[MUD-Dev] How much is enough?

Daniel.Harman at barclayscapital.com Daniel.Harman at barclayscapital.com
Thu Apr 25 10:13:20 New Zealand Standard Time 2002


From: Brian Hook [mailto:brianhook at pyrogon.com]
> At 09:45 AM 4/23/2002 -0400, Justin Coleman wrote:

>> My opinion, possibly ill-informed, is that a system like this
>> would be less susceptible to being "gamed" by those people
>> obsessed with being numerically "the best" at any given system.
 
> And you would be wrong =) What would happen is that the hardcore
> gamers would have sessions where they experimented and determined
> the exact interaction of weapons, armor, skills, levels and items.
> And then they either publish the information or they hoard it to
> their advantage.  This happened with both EQ and UO in various
> forms, to the point where EQ players knew more about the mechanics
> than it seemed the designers did.

I still play EQ sometimes, and I do follow people reverse
engineering the formulas for various things. One thing that is
fairly remarkable is that its only recently that a lot of them have
been worked out (which is hardly suprising as some of its based on
lookup tables). Irrespective of this, people have gamed EQ from the
very beginning.

Pretty much any form of measurement or feedback however abstract
provides information that can be used to play more effectively in
these games. I really don't understand why you'd want to stop people
'gaming' an aspect of a game. Even the concept's name betrays the
inherent contradiction.

By all means de-emphasise equipment and move the focus more towards
skill, I think a lot of power gamers will welcome it, but trying to
attract a market and then not offering them what they want, seems
flawed to me. Strive to make combat less deterministic by
introducing choices that will dictate the outcome based on how smart
you are.

If one were to look at why EQ is such a numbers game, a major factor
would be the simplicity of its mechanics. It doesn't give you enough
choices.  Beating the hardest monsters in the game is mostly about
equipment and getting the healers into a timed rotation so that
(monster dmg) < (healing output). Its lacking in a certain richness
isn't it?

Of course when you give the players choices, you need to be certain
that there isn't always an obvious choice, because otherwise what
choice was there? Only newbies will pick the wrong answer.

Dan
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