[MUD-Dev] Building a \\\'Deeper\\\' MMOG

lynx at lynx.purrsia.com lynx at lynx.purrsia.com
Fri Jun 28 19:33:35 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

On Thu, 27 Jun 2002, Marian Griffith wrote:

> There are plenty of mushes around that have neither firm theme nor
> any other form of interaction encoded into the game, so yes it is
> certainly possible to have a game where roleplaying itself is the
> center.

The impression I get is that a lot of people would like to have a
game where role-playing was encouraged in a fashion that didn't
require GMs or more senior players overseeing the newcomers.
Interacting with others should happen naturally from the way the
game is designed.

Suggested rules of thumb for role-playing game design:

  1. It isn't role-play until it involves someone else,

  2. Role-play needs people to be put into interesting situations
  where they either need to interact with others, or may be
  interacted with by others as a result of the situation.

  3. They need to be rewarded one way or another for sticking with
  the situation instead of abandoning it as soon as they get what
  they wanted.

  4. We can only measure role-playing through what the players do in
  terms of game mechanics.

Here's an example of how one might design a game mechanic to create
role-play.  (originally proposed in the SWG developement forum)

  A. Some lucky player, as a result of a mission or a rare spawn,
  comes into possession of a "valuable object".  This could be a
  priceless art object, a data pad containing strategic information,
  a Jedi holocron.

  B. This valuable object can be sold for a price.  The player will
  receive periodically increasing bids, up to a maximum, from NPCs
  in the game who want it.  In addition, it may have certain
  benefits it confers on the player who possesses it, or the
  player-association to which the player belongs.

  C. Unlike other kinds of objects in the game, the valuable object
  can be stolen or taken from the player.  The player needs to place
  the object into as secure a storage place as she can manage in
  order to hold onto it.  Information may leak about the object's
  location to other players.

So, this player has something other people want.  The longer she
keeps it, accumulating value, the more opportunity others have to
scheme to get it for themselves.  It becomes an adventure to try and
steal it without being caught, or figure out when someone is moving
the Maguffin, which gives rise to double- and triple-crosses as
people promise a share of the eventual wealth to others to buy their

But, is this the kind of roleplay that people want to promote, or am
I being completely off-base in my thinking? ;)

-- Conrad

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