[MUD-Dev] Secondary characters as a mechanic

Sasha Hart hart.s at attbi.com
Fri Feb 7 01:54:38 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

[Paul Schwanz]

> I've considered something similar to this idea with the addition
> that the extra characters would be family members.  I think that
> having the same surname is a nice IC convention for explaining
> *why* faction is carried at the account level.

The family premise is attractive for the problem of players who get
themselves killed in-game, then make a new character to retaliate.

But having an excuse for this is not REALLY necessary. After all,
whoever thought it was egregiously silly that players could create
new characters and pursue old campaigns will probably not be
impressed by the week-long saga of a player who produced 30
generations to assault a single living enemy, for example. Not to
say that the idea is not feasible and cool, but it should not be
done to make people happy that what happens in game has nothing to
do with the players' desires. That is just a sisyphean task. The way
I see it, characters can choose sides more or less arbitrarily. If
two players wish to continuously battle with whatever game pieces
they have I see no major problem. If they don't that's fine too. The
problem occurs when the game is supposed to be about playing
characters in some other way to begin with. Mechanically it is very
well possible to slow this down and provide counter-incentives for
not retaliating, if it's really all that important.

> But I hadn't thought about the possibility of playing them
> simultaneously as an adventuring party.  When it comes to
> interacting with others and the game world, how would that be
> different to having a main character with a number of highly
> customizable pets?

For sufficiently broad definition of 'pets' it isn't different.

For my project there are a number of differences from a train of
attack-pets. It has mostly to do with which parts of the game design
are loaded onto them. The primary does not have ratings to drive up.
The pets have, but that is done primarily so you can get to certain
combinations of pets constituting a certain functional body (like
designing a simple machine). These carry out functions like
territory-holding, production, research etc. In many other ways they
are simply resources, like items or money in other games. Since
these are not typically roles occupied by pets in a game, this is
rather unlike having highly customizable pets (considered as little
adjunct things that follow you around and primarily just attack
whatever you attack, tank for you etc.) You could use them that way
but it would often work poorly.

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