[MUD-Dev] Questions for User Surveys

shren shren at io.com
Fri Jan 31 12:14:33 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

On Mon, 27 Jan 2003 lynx at lynx.purrsia.com wrote:
> On Fri, 24 Jan 2003, shren wrote:
>> Is there any reason other than realism why we don't just let
>> people wind back thier character levels?  If I have a 50th level
>> character and I have a friend who is 15th level, why not just let
>> me roll my character back to 15th level for a short period of
>> time?  Being 50th level should have few drawbacks, and right now
>> the drawback "I can only play in the highest levels of content
>> and not be bored" is a drawback.

> Could be done if the only variable on a character was the level
> counter, but what if the player can, say, add to an attribute like
> 'constitution' that might have a per-level hitpoint modifier?
> Then if constitution wasn't reset at the time of the rollback,
> this could be used to get extra hitpoints for the character by the
> time the character maxed again.

Bugs are bad.  This would be a fixable bug if we were to implement
this and if we were to have this problem occur.

> What about equipment?  There might be a significant difference
> between a 'twink' and a 'no-twink' 15th-level character.

A significant barrier, to be sure, but keeping a couple extra sets
of equipment around is a lot easier than having multiple characters.

> What about if the character made skill choices from points
> allocated per skill level?  It might not be posible to inversely
> determine what skills a character had at a given level without
> storing a character sheet for the character at that level.

If you store the character as a series of differences, ie, what he
was at first level and what he gained for each level, then it takes
less space.  I wouldn't want to try to add it to an existing game,
but if you planned for it implementation wouldn't be too bad.

> Do you save the character state at the beginning or end of a
> level?  If there are 60 levels in the game, do you then have 60
> copies of a character?

To take NWN as an example, each time you level in NWN you get class
benefits for the class you're gaining, rolled hit points, and the
skills/feats you pick.  Store the character at first level.  When
the character gains second level, store the changes (+10 hps,
+cleave feat, +1 discipline).  I wouldn't keep copies at all.

> Not that this isn't a bad idea, but maybe what is really wanted
> here is 'feign being 15th level', which you could opt out of any
> time you wanted, and which would simply produce some reasonable
> simulacrum of your character's experience as a low-level type.

That would be similar and almost as useful.  Perhaps as useful.
It's hard to know with something that hasn't been done before to my

> But if your friend knows you're only feigning being 15th level, or
> temporarily being 15th level, is it the same experience?

It's not the same experience.  But adventuring with someone who has
a 50th level character is always going to be a different experience,
even if they're not using it.  They have more game experience and it
will show, even if you're both *actually* 15th level.

> For me, it's somewhat more meaningful to explore the game together
> and know that you're both seeing something for the first time.  If
> you get somewhere and your friend starts telling you all the
> spoiler information for the area, or acts in a way inconsistent
> with encountering it for the first time, you're bound to think 'So
> much for the thrill of discovery'.

> Sadly, 'rollback player knowledge of game' doesn't seem like all
> that feasible a game function.

When I was a kid, I thought this an interesting quandary: "If you
could wipe your memory of a game to make it as fun now as it was the
first time you played, would you?"  Over time, I've decided that the
answer is no, but I've never sat down and worked out exactly why.

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