[MUD-Dev] RE: Realistic Ecological Models, Differentiating Areas by Difficulty, and Socialization

Ron Gabbard rgabbard at swbell.net
Fri Apr 26 11:38:46 New Zealand Standard Time 2002


From: "shren" <shren at io.com>
> Ron Gabbard wrote:

>> Players don't really want to change the world... they want to
>> change their world.  They do want to combat the hoardes of evil
>> and liberate an area for civilization... they don't want to
>> venture forth to find the area already civilized and have nothing
>> to battle.  They do want to form guilds to build grand castles
>> and cities and defend those cities against the on-slaught of
>> enemies... they don't want to log in and find that a Japanese or
>> Aussie guild burned their city to the ground while they were
>> asleep.  That's the challenge.

> I disagree.  One of my most intense gaming experiences was trying
> to stop an NPC town invasion alone.  The world didn't care about
> me, it just knew that when the dungeon filled with monsters, it
> was going to flood the town next.  I spent a lot of time trying to
> stop the invasion.

That's exactly my point.  Your experience was you trying to save
your world from invasion.  Now, imagine that you weren't online and
some other people were defending that town... and failed.  The
invaders burned the city to ground and destroyed the 'pub' that was
your favorite post-hunt hangout where you met with your friends each
night.  Or even more severe, a pub that you 'owned' and represented
3 months of hunting and saving money to afford to build.  I agree
with you that there is a huge rush from participating in
world-changing events.  I will maintain, however, that players don't
appreciate material changes to the world in which they are not an
agent of that change... particularly when it inconveniences or
negatively affects them.  Thus, they want to affect changes to their
world (when they are online) not the world.

It may seem like a contradiction but it's like "God comes down and
takes your Battleaxe of Slaying" and having the item just poof with
no recourse.  The continuity of the world is persistent but the
continuity (existence) of the player is fragmented into little
chunks.  Characters don't eat, sleep, or heal while logged
off... they just cease to exist in the world.

This is one of the issues that Mythic is dealing with in DAoC...

One of the primary goals of the game is leading invasions into enemy
territory to capture the other side's 'relics'.  During US-prime
time, this is an arduous task as there are dozens and dozens of
defenders available to defend their relic and associated keeps.
Achieving the goal of taking an opponent's relic during US-peak is a
huge accomplishment and the conquering heroes are rewarded with a
material combat bonus from the relic for this accomplishment.  The
attackers were able to affect change in their world and the
defenders were able to attempt to prevent that change.  People seem
to enjoy this ability.  Everyone goes to bed and has pleasant dreams
of gold, glory and gore.  Unbeknownst to the sleeping heroes, a
Japanese guild logged on shortly after and recaptured the
relic... as well as the previous victor's relic.  When the
conquering heroes log on the next evening, they find that they are
in a worse position than they were in when they logged off the night
before despite having been victorious.

>From what I've read, UO ran into this problem in the early days as
player-built houses grew to dominate the landscape.  The changes
were more gradual than over-night but the principle is the same.

Players like to be able to change the world... but they don't want
the world to materially change while they are off-line or otherwise
have no control.  (With the exception of content changes... and many
will gripe about that).  They want the world to be in the same
condition as it was when they left it and to have the continuity of
the world match the continuity of their character.  This isn't
necessarily a bad desire as it indicates a player's 'ownership' of
the world.  It's just impossible to fully support in a persistent,
24/7 world where you are giving players the ability to make changes
to the world.

Cheers,

Ron


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