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

Caliban Tiresias Darklock caliban at darklock.com
Mon Feb 3 16:10:05 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

From: "Michael Tresca" <talien at toast.net>
> Marc Fielding posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 2:33 AM

>> It may "build character", but is it fun? SCS is an attempt to fix
>> various (negligible) "abuses" of gameplay by a minority of
>> players at the expense of a popular playstyle for a casual
>> gamers.

> Wow, here's a broom to go with your sweeping statement.  Can't
> argue it because you didn't lay valid framework for that argument.

To be fair, some people -- including Raph -- have observed that SCS
has certain benefits in the area of detecting and preventing certain
types of account abuse. And Marc has a point: if you choose an SCS
system solely to prevent account abuse, you're denying a lot of good
people the right to do something because a few bad people will abuse
it. That's almost never a good idea.

> HORRIBLE TRUTH: Work is fun folks.  Not always the work itself.
> But the results.  Toil and you'll appreciate the efforts.

But just because a teaspoon of salt makes your meatloaf taste better
doesn't mean two cups will make it fantastic.

The key factor here is results. If you're not getting good results,
then the work is wasted. Too many games today are putting work into
the game under the assumption that people will have fun doing the
work. No, they won't.  They will have fun at first, and then start
to get resentful of all the work they need to do. In the end, you
have resentful players who want shortcuts and something interesting
to do. Those resentful players are the ones who tend to cheat,
exploit bugs, and abuse their accounts.

> Want to create an immersive virtual universe?  Then pain and
> suffering goes along with the kewl graphics and massive
> environments.

I don't think it does. I think there needs to be risk commensurate
with reward -- if you do easy things, you should receive small
awards; if you do difficult things, you should receive big
rewards. When you mismatch the risk and the reward, you screw up the
game balance.

The problem in many games is that easy things receive
*proportionally* larger rewards than difficult things; when a task
is ten times as difficult, it may receive only twice the
reward. This makes it just as profitable to do the easy task twice,
which takes a fifth of the effort, and which is more accessible to
the player with more time on his hands.

The reasoning for this is usually that new players need to be given
larger rewards to get them up to speed more rapidly. The first-level
player needs money to buy things he needs, while the tenth-level
player needs it to buy things he wants. Clearly, the first-level
player needs to get more money.

Actually, it strikes me that we probably ought to make the items
needed by a first-level player cheaper, but nobody ever seems to
want to do that. There are a lot of solutions to the problem of
equipping a first-level player, but showering them with money seems
to be preferred.

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