[MUD-Dev] The quandry of mob combat in MUDs

Adam ya_hoo_com at yahoo.com
Sun Apr 28 10:41:42 New Zealand Standard Time 2002


From: "Peter Tyson" <ptyson at datamonitor.com>

> The most dangerous fights are the most enjoyable, but they are the
> least likely to help you advance, due to the penalty for
> dying. Therefore, through design, the majority of MUDs encourage
> you to tackle the easiest monsters (that still provide a reward)
> and thus have you doing boring, repetitive tasks over and over.

Or...

E.g. I was in a situation last week (in a MUD) which called for the
same amount of "stretching of tactical muscles" as I think you put
it :), and was even under a short but non-exact time-limit, and was
really exciting as well as challenging. But without a greatly
increased risk of dying.

The situation was that in the midst of a big crowd of monsters there
was one "leader" that was a lot tougher, and yet not much more
dangerous (he mainly just had a lot more hitpoints and was harder to
hit, he didn't actually hit harder himself), but who was worth a lot
more XP. And my character had about 5 seconds left of a temporary
XP-booster that increased all XP earned. So, the challenge was to
get through to the leader, without being too surrounded by minions
(whose attacks would have prevented me gettign *any* hits on the
leader by interrupting my own), and managign to kill the high-hp guy
all before the 5 secs ran out.

If I'd failed, I wouldn't have received anything at all. I wouldn't
have automatically died (although the chances of dyign while trying
to carry out the challenge were significantly inflated - you end up
in the middle of a mob, and you aren't necessarily able to walk out
from among them). Success would have brought a big reward. But even
with success, the inflated risk (standing in the middle of the mob)
was still there.

So, I'd suggest designers could try shifting the goalposts - you
mention that you don't find the risk the most appealing part of the
dangerous battles, and although the situation above came about by
accident (I think its the first time I'd experienced something like
that in the particualr game in over a year of play!) it shows that
"high reward in return for difficult battle" does not have to be
coupled with "much bigger risk of dying". Battles don't have to be
difficult just because of the danger...

Adam M
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