[MUD-Dev] MMORPG, buildings, is it bad to be just props?

Amanda Walker amanda at alfar.com
Fri Feb 14 10:53:40 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

On Thursday, February 13, 2003, at 09:26  AM, John Buehler wrote:

> Only the diehard roleplayer who really wants it to be an immersive
> environment is going to go through all the emotional and mental
> effort to say that Freeport in EverQuest really is a rough and
> tumble town.  To other players, it's a maze with quest NPCs.
> Rules and hoops.

Yep.  I've been finding "There" to be a fascinating contrast.  No
levels (well, not that affect gameplay--there are a few "merit
badge" style things), no quests, no scripts, no monsters, no risks
posed by the game mechanics.  Instead, you get a large virtual
environment (not as painterly as DAoC or AC2, but better than EQ),
stylized but expressive player models, a quite impressive physics
model, objects & vehicles, and player-customizable appearance.  Oh,
and a chat system with some unique features.  Flirting, meetings,
spontaneous grouping, ... and very easy to learn.

To at least a large number of the people in the beta, it's amazingly
immersive.  No role-playing beyond pretending you're actually on,
say, a tropical island with tiki huts, but it's a
socializer/explorer dream come true.  You can go anywhere, look at
anything... the chat system keys off stuff you type and reflects it
in your avatar's body language, and so on.  There are toys and
playfields for setting up games to play with others (races, obstacle
courses, treasure hunts, ... the kinds of stuff powergamers do in
MMORPGs when they get bored).

Predictably, gamers of certainly playstyles take one look and say,
"wow, this game really sucks!".  Others try it, and beg and plead
for them not to turn off logins during the "off" hours while they do
server updates and coding.

I'm a little fuzzy on their business model, but from a technical and
social standpoint it's very, very interesting.  And like earlier
non-game MUDs like MeetingSpace, they seem to be keeping an eye on
ways people could use it in the course of the workday as well
(though with the current set of avatars, this would probably work
best for high-tech companies--not everyone things that surfer shorts
and tank tops are appropriate for meetings ;-)).

Amanda Walker

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