[MUD-Dev] D&D vs. MMORPG "complexity"

Paul Schwanz pschwanz at comcast.net
Thu Apr 10 11:33:27 New Zealand Standard Time 2003


Martin Bassie wrote:
> Matt Mihaly wrote:

>> D&D has a lot of breadth and some depth in a very limited part of
>> gameplay: looting and leveling. It doesn't even begin to approach
>> the overall complexity of muds (or mmogs or whatever you want to
>> call them) in that it pretty much only deals with bashing
>> monsters. There are no formal politics, no formal economic
>> systems and you only have to deal with a handful of people at a
>> time. There is very little complexity beyond the bashing in D&D.

[snip]

> Sure, there are no fixed rules for some of those situations, and
> it's possible there are some systems which completely describe and
> regulate every bit of play we can come up with. Not having these
> fixed rules is what makes roleplaying non-combat situations so
> darn interesting, because the -players- cannot use those rules to
> their advantage, as they so often do with combat. Unlike
> computer-driven RPGs, D&D (and a lot of P&P RPGs) gives the DM
> almost infinite freedom to implement his own rules, and until
> CRPGs manage to simulate the same freedom, they can't ever be as
> compex as a well-hosted D&D session. They don't have to be,
> though.

Respectfully, I think you are missing the point here.  Matt wasn't
trying to claim that MUDs are somehow superior to P&P because of
their greater complexity.  The point instead, which I think you
actually echo quite strongly, is that the complexity of virtual
worlds cannot come from giving a DM almost infinite freedom to
implement his own rules.  The MUD must be based on fixed rules
because it is a virtual world, not an invite only experience that
can rely heavily on small group dynamics and the imaginative
strengths of a DM.

It isn't that the MUD offers more complex gameplay, but that it has
a much more complex problem to solve.

--Phin


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