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

Ron Gabbard rgabbard at swbell.net
Sun Jun 30 01:29:19 New Zealand Standard Time 2002


From: "Brian Lindahl" <lindahlb at hotmail.com>
> From: Ron Gabbard <rgabbard at swbell.net>
>> From: "Brian Lindahl" <lindahlb at hotmail.com>
>>> From: rgabbard at swbell.net

>> I think the player's and the character's best self interest would
>> need to be the same.

> Not necessarily, if the player's self-interest goal is in creating
> an interesting and immersive role in which to accurately portray
> the character in the theme, then the player's self-interest is
> roleplaying, not the character's self-interest. I suppose
> indirectly, the character's self-interest is the player's
> self-interest, but this is a subsection of accurately portraying
> one's character.

I guess my point was that the player's best self-interest is to
maximize fun, IMO.  If the character's best self-interest doesn't
support the player's best self-interest, they won't roleplay the
character's best self-interest very long as they could have more fun
playing in some other manner.

>> provide scarcity and balance.  The possibilities of using the
>> economy to support the theme become endless.

> Here's the problem, although it may just be your wording. You
> state the economy should support the theme, when it should really
> be the theme supporting the economy, I believe. You seem to touch
> on this concept when you talk about how the fragments exist in the
> theme first, so that they can create theme-specific objects. This
> is opposed to making it so the fragments exist so they can support
> the coded world.

I guess it comes down to how you want to interpret it.  The economy
should reflect the tone, mood, and theme of the world you are trying
to create.  Do you want a currency-based economy or a barter
economy?  Do you want a multi-currency economy with fluctuating
exchange rates or stick with a single currency economy?  Do you want
the 'Dragon King' to drop a superior shield or do you want the mob
to drop a component that can be made into a shield by a master
craftsperson?  Do you want an economy where there are sufficient raw
materials so that everyone has easy access to them or do you want to
make them scarce so that there is competition between players/groups
of players for control of these resources?  The answer to questions
like these will create a completely different feel to a game even if
the themes are identical.

A well-designed economic system is bullet-proof to exploitation
(excluding bugs in the code) and immune to inflation.  It shouldn't
need support, per se.  It doesn't matter what theme is placed on top
of it as long as it's consistent with the overall design goal.  You
can then use the economic system you developed to support different
thematic events (much like Asheron's Call used the mob-dropped
'fragments' for Shadow Armor to support the theme).

Quick side question... Has anyone run into a graphical MMOG where
the emotes were different for different races, clans, sides,
whatever?  Or, is the animation for /cheer pretty much the same
across every character in a particular game world?  Creating unique
animations for each 'race' would probably be quite a bit of work but
would go a long way to supporting the uniqueness of a particular
group of characters.  Anyone ever gone to a European football game
and dealt with the constant whistling?  It drives me crazy but I
appreciate it because it's different than the crowds at US
events... it's a real-life, culture-based emote.

>> Enhancing the dominance of the theme increases the complexity of
>> the player/environment relationship while enhancing the players'
>> ability to effect each other and the world around them increases
>> the complexity of player interactions.  Both ways can result in a
>> 'deeper' MUD.

> I believe that you cannot result in a 'deeper' MUD without
> enhancing the dominance of theme. Roleplaying needs a strong theme
> to survive. Although, enhancing the players' ability to effect
> each other, within the enhanced theme, will allow roleplaying to
> be more feasible option and more attractive to people who are used
> to achievement.

I don't know about that.  I agree with you that it would be nice to
design a game where a player is more concerned with the overall
theme than they are with the level treadmill.  However, can that
'theme' that becomes the focus of the player's attention be a PvP
or, more specifically, an RvR conflict supported by the overall
theme?  Does that theme have to be a strong master story driven by
the GM or can it be player conflict?  I would think that you could
generate a lot more player 'passion' using player conflict than you
can with a GM-controlled theme.  Then it just comes down to making
sure that the players have sufficient tools to roleplay and no
incentives in the system design NOT to roleplay.  I agree that the
themes need to be stronger in MMOGs.  I just don't know what
'dominant' necessarily means.

Cheers,

Ron

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