[MUD-Dev] Do players enjoy farming? (was MUD-Dev Digest, Vol 7, Issue 9)

Paul Schwanz pschwanz at comcast.net
Thu Jan 8 12:24:20 New Zealand Daylight Time 2004

Rayzam wrote:
> From: "Paul Schwanz" <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 I think it's an issue where it's not enjoyed, but felt as
> necessary. Some enjoy the control of a resource, ie, owning or
> controlling the camp. But standing in the same place until a
> monster arrives, and with random drops, killing the same monster
> many times to get the 1 item you want from it? That's not
> enjoyable to most.

When I talk about camping and farming, I'm referring to *any*
low-risk activity that produces predictable gains, not just the
normal paradigm for camping and farming monster spawns.  I think
players like these sorts of activities much more than what we
typically attribute to them.  They aren't always the adrenalin
junkies that we make them out to be.  The problem, as I see it, is
that monster-bashing is typically the only real route to success,
both for those who are looking for an adrenalin high as well as for
those who are looking for a low-risk, low -committment, highly
controlled activity.

So why not introduce something like real farming?  Those who are
interested in farming-like or even mining-like activities can be the
major producers of resources in the game.  When you add monsters to
this mix, you can get something very interesting.  The farmers don't
want to be killed.  That's not really their game.  However, the
monsters have a nasty habit of ruining their crops, killing their
sheep, or otherwise making a nuisance of themselves.  So, the
farmers hire monster killers (those who like high-risk activities)
to help keep the nuisance to a minimum.  Or maybe they hire builders
to construct a better wall around their property.  In any case, you
avoid the very strange case where the game is about seeking out
monsters to farm, camp, or otherwise harvest as the major source of
game resources.  You can make monsters bigger and scarier with less
thought given to balance, since the entire game is no longer based
on harvesting them.  Best of all, you can evoke emotions that are
much more in line with how monsters should be viewed.  Not as
something like corn or wheat, but as big, scary, dangerous things
that we love to fear and love to hate.

It is a very different approach, but one that makes a lot more sense
to me than does the current one.

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