[MUD-Dev] Re: pet peeves

Adam Wiggins adam at angel.com
Fri Feb 12 12:56:35 CET 1999

On Fri, 12 Feb 1999, Caliban Tiresias Darklock wrote:
> That's a big pet peeve of mine. For the first ten to fifteen levels on most
> Diku variants, you can't afford anything. Then you can pretty much afford
> whatever you want. Cash, in the end, is a boolean value -- "if(level<15)
> goto hell; else give(cool_stuff);" -- which is basically meaningless.

Agreed.  I think there's two problems here: one is that most muds have
a "faucet-drain economy, hold the drain" - that is, there's lots of money
sources, but very few things which actually consume it.  Secondly, it's
easy to get large sums of money by the process of "scumming" - you don't
have to kill big bad critters or do any smart wheeling-and-dealing or
anything else to get lots of money.  You only have to kill little creatures
with a small amount of money over and over and over, and eventually you'll
be rich.

I've seen a few muds with good money balance.  In some cases, it's just that
the ecnomy has plenty of drains - good equipment costs an arm and a leg to
get repaired (and of course, high level players are always wearing a full
suit of good equipment), or costs a lot to rent, or both.  The other trick
is to have a few *really* good things availible for obscene sums of cash.
For example, one mud had "specialization" - if you got a certain spell
ability up to 95% (the maximum, at which you fail the spell 5% of the time)
you could go to the high tower of sorcery and "specialize" it, thus permenantly
fixing your skill at 100%.  This was a huge boon to mages, but it cost a
*ton* of money, more than most players ever saw in their careers.
Another one had "bodyparts" - you could increase a given stat (str, dex, con,
etc) by +1 if you bought a bodypart for it.  You could buy up to nine new
bodyparts on a given character (legs, feet, hands, arms, torso).  Each one
cost a HUGE amount of money, but obvious powerplayers want to "max" their
characters out and thus worked hard to get that money.  This further
stimilated the economy, because high-levelers would sell really good items
to lower players (who couldn't get it themselves), but only for very large
sums (since them items were hard to get, and the high-levelers actually
cared about money for once).

> I dislike places that tie everything to levels. I say, if you want to build,
> submit your idea. Level is irrelevant. If your IDEA is good, then we'll
> talk, and I don't care if you haven't even logged in yet and only submitted
> the idea by email. If it sucks, I don't care what level you are, you ain't
> building it.

But it's important that they understand the mud from a player's perspective,
know what the theme and mood is, know what the relative toughness of monsters
and quality of equipment that they carry is, and so on.  Otherwise your
mud will turn into a collection of unrelated areas with wildly different
risk vs. reward ratios.  Of course you may notice that most muds fall into
this category.

> I mean, aren't we all basically agreed that level as a measure of player
> quality is pretty worthless? If not, why? What does having level X really
> say about the player behind the character? What do we expect it to say? What
> do we wish it would say?

It says that they've played the game long enough to progress to that level.
Now, there is that phenomenon known as "high-level newbies", that is, people
that got to their level without actually learning the game due to get
dragged around by someone high level for long enough to gain lots of
experience, so it's not an absolute yardstick.  But it is a good first-pass

> double-edged sword. Wouldn't it be more efficient to use two swords? Has
> anyone thought about having two levels -- player and character? Anyone done
> this? I know several folks here were talking about separating the player
> from the character on a basic level, i.e. login to a player and thence to a
> character.

Yeah there's a few muds that have done that (Lost Souls was the first place
I saw it).  I don't know if anyone has actually made "player levels" or
any sort of way to gauge how "experienced" a given account is.

Adam W.

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