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

Damion Schubert damion at zenofdesign.com
Thu Apr 17 00:37:11 New Zealand Standard Time 2003

From: Chris Holko

> The complexity of what you speak is generally created by the
> players, rarely if ever does the game code actually perform that
> task.  Taken further, you are failing to distinguish the
> difference between the rules and the world the rules operate on.
> In other words, Greyhawk (?) is your politics, economics, and such
> defined. Greyhawk is the "MUD"
> Most P&P games are far more complex than any MUD or MMORPG, what
> gets in the way of this realization is that developers have egos.

What makes Pen and Paper Games complex?  So far, the best answer
I've seen is that the interaction of people make P&P games complex.
I don't buy that that makes them _more_ complex, however.  In a pen
and paper game, you might have 6 people interacting.  In Shadowbane,
that's not even a good party, and the interactions happening on a
server of 1200 people as three servers begin to go to war are
amazingly convoluted series of politics, personal choices, revenge,
betrayal, heroism, victory and defeat.  And this is in no way meant
to boast about my game- those sorts of things are certainly evident
in many freeware text MUDs, as well as games like Achaea and Dark
Age of Camelot.

Are these interactions 'in character'?  Depends a lot on which sub-
group you find.  Are they intertwined with the game mechanics?  Only
if the game mechanics encourage them.  Are they role-played?  Likely

But that wasn't the question.  The question was 'Are they complex'?
And the supposed 'complexity' that comes from having one incredibly
imaginative GM who can reshape events to his whim is vastly outdone
by the 'complexity' of one thousand people who, while are given much
harsher and firmer constraints by the limitations of code, simply
have the amassed brainpower to bend and break those constraints
freely and create complexity in an endless search for
self-fulfillment, self-amusement and the power to screw over their
fellow man.

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