:
> Matt Mihaly posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2001 4:04 AM
>> Well, I obviously share some of those sentiments, but I think
>> there are two points you're not addressing. First, scale does
>> create extra problems at a geometric rate.
> Agreed.  However, some problems are simply a magnification.  I
> haven't seen unique PKing problems on MMORPGs.  I've seen the same
> PKing problems with two differences:
>   1) there is MORE pressure, not less, to have it fixed because
>   money is involved, and
>   2) the issues are massive, enormous, and urgent because whereas
>   one player abuses something on a MUD, thousands may abuse it on
>   a MMORPG.

Agreed, though the sheer number of people doing it isn't what's
important here. It's how much influence the "average" player feels
from these abusing players. If you've got a population of a billion,
a few thousand abusers are not likely to be a huge problem.

The big MMORPGs have proportionately more abusers though, from what
I can tell, and therein lies the problem. It becomes geometrically
harder to manage the cracks, which the huge wedge of abusers are
constantly trying to lever open.

> But, and this is significant, there were massive MUDs before there
> were massive MMORPGs.

Hmm. I don't think so. As far as I know, no MUD has ever really
gotten closer than a magnitude smaller than the size of Everquest,
much less Lineage. That's a difference of 10x. Think about that.

> The issues were the same.  No, the MUDs weren't as massive of the
> MMORPGs today, but they certainly approached the ratio of staff to
> gamers, expectations vs. implementation, the parallels go on and
> on.

The expectationi vs. implementation I'll agree with. The ratio of
staff to gamers ignores the geometric growth in problems that so far
seems to have accompanied graphical MUDs. Further, you start running
into overhead like management, and knowledge fragmentation, as you
start having a larger and larger staff.

> Enough parallels to make learning from MUDs extremely valuable.
> There haven't been a lot of great solutions to a lot of these
> problems, but at the minimum, I'm surprised to see a lot of
> "standard" solutions among MUDs not used on MMORPGs.  The PK flag,
> hardly an innovation, seems to have crept in (finally) after much
> agony and heartache.  The decay of weapons and armor and castles
> -- most definitely not new, is still an issue for some MMORPGs.

Oh sure, I agree there is much to learn from MUDs. But as I pointed
out in a previous post, a lot of the people making these DO come
from text MUDs. Raph, Brad McQuaid, etc. (I wouldn't look at the PK
flag as something to emulate, however.)
> I disagree.  Their expectations are higher, yes.  The patterns of
> behavior are exaggerated on a grander scale -- but they're still
> the same patterns.

Yeah, that's probably true. I probably overstated the difference
> For example:
>> For instance, one of the reasons Achaea works, I think, is the
>> heavy admin involvement. Admins (who play as Gods most of the
>> time), are allowed to slay people who talk back to them, and
>> generally are pretty involved in things. I can do this because I
>> can hand-pick the
> If you have problem players on your game, it doesn't get any
> better on a MMORPG -- it gets a thousand times worse.  What I'm
> missing is how that hands-on touch becomes a frill rather than a
> requirement -- when did it become acceptable to let the jerks
> overrun the game?

The jerks are customers too though, remember, and often some jerks
provide a useful focus for other players hatred. Letting them
completely overrun the game is a mistake, I agree, but given the
size of the playerbases in graphical MUDs, managing the fallout from
banning droves of players (all of whom have friends there) could be
more trouble than the jerks are causing.
> I've heard players say it before: thank god for those graphic
> games, the twinks all play there.

Chuckle. Damn right.
> What's the screen?  Ultimately, a game filters out players that
> don't match its style.  So far, to date, the only requirement that
> I've seen is, "Pay your monthly fee."  Games shouldn't be for
> everyone -- they CAN'T be.  Carefully targeted MMORPGs won't make
> as much money, but I'd imagine they'd have a more loyal (and
> ultimately, greater ROI) player base in the long term. It seems a
> lot has been sacrificed for the sake of generic appeal.

I'd have to disagree here, unfortunately. Pandering to the lowest
common denominator brings in the most money in almost every case,
from movies to games to hotels to restaurants.

>> Now, I try to imagine applying that sort of thing to a game the
>> size of Everquest, with multiple shards, and frankly, it couldn't
>> be done. I can get quality volunteers for Achaea because they can
>> work their way to importance (our first full-time employee
>> started as a volunteer), and have a real impact on things.

>> Everquest would probably need a good 50-75 volunteers of this
>> caliber per shard in order to achieve the same thing we
>> do. Multiply that by however many shards Everquest has. There's
>> just no way it could be done. A big company is never going to
>> attract volunteers as dedicated and as competent as ours are,
>> because they can't be made to feel special and because with that
>> many people, you simply can't trust them with the same kind of
>> power I trust mine with.
> Then why are these games being made?  If I'm reading this
> correctly, you just laid out how an online fantasy game with
> multiple users needs to be run to make for an entertaining
> game. If you can't staff a game that size, it shouldn't be that
> big.  I have yet to see a plausible solution to this kind of
> interactive scale.

Everquest seems to make a -lot- of money. That's why they're being
made. Everyone doesn't demand the experience I describe above
gives. Anyone know what kind of playerbase DAoC has managed to
garner so far?
> So can I.  But it doesn't invalidate the text MUD paradigm.  It
> simply re-emphasizes the value of a small MUD's feel.

Oh, hey, I would never argue against the value of a small MUD's
> And this leads us back to Neverwinter Nights.  It's basically
> dividing up a MMORPG into a bunch of tiny graphic MUDs.

I don't see Neverwinter Nights having a major long-term impact,


MUD-Dev mailing list
MUD-Dev at kanga.nu

More information about the MUD-Dev mailing list