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

Travis Casey efindel at earthlink.net
Sun Apr 27 13:43:59 New Zealand Standard Time 2003

On Friday 25 April 2003 15:32, Samurai Cat @ Catacombs wrote:

> Code simply cannot do this. Try programming the age-old D&D "wish"
> spell. :)

Current code can't... what we'll have in twenty years or so, though,
who knows?  :-)

> Beyond that - you never saw a D&D game run without the GM present.

I've seen D&D games run without the GM.  You don't need the GM
present for PC-PC interaction, or for a PC to "go shopping", buying
stuff at standard prices.

Further, while D&D may be the most well-known P&P RPG, it's
definitely not the *only* one.  Exactly what the GM does, and how
important the GM is, varies in different games and in different
playstyles.  Examples:

Theatrix allows any player to suggest a new plotline, at any
time... and even allows for players running the plotlines they've
created, becoming a sort of "secondary GM" for that plotline.  It
also provides for other players becoming involved in a plotline
where their characters wouldn't reasonably be involved, by allowing
them to play one or more NPCs in that plotline.

Donjon gives players the ability to create facts about the game
world -- including things like "there's six orcs on the other side
of this door" or "the tracks we found were left by four horsemen,
and one of them was carrying the captured princess."  The GM then
has to deal with these new additions.

Universalis doesn't even *have* a GM -- the ability to create
setting elements, NPCs, etc. is moderated by "coins" that the
players have and can spend to create and take control of things, and
a "challenge" mechanic which lets players try to block another
player's addition if they don't like it.

(Note that both Theatrix and Universalis have some similarities to
Tiny-style games... but AFAIK, they both developed independently of

> I don't think designers should even *try* and make their MMOGs
> work like PnP games. They should make them work like *better*
> MMOGs.

There's a difference between "making them work like P&P" and
"borrowing ideas from P&P".  There are big differences between the
two types of games, but there are also points where they are
similar.  Getting inspiration from, say, a P&P skill system doesn't
make your game "work like" a P&P game, any more than, say, borrowing
an idea for a character status display from a first-person shooter
makes your game "work like" a first-person shooter.

       |\      _,,,---,,_     Travis S. Casey  <efindel at earthlink.net>
 ZZzz  /,`.-'`'    -.  ;-;;,_   No one agrees with me.  Not even me.
      |,4-  ) )-,_..;\ (  `'-' 
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