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

Scott Jennings scottj at mythicentertainment.com
Wed Apr 16 09:46:19 New Zealand Standard Time 2003

On Tue, 15 Apr 2003, Matt Mihaly wrote:

>> I'm thinking you've never played UO, EQ or DAoC, then, because in
>> each of those at the high end politics drive the entire game.
>> (Not "player X is king of the city", but "anger guild Y and you
>> may as well delete your character due to the repercussions on
>> that server.")

> Yeah, those are political interactions and I can definitely see
> where those games have them. They're pretty basic though and don't
> seem as if that gameplay is very integrated with the rest of the
> game or as if that gameplay is even supported by the game rules.

No, generally it's not (Shadowbane is a recent exception) because
you almost never have to encourage people to be bastards to one
another; it comes naturally.

Still, your initial assertion was that politics don't matter in any
of the current large-scale MMOs. The problem with that is simply by
being large in scale, politics *do* matter -- no matter what those
that run the games in question have to say about the matter. Now,
you can make the game more interesting by leveraging this, but to
simply say that "there's no politics, thus the high level game is
boring" because there are no explicit rules systems for voting (you
know, for all those democracies in feudal Europe) doesn't make much

Everquest is actually a perfect case in point - the game discourages
player conflict and actively encourages cooperation throughout its
game cycle. At the high end, guilds become less loose collectives
and closer to something approaching military combined arms teams in
the coordination and cooperation. required. There's no PVP element
at all save for a few servers and limited /duelling.

So by your definition, politics in Everquest is non-existent. The
problem is that Everquest at the high end game is one of the most
political experiences in modern gaming. Each server has one or two
guilds that literally control the server. They are the only ones
capable of tackling the high-end mobs, they control the economy both
by force (kill-stealing) and by agreement (scheduling), and entering
these guilds is somewhat akin to joining the Mafia. People who don't
have access to a high level "uberguild" eventually quit.

Now, mind you, this is about the level of high school/clique
"politics", but no one said online gaming was a mature entity :)
Scott Jennings
Mythic Entertainment

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