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31
Game Design / Re: [Mechanic] RPP/XP Gains
« Last post by Dunski on May 12, 2017, 07:25:25 PM »
Sounds like a MUSH thing. What's the point of having skills if everybody can just decide to be whatever they want to be and not have to make any effort or take any risks to achieve it?
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World Building / Re: Limitations (or not!) on player construction
« Last post by Leech on May 12, 2017, 12:16:18 PM »
I haven't read every post in here, so my succinct answers are probably going to be repeats of what somebody else said:

All these questions depend vastly on the type of MUD you're making. In the case of MUDs like Accursed Lands or Lament, where players can literally colonize wild frontier lands without any staff interaction, I think the code provides a way for them to both build settlements and keep documents on them in the form of books. It's a very organic, beautiful system. I would add any large settlements to a map maybe, or a short helpfiles but generally I think things are more meaningful when they are only a part of the game world, and not given life in OOC documentation. They're almost secrets.

However, in the vast majority of games, I've seen players absolutely decimate documentation and areas. There's no continuity, there's no quality control, and there's no standard. To quote John Malaney, they're like dogs without horses. It's horrible.
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Game Design / Re: [Mechanic] RPP/XP Gains
« Last post by Leech on May 12, 2017, 12:04:53 PM »
I prefer to write stories, and not have to grind and game systems (let's not kid ourselves, most of these learn by use systems can be laughably gamed, and are)  to keep up with everyone else, while I play MUDs. As somebody who rarely has time to commit to sitting down for more than a couple hours throughout the week, I can't be bothered with sitting there and sparring people for hours on end just to be able to tell the story that I want with the type of character that I want.

More than that, grind systems often punish me, because any time that I want to spend roleplaying a social scene, whatever it might be, is time that I'm losing out on skill advancement because I'm not grinding. In a game genre that is foremost about the stories we tell with each other, that's amazingly counter intuitive.

Also, there's little inherent risk in the learn by use systems that most MUDs implement. Usually, you're finding a like minded twink to spar for four hours with, or grinding through trash mobiles.

There's a reason authors gloss over the years of practicing their characters have to do to be good at anything. It's because it's not interesting, and it's not crucial to the traditional plot arcs.

I've already stated that a mixed system is best, and I stick to that, but I do feel I need to address these somewhat elitist RPI arguments against RPXP systems. After all, I'd like people to keep their options open.
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Game Design / Re: [Mechanic] RPP/XP Gains
« Last post by Dunski on May 11, 2017, 11:17:04 AM »
It's not just "tavern-sitting" specifically, that's just the catch-all term for "doing something other than what you're improving at." You could be mudsexing, crafting, roleplaying painting great works of art or whatever it is you like. The point is that a game should not facilitate letting you become a powerful assassin (or wizard or warrior or whatever) doing those things. If you want to have a character capable of easily PKing others, performing heroics, defeating plot villains and whatnot, you should have to actually play a character who does things like that and becomes good at it that way. The idea of sitting in a bar chatting up girls and thereby becoming a master assassin is so stupid that it really shouldn't even need to be explained.

It's not just a matter of what your character does in his virtual life. You can't simply say "my character does all that dangerous, difficult stuff while I'm not playing" unless the game has something silly like a chance to die while offline. The privilege of playing a powerful, dangerous character should come with the risk and difficulty of obtaining such a character. If not, there's an inherent imbalance in the game that cheapens such characters and likely makes them too common. That master swordsman over there, who's famous for his impeccable skill with a blade and so on, should have got there by actually doing the things that make you a master swordsman; not by flirting at the bar and then doing all the actual work while offline where nothing bad could happen and no risk of failure or opposition is ever present. That would completely defeat the integrity of the game.
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Game Design / Re: [Mechanic] RPP/XP Gains
« Last post by Leech on May 11, 2017, 11:05:15 AM »
I'm at a loss as to why people think a system of RPXP rewards predominantly, or only, tavern sitters. That seems to be the main complaint against it. "You shouldn't gain experience for sitting in a pub." Well, what if that's the kind of roleplay I enjoy? What if, once in a blue moon, I like to go out and take an assassination contract but otherwise want to sit in the tavern, smooching on chicks? What does my character do when I'm logged off? These are normally the kind of questions an rpxp system addresses. Is the craving for realism so much in a video game that you cannot suspend your disbelief just a little?

