[MUD-Dev] DESIGN: Personal NPCs

Mike Rozak Mike at mxac.com.au
Fri Nov 18 09:50:37 New Zealand Daylight Time 2005


> If you have a list of 10 NPCs (old man, old woman, small boy,
> shadowy figure, etc), then as the player base gets larger, the
> players will come to recognise them.

>   "Oh, you're level 15? Has your quest NPC turned up > yet? Mine
>   was an old man."

>   "Yeah, it was a penniless bard for me. I had to > collect
>   berries for him."

>   "Berries? You're lucky - I had to kill a troll"

True, but the current state of affairs is: "If you want to talk to
the man who wants the troll killed, go to Smith street in
Tavernack. The berry woman is in a nearby alley."

> What I do like is the idea of quests that can always be done, time
> after time after time, but without actually feeling like quests.

> For example, lighting lanterns in the local city when it gets
> dark: As soon as the sun sets, players can walk up to a dark
> street lantern and turn it on. They get 10xp for each one. But
> they can do this -every single night-, because it always needs to
> be done.  Perhaps NPCs could be doing the same, so that at least
> some of the city is lit up, but you get the idea.

Such quests are good too; I'm all for keeping existing quest models
along side personal NPCs.

On of the points I was making is that players need to "internalize"
the quests goals. Sure, players will light the street lamps for
gold, but they only have a monetary reward driving them. If failure
to light the street lamps causes more thieves to appear, and the
theives have negative consequences for the players (or NPCs the
players like) then there is a stronger motivation to light the
lamps. Example: One NPC dies/disappears from the village every night
the lights aren't on.

As an aside:

Sometimes I think there are too many economists (or accountants)
involved in game design, starting with scores in pong and arcade
games, working their way to XP and gold in MMORPGs. It seems like
every action has either a positive point-related consequence (or
gold or XP), or negative "you die" consequence. How about positive
and negative non-monetary/XP affects? How about affects that are
neither positive or negative, or postiive/negative based on the eye
of the beholder?

Mike Rozak
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