[MUD-Dev] MMORPGs & MUDs

Michael Tresca talien at toast.net
Thu Dec 20 08:04:26 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001


Freeman, Jeff posted on Wednesday, December 19, 2001 12:50 PM

>>> *boggle*

>>> Which players are those?

>> See my previous post:

> I saw it.  It's an article from Jessica Mulligan that opens with a
> strawman argument and then meanders into griping about how bad PKs
> were in Ultima Online three years ago, before finally arriving at
> the erroneous conclusion that PKs ran rampant in UO due to its
> player justice system.

> But where are the players screaming and yelling about art vs. fun?
> Or by "players" did you mean Jessica Mulligan?

By "players" I meant my own experiences with RetroMUD's playerbase,
Ultima Online, and Asheron's Call, and the folks I know who play
Everquest (I don't play Everquest).  Jessica's rant was an example.
I give it as much validity as any other player's rant -- just
because it's a strawman argument doesn't invalidate the
opinion. From my personal experience, she is not alone either
(logical or not).

As I already said, the "personal attention" paid by a dedicated
staff is one of the main elements I have NOT seen carried over to
MMORPGs.  So far what I've heard is:

  1) it's prohibitively expensive to have a staff ratio similar to a
  MUD

  2) it's not profitable to filter players in any way WHATSOEVER

  3) credit cards are the only minimum requirement to play a game

Want to talk about art vs. fun?  Here: if you've got a game where
any person with money can play, it's not about fun for me.  Maybe
fun for the masses -- although I submit it won't be fun for long.

If indeed, the only screen is a player's credit card, then any
artistic aspects are trampled underneath the coarse gaming of
immature, rude players.  It's a sort of inevitable entropy that's
going to affect any game that size.  There's just TOO MANY griefers
to police on that scale.  And, of course, griefers are attracted to
a game that emphasizes combat most of all -- at the end of the day
you can still beat something over the head with a club and be
rewarded for it.

As long as MMORPGs keep their current paradigm, the art is wasted.
The blood, sweat, and tears that developers are putting into the
games is like a quick fix -- until the next game comes along.  I see
this as a development cycle that will speed up as more and more
games come out and then run out of steam.  Why?  Already, the same
paradigm is being applied to other markets rather than being
developed in a different direction (the Asian market).  That's a
sign the current MMORPG paradigm is hitting a wall.

Fun gaming environments are gifts.  They are created by cohesive,
virtual communities.  You can build a beautiful, artistic city, but
that by no means prevents Buttcheex and co. from spraying graffiti
all over it.

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

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