[MUD-Dev] How much is enough? Communication design

Ben Chambers bjchamb at bellsouth.net
Sat May 4 23:15:27 New Zealand Standard Time 2002


From: "Travis Casey" <efindel at earthlink.net>
> Monday, April 29, 2002, 9:23:07 PM, David B. Held wrote:
>> From: "Miroslav Silovic" <miro at vams.com>

>>> What you just described could be easily prevented if battles are
>>> non-reproducible.  For instance:

>>>   - Make daytime, weather and season affect the player's combat
>>>   capability (ever tried to run in a full chainmail during
>>>   summer?)

>>>   - Make each monster unique and variable. Make their power vary
>>>   with tribe and group, and globally vary them between spawns
>>>   (if you have spawns).

>>>   - Add attributes to the player that go up and down, in
>>>   semi-long term. Ideas could be morale, mood, wakefulness,
>>>   fatigue, hunger, thirst, etc. If you make these affect the
>>>   to-hit chance and damage, well, any result of the experiment
>>>   would be pretty much useless.

>> Yes, these are all good ideas.  Furthermore, I would add that
>> having property, and allowing players to collect different sets
>> of gear would also help keep things interesting.  For instance,
>> suppose an NPC offered a bounty on a dragon.  Your stock plate
>> armor is good against 80% of the mobs you encounter, but for this
>> job, you want to go with the flame-resist mithril mail that you
>> won on some quest.  So you go home, drop off the standard armor,
>> and get your best dragon-fighting gear.  Then you go
>> dragon-hunting.  After you're done, you hear that there's trouble
>> in the mountains, and some settlers need help fighting yetis.  So
>> you go home, put on your best anti-ice gear, and go fight yetis.
>> This would alleviate the "everyone looks the same because they
>> all have the same best gear" syndrome that occurs on a lot of
>> MUDs.  If people can anticipate what to expect with certain
>> challenging mobs/groups, they have time to set up differently,
>> and use different eq.

> And don't forget the possibility of other restrictions on gear --
> social, fatigue, etc.  Wearing a sword in public might get you
> arrested in some places, but you can carry a knife or a cane.
> Wearing full armor to a ball just doesn't work.  And so on.

> In an old D&D campaign I played in, I had a character who owned
> four sets of armor: concealable leather armor for when he needed
> inconspicuous armor, a suit of mail for when he needed heavier
> armor, but needed to wear it for a while, field plate for when he
> knew he was going into battle, and a set of decorated plate for
> formal military events.

As a player I like having a lot of factors that affect combat.  Some
should be easily predictable and affectable.  Some should be visible
but not affectable directly.  For example, hunger... my character
should KNOW when he is hungry and should be able to eat right then.
But morale shouldn't be affectable, but I should still KNOW that.
Once we have these factors there should be a command that creates
some composite score that says how "combat ready" your character
feels.  Things such as energy and fatigue, morale, health and all
other factors should be factored in.  In the real world people can
tell if they fell ready to take on a challenge.  This composite
score then could be used for the character to decide if he should
attack.  The player himself should factor in things like equipment
that don't directly link to the combat readiness of a character.
For example, if I was really tired and exhausted I would have a low
composite, but if I knew that I was immune to the hits from monster
a and could kill it with one hit each, I probably would still fight
it.  In this way players can learn to anticipate what is necessary
to defeat a certain monster... but as in the real world sometimes
you have a "feeling of confidence" that is misplaced...  sometimes
their scores are higher or lower, probably because of some random
factor affecting morale.

Many factors are cool.  They make combat unique.  The players should
however have some method of gauging these factors against the
situation at hand.

The best part, is because each player has different stats that could
be figured into the equation, no two characters would have the same
RANGE of readiness scores.  The mean and standard deviation would be
different.  This means that you can't just say if you have a score
of "x" you can take that monster.  You have to know your character
and understand how to interpret his composite score in order to
truly understand how it affects combat.

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