[MUD-Dev] Striving for originality

Matt Mihaly the_logos at achaea.com
Sat Jun 8 05:00:05 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

On Fri, 7 Jun 2002, Travis Casey wrote:
> Friday, June 07, 2002, 9:44:47 AM, John Buehler wrote:
>> Matt Mihaly writes:
>>> On Thu, 6 Jun 2002, John Buehler wrote:
>>>> If you want to do damage, get a sword.
>>> Ugh. This illustrates what is, to me, the singlest ugliest trend
>>> in MUDs (whether graphical or text), which is the idea that
>>> thing <X> -should- work like Y. To me, saying that something
>>> like magic, which doesn't exist in the physical world, should
>>> have properties Z and effects A, B, and C screams
>>> box-thinking. Surely magic can be whatever a designer designs it
>>> to be. There's nothing inherently good nor bad about magic doing
>>> damage, or not doing damage. It's all dependent on your specific
>>> design. We have enough people who can't or won't think beyond
>>> D&D as it is. Let's not create new boxes.

> Well... I'd put this a different way: be aware that your boxes are
> boxes.  IMHO, there's nothing wrong with "I think that this set of
> rules for magic is good for this type of game".  What's wrong is,
> "I think that this set of rules for magic is the only one that
> should be considered."

Nod, the latter is what I was referring to. I've been hearing a lot
of statements thrown out saying, essentially, "All games that
include this concept should have this concept work generally in this
way." I have a problem with that. It's especially ludicrous, in my
mind, when talking about something so completely undefined as magic,
which typically is just used to refer to anything that you don't
want or can't give an actual explanation for. To me, it's as
arbitrary as saying, "All houses in MUDs should be stucco."

> One problem that comes up -- the more props you have, the less of
> a niche there is for magic.  What is there that can be done by
> magic which can't be done any other way?  You can heal people with
> bandages and time.  You can create things with skill and material.
> You can turn rock to mud with picks, hard work, and water.

What's wrong with multiple ways to accomplish things? They certainly
exist in the physical world.

> In many (most?) fantasy muds, though, these are no longer true.
> The players are a large group, so there can easily be dozens or
> hundreds of magicians gathered around.  And low-level magicians
> aren't generally as weak as in D&D, so that it can be possible to
> solo adventure with them and survive.  But there's been no
> corresponding change in the ultimate power of magicians -- they
> still gain great powers at high levels.

That's a design decision. Our mages, for instance, aren't any more
powerful than a knight is. The things a knight does may as well be
magical anyway. I sure have no idea how Achaea's knights manage to
order their falcons around at a distance, for instance, just as I
don't really have any idea how mages manage to use a bunch of
differently-shaped crystals to set up their vibrations.



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