DGN: Emergent Behaviors spawned from - Re: [MUD-Dev] SOC:Willcompany sanctioned cheating hurt theMMOcommunity?

Michael Sellers mike at onlinealchemy.com
Fri Jun 3 11:04:14 New Zealand Standard Time 2005

Paul McInnes wrote:

> The more complex implementation is interesting to players to the
> extent that they can interact with the simulated system in a
> meaningful way. I can imagine a variety of different ways that
> players could "see" the simulated aspects of the band dynamic in
> action, ranging from automatically generated news items when the
> leadership changes hands to magic spells that allow the position
> of leaders to be tracked. I had a very similar system in a game I
> wrote many years ago, and it only became fun when I had debug mode
> on and I could see all the background activity in response to my
> character's actions.

I think this is key, and the more meaningful the interactions the

As an example, here's an idea from long ago that I've never
implemented and which might work this way.  Suppose the landscape is
dotted with randomly spawning fire sprites, little newbie- to
mid-level creatures of flame that are easily killed and don't
respawn when killed.  But the system keeps track of how many are
killed.  When 666 (of course :) ) of them are killed, deep in a
cavern an uber-boss balrog-like fire demon spawns.  He's fairly weak
at first but gets stronger as more of the fire sprites are killed,
but his loot and experience stay the same as when he was first
spawned.  When the big boss is killed, the fire sprites rapidly
re-spawn again.

I'd bet that the players will eventually (and sooner than later)
figure out the relationship between the lowly fire sprites and the
uber-boss.  With luck, they might even organize fire sprite hunts
amongst the lower-level players, and have parties standing ready to
battle the big boss when he first spawns and is weakest.

So is this worth it, as opposed to just having randomly spawning
newbie and uber-monsters?  I think it might be: it would give the
power players a new and meaningful pattern to detect, would give
them a reason to interact with new players, and overall would reduce
the typical impression that the world is a series pop-up encounters
with no meaningful connection between them.

There are many other examples like this that make a nod toward a
type of monster ecology without trapping the game into full-blown
ecologies where there's disaster if you kill off all the sheep (or
wolves or dragons etc).  The key isn't in the ecology, but in
creating meaningful but non-obvious connections for the players --
as a whole -- to understand and use.

Mike Sellers
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