[MUD-Dev] DGN: Elastic Advancement in MUDs?

Jeff Lindsey Jeff at nextelligence.com
Tue May 21 14:48:02 New Zealand Standard Time 2002


During a discussion of character advancement with a friend - mostly
about the current handling of "high end" challenges in popular MMOGs
- I came across what I felt to be an interesting (new?) angle. What
if the progression of characters, both in terms of relative power
and personal challenges, resembled a full arc instead of the usual
progression of the arc towards a finite point? Instead of investing
more time and resources into a game for diminishing returns, be it
experience, items, skills, etc, players are allowed and encouraged
to temporarily expand in ability to meet challenges before returning
to the "norm".

This method could be applied to all sorts of game aspects. For
spellcasting, or its game equivalent, players could invest large
amounts of time and resources into research and preparation for
extremely difficult and uniquely impacting spells. Tradesfolk could
follow a similar preparation or advancement pattern to create their
"best work" to date - their masterpieces. Combatants, like a modern
boxer, would train for specific encounters or campaigns. The general
idea is to shift challenges and rewards from a continuous treadmill
to a more time- and place-centric setting. The magical sword that
took a master smith weeks to prepare for and finally forge does not
become a trivial task soon after; it is at the top of his or her
"arc" and will forever remain there, until another arc, whether it
is higher, lower, or different in nature, can be attempted.

Is this model worthwhile from a player's perspective? Would the
general populace be happy and stick with a game that offers
challenges related to their favorite facets, yet constantly returns
them to ground zero? How does it affect interdependence and
grouping? Would it work as a hybrid with a slow-progression
advancement model? I'm still sorting through the implications and
would love to hear the list's thoughts on it.

Has this model been used before? I am relatively new to MUDs, but a
veteran of graphic MMOGs and have yet to see a similar progression
system.

-Jeff
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