[MUD-Dev] A Founding Father Forgotten

Paul Schwanz pschwanz at comcast.net
Wed Apr 9 12:21:39 New Zealand Standard Time 2003


Thomas Tomiczek wrote:
> From: John Robert Arras [mailto:johna at wam.umd.edu]

>> Levels are simplifications, but if characters have any numbers
>> that say what the characters can or can't do and those numbers
>> are changed through playing the game, then there's a level-based
>> system.

> I fully agree on your statements.

> ACTUALLY - I dare to say that is more designers of online RPG's
> would have learned the basics of P7P RPG's then we would not have
> the crap systems that run Everquest, DAOC, Neocron (the ones I
> know of and all of them I actually surely dislike on the base of
> them being totally unbalanced - I would throw out such rules in my
> P7P group immediatly).

I think Matt nailed it in his post when he says that D&D provides
deep loot and level, but little else.  I tend to believe that the
real magic of PnP happens between the lines.  I think the real magic
of such games lie in small group dynamics.  I believe that PnP
systems can provide a rich context for these dynamics, but rely
heavily on social structures inherent in small group settings.

I say I 'think' and I 'believe' because in fact I haven't learned
the basics of P7P RPGs.  Nonetheless, I'm pretty sure that I can
avoid the 'crap' systems of EQ, DAoC, et al.  I believe this mostly
because I feel they rely much too heavily on loot and level
treadmills.  And I believe this is quite possibly a direct result of
trying to mimic D&D systems instead of mimicing real life.

MMORPGs are about large group dynamics.  You cannot simply provide a
loot and level context and expect the same sort of magic you'd see
in PnP.  In MMORPGs, you have to deliberately build or at least
directly facilitate the building of the social structures.  The
MMORPG that will be wildly successful will be the one that builds
the best social structures and not the one that has the deepest or
the best balanced loot and level system.  Real life has answers to
the problems we face when building social structures that D&D does
not.

At least, that's my opinion.

--Phin


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