[MUD-Dev] Star Wars Galaxies: 1 character per server

Marian Griffith gryphon at iaehv.nl
Fri Jan 3 21:42:52 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

In <URL:/archives/meow?group+local.muddev> on Tue 24 Dec, Marc Fielding wrote:
> [Marian Griffith]

>> Only if the game is shaped like a 'race' with a specific goal in
>> mind that the players must reach.  Then you will attract (some)
>> players who want to reach the finish first, and in the quickest
>> possible way.

>> If on the other hand you set the game with a multitude of goals,
>> and set (social) interaction as the primary attraction, then the
>> efficiency of a character will mean next to nothing and the dri-
>> ve to optimise will never (strongly) develop within the player
>> base.  Of course if you do so you will have to retrain an entire
>> generation of players who grew up with a game shaped as a con-
>> test and not as a culture or society.

> You'll also have to excise the very human trait of
> "status-seeking."

That is neither possible nor necessary:

> Some people will tend to make a competition out of everything:
> career, material wealth, sexuality, politics, and those are just
> in the real world! As long as there is a chain of improving
> character state, you will have "races" and "contests." If certain
> stats optimize a player's progress towards any of those goals,
> they will be optimized.

Yes and no. If the game provides a goal then that is what the
players will optimise their characters towards.  If on the other
hand players invent their own goals then there is no such clear
optimisation pos- sible and two players will end up with different
goals and different characters.  They will likely even change their
characters over the course of time, if that is allowed by the game.

> Take EQ for example. No finish line exists. You can't "win" the
> game.  Still, the playerbase establishes its own forms of status
> (e.g. items, wealth, etc.) and the race begins.

That game also promotes one activity, and encourages a very specific
kind of optimisation (of combat efficiency). So in many ways the
game has only a single goal, or at least a single direction.  It is
shaped like a race towards a (moving) finish line.

> Even Sims Online, a socialization-focused game, will have intense
> competitions for the biggest house, coolest decorations, most
> friends, most simoleans, etc.  You just can't get away from it.

You have to provide for it, true, but by giving as many strategies
as possible the game remains more interesting in the long run, and
the 'need' players feel to optimise their characters will lessen.
Since the discussion was about SWG and that game has repeatedly
stated that it will allow players to develop characters in different
directions without penalty I feel that there is less of a reason to
demand more than one character per player.  I also think that the
'retrain players out of the view of every game as a contest' remark
is far more important.  Currently there is only one largish game
that I know of that has a different paradigm than a
combat-experience-level model. Sims online will be the second. I
feel that it is time for a more varied approach.


Yes - at last - You. I Choose you. Out of all the world,
out of all the seeking, I have found you, young sister of
my heart! You are mine and I am yours - and never again
will there be loneliness ...

Rolan Choosing Talia,
Arrows of the Queen, by Mercedes Lackey

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