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

Matt Mihaly the_logos at achaea.com
Thu Apr 17 17:42:47 New Zealand Standard Time 2003


On Wed, 16 Apr 2003 lynx at lynx.purrsia.com wrote:
> On Tue, 15 Apr 2003, Matt Mihaly wrote:

>> 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.

> Maybe we should take a step back here.  There's a parallel between
> 'I want to have politics so I can rule with an iron fist/engage in
> wheeling and dealing' and 'I want to have thievery in the game so
> I can steal from people' in the sense that people *may* want to be
> able to do these things to others, but don't necessarily want to
> be done unto.

> Consider this scenario: you develop a game with a complicated
> political system.  Player A comes in and goes 'Wow, this is great,
> I want to be top of the heap!'  Players B, C, and D come in and
> say 'I don't want to be involved with this, this game has
> complicated crafting/combat system that I do want to be involved
> in, but I don't want politics to get in my way.'

> Do you force players B, C, and D to participate in the political
> system so that player A can have players to rule?

Nope, I don't. Your example may be hypothetical but I've been
running games with much-more-intensive political systems for
years. Players can more or less opt out of politics but they suffer
some for it. They lose the advantages that membership in political
organizations can bestow such as a relatively safe geographical
haven and even just a simple community.

If someone objects to a political system generally, they're better
off finding a different game to play. Nothing new there. I don't
play Everquest because I object to such a hard-core focus on monster
bashing.

> If they don't participate in the political system, over whom does
> player A rule, and how can player A be competed against?

They rule the players who do want to join a political system. In our
case, that's most players. I have no way of knowing if that's
because most people really do want to be part of a political
community or, more likely, because the sort of person who does is
more likely to stick around and play our games.

> My take on it: use an NPC citizenry.  Any vote that a player fails
> to assign is accounted for by the NPCs, which cast votes according
> to their situation (is the city economy doing well or poorly) and
> their perception of the candidates (are they especially
> charismatic or influential).  If all players participate in the
> political system, the political system is completely
> player-driven, but if a majority of players do not participate,
> then 'political skills' can sway or dominate the system.

NPC citizenry are incapable of understanding things like "charisma".
There's no AI in the world capable of it. Any political system in
which the computer gets a vote is automatically going to be
diminished in my mind because the lack of intelligence and
discernment by the computer results in a vastly, vastly diminished
scope for political expression. If you know the way to win an
election is to do X, Y, and Z better or faster than your opponent,
then the essence of why politics can be fun for players is gone. I
prefer letting players run the system, which has worked successfully
for years.

--matt


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