[MUD-Dev] [MLP] The use of ecology models (was: NPC Complexity)

Paul Schwanz paul.schwanz at east.sun.com
Fri Apr 26 11:00:13 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

From:  "Sean Kelly" <sean at ffwd.cx>

> Still, it would be an interesting situation.  What WOULD players
> do if they knew monsters didn't respawn?  You might have guilds
> hoarding dungeons and cultivating them like gardens.  Or maybe the
> players would all just turn on each other, since the players will
> always respawn.  It would be an interesting social experiment.

I think this highlights one of the problems with the current model.
It is typical to talk about "farming" a spawn site, so this carries
over quite naturally to "cultivating" monster "gardens."  Earlier,
someone mentioned having to keep in mind travel time to sites with
appropriately leveled monsters.  It seems to me that this whole idea
of monster-as-resource ends up making monsters come off as something
akin to corn.  (Actually, only a specific level of monster is corn,
the rest are either irrelevant or death.  And as you progress, more
and more become irrelevant.)  Very un-monster-like in my opinion.

If we want to have corn in our games, let's have corn...and wheat
and silver and trees and mythril and marble and all sorts of other
resources.  Then we can have monsters that make more sense; they're
the creatures that ruin our cornfields, attack our caravans, invade
our silver mines, and threaten our villages.  They may range from
being a minor annoyance to a terrifying, change-your-shorts type of
experience.  They are universally hated and there are plenty of
reasons and opportunities to kill them, but only a fool would
venture deep into a heavily monster populated area since we are free
to create monsters that are extremely dangerous when they are
completely avoidable.  Seeking these monsters out is simply a good
way to get killed for no apparent reason.  So monsters can still
breed and grow and spill out into the civilized areas where they
cause all manner of havok.  And when monsters are not *the* resource
in the game, we don't have to worry nearly as much about graduated
monster levels, appropriately constructed killing fields, or camped
spawn sites.  It could be entirely possible to let them grow,
congregate, and migrate according to more natural and simple rules.


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