[MUD-Dev] How much is enough?

Justin Coleman JMCOLE at MAIN.DJJ.STATE.SC.US
Mon Apr 29 11:05:17 New Zealand Standard Time 2002


Ron Gabbard says:

> While adding hidden randomness to items would help deter character
> optimization, it would have a nasty impact on a different aspect
> of most MUDs... the player-driven economy.  The efficient exchange
> of goods requires that sufficient information be available to both
> sides of the transaction.=20

> In the long run, everyone needs to know the numbers (or at least
> the relative utility of the item)... not just the Achievers.
> Characters acquire hoardes of stuff over their virtual lives.
> Many times this 'stuff' isn't blatantly superior or inferior to
> the items the player is currently using.  Thus, they have to make
> decisions as to which of the similar items to keep versus
> sell/destroy/etc. (unless the designer permits unlimited hoarding
> by which the player can postpone that decision indefinitely).
> This introduces "buyer's remorse" into the decision where the
> player will always have that lingering doubt that they made the
> 'wrong' decision with regards to which item was kept versus
> sold. (Thus, the 'hidden value' model on items will promote
> hoarding by players.)

I note that in my own experience, the one thing humans are good at
(to the exclusion of any other method) is comparison. Humans take
large or small amounts of data, compare them, and discern patterns
which they then try to take advantage of for their own gain. These
patterns can be spawn points, damage ratings on weapons, prices in a
stock market, or anything else.

Say I have a sword hanging on my wall IRL. What's the damage rating
on it? What about a pocketknife? There's no way to determine an
absolute value for something like that, we can only determine a
value in relation to another somewhat similar item. I know, for
example, that the sword is likely to do more damage than the
pocketknife. However, someone who is very fast and agile may be more
effective with the knife than he would with the sword.

Since we're (I'm) striving for more realism in terms of game "feel",
wouldn't this be the perfect way to solve the problem of "gaming"
the numbers? What if a "compare" command was implemented, such that
any character could compare any two items and see, *relative to his
own skill level*, which item was better for him. (This would, of
course, only compare items of a similar type, i.e. two weapons, two
sandwiches, etc.)

A player with high Sword skill and low Dagger skill may have a
dagger of dismemberment, but if he doesn't know how to use a dagger
then it won't do him much good, and his trusty iron sword of
dullness would seem more suited to his skills, and thus
"better". The player would have no idea what the actual numbers
were, just which one was better *for him*.

This would, I feel, propagate an economy based on relative value and
not absolute value... more akin to the "real world"?

-Justin


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