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

John Buehler johnbue at msn.com
Mon May 6 19:19:16 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

Daniel Harman writes:
> From: Damion Schubert
>> From Miroslav Silovic

>>> 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.

>> But at the same time, you've made combat so unpredictable that
>> you risk driving people away, since they never know when
>> everything is going to align against them, and they are going to
>> lose whatever they lose when they die or fail combat.  The lack
>> of 'Quicksave/ Reload' really limits how far they can go.
>> Unless, of course, they reverse engineer it anyway, which as the
>> Dragonrealms incredibly complicated combat system has shown,
>> players are more than capable of doing.

> I completely agree. If you want to add sophistication to combat,
> the key is adding factors that a player can factor in and
> mitigate/take advantage of if they are smart enough to spot
> them. Its essential that these factors aren't trivially reducible
> (i.e. why on earth would I ever want to do x, y always works
> better). There's actually a fair amount of discussion on all this
> in the archive from about a year ago.

I disagree with this to an extent, depending on how much you let the
players mitigate the factors.  The more they can gain control of a
situation, the less likely they are to permit some randomo [sic]
event to sneak into an activity.  Players know exactly what order to
'pull' monsters, how to park them all and one by one kill them all.
This is complete control, and it's like working on an assembly line.
Control needs to be taken away from players so that they are forced
to deal with new situations.  To me, new situations equates to

I do agree that the players should be able to juggle the various
factors that go into a situation that their character is in.  I'm
not a big believer in player skill contributing to getting ahead in
some rat race, but I am a believer in having the player decisions
control what style of entertainment they encounter.  Choosing the
mountain pass versus the forest poses distinct challenges.  High
quality items and fewer of them versus lower quality items and more
of them offers access to different markets.  And so on.

On the topic of adding factors that restrict character
effectiveness, I want nothing to do with factors that restrict my
ability to encounter the fun that I'm after.  I don't want my
character to be fatigued, hungry or thirsty unless those things add
to the entertainment value of the game.  To me, opposition in the
pursuit of an achievement isn't entertaining to me.  I know that
many gamers consider the challenge entertaining, and I'm simply
offering a counterpoint.

My three dollars' worth.


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