[MUD-Dev] Avatars/character stables (was: Black Snow Revisited)

Jon Leonard jleonard at kanga.nu
Sun Apr 21 19:50:53 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

On Mon, Apr 15, 2002 at 01:23:13AM -0400, amanda at alfar.com wrote:

> Now, there are certainly other ways to structure a game--the
> evidence to hand suggests that a game could be structured to allow
> play at any "level" from the start and have some appeal to
> players.  Want to go do a quest with your friends?  Create a level
> 35 mumble foo and play it.  The game company added additional
> newbie content that you didn't get a chance to see when you were a
> newbie?  Create a level 4 mumble foo and go have fun.  This could
> work quite well, and would make "powerlevelling" and "twinking"
> irrelevant.

A variant on this (Discussed with JCL around 06:54:43 April 16 2002

Have a player's 'character' consist of a collection of skills and
traits, and a given play session starts by picking a subset to use.
This is then an avatar in a more traditional sense.  (It's also a
variant on 'stable of characters' schemes.)

That doesn't remove the powerleveling and twinking effects, but it
does allow for accessibility of content that is still 'too low
level' by only manifesting a portion of the relevant skills.
Figuring out how to tune the experience curves becomes even more of
a nightmare, of course.  Not only does the rate have to make sense
with respect to the difficulty, it also has to be sensible for
someone playing down.

This interacts oddly with permadeath systems.  If you only lose the
skills currently instantiated in the avatar, then death isn't a
lose-everything proposistion, but it still has real bite.

Another side effect is that race is now the flexible choice, and
skill choices are harder to change.  Maybe available races would be
restricted based one what the character had seen, possibly minus
forms that had died.

I don't really have a clue as to what sort of backstory and world
design would fit this, though.

I'll try an example to make it clearer what I'm thinking, though:

I start the game with a 100 unspent skill points and the ability to
manifest as a human character.

I allocate 50 skill points to a collection of combat skills, and
play as a human fighter for a while.  With successes, I advance my
combat skills to 120 points worth, and even pick up a few points (20
or so) of stealth skills.

Temporarily bored with that (and having met some dark elves), I
un-manifest the fighter character, and start out a dark-elven
mage/thief.  I spend another 40 of my unspent points advancing to
30/30 in magic & stealth skills, and start playing, using also 20
points of my above combat skills.  I play that for a while,
advancing to 40 points of magic, 35 of stealth, and 30 (manifested)

Then I decide to try a ranger-type character, using 10 points of the
magic skills and 40 points of combat ... but I get killed.

  I still have points to play with:

    10 unspent
    30 magic (having lost the 10)
    35 stealth
    90 combat (120 from the fighter
               -20 used in mage/thief
               +30 gained there
               -40 lost)

I might then manifest a lower level fighter/mage/thief to start
playing in a group with a newbie friend...  And so on.

Jon Leonard
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