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

Threshold RPG business at threshold-rpg.com
Thu May 22 03:50:03 New Zealand Standard Time 2003

On 19 May 2003, at 21:29, Dave Rickey wrote:

> If Camelot is an extreme special-case of some larger pattern, I
> want to get a glimpse of the larger pattern.

I think it is important to note that the development cycle of
Camelot has played a large role in delaying the inevitable and in
artifically making it seem like demand varied back and forth.

When the game started, only 1 dungeon was itemized. Once you hit
about level 11 or so, there were *NO* drops for you. There were also
only a few quests. This made crafted armor, in particular,

Later, as more dungeons got itemized the pendulum swung back to
dropped items. This was particularly true in Midgard when
Spindelhalla was itemized. Suddenly, crafters were lepers and
everyone wore Twilight gear.

Then, as players farmed asterite for various reasons and sold it to
crafters, and when Mythic released 2 higher material types for
crafting, the player crafted stuff started to exceed Twilight
items. Again, crafted stuff was the preference.

Then Raumarik and the Epic Zones were itemized, and yet again drops
were better.

Then finally weapon crafters were getting into the 1000+ range and
people realized that the highest quality crafted 2 handed weapons
were the best weapons. Crafters had an edge again.

Then epic armors were released and suddenly crafted armor was crap.

Then about a year after the 500th promise it was coming "next
month!", spellcrafting was released. Players quickly worked their
way up to high levels of spellcrafting and this made crafted stuff
FAR AND AWAY the best. There is not even any contest as to what is
the best stuff now.

I hear there is some new dropped loot from expansion zones (in
midgard the Glacier King supposedly drops some insanely good stuff),
so perhaps they are trying to swing it back.

I should mention also that the mere THREAT of "spellcrafting is
coming next month!" that went on for over a year played a role in
keeping people interested in "supporting your local crafter" even
when crafted stuff was junk. I consider that sort of vaporware
tactic to be relatively unethical.

The point I am making here is that Camelot presents an EXTREMELY
skewed set of data for analyzing the concepts of crafted items
vs. dropped loot.

The game was so unfinished at release with so few areas where items
even COULD drop, there was a constant unpredictible variance that
was based totally on what Mythic happened to actually complete
next. If they worked on itemization, loot excelled. If they worked
on crafting, crafting made a surge.

It can be debated if that is a good solution, but in my opinion that
sort of see-saw game balance is too frustrating to tolerate as a
player (that goes for class balance also- flavor of the week classes
or classes that are good one week and crappy the next make playing
the game too unpredictible).

It would be more interesting to see a REAL solution that made both
types of items useful without the artificial "time release capsule"
type development cycle.

Michael Hartman, J.D. (http://www.threshold-rpg.com)
President & CEO, Threshold Virtual Environments, Inc.

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