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

Damion Schubert ubiq at austin.rr.com
Fri Jun 17 19:31:02 New Zealand Standard Time 2005


Quoth John Buehler:

> I completely agree with you about properly composing mini-games.
> I always say that such mini-games should be constructed such that
> they appeal to the enthusiast.  In the case that you describe, I
> submit to you that you are a business enthusiast, not a crafting
> enthusiast.  I would want you to have access to a mini-game of the
> very sort that you are enthusiastic about, while I still want
> those who are enthusiastic about the physical crafting process to
> be able to enjoy an entertaining mini-game about just that.

I would have to disagree.  Though I can't speak for all craftsmen,
in SWG I was driven by a drive to be a great blacksmith.  My
personal satisfaction was driven by my solving players needs, and
knowing that my crafted goods were serving them well in the field.
Or by finding rare ore that allowed me to craft better armor than
the other guys on the planet, even if only for the half-day until
they found it too.  Or taking the Krayt Dragon Scale someone brought
it to me and turning it into something cool.  If anything, I thought
crafting the actual item was TOO involved and would have loved to
have had a couple steps removed or merged in the UI.

One of the things that I hated most, in fact, was when people would
bring me a rare crafting commodity which was destroyed on a crafting
failure (I forget the exact mechanics, but remember the social
situation starkly).  In that case, I had to tell the player he had
wasted all of his time to walk to my little shop but thank him for
the attention.  That failure seemed an unnecessary impediment to
what was otherwise a very fine and fun little social interaction.

> Instead of fighters, mages and thieves all fighting, have fighters
> fight, mages mage and thieves thief.  Design each experience as a
> self-contained game.  If too few players would want to experience
> that game, then it's not a good game and it needs review or
> elimination.  Once the experiences are understood as
> self-contained games, figure out how they interrelate (including a
> lack thereof).  If crafters can make guns, then the sword-wielding
> fighters are doomed, and the intersection of the two experiences
> is going to produce a nightmare.

I would argue that this way lies dragons, if you're not careful.
One reason why EQ-style combat has been so resonant for so long is
that it promotes team-play.  A combat event has roles for everyone
to take part in, and they take those roles simultaneously.
Expanding out of combat will depend heavily on finding other
gameplay paradigms that also provide great team-play between people
of different roles.

If what you're saying is that mages should be casting spells in
combat and not doing 2-4 points of damage with their dagger, then I
can buy into that.  But it's easy to go too far in that direction,
and make it so that thieves don't do anything in combat that's
simultaneous with what their mages and/or fighters are doing.

--d
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