[MUD-Dev] Blog about GDC implies changes to MMORPG population

Jaycen Rigger jaycen.rigger at sbcglobal.net
Fri May 27 16:33:46 New Zealand Standard Time 2005


J C Lawrence wrote:
> Michael Hartman wrote:

>> In Real Life, products wear out. Products get replaced with next
>> year's slightly better version with more features. In MMOs,
>> players really dislike the idea of their equipment wearing out to
>> the point of being destroyed. They also dislike the thought that
>> this really awesome Sword of Leetness they bought today, being
>> rendered obsolete next month when the Sword of Extra Leetness is
>> available (and wasn't available when they bought theirs).

> For a thing to remain interesting it must change or move (movement
> being a form of changing). No change == no interest. Soulbinding
> is a static state definition. It is interesting only once. As such
> it would seem far less interesting in the sense of the currency of
> interest than a system which involves a dynamically changing
> relationship (eg decay).  Decay systems involve lots of change,
> both in their decay, and the constant effort and activity involved
> in merely attempting to maintain the status quo. The trick is to
> make those changes also interesting.

Item decay is a part of a great many UO shards, as is item repair.
Depending on where you go, there are variations on how many times
something can be repaired or effects on an item's quality.

Crafting classes and systems for the various shards seem to be
growing in number and variety (new colors, new craftables, new raw
materials, new crafting specializations).

It's certainly a limited view point that is based on one particular
game, though UO has spawned a multitude of emulators and
independently scripted servers.  I think J. C. has it right.
Players respond well to item decay.  They don't seem to cry foul
about it at all.

Years ago, item decay defaulted to "off" on the emulator I use, and
I saw a lot of places turn it on after having an established player
base.  Players didn't cry out for it to go away - they asked for
item repair.  They asked for more variations and sub-systems to
support it.

The "limited" network of admins with which I maintain contact are
always evolving some aspect of those systems.

Michael Hartman was also correct that players hate the thought of
losing "special quest item #7".  But since players have the freedom
within the system to own the item in any way they like, you see a
variety of responses to item decay (I should note that most of the
forms of decay I'm talking about are related to use of the item.
Time based decay of weapons and armor are typically very negatively
viewed).  Some players will sell the item for an un-godly amount
which I think demonstrates their attachment to the item (yes, I'm
selling it, but it's better than having it get destroyed fighting a
slime).  Others will hoard the item (very typical of Explorers who
might drag it out from time to time since you never know when
something like this might come in handy some day) and still others
will use the item anyway, because it's cool as hell and you might as
well enjoy what you've got.

I know as a player, I keep a chest of "memorable items" and usually
write a little blurb about the event in a book that I'll keep with
the item.
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