[MUD-Dev] RP, MMORPGs, and their Evolution

Matt Mihaly the_logos at achaea.com
Fri May 23 17:40:33 New Zealand Standard Time 2003

On Fri, 23 May 2003, Paul Schwanz wrote:

> I very much like the idea of home towns and especially the ability
> to move to a new community that is more in keeping with your own
> ideals or play style.  I'd like to see these towns designed and
> built by players. I'd up the ante a bit by giving additional perks
> to towns as they hit certain population goals, creating even more
> incentive for players to build the sort of place that people want
> to live.  Hopefully, players would even start thinking in terms of
> attracting new players to the game and player retention as as
> viable methods for growing and maintaining a player-town
> population.

Yeah, it works. We've been doing this for years and we're certainly
not the first. Some towns were built completely by the admins, some
towns are slowly built up over time as the city saves up gold to
build expansions onto the city. Cities are a fundamental part of our
gameplay, in all three of our games.

> When players can build a "hive of scum and villany" by making
> in-game choices, then the player-town *is* the dungeon.  The key,
> again as you have alluded, is to limit the effects via community
> so that players have choices.  Instead of restricting this to
> community membership though, I'd take a more geographical approach
> to things.  If you create a hive of scum and villany, no one has
> to visit.  Furthermore, your ability to expand that sort of place
> can be made dependant upon the number of players you get living
> there or visiting.  If the place you build *is* entertaining, then
> players will visit or take up residence and you will grow to the
> point where you can expand the geographical area over which you
> have influence.

It's not about making the NPCs entertaining. NPCs are boring and
crap.  It's about giving players reasons to act as a coherent
community with their own ethos, desires, culture, and so on. THEN it
gets entertaining.  It's not particularly hard to do either. Once
you get them started, they will immediately start straining at the
leash of your game design.

> In general, I think you are spot on with much of your assessment
> regarding the future of MMORPGs.  I especially think the way you
> describe communities self-policing their own content is right on
> the money.  My only disagreements have to do with personal
> preferences for immersion over traditional role-play, but I don't
> doubt that others will see it differently.

I'm totally with you on immersion over traditional roleplaying, and
in our games at least, most players would agree with our point of
view (unsurprising in a self-selecting population I
suppose). Roleplaying is of no interest to most players anyway. They
want to put on and take off masks, not control a puppet that is
supposedly (of course it's not) separate from themselves.


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