[MUD-Dev] What level maximum do players like best?

Pandora pubsynx7hye at pacbell.net
Thu May 19 11:57:29 New Zealand Standard Time 2005


Eric wrote:

> Is there some magic maximum level that players particularly prefer
> to achieve?  Or do the majority of players simply prefer to
> achieve the maximum level?

As one advances in skill and ability, as well as reputation, one's
role in society changes.  You go from protected to protector,
oppressed to oppressor, cannon fodder to desireable company, to
unattainable super.  It's comforting to be protected sometimes, and
sometimes comfortable to protect.

There are even more roles available once you discard the notion of
level advancement.  There's the trader, the survivor, the advisor,
the explorer, the defender, the martyr, the sniper, the peacemaker,
the craftsman, the provider, the cook, the entertainer, etc.  What
is important is not setting a maximum level, but to make sure
everything resolves to a balanced, fair situation.  Nobody should be
able to gain more or less than they have earned, and there should be
no obvious 'correct' path to success. That produces an interesting
game where people find their own ways to succeed, using ingenious
methods not even the designers thought of!  Of course, fairness is
still a problem there, but some force of moderation could curb the
most resource hogging offenders.

> I don't even like to max out my levels in the RPG console games
> like KOTOR or what have you.  Instead, I like just enough power to
> feel dangerous, but to be weak enough to still have a challenge
> that can be approached when I go under attack.  Like God-mode, its
> only fun for a while.

And I like to be at max level, or whatever it takes that I'm not
going to be in terrible danger when exploring around.  Different
people get satisfaction from different places.  It's something of a
mistake to assume that just because someone can't level, or isn't
"challenged" that they won't find some way to have fun.  I found a
MUD once who allowed players to opt for a weak race, who could
become invisible at will, as much as they want.  What a blast!  I
got to sneak around all the nooks and crannies, play with the puzzle
games, wade through the monster infested places just to see what's
on the other side, and without even having to level!  It's not that
I had an unfair situation: I couldn't easily gain levels for
instance, or gold, or equipment.  Torch buying was a good motivator
for rat extermination.  It's just that the MUD was flexible enough
that I could play a different game than the standard "Seek mob,
exploit weakness, kill mob, seek next mob" game most people end up
playing.
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