[MUD-Dev] How much is enough?

&lt &lt
Wed Apr 24 12:39:57 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

From: "Justin Coleman" 

> For example, in a MMORPG, do players really *need* to see their
> characters' stats? Do they need to see *exactly* how many points
> of damage a weapon does, how many HP that monster has, or how many
> more foobobs they have to kill before they gain a level?

Hiding stats is a start, but how long before trial and error and
sheer use build a relatively solid database of

Do players like to know stats?  Sure.  Even the non-powergamers.
How many hours do you want to keep trying "X" until you find
something that appears to help you in some way?  Now multiply "X" by
the number of "aspects/facets" of your character.  Huge time sink.

In the "real world" I know that I gain "Good" protection from, say,
a Kevlar vest.  How much, in numbers?  We'll, technically, it's
about 30% cover from ballistic weapons/knives under a certain power
rating.  I could research it all I want and find out exact stats on
it.  Does it mean I will?  If I'm a powergamer, yes.  If not,
probably not.

Hack-n-slash is easy, fairly satisfying (see: Quake) and
non-intensive.  If I want to play a game, I'd prefer not to spend
absolutely insane amounts on time on any one given aspect (read:
Rare drops in EQ.)  I want to explore the different facets of the
world, of my character, of my characters skills.

> I envision a system in which all numbers are relayed to the player
> in an inexact format - HP and mana are displayed as a percentage
> bar, skill levels and damage are given in verbal approximates (low
> skill, average skill, high skill, etc), and experience from kills
> is something that just "happens". (In my ideal world there's no
> need for experience of the DND variety, but that's another topic.) 
> Given sufficiently fine granularity of these verbal and visual
> approximates, players could still have a reasonable sense of
> accomplishment given to them as reward for desired behavior.=20

Many systems, like EQ, have this.  Skills are "tiered" until 100,
then you see exact points.  XP is percentage.  Mana is percentage.
HPs are numerical.

> ...  The lack of exact feedback would make it harder, if not
> impossible to determine which of two similar items was best - say
> you have two swords, but one of them does one percent more damage
> than the other one. In most current systems, you can see the
> numbers plain as day, and you instantly know which one is better,
> encouraging comparison and min-maxing.

See the first couple of paragraphs.

> How far can we shift the balance point back towards realism /
> non-powergami ng, while still keeping a good amount of fun?

Define: fun.

Monsters should not "drop" anything.  Items are created by players.
Perhaps a good deal of items already exist from "previous" players,
or created by NPCs.  Hack-n-slash should be in the context of a
quest, defense of a town, ridding the world of a menace...or just
pillaging helpless creatures.

XP should go away, IMHO, in lieu of "quest points, honor points,
skill points, reputation points."  Certain things happens, with a
small percentage chance of getting a "point" at random.  You may do
the same thing 100 times and only get 1 point.  Or none.  You never
know.  By not knowing, you're more likely to explore the world and
"come across" the points instead of trying to farm them.

Just some random thoughts, take it with a grain of salt.  =)


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