[MUD-Dev] Thought Experiment: Permanent Monster Death

ghovs ghovs at plex.nl
Fri Dec 12 17:35:46 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003


Brent P. Newhall wrote:

> After reading the massive -- and fascinating -- thread on
> entertainment, spawning, etc. in games, I had the following
> thought.  Would love to know what you all think.

>   What would a game look like, if monsters stayed dead?  E.g.,
>   monsters can only be added to the game if the admins explicitly
>   add them.

> Might this not create a game in which individual monsters are much
> more powerful -- thus requiring a lot of team co-operation to kill
> -- but less common?

> How might this affect the "levelling treadmill?"

If you were to unleash unique monsters in, say, Everquest, you will
see a horde swarm it within an hour, and kill it. High-end raiding
guilds tend to have scouts running around known spawn points of
timed spawns, so it isn't too far-fetched to expect them to patrol
everywhere for anything, should that prove rewarding. In a more
generalized view, if _all_ mobs must be spawned by a DM of some
sort, you either devise an automated one very soon, or you start
running low on players while you're practically always out of mobs.

The whole idea of an RPG, at least for me, is that you run around
and possibly kill mobs, or flee from them, or sneak past guards. If
all the guards happen to be killed hours before the DM shows up, I
can't have any of that stuff, thus making things rather dull. Now,
unless I can somehow make things show up, I'm going to log off and
do something else. The whole rationale behind automatic respawning
of mobs is that someone else can have a go at them, or the same
person can have a go again, thus increasing the use of
content. Given the amount of work invested in creating one mob, I'm
pretty sure people can kill what I create faster than I can churn it
out.

Ofcourse, we seem to get by just fine without immediate respawns in
real life, where our world has by and large managed to prevent
somehow to depopulate altogether. But while there is no god which
will respawn me after I'm killed, I seem to be killed rather less
often than most scrawny rats in MUD newbie zones too, so the only
way you could justify not using automatic respawning timers is by
reducing the rather voracious appetite of the average bloodlusting
player. I have no idea at all how to discourage a player who is able
to kill short of making him unable to kill, which will lead us right
back to boredom.

Now, as for the effect on the level treadmill when mobs are a
precious and rare resource, it's bad. Few players will advance
quickly, and those who do will be able to effortlessly killsteal
newbies, thus locking them out of progress altogether, since once
the high-level guy gets bored of killstealing, the mobs probably ran
out again. It is not at all impossible to kill at a rate ten times
as fast as a newbie could, and that would certainly be so if you
wanted characters able to advance over a long period of time.

All in all, I find the idea of DM-spawned monsters unworkable, no
matter how poetic the idea might seem. Either you'll have an empty,
boring world, or you'll have a DM spawning monsters all the time,
which is not materially different from timed respawns, except that
the person doing it might feel quite bored doing what might as well
be automated.

rgds,
ghovs
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