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

Amanda Walker amanda at alfar.com
Wed Apr 30 14:51:01 New Zealand Standard Time 2003


On Tuesday, April 29, 2003, at 03:13  PM, Sean Kelly wrote:
> On Mon, 28 Apr 2003, Dave Rickey wrote:
>> From: "John Buehler" <johnbue at msn.com>

>>> In CURRENT MMO's that may be true.  In a broader sense, value is
>>> derived by entertainment potential.  These are games after all.
>>> They're supposed to entertain.  In current MMO's that means time
>>> and power because of the leveling treadmill being the focus of
>>> entertainment in the game.

>> And why is it the focus?  Because the players insist on it.

> This is somewhat of a chicken and egg problem.  If MMO games
> weren't initially created with this as the focus, would they have
> drawn an audience that insisted on maintaining that focus?  Were
> any MMO games created with a different focus, and how successful
> were they?

The jury's still out on There.com, but they've certainly gotten a
lot of grateful refugees from The Sims Online (which has a
particularly annoying treadmill).  They seem to have a fairly
reasonable number of people online, for a limited-access beta.

Their environment is optimized towards social/exploratory types of
play, though.  There's a bit of levelling tossed in for Achievers,
but the main reward for hitting new "levels" seems to be free
T-shirts...

No combat, no hit points, but very extensive chat, group, & emote
features, very nice multi-mode physics model with vehicles, item
loanability and retrievability, user-generated content, and
set-aside game arenas for player-run events.

There's a bit of griefing, mainly people dropping things on other
people from midair, running into them with vehicles, etc.  There's
no in-game "damage" caused by this, but it can be annoying to be
knocked out of a conversation.  They recently designated a
free-for-all area where people can let off steam without
interference, which has potential.

It's a surprising amount of fun.  No game-imposed linearity at all,
but people find stuff to do.  It reminds me a lot more of the old
non-combat/RPG MUDs/MOOs of yore than the current crop of MMORPGs
do.

Amanda Walker


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