[MUD-Dev] Limited character lifespans

Damion Schubert damion at zenofdesign.com
Fri Feb 14 20:02:58 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

From: Dan Shiovitz
> I've been kicking around a system where low-level and mid-level
> characters have indefinite lifespans, but when a mid-level
> character chooses to start the high-level track, they get
> razzle-dazzle powers but also, say, 60 days before their character
> expires. The theory here is that the sweet spot for character play
> is the mid-levels, not the high-levels, and so most of the
> playtime should be spent there; but systems with unlimited
> lifespan for higher-level players tend to end up with a pileup at
> the top levels.
> Does something like this exist anywhere currently?
I've seen it on MUDs.  It's something that almost always gets shot
down in combat design sessions (and I'm usually one of the most
vocal opponents).  Simply put, a character is one of the largest
retention factors you have for a paying customer.  A system like
this gives the game an 'end', and even if they start a second
character, their personal attachments to that character will be
less.  As someone else pointed out, they'll have a great heroic
story they'll treasure forever, but the great, heroic story will be
attached to their first character, which is dust now.  Might as well
go find a new MMP.

I much prefer systems where the level treadmill isn't the be-all,
end-all, but instead enables the player to take part in bigger,
better things (guild wars, Realm battles, whatever).


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