[MUD-Dev] Casual player socialization (was: Star Wars Galaxies: 1 character per server)

Ted L. Chen tedlchen at yahoo.com
Thu Jan 2 22:02:05 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

John Buehler wrote:

> But note that there is no shipment involved.  You may have been
> speaking lightly of the notion, but the model being suggested is
> to permit two characters to conduct business within the fiction of
> the game - where one is on autopilot (the controlling player is
> absent).  The two characters still have to get together in the
> game world in order to physically exchange goods and money.

> I'd be interested in hearing what the pesky problems with the
> interfaces would be.  I'm imagining a game that uses a
> conventional trade mechanism (e.g. EverQuest's) that is simply
> primed by the crafting character's player to accept payment and
> offer goods according to a predetermined exchange.  So only the
> 'setup' would be needed.  And I assume that the setup could be
> applied more generically to cover contracts between characters -
> beyond handling the offline/autopilot case.

Ah, I was under the supposition that we were dealing with a
systematic contract-trade mechanism in-game.  That is, filling out
forms, sending it to a specific merchant or posting them on some
global cork-board - then vice versa.  All of which would take some
specific interfaces to set time of delivery, price (or barter
items), quality, etc, etc.

Of course, this is mostly moot if I'm suppose to talk to you and
tell you what I want through text.  Heaven forbid ;) But it still
does leave the question of how you coordinate the agreement on
payment (part of that setup).  Conventional trade mechanisms assume
the interactive give and take of bartering - something which might
not work well when playing tag with 'automatic characters'.

I think it might be important (for social aspects) to have either
the merchant or buyer come to the table with a fixed price at hand,
and make it some form of implicit/explicit convention.  In AO, I had
setup an automated inventory-pricing and web-based ordering system
with fixed prices which kept me from having to haggle.  On the rare
occasions I decided to use the in-game shopping channels, I spent
hours sitting there advertising and arguing over prices.  It'll
depend on the person, but I much preferred being a store-owner than
a retail sales clerk.  And if we're talking about promoting casual
player socialization, I do believe I was much more socialable when I
hand-delivered web-orders than I was after spending the 3rd hour
staring at WTB/WTS chat.  :)


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