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

Koster, Raph rkoster at soe.sony.com
Sat May 28 18:45:36 New Zealand Standard Time 2005


John Buehler

> If we take a step away from our throw-away-consumable society,
> remember that consumer goods have historically been pretty
> difficult to obtain.  They required resources and skills that were
> not casually available.  Given the difficulty of manufacture, the
> goods were expected to last for a long time.  This is the more
> crafter-centric world, where crafters could crank out as many of
> an object as they cared to, but could never catch up with demand.

The math here is straightforward. New items enter the world at a
rate n. They exit the world at a rate less than n. Over an infinite
period, the world becomes full of the new items.

On an infinite time scale, nothing is difficult to obtain.

> In such a world, degradation and replacement need not have a
> signifiant role.

They need not, but it's a recipe for classic mudflation. After a few
years, newbies will get handed full plate outfits when they log in.

What you describe is no different from obtaining rare drops of high
level items. Over time, they trickle down unless measures are taken
to prevent it.

Getting a rare drop of an item from slaying a dragon is exactly the
same as "manufacturing" it.

> So I believe that player crafting needs to be about the
> manufacture of the items.  On the consumption side, it's about
> picking which of the few major items in the world your character
> will have - as opposed to it being about needing a house or a
> vault to store all your junk.

Players WANT to have piles of junk. If they have to pick which few
major items they will have and there is a surplus of the items, they
will simply run multiple characters in order to store more stuff.

>   A character then spends a character's career to obtain a > full
>   set of plate.  It need not rust, rot or break.  Crafters will >
>   spend perhaps days working on a single item.  Days working with
>   a > crafting system that they enjoy, in the same way that
>   players will > work for weeks to obtain a single level.

I think it's dangerous to underestimate either of the following:

  - people's desire to hoard

  - the accumulation of stuff over time

I don't understand why the system you describe wouldn't fall prey to
classic problems we saw in muds fifteen years ago or more.

-Raph
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