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

Paul Schwanz pschwanz at comcast.net
Thu Jan 8 19:15:49 New Zealand Daylight Time 2004


Freeman, Jeff wrote:
> 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?

...

> 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.

...

> 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.

  [Please ignore my email, Jeff.  The more I thought about it the
  more I realized I did have some things I wanted to add to this.]

I absolutely agree with the sort of approach you are talking about
here.  It seems to me that you pointed out a couple of reasons that
this approach may be better than the current one.

  1.  Some players actually do like activities like literal
  farming/mining/ranching/camping.

    Actually, I think that these sorts of activities are the ones
    that are likely to end up as much more attractive to all those
    people who play cards or other low-committment games on the
    internet.

  2.  The current approach is immersion-spoiling and the fictional
  trapping could be improved.


I'd like to point out a few other things that I think recommend this
approach over the current one.

  3.  It provides for many points of interaction and potential
  relationship-building between the low-risk producers and the
  monster bashers.  (Although, to be fair, many players will
  probably adopt a role as both producer and monster basher.)

  4.  Monster bashing can become more quest-driven, which I believe
  will help it feel more purposeful.  However, these quests do not
  require paid content creators since they are player-generated
  quests.  For some reason, it makes a really big difference to me
  whether I'm killing critters because they truly are a nuisance to
  my friend Bubba or I'm killing them because NPC shopkeeper#571
  says they are a nuisance to him, but I really know that it makes
  no difference to him or the gameworld whether I kill the critters
  or not.  But I suppose this could be getting back into fictional
  trappings being improved.

  5.  You could implement a system with more interesting monster
  spawing schemes (eg. surplus food and shelter cause monster
  birthings or new lairs) without as much concern about players
  totally wiping out a population in order to harvest resources from
  them.  In wild areas away from farms/mines/ranches, some really
  scary sorts might end up growing, one day spilling out into
  civilization and causing a crisis.  Or perhaps civilization spills
  into the wild area.

  6.  The ability to avoid or shun monsters becomes more of a valid
  playstyle since you don't have to kill them in order to harvest
  resources.  The skill of being able to hide from monsters as you
  go into the monster-infested mine to get gold adds a natural
  thief-type playstyle that doesn't have to be married with a
  devastating backstab in order to be valid.

  7.  To the non-RPG player, I think the approach you proposed would
  be much more intuitive than the current one.

--Phin
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