[MUD-Dev] Re: MUD-Dev Digest, Vol 7, Issue 9

Freeman Freeman
Mon Dec 22 09:28:09 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

From: Paul Schwanz [mailto:pschwanz at comcast.net]

> I'm still not sure why we have it in for camping when players so
> obviously like to camp.  Or why we have it in for farming when
> players seem to prefer to farm.  Why don't these facts cause us
> instead to come up with better ways to help players enjoy camping
> and farming?

Because they complain so bitterly about being "forced" to camp in
order to obtain the items they "need" (to, uh... camp better).
Ditto for farming, I guess.  Players don't seem to mind farming so
much as long as they're the ones doing it.  Other players farming
the items they want really bugs them.

Plus it's not very epic or heroic.  I think the immersion-spoiling
"bad fiction" aspect of it is one of the things they complain about
more than the actual activity.

Farming in MUDs is pretty enjoyable for some folk (actual farming,
that is: Plant seeds, watch them grow, harvest the crops), all
things considered.

The thing that would make killing monsters epic and heroic in
relation to (literal) farming would be an added "... and defend the
crops from ravenous hoards or orcs and/or revenuers..."-step.

Or you could let NPCs do the boring bit, and solicit players to take
care of the exciting part (which I almost didn't want to suggest on
account of so many players, from my perspective, really enjoying the
boring bit).

Players farm dragons for gold and loot because it's a great way to
get gold and loot, but that could be engineered so that mining for
gold and setting up mystical forges to produce magic items was the
better method: With the dragon popping in to disrupt the farming,
rather than the dragon being the thing that the player is farming.

End result is about the same (and I agree the players do enjoy the
gathering/farming/camping/ranching aspect of the activity), but I
think the fictional trapping could be improved.

So the play is the same: You kill monsters in a dungeon and get loot
(which players enjoy).  But fictionally, in the one case you're just
killing monsters for the loot.  In the other case, you're killing
monsters to prevent them from getting the loot.

Ooh, and you can add a sim-DwarvenMine minigame for the kids.

For what it's worth, I agree with the design philosophy of looking
at what players are doing and improving that experience, versus
trying to erect roadblocks to steer the players toward what we think
they should be doing instead.
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