In my experience, learn by use systems encourage a fair amount of grind that encourages no roleplaying. If you're going to make a game about roleplaying and storytelling, then you should reward characters for roleplaying and storytelling, not for sitting in front of somebody else figuring out ways to game the system, and typing "shoot target" over and over again.
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Game Design / Re: [Mechanic] RPP/XP Gains
« Last post by Dunski on May 11, 2017, 10:19:21 AM »
Personally, I'm very much against any system where players have any hand in determining what other players gain. MUDs are far too cliquish for that, and players absolutely will over- or under-reward somebody based on how much they like that person.

My preference is purely use-based advancement like what you'll find in the traditional RPIs. If there has to be an XP system, I prefer to have it segmented into different types so you gain combat XP for doing combat, crafting XP for crafting, etc. Anything that lets you get better at something by doing something completely different is at odds with roleplaying and creates problems.

I especially don't like the "RPP" type where you get points just for chatting with people and can then use those points to make your character more powerful. That's really bad. You should have to at least do something associated with the thing you want your character to get better at. Tavern-sitting your way to greatness should not be a thing in any game that considers itself a serious roleplaying experience. It completely undermines the game's in-world integrity.
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Game Design / Re: [Mechanic] Mass-Combat in MUDs
« Last post by Dunski on May 11, 2017, 09:37:51 AM »
I'm not generally a huge fan of Haven's combat system, but the in-room location thing they have is a great feature. I'd combine that with a more traditional "scrolling" combat design and use colors to aid in visibility. Each line of combat could be colored according to how far away it is from you, allowing you to easily gauge what's most important to you. Maybe a limit to how many people can be in the same part of a room and thus engage the same person.

If combat becomes too complicated, it stops being fun. Also makes code knowledge an even greater advantage, which is at odds with roleplay. Stuff like banding together in coded units sounds unenjoyable to me, I prefer a good measure of individuality in combat because that's essentially the whole reason people play roleplaying games. I would take a system as simple as that of the RPI Engine, add a nine square location grid in each room, color code combat output according to distance, and require moving into the same square as somebody in order to attack them. That's all I really want out of a combat system.

A few simple brevity options would help with truly large-scale combat so you can ignore the output from two squares away, or even anything that doesn't involve you. Other than that, combat shouldn't function too differently whether it's 1v1 or 8v8. I wouldn't be interested in some elaborate team system or a bunch of engagement mechanics. It takes away from the integrity of gameplay if fighting is a completely different experience from one time to the next.

Like so:


So instead of this nightmare:
Quote
Bob slashes Joe in the nose.
Jill charges toward Bob.
Joe stabs Bob in the hand.
Kenny slashes you in the chest.
Your stab is blocked by Kenny.
Steve misses Mary with his bludgeon.
Mary spears Steve in the groin.
Mary charges toward you.
Bob's slash is blocked by Joe.
Joe stabs Bob in the shoulder.

You could have this:
Quote
Bob slashes Joe in the nose.
Jill charges toward Bob.
Joe stabs Bob in the hand.
Kenny slashes you in the chest.
Your stab is blocked by Kenny.
Steve misses Mary with his bludgeon.
Mary spears Steve in the groin.
Mary charges toward you.
Bob's slash is blocked by Joe.
Joe stabs Bob in the shoulder.
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World Building / Re: Limitations (or not!) on player construction
« Last post by Dunski on May 11, 2017, 09:25:51 AM »
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If people create public or noteworthy places, should they be included in documentation and/or on maps?

