[MUD-Dev] A new game paradigm (was: Star Wars Galaxies)

Caliban Tiresias Darklock caliban at darklock.com
Tue Feb 18 06:13:41 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

From: "Marian Griffith" <gryphon at iaehv.nl>

> While we both agree, I think it is more productive if we are try-
> ing to find a way out of this trap.

You know, whenever I try to start a productive discussion, someone
inevitably takes offense at *how* I tried to start it -- usually
because they don't like a description, or an example, or a label.

Eventually, this person generally complains that we aren't getting
anywhere with the discussion, as though it's somehow *my* fault the
discussion hasn't been productive.

I am really tired of trying to figure out why this happens, so I'm
just not going to bother.

>> I cannot think of any legitimate reason to keep doing it. Is
>> there such a reason?

> Yes, but not a very valid one. Tradition never is.

Then it's not exactly legitimate, is it?

> Linear increase of power would go a long way

What about zero increase? All players start at identical levels of
skill, and stay there. Your character can only equip himself with
more effective items. Has anyone else tried this?

> Others would be automa- tic scaling of opponent's abilities to
> that of the player or group opposing them. I.e. powerful players
> would face groups of less po- werful monsters, and so would groups
> of players.

I've been playing with that idea for a long time, because it's what
most good GMs do. Has anyone tried to implement this?

> Moving the focus away from combat would also work, but all these
> potential solutions would radically alter the game and alienate a
> significant portion of the players.

I think whenever you want to make something potentially
groundbreaking, you have to decide you don't care about
that. Whether people like something that doesn't exist is a pretty
weird question to ask, and the answers aren't actually going to
reflect reality.

>> Erm, not really. This seems to be getting very far off the
>> track. We start characters off as weaklings because it's fun to
>> *roleplay* a weakling, but MUD players usually aren't
>> roleplaying. The weakling isn't a fun place for them to start,
>> because they just don't play that way -- but we continue to start
>> them off as weaklings.

> Not very far off track, the way I see it, just pointing out an un-
> welcome reality of the current muds

I don't know how you see it, but it looks to me like we're giving
the players a character designed for roleplayers in an environment
designed for achievers -- it doesn't matter whether they get along,
the concept is simply moronic. It's like trying to ride a skateboard
down the railroad tracks; both are perfectly serviceable, but when
you put them together it really doesn't work too well.

What looks like the central issue to me is who provides the content
-- in any given game, someone is responsible for making the game
"fun". If you're a roleplayer, that someone is your fellow
players. If you're an achiever, that someone is the designer of the
game systems. If you're an explorer, that someone is the designer of
the game world. What we've never really done in the current
generation of games is to decouple these systems from each other,
and I think we really need to start thinking of ways to do that.

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