[MUD-Dev] How much is enough?

Damion Schubert damion at ninjaneering.com
Wed Apr 24 18:56:37 New Zealand Standard Time 2002


On Tue, 2002-04-23 at 09:45, Justin Coleman wrote:
 
> 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?

No, but they want to.  Even if they say they don't.  Hiding 
information is an excellent way to increase your calls to GMs,
as people wonder if their character is stuck, bugged or broken
because they can't, for example, see any discernable progress 
or difference between others with the same stats.

> 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.

Never underestimate the player's ability to reverse engineer these
numbers.  When those numbers are reverse engineered, keep in mind
that those who know how stuff works have a distinct advantage over
those who do not.

> Is this really a good thing? Wouldn't it be better to be a little
> uncertain? I know I would rather play in a world where people are
> more about community and working together than who has the biggest
> sword, but it's not easy to attract the Achiever / Killer types to
> a purely social world. 

I could just as easily argue that showing stats increases working
together.  This is especially true if the core central goal of your
MUD is killing monsters in teams.  Having enough information to be
able to make good, tactical decisions about what to wield, what to
cast, and how to work together helps players to better disassemble
and conquer their opponent.  Yes, this might make it somewhat 
mechanical, but Chess is not a bad game because the pieces move
predictably either.  Describing things in fuzzy terms only
increases doubt that you are performing as well as is possible or,
even worse, that your teammates are doing so.

I started pretty firmly in the 'hide the numbers' camp, and
as you can see, have reversed course pretty harshly.  Just
my 2 cents.

--d
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