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

Ron Gabbard rgabbard at swbell.net
Fri Feb 7 12:04:12 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003


From: "Ben Hoyt" <Ben.Hoyt at SilverPlatterSoftware.com>
> From: Ron Gabbard

>> First, if a hard cap of 4 hours is placed on each character each
>> week, many core players will have 5 "capped" characters.  Thus,
>> instead of the 4-hour/week blacksmith competing with one
>> 60-hour/week blacksmith, they're competing with ten 4-hour/week
>> blacksmiths with many core players being a completely
>> self-sufficient Avatar Incorporateds... Bubba the Miner, Johann
>> the Lumberjack, Antoine the Tailor, Sam the Blacksmith, and Conan
>> the Hunter.  While Casual Carl the Blacksmith may have just as
>> much skill as Sam the Blacksmith, Conan the Hunter is going to
>> "buy" his sword and armor from his alt.  The end result is an
>> increase in supply of each craft to the point where it's not
>> profitable for anyone and there HAS to be an inflationary economy
>> where players have "extra" money to pay for skilling the
>> crafters.

> There are quite a few design decisions that could be made to
> address the problem you're pointing out.  The first, and simplest,
> would be that players have to identify a "primary" character.
> Each account's "primary" character would be allowed to advance,
> say, 4 levels in a week.  "Secondary" characters would be limited
> to 2.  Problem solved.

A problem has been solved for a finite group of players -- those
casual players that start at t=0 (release).  But, that solution is
short-sighted and introduces another problem.  What about players
that start 6 months later?  Two years later?  Do you impose
server-wide level caps?  That's already done.  Do you remove per
week restrictions on players that start later?  What's the thematic
rationale within the storyline for that? All that has been done in
the 4-level/week model is lower the level cap to where the casual
player that starts at t=0 (release) can reach and maintain the cap.
In 13 weeks (3 months), the maximum level is now 52 and new players
are faced with the same situation as in the current model.  In the
meantime, you've alienated a lot of the core gamers that flood to
new games to check out the latest and greatest.

I understand what you're trying to do with the progressive caps.
However, I think imposing a value system on the player as to what is
a "reasonable" amount of time to play and what is "extreme" is a
mistake if you're trying to develop an online world and society and
not just a game.  If the goal of the cap is to limit the negative
impact the "extreme" player has on the "reasonable" player, there
are better ways to go about it than forcing everyone to be
"reasonable" players...

Vertically integrate players such that there is interdependency
between the lowbies and highbies.  Current MMOG models have level 50
hunters killing level 50 mobs for level 50 skins to give to level 50
tanners to make level 50 leather for an armor crafter to make level
50 armor.  They are horizontally integrated across skills which
often leaves the casual player "out" of what is considered the main
flow of the game.  Why can't a level 10 hunter kill a level 10 mob
for a level 10 skin that is cured by a level 35 tanner using a
curing agent provided by a level 20 alchemist who then gives the
cured leather to a level 50 armorcrafter to make level 50 armor?
Assuming that crafted goods have some value to players, this keeps
every player involved in the "main flow" of the world to some
degree.

You won't find a 10-week/hour player being mayor of a player-driven
city or running a large PA.  It requires too much work and on-line
availability.  However, this doesn't mean that this player can't
play a meaningful role for their "side" (however you define that).

I remember when I was playing DAoC and the first battleground came
out for the lower level players.  It was a blast.  However, it was
also pointless in terms of the overall conflict, i.e., horizontally
integrated players that had no impact on the conflict going on in
the "real" frontier.  I suggested to Sanya in an email back then
that they should do something like make control of the lowbie keep
decrease the amount of time between portal activations for the
"main" frontiers for the controlling realm.  Being able to get
people back out to the battle after death quickly is an advantage in
DAoC's RvR model and something like this would make the players
fighting in the lowbie battlegrounds part of the overall
conflict... making an impact on the taking and/or keeping of
fortresses and relics.  Vertically integrated.

Instead of trying to limit the play time of the core players,
develop systems that benefit from their activities instead of being
damaged by them.  View that "extreme" time as a resource for instead
of a hazard to the "reasonable" player.

Cheers,

Ron


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