[MUD-Dev] How much is enough?

Sean Middleditch elanthis at awesomeplay.com
Fri Apr 26 08:58:46 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

On Thu, 2002-04-25 at 11:12, Talies the Wanderer wrote:
> "Justin Coleman" <JMCOLE at main.djj.state.sc.us> wrote:

> I've seen a number of different attempts at "inexactness" - but
> each one is invariably defeated by the players as they work out
> the numbers on their own.  Of course, if a programmer *really*
> wanted to hide those numbers, it actually wouldn't be that hard.
> Take this "standard" number-to-phrase conversion chart for the
> "severity" of a wound (apologies for the mangled code - I cut up
> some ROM-based code my roommate works on for this:)


> Now, add a little "randomness" to it.  rhit is a random number
> from 1 to 3, generated for each separate attack.


> This would present an invisible factor that the player would never
> see, thus making it nearly impossible, except perhaps over the
> course of killing hundreds of goblins, to determine the exact
> variables in play.  It's probably over-thinking, but if you really
> wanted to keep 'em guessing, this would be the way to go.  (FYI, I
> am not a programmer - I just make it up as I go along.)

That's a fairly decent way to do it.  You could also add in a lot
more "different phrases", too.  For example, base it on weapon
(i.e., my club will not scratch - it will bruise), and so on, and a
player who is constrantly trading up will have an even harder time.

> Sean Middleditch <elanthis at awesomeplay.com> wrote:

>> For example, in my MUD, there are no classes or levels - just
>> skills. However, I'm working on a psuedo-class system.  In it,
>> classes are defined by skills, and the importance of the skills.
>> (I.e., a fighter has high importance for combat skill, small
>> importance for riding skill, no importance for cooking skill.)
>> Then, the skills of a player are added and averaged and weighted
>> according to those psuedo-class definitions, and a "level" is
>> determined for each class.  The best class for that player (or
>> maybe best 3 - I haven't determined yet) is used as the class for
>> the player.  So, when the players' skills have reached a high
>> enough level to "level up" in their class, they'd get the reward,
>> perhaps a higher title ("You are now a Journeyman Wizard!") and so
>> on.

> Wow - that's very similar to Dungeon Siege's method.  Anyone can BE
> any class, but it gets respectively more difficult to be a jack of
> all trades vs being a single-class.  There are 4 basic skills that
> contribute to probably a dozen different classes: Melee (Fighters),
> Archery (Bowyers), Combat Magic (Mages), and Nature Magic (Druids).
> Combine two, like Bowyer and Nature Magic, and you get Ranger.  It's
> rather nicely done, I thought.

Huh.  Haven't played DS yet, tho I plan on picking it up after next
paycheck.  Maybe I'll find some other good ideas.  ^,^

>> The problem with things like Health and such is that numbers are
>> needed.  You need to see how much damage you can take, how much
>> you/monsters are dishing out in damage, and so on.  You can
>> replace that with a percentage, but that gets annoying.  You are
>> still showing the players numbers (i.e., the goblin causes 5%
>> health damage), but now, when the players health gets larger,
>> they lose indication of how much damage they can take.  For
>> example, a giant used to cause 60% damage. Now that the player is
>> much stronger, can he handle the giant?  All he'll know is that
>> the giant will cause less damage, but not how much - and it may
>> be deadly trying to find out.  That would be annoying.  it's one
>> of those realism vs. fun things.

> I don't know - it seems to work pretty well in DragonRealms.  The
> wound system there is very realistic, from bruises to broken bones
> to severed limbs - and despite the lack of any "instant heal" in
> the game, players manage combat rather well.

Ya, I (for many years) played GS3 extensively.  I recall being able
to see the numbers involved, however - I take it DR is different in
that regard?

>> To fix the maximizing of weapons/armor, you need to pull out as
>> much of the numbers from the items asyou can, and put them in the
>> system.  When a character has used a longsword his whole life,
>> then finds a magical shortsword, that longsword may continue to
>> be better for him, because he is very usnkilled with the
>> shortsword.  It ceases to be which item is more powerful, but
>> which item the character would favor.

> Let me preface this with the comment that I actually enjoy a
> well-drawn skill-web with unfamiliar weapon penalties and
> exclusive weapon bonuses.  That being said, weapon specialization
> needlessly complicates the system.  When properly done, it
> provides a slight added sense of realism, and allows the player to
> "customize" his choice of weaponry, giving the appearance of
> "excellent" skills for a minimum of effort.  Improperly
> implemented, however, you end up with min/maxing worse than you
> can imagine.  For those who played the brown-book series of AD&D,
> check out "Elven Bladesinger" in the book of Elves for an example
> of truly hideous min/maxing with weapons specializations.  I had a
> player in a tabletop game who insisted on that character, and much
> to my eternal regret, I allowed it.  Lesson learned.  Players will
> ALWAYS find a way to min/max, and the more complex the system the
> more likely they are to find an exploit.

Well, you probably won't find a perfect system.  Basing combat
heavily on skills will, to some extent, solve the "who has the most
powerful weapon always wins" trend you see in many games.  On the
otherhand, games like D&D or EQ, where it's "whoever has the highest
level and most knowledge of the rules always wins".  You need to
spend *lots*, and I mean *lots*, of time tweaking the system until
it gets Just Right(tm).
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