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

Marian Griffith gryphon at iaehv.nl
Thu Feb 6 22:06:00 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

On Tue 04 Feb, Caliban Tiresias Darklock wrote:
> From: "Peter Harkins" <ph at malaprop.org>
>> On Thu, Jan 23, 2003 at 02:42:52PM -0800, Caliban Tiresias Darklock wrote:

>>> Now, if this area at the top of the mountain is Really Cool, and
>>> everyone says it's a great place to hang out and do stuff, [...]

>> The standard answer is: make some Really Cool foothills.

> However, the standard answer misses the point. The issue isn't
> that the current area has problems, it's that the player doesn't
> want to be here. The player wants to be *there*.

You make the average player sound like a 4 year old child, which I
think is distinctly unfair. Players understand the idea of building
up their character's ability to be able to explore more quite well I
suspect.  They also most likely see through the fact that *there*
really is a carrot dangling at a stick to lure them to spend more
time with the game.  What I belief is the main problem is not so
much that any place is better or worse than another, but the fact
that due to the limited way the games are set up they define
gameplay in the only available terms of advancing their character.
They are really doing nothing but harvesting. The game itself gets
lost in the process somewhere, and the fact that the mountains are
the place to be becomes largely irrelevant, just as all the other
landmarks on the way.

> The big question, IMO, is: why does the player have to be here? 
> Why do we forbid *player* actions because of the way the
> *character* appears to the game engine? A first level character
> looks like a first level character, but a newbie and a veteran
> will do entirely different things with them. This is, at its root,
> a roleplaying aspect of the game; we want the character to seem as
> though it evolves from a beginner to an expert. And that's a
> reasonable thing to do, in a roleplaying context, but most of our
> games aren't really designed to *be* a roleplaying context.

I would suggest it is a bit more complicated than that. Roleplaying
factors in there somewhere, but for the most part the mechanism is
about *rewarding* the player.  I have read some discussions about a
game like Diablo, and the way it cleverly set up countless smaller
and bigger landmarks along its path, so that players had a hard time
to put it down.  Not too many players are really roleplaying on
muds, unless it is a game specifically set up for that, but in that
case you are most likely looking at a mush, not a mud and let alone
a graphical game.

> MUDs are not PNP
> games, and pretending they'll work the same way is probably going to
> end badly.

Actually, what it means is that roleplaying does not mesh well with
achievement oriented playing styles. There are many purely roleplay
oriented games that have quite significant numbers of players, some
in the several hundreds. Pernmush regularly used to have 40 players
online in the off-hours.

> Roleplayers simply can't be stopped; the best
> advice is probably to just stay out of our way.

As long as the other players do not interfere either.  What it does
require is a game gives the freedom to players to roleplay, by not
limiting choices too much and by not presenting a front that is too
achievement oriented.  Twinks and roleplayers also do not merge all
too gracefully...

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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