[MUD-Dev] Blacksnow revisted

Damion Schubert damion at ninjaneering.com
Fri May 3 12:20:50 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

>From Ron Gabbard:

> A player that spends 30 played days playing their characters to
> the higher levels will always have added more to the 'society' of
> the game than the player that buys a high level character.  A game
> that allows a player to raise a character to eBay levels with eBay
> gear without contibuting to the world's society is a pretty poor
> design (IMO) for a MUD.

Aren't you aware of the concept of 'quality time'?  It was all the
rage among yuppie parents in the 80s. =)

  1) The best way to facilitate the building of societies is by
  empowering the people who are good at it.  Imposing time
  requirements before these societal hubs can begin to work is not
  the answer.  Anyone who is interested in this phenomenon should
  read the recently released book 'The Tipping Point'.

  2) Many players don't see it as their responsibility to build a
  society.  They are happy to plug right into an existing one, but
  they recognize that other players have likely done so, and the
  aforementioned societal hubs are likely to be more effective at
  building society than these people can be even if they had time to
  spare.  The idea that all players are responsible for building
  society strikes me as one of those designer-implementor
  egotistical points of "this is the way it should be!", which
  happens to ignore the hard facts of real life.

  3) Requiring time in order to be a meaningful part of society
  builds walls around your community, and can rip it apart.  I quit
  Everquest because I had to crunch for a week at work, and fell 10
  levels behind my peers.  I realized that time was simply something
  I didn't have enough of to keep up, and I quit.  Many designers
  seem to have a bit of ego which says that any player who doesn't
  play as much as the devoted aren't good for the game.  I
  personally think that's another common flawed design philosophy
  driven by ego.

Let's say there's a three-part path to building societies:

  1) Make people feel they are important, and can offer value to
  other people.

  2) Make relationships matter.

  3) Find and empower that small handful of people who excel at
  building relationship webs inside your space.

The eBay problem exists to some degree because, in most games, time
is the only way that people feel like they can accomplish #1, and
time is an increasingly rare commodity in our modern world.

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