[MUD-Dev] Striving for originality

Matt Chatterley matt at eldoops.co.uk
Wed Jun 5 13:05:05 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

On Tue, 4 Jun 2002 szii at sziisoft.com wrote:
> From: "Matt Chatterley" <matt at eldoops.co.uk>

[Snip my question about magic -- you've probably all read it at
least twice by now if you're following the thread!]

> 90% of all MUDs I've found (been doing a lot of MUD-hopping the
> last 2 weeks looking around) are all very very similiar and in all
> cases melee ruled the day for "efficiency."  If you then want to
> tack on making the spells that much "harder to cast" as well as
> start requiring components then those particular spells had
> -REALLY- better be worth it.  Most MUDs have imbuded/proc-items so
> the players many times don't NEED the caster's spells for day to
> day.  Sure, they may increase the productivity of the group, or be
> usefull in certain situations, but hey...a warrior can still solo,
> get float/fly/lev gear and really not need a caster.  Yet that
> same level of "dependence" doesn't work the other way where a
> caster REQUIRES the "tank" due to low hps, finite mana supply,
> fizzles/interruptions/concentration/
> bash/trip/gesture-time/etc. Hmm....doh. </rant>

Aye, a lot of muds are very similar. My intentions with more
'complex' magic are certainly not to hamper spellcasting characters,
or to cripple them in any way, but rather to make the playing
experience more rewarding for the player.

In battle situations, range, position and so forth are likely to be
important, and all events will be strictly timed within some sort of
intiative system. Spellcasters need not be only spellcasters
(although those with other strong skills are likely to be poor mages
who can only mumble a few cantrips), but those who are the classic
'fireball hurling mages of legend' will almost certainly do their
legendary fireball hurling from behind a big goon with a sword. ;)
It's hard to weave the threads of magic carefully into a blazing
ball of death when someone keeps beating you over the bonce with a
sword. ;)

I'm intending to have as many other applications for magic as
possible, too. Opening up the ideas of item creation and trade, you
might have a priest or mage character who makes a living by
supplying potions and scrolls to adventurers, or who enchants items
for a living.

> Point: If you want to further hamper casters, make sure that the
> effect is REALLY worth it or those spells simply won't be used in
> most situations.  ROI and all that.  UO did a pretty good job, but
> warriors/archers still own PvP, and I can keep swinging LONG after
> you're out of mana/reagents.  Melee are dependent on hps, and
> possibly stamina/movement depending on the MUD.  Melee have more
> hps.  Now you have a caster with LESS hps, usually less moves, a
> finite mana pool AND reagents.  *shrug*

Yeah. Whatever sort of game I create, its likely to be heavily
influenced by the fiction which I write (and have written for my own
pleasure in the past). In most of the fantasy based stuff, well
controlled magic is very powerful. But it's also different. A man
with a sword might bring immediate, pointy death to you. An angry
wizard might blow up half of your home town to do so!

>> Is time-scheduling a good thing for a semi action centered game?
>> Initiative based handling of combat allows sequencing of attacks,
>> and a structured approach to what can sometimes simply become a
>> speed-typing competition. Or will the lack of macro-able
>> situations and more complex combat requiring some planning and
>> forward thinking not be appealing to people who want to play the
>> barbarian hero and rampage a path of destruction through hordes
>> of orcs?

> With clients like Tintin or ZMud macros are all over.  Clients
> will be almost 100% required to play if you want to be
> efficient...esp if you're using somatic/gestures.  With a custom
> client, though, you're introducing a whole lot of typing.

True. I haven't considered the issue of clients yet.

>> The old player-killing chestnut pops up too -- should I choose to
>> allow or disallow it? If disallowed, should it be in-game
>> 'illegal', out-game 'illegal' (fairly pointless?) or just not
>> possible? What can this add to a games atmosphere -- and does it
>> scale badly to certain playerbase sizes?

> IMHO, and I'm -very- pro-PvP, I'd put it in.  Many MUDs I've seen
> have GREAT PvP aspects and great in-depth combat systems but
> basically squash PvP. (Achaea comes to mind.)  Loved the combat
> system and flexibility, but PvP was all but dead according to the
> few imms and players I chatted with.  Not a bad thing...not
> everyone like PvP and that's fully understandable.  Personally, I
> think it adds an element of danger...of the unknown.  You can't
> just "sleep" anywhere or people may attack/rob you.  It slow the
> players down since they have to be far more alert.  They can't
> level as quick if they're dead.  They have more incentive to
> level, though, for revenge or protecting their friends/guilds.  I
> don't know what the "critical mass" point is for griefers, though.
> On smaller play scales of 50-200 I don't think it's a problem.
> Above 200, even 1% being griefers starts to pose a problem.

I wonder what the key 'problems' with PvP really are?

To me, they seem to be:

  1) Newbies getting battered

  2) Being able to repeatedly pound or kill the same person, just
  because you (the player) don't like them (the player).

Am I missing any? ;)


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