[MUD-Dev] In defense of "soloability" [was Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility]

Kwon Ekstrom justice at softhome.net
Wed May 29 09:58:29 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

From: "Clay" <clayf at bu.edu>
> From: "Ron Gabbard"

>> This is why I am puzzled why so many commercial MUDs are striving
>> for 'soloability' of characters and minimal downtime.

> challenge) is a good thing.  But I think the conventional wisdom
> which holds that a game which constantly pressures you to play in
> a group improves "community" ... well, that seems a little
> misguided to me to say the least.  Players can feel shackled by
> this pressure, and chaining people together isn't a very good way
> to enhance your social setting.

> Added to this is the time issue.  Pressured grouping is another
> hit against the casual player, who ends up spending ("wasting" is
> a more common word) most of their time trying to find a group and
> be accepted by them.  And this is not particularly fun or
> rewarding.

The last mud I helped out (short term coder/admin) had this problem.
It only got worst after I left the place.  It takes at least 3
people with the best stuff in the game to get anything worth
keeping.  It's a heavily modified SMAUG, heavily hack 'n' slash with
a high eq dependance.

>From the players I talk to, everyone is complaining about it being
too difficult to get anywhere, the end result is you simply aren't
able to build groups large enough to do anything.  The players
capable of getting equipment have grown tired of being "pestered" by
the lesser "new" players and have taken to hanging out with their
friends and doing nothing but socializing.  Overall it's destroyed
the entire image of the mud.  The increasing of the npc's to that
point was part of the reason I left.

Some challenges should require grouping to accomplish, but there HAS
to be things you can do and achieve on your own.  Finding a group,
especially in a smaller mud is difficult.

>> While I don't know if I totally agree with Raph's "50% downtime"
>> model, time for socialization certainly needs to be greater than
>> the "almost zero" downtime found in some of the more recently
>> released commercial MUDs.

> Why?  Why do we need to be committed to the idea that downtime =
> social time?  Is it because people started chatting it up when
> they were bored and had nothing better to do?  Do we need to make
> people bored in order to make them social?  That doesn't seem like
> a very good answer.

I don't see why a mud needs much downtime.  Actions shouldn't only
be combat... irregardless of what the player is doing or where
they're at, there should be something interesting for them to do.
I've known alot of people who preferred to tinker with skills that
modify equipment for example.  There needs to be a regeneration
period, aka sleep... but I'd prefer to keep that to a minimum.  Your
players are there to play, not sit idle.  The more you force them to
sit idle, the more you're going to get afk players.

-- Kwon J. Ekstrom

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