[MUD-Dev] Working with Franchises (was Star Wars Galaxies: 1 char per server)

Michael Tresca talien at toast.net
Sat Jan 11 09:55:34 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003


Damion Schubert posted on Friday, January 10, 2003 12:43 AM

> I've seen countless MUDs on countless settings that all recreated
> famous books.  Star Wars, Transformers, Anne McCaffrey, Xanth, you
> name it, it's been done.  And in most of those games, the players
> have accepted things like Transformers needing rest, or that
> Little John reappears in 10 minutes if you kill him.

No offense to my own brethren, but I don't expect the majority of
MUDs to actually develop said theme.  They didn't sign a contract
with Mr. Lucas and their paychecks don't depend on it.

> When Ultima came out, it had few of the things that made the
> single player Ultimas great, because those single-player things
> were almost impossible to do well in a massively multiplayer
> environment.  It seems to have done quite well nonetheless.

Complaint I heard the most about UO?  That it no longer resembled
the Ultima from the games.

"Doing well" is subjective.  A game making a pile of money doesn't
mean it's a quality game worth playing.

> As I also recall, there are hundreds of crappy books, comic books,
> cartoons and other media that stretch the Star Wars license.
> People forgave that some of them 'broke the rules', and some of
> them were downright atrocious, because they craved more from that
> universe.  LucasArts, for its part, needs to realize that the
> genre rules cannot be a slave to the fiction.  The fiction is much
> more flexible.

Heh, so true.

> A setting is a setting.  Visions are nice and all, but it's far
> too easy to cling to high-minded thoughts such as 'the Star Wars
> universe is too good for power-gamers.'  The players just want to
> have fun, and they want to give Sony money to do it.

I never said that.

What I have said is that power gamers, if not given the appropriate
platform to power game, TAKE OVER and harm other playing styles.  If
a benevolent but distant administrator does nothing but let the game
run, power gamers will dominate.  That will dilute the setting and
be harmful to other playing styles and thus, drive those players
off.

It's certainly possible to accomodate power gamers within the game's
context.  Make 'em bounty hunters.  Or whatever.  Point is, make
them something other than letting them run wild and free and abusing
the Jedi powers perpetually until we have Darth Doofus embarassing
Sith everywhere.

A lot of people seem to focus on the fact that the game makes money,
so therefore it is inherently good.  It is entirely possible for a
game to be blandly awful and make a lot of money.  It is also
entirely possible for a game to make more money in the long term
than it would in the short term, but the long term goal is never
realized because the game burned out.

There are a lot of distinguishing gamers -- both hardcore
role-players, and casual players -- who walk into these worlds as
fundamentally damaged.  The role-player views it from an artistic
perspective, upset that the "theme" of the universe isn't accurate.
The casual player views it from a more direct approach: if they
can't see the elements they expect to see that constitutes Star
Wars, they're very unlikely to get pulled into it -- especially if
they aren't your usual gamer who knows how to network and cooperate
with others.  Granted, the role-player is likely to be more
sensitive than the casual gamer, but given enough time, powergamers
harm both groups.

And "they made a lot of money by being very generic" is becoming
increasingly irrelevant now that there are more and more
competitors.

Mike "Talien" Tresca
http://www.retromud.org/talien


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