[MUD-Dev] Removing access to entertainment

Sheela Caur'Lir dstgasey at webhiker.dk
Sat Nov 15 06:23:34 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003


From: "John Buehler" <johnbue at msn.com>

>   Example 1: Nighttime and rainstorms.

>     In graphical games, the gee-whiz graphics are a major selling
>     point.  All the screenshots that we see show amazing detail,
>     wonderful graphics, magical effects and so on.  Yet half of
>     the game time is rendered for 'night'.  The screen goes dark.
>     I can't see the neato graphics.  In truth, I can't see much of
>     anything.  Rainstorms do the same thing.

While I agree that nighttime is often too dark, it can also add to a
game if done proberly. Also, if you have never played an online game
where you went "wow, what a sunset!" you have missed something - We
are talking about Persitent Worlds here, and if they don't have a
"mood" the would quickly grow boring.

That all said and done, the worst example of nighttime for me, was
once when I couldn't even see the feets of the character I was
playing.  (Barbarian warrior in Kithicor at night, EverQuest)

And the best was probably Anarchy Online when it went dark and I was
a bit peeved about the dark and thought "Hey, what are those goggles
for ... whoa, I can see again!". That was a very elegant way to get
around it.  Night Vision classes are cool btw. :o)

Rainstorms .. well, what can I say, it seems all developer thinks
that when it rains you also have a thick fog - which isn't the case
- So I'm guessing it's more a matter of computing power problem -
ie. do not have enough juice to show both pretty landscapes and
pretty weather effects at the same time.

>   Example 2: Mesmerization.

>     This is where one character is able to cause another character
>     to go unresponsive to controls because it is 'mesmerized'.
>     This effect can last 30 seconds or more.  But the esential
>     truth of the effect is that the player can not play the game
>     for those 30 seconds.

Ah, but there are often counter to this ability, such as Magical
Resistances, or giving yourself a small DOT so you are awakened
quickly.

You want them to have to counter your abilities and skills - Fair
enough, But you also have to counter theirs.

Besides, it has become an essential crowd control method when you
play vs. monsters, so you don't wipe out due to a wrong pull. Wiping
out may cost you real life hours to get back to where you where.
And I'm sure that is even more frustrating.

>   Example 3: Blindness.

>     This is a combination of the first two examples.  A character
>     causes another character to go blind, meaning that the player
>     can't see anything in the game world.  Their controls may be
>     accessible, but the world itself is not visible.

Personally, I do not like Blind myself either, but I can certainly
see any wizard in a "real world" developing such a spell for their
own use.  It simply have too much usage and it's a logical spell to
make.

If they can't see me, they can't hurt me.

Again, it's one of those things where you have to be able to counter
it with Magic Resists and perhaps some sort of Sight buff spell that
makes you immune to blind spells ?

>   Example 4: Slow travel in large worlds.

>     This is less removal of entertainment and more a barrier to
>     getting to entertainment.  Let's say that the world is
>     geographically large and the task to be tackled requires
>     multiple players to come together.  Or multiple players simply
>     want to gather because it's fun to do so.  The time it takes
>     to assemble those multiple players from around the game world
>     can be prohibitive.

OK - This one is interesting because it's two-fold.

Originally a good way to make a small world seem large, would be to
make it slow to travel. As your world grows bigger, faster
travelling methods become interesting.

This can be run speed increasing buffs, wheelchairs, escelators,
rollerblades, skateboards, bicycles, horses, cars, airplanes,
spaceships - You name it, it's part of the fun to come up with some
interesting way of transportation.  All the way up until you have
instant telportation accross the world, at which point it cannot go
much faster anymore.

Now to the flipside of the coin.

People spend drastically less time in each zone now, exept a few.
EverQuest is a prime example of this, all the newbie zones are
languishing with only 1-2 players in them now and then, and it's
usually just someone powerlevelling an alt character. In truth,
several areas of the game is now considered "dead" zones. Now, how
much content do you get if you don't stay in a zone long enough to
explore it's content ?

At some point, this might even be unhealthy for the game at large,
because the new players only knew a very few zones, and don't have a
largs sample as most of the older players may have.

I'm sure some of you have seen older EQ players rant about how
clueless new players are when they come into a dungeon, because they
never had to go there ?

Besides that, travelling is a part of many games experience.  Say,
if you wanna go from Point A -- D, you might wanna go around Point B
and C to avoid the Giants and the Dragons so you don't die. You will
be labelled a clueless newbie in many games if you cannot travel
trough "oldworld newbie zones" at high level without dying. And an
annoyance to a high level guild if you cannot get yourself to the
site where a raid is forming.

I have to agree though, that traversing a world should be possible
to be done within half an hour or so. Sure, a few select spots in
the world may take longer to reach, but the main areas could be
connected with some sort of static teleporters or other fast
transportation method.

In fact, that is what Anarchy Online choose to do with their Whompa
system and the Grid.  They ran into another interesting "problem"
though - When people pick missions in Anarchy Online, they always
make sure the missions are in a city zone, because then they can
just Whompa/Grid to the town and do the mission with no travelling
risk. Which makes the outdoor zones superflous in many cases.

Fast travelling surely have both advantages and disadvantages.

*whew*

Sorry for being longwinded.

---
Jens L. Nielsen
(aka. Sheela Caur'Lir)
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