[MUD-Dev] Re: Crafting Money

eric ericleaf at pacbell.net
Wed Jan 8 16:03:55 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

From: "Derek Licciardi" <kressilac at insightBB.com>
> From: eric leaf

>> Another topic that I looked at was that you need local
>> communities with variable resources and "real" commerce. Real
>> commerce is in part dependant on local communities. If in 5
>> minutes time I can buy 50 diamonds in X territory where they are
>> common, and sell them in Y territory where they are rare, within
>> an hour that resource is based only on its global rarity, and the
>> merchant trade just becomes a boring shipment route, even if just
>> 5 minutes long.  In other words, you simply don't have local
>> communities unless you have real distance in your world.

>> There are some other issues with in-game organizations, for
>> instance you wouldn't see any real minting processes unless there
>> was some stable organization in an area. So to see minting you
>> would need to allow those sort of organizations and, to allow
>> that you would have to allow players to exert power on others
>> (something rarely seen). If I couldn't burn down your house and
>> destroy your crops, then there is no way for a despot to take
>> over a region and evict you. But if I can do the above, then
>> there must be means to deter that behavior, castles, forces for
>> good etc. Think real political forces in the game, with territory
>> and country lines. A possible scenario is that orcs have been
>> raiding a farmer village, an opertunistic player can decide to
>> offer them protection for some payment, such as 2 pigs and a
>> horse! These is basically a simplified adventure, of the sort you
>> play all the time in D&D.

> "Local communities" is something that is directly
> counterproductive to the player's belief that they paid for the
> box, therefore they have the right to see everything.

Why do you think that? I don't believe that at all. People expect to
be entertained, but that doesn't mean they have to see every monster
and every square of land in a world. If you can get what you came
for within a smaller community, then it doesn't matter what lies
beyond. Now of course the explorer types will want to see more and
its not that you can't move around or that an artificial system is
in place that prevents travel over vast spaces. Travelling becomes a
skill much like blacksmithing, and swordmanship (ie you need
resources, planning and other skills, like experience/knowledge).

> Also, if you establish local communities you must get rid of
> teleportation entirely or make it so dangerous that its a gimped
> magic anyway.  Teleportation is like the Internet, it makes
> communities global nearly instantaneously.

I don't think so, naturally you have to keep the world above a
certain minimum entertainment value, and I think the complaints you
mentioned are because that was not so. For instance, if the trip
back to town from the orc village takes you a half hour of boring
clicking, then the half hour of clicking is the problem, not the
lack of fast teleportation. Its just that most times those two
qualities are intimately mixed.  That doesn't have to be true. A
good example is Lineage, I played this for a couple months and got
to see a couple different towns, if I just decided to start walking
in a random direction I would get lost and no doubt die.  Because I
would encounter creatures far too powerful to fight or run from.
This kept me on the safe paths, or got me involved in trips with
others. I agree with your comments on teleportation and it making
communities global, but thats only because current systems are
flawed in this respect.  Teleportation is very rare in Lineage, but
while I played the game I didn't miss it. It is fantastically
valuable to have, of course. The reason I didn't miss it was because
all the game's action happens locally. If you are in a clan that
owns a castle, then you stay around that town and castle, you have
very little need to travel to the far side of the land. And as you
are levelling, you can move around to different areas for the
creatures you want to fight, but its mostly the same in quality. It
also cost a lot money so there was a bit of the artifcial barrier,
but it would cost money for a cross country trip in any real world.

> The key to an implementation like this might be to provide
> sufficient content in their immediate surroundings.  The only way
> we've seen local communities so far is ala DAoC where the
> boundaries and travel restrictions are arbitrary and developer
> decided upon.  There's definately room for innovative designs here

The problem with DAoC was that the border wars was the only thing
worth doing, so naturally everyone wants to get involved. After
release they soon realized this and started to make different areas
for lower levels. But they still had the problem that everything
else is a boring trip. (ie leveling to 35 is like a 3 month trip of
boredom, and I sure wish I could just teleport to level 35 and play
the "real" game.)

> Real politics and player run kingdoms are a ways off.  It'll be
> interesting to see if any of the games that are "tacking-on"
> player-housing or player-cities will be able to achieve anything
> with their designs in the coming year.  I fear all we will realize
> is that if you're going to do player-driven anything then you have
> to do it completely or you'll end up frustrating players with
> varying degrees of in-game freedom.

My thoughts are along those lines as well, but I don't think you
need to do it completely. You can model planetary formations without
needing to account for every atom. You just have to make sure that
every concept it accounted for in balance to the whole. For
instance, you may not need to allow ice sculpture, but sculpture in
general will be needed to create a demand for artistry, and also to
satisfy the entertainment value of artistic creation.  You don't
need a million different species of insect, but you need enough to
make a workable ecology.

> Can it be done, I think so.  AoA is being developed towards this
> type of goal but our design is not combat-centric.  Our design is
> more of a simulation and not quite as combat-action/loot/level
> oriented.

Sorry, what is AoA?

> ps Of all the big games, UO had the best first crack at this in my
> opinion.  The design simply wasn't grand enough, though at the
> time the risk was high as it was and one could not expect the
> gameplay to be this advanced.  Honestly EQs wild success probably
> set the genre back a couple of years as far as this type of design
> is concerned.  Imagine what we would have today if UO was 3D and
> UO was the most financially successful MMO from the first
> generation.  I think development projects would be decidedly
> different in their "Visions".

I don't think EQ did much to harm the genre, its just that no one
else is thinking far enough ahead to unseat its position. If you
offer the same experience, there is very little way to shake
customers off an existing product, unless its cheaper, and even then
its tough. Especially when you have EQ people who have invested so
much. What I would do it "honor my competitors coupons" so to speak,
and with a trade of an EQ (or any) character give the player an
equal in my world character. If they have lots of gold, translate
that to my worlds currency etc. Wether that would work remains to be
seen, but the largest hurdle IMO is that these people (the ones that
stay on the MMOG) have invested a lot, both in time and
interpersonal relationships with their friends and such. (Hey, maybe
even offer a group deal, half off for 3 months for groups of 10 or
more. ;) )
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