HavenRPG has a pretty good system for mapping the gameworld. Granted, it's an unusually tiny gameworld, but it seems to work great. I don't think these things need to be documented unless somebody builds a literal city or something, which is outside the scope of what I think a MUD can really support.

Quote
Should players be able to originate entire towns?

As mentioned, I can't see how it would really work. What game even has enough players to sustain this? One of the most common problems in RPIs has always been underpopulation. More than three centers of play and you'd need more players than these games ever get. Player dilution is the death of roleplay, but since everyone always wants to make their own thing and have the biggest, bestest thing in order to impress all the girls, you'd probably end up with fifteen towns where nothing happens because each one's home to two or three players who now sit outside the reach of most other players.

Quote
Can players create the dominant culture of these areas?  Should they?

I don't think they can unless you somehow got the game to maintain 200+ players online at a time. It's much better to create the setting with cultures already in place. People are pretty bad roleplayers on average, so unless you happened to get a concentration of the game's better players in the same place and they happen to adhere to the same general vision, the culture that players create would probably be stupid and jarring.
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Roleplay Culture / Re: Immersion, What is it to You?
« Last post by Dunski on May 11, 2017, 09:15:58 AM »
That would all depend what the power in question actually is. In order to get the same result as the hysterical anti-theft mentalities that prevail in a game like Armageddon (which you're obviously referring to), the corrupted element that you describe would have to actually do something similar. The reason people hate pickpockets so much is not only because it's perceived as cheating, it's also because thieves have the ability to take something away from players. People often define their characters a great deal by their possessions, so losing a rare and interesting item is infuriating. An evil power would need to similarly hurt players in ways that can't just be shrugged off like damage or a temporary debuff can. This, in turn, creates a fine line that can easily be crossed into griefing territory. You can be sure that if you give players the ability to, say, lower somebody's stats permanently, there's going to be problems. Stealing people's items is, in fact, the perfect balance between evoking that sense of furious indignation and not actually making people want to quit because of what they lost.
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General / Re: [Article] Text-based Games: An Untapped Genre
« Last post by Famine on May 11, 2017, 09:09:49 AM »
I believe it would be hard to convince me that our market share is not shrunk considerably over the past few years. Whether or not there is still a large pool of players out there willing to play is a unknown unless someone actually has market research that says otherwise. Simply stating there are other RP games out there with confirmed RP players or similar RP games with similar RP players is really not going to cut it.

What we do know is many MUD's have had their playerbase cut in half or pretty much become dead. Why that has happened and why it's continuing to happen is also a unknown. We can only speculate using good logic that's it's likely because these MUD's have become stale, that other games have poached those players from other genres, and or the market has moved on to non-gaming due to real life reasons.

Overall, we know from actual data and actual facts that the gaming market overall is a multi-billion dollar one. We know users who at least play some form of game exist. There is someone to poach and bring over to a MUD genre game. We just don't have any solid data that actually says they would consider a text-based game over what they are playing today.

However, the chances of that happening is what I fear is hard because data shows us that many gamers are pretty much becoming the opposite of what our genre of game caters to. Things like mobile platforms for example are hard to play with MUD's. Other things like complex and new game systems are also not something easily digested by new players, and so much more including going from 2D/3D to completely text-based.

Does that mean there is not a pool of people you can target and swing on over? No, not at all. But to acquire those customers is not going to be cheap along with money into research to prove their is a market within a market that would play our genre is going to be difficult to justify. As most of us are doing this as hobbies for no money, it's going to be extremely hard to justify spending thousands of dollars to pull those gamers over unless you can get thousands of dollars of free PR from the top gaming sites who would write about you consistently.

At the end of the day, I really do believe good games will always thrive no matter the weather. Maybe the only missing piece here is the fact there are very few good games and most of the MUD's are all playing the exact same way. I've heard Iron Realms has not really done a lot of advertising in the sense of paid advertising. Yet, they have a pretty good customer base. Maybe all we need is just better game designers making better games that will attract players too.
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