[MUD-Dev] non-violent activities (was People were talking about resets..)

Ammon Lauritzen ammon at simud.org
Wed May 15 11:24:35 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

Anderson, David wrote:

> Well, I'm also trying to figure out a way to encourage people to
> not focus as much on killing mobs.  I've tried a few other muds
> which have a basic mining & tailor & forging & fishing system
> which allows people to get experience from tasks other than
> killing.  I figure if you add enough tasks that could help your
> character (gathering gold from a mountain while getting experience
> could be useful), then perhaps a lower % of characters would be
> killing creatures.  But you're right, I know one large character
> generally can clean an area in 10-15 minutes at worst, so it would
> still be difficult to have them realistically spawn fast enough
> for a group of a few people who are bored.

Sounds exceptionally similar to our project.

Our original idea was to create something that allowed mudders an
experience somewhat similar to Warcraft (our RTS of choice at the
time). That is to say, we wanted harvesting and building and
burning. We also wanted to give players the option of hiring npc's
to handle some of the more mundane peon-level activities.

Well, that general idea is still floating around somewhere, but our
goal is now the creation of a persistant world that takes as much
emphasis away from actual melee violence as is possible. We decided
that our best bet was to give players options. Bucketloads of
options. That, and make those options more attractive than genocide
on the local rabbit population.

By options I mean ways in which the player can interact with the
world and expect some sort of semi-permanent result. I don't know
how many times I have been frustrated by contrived linear plotlines
in games. The classic example of this sort of thing is when the only
way in the world to open a certain door is to play delivery slave
for 8 or 9 random people who exist for the sole purpose of making
you carry packages in a circle until you find someone who doesn't
have a package to deliver and must therefore grant your
request. Whatever happened to bribery, theft, lockpicks, and of
course, just asking the janitor nicely?

The most obvious way in which players can actually make decisions is
in the establishment of new cities and organizations. So what if you
can't kill dragons and giants in your sleep? You might own the
merchant company that the adventurers hire out to cart hordes down
from the mountain and into their guild treasury, and you take 15% of
the profits.

We plan on giving people as many individual skills and abilities as
we can reasonably code up (from candle making and carpentry to
haggling and demolitions) and write little objects that allow people
to interact with each other in ways that the might in the real world
(I'm kind of proud of my chess board).

One of the ideas behind this is that when a player's non-combat
skills outnumber their combat abilities by 2 to 1, they might
actually start spending some time outside of combat.

Players don't gain generic experience points for doing the same
thing over and over again. They gain specific experience for
performing specific actions, and must mix up their routine if they
expect to improve noticeably in anything.

The idea here is if you continue to perform action X for 6 hours
straight you will get tired and stop learning halfway through. If
you spread that 6 hours into three lots of 2 hours each and take 30
minute breaks in between, you will get more out of the experience.

So, yeah, people get experience in mining when they dig for gold and
in magic when they cast a spell. But a high mining skill doesn't
make you a better magician. However, the process of digging for gold
practices more than a specific 'mining' ability. It improves your
strength and your skill with whatever tool you are using. So,
someone with a lot of experience

This makes the performance of an activity more important than the
completion. So, people who want to improve in combat skills will be
better served by sparring with each other than they would by
murdering small woodland creatures (as the fight with a squirrel
doesn't last very long).

As another part of this plan, we are trying to make the concept of
running around in combat all day unattractive. Specifically, we make
combat dangerous by keeping player and mob statistics from running
away and by making numbers matter in a fight (ie, 5 on 1 is not good
odds if you're the guy w/o any friends).

I don't say that this approach will serve as a perfect ecological
check (keeping the number one predators from getting carried away),
but I think we get a good start by taking away any reason to get
carried away and by making it exceptionally difficult to do so (ie,
you would have to work quite hard in order to become skilled enough
to eliminate the wolf population in a region, and by then, we hope
to have you hooked).

Ammon Lauritzen

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