[MUD-Dev] D&D vs. MMORPG "complexity"

Threshold RPG business at threshold-rpg.com
Tue May 20 02:21:57 CEST 2003

On 15 May 2003, at 10:48, Travis Casey wrote:
> Saturday, May 10, 2003, 3:58:36 PM, Threshold RPG wrote:
>> On 8 May 2003, at 11:58, Travis Casey wrote:

> The point I'm trying to make is that whether or not D&D in
> specific is complex is irrelevant to deciding whether or not
> knowledge of *paper RPGs in general* is relevant.  It's the most
> popular paper RPG, but that doesn't mean it's the best one to
> learn from.

Then why did you reply to the discussion Ryan and I were involved in
that is *NOT* what you are talking about?

<EdNote: Forking and extending threads in this manner is standard
and expected behaviour>

> That may be the issue you want to discuss.  The issue *I'm*
> discussing is whether paper RPGs are relevant to designers of
> muds/MMORPGs -- which is why I'm bringing up other games than D&D
> and why I'm bringing up third-party rules expansions to D&D.  This
> thread is a branch off of the original thread discussing that.

Then please reply to one of those messages rather than the ones that
are specifically titled D&D vs. MMORPG complexity. :)

> To me, insisting that all paper RPGs be judged in their relevance
> on the basis of the core books of one version of D&D is like
> insisting that all muds be judged on the basis of a stock Diku.
> It may be the most common thing, but that doesn't make it the
> best.

I have never insisted or even implied that one should only use core
D&D. In fact, I have specifically included more than just core D&D
on numerous occasions.

I will, however, make this point. The majority of D&D players do use
just the core books. Whereas almost nobody plays a purely stock

> I don't deny that paper RPGs and online RPGs have many significant
> differences, and that simply lifting a paper RPG system and trying
> to stick it in an online game as-is is a bad idea.  However, that
> doesn't mean that there's nothing to be learned from paper RPGs.

If your point is that there is much to learn from PnP RPGs, then I
could not agree more. That is one reason I buy tons of pen and paper
RPGs that I know I will never have time to play. I read them to get
ideas. It is also why I can tax deduct such purchases. :)

> A large part of the point of this list is trading information
> which might be useful.  If someone's looking for, say, ideas for a
> spell creation system, I think it's definitely useful to be able
> to point them not only to ones in other online games and in
> single-user computer games, but also to ones in paper RPGs.  What
> I don't want to see is people rejecting anything which comes from
> a paper RPG out-of-hand on the basis that "paper RPGs aren't
> relevant" -- which is the extreme that a few people seem to want
> to take it to.

I am having difficulty figuring out why you jumped in at this point
because I have NEVER made any such claim. I love PnP games and I
think they have an extremely valuable role to play both in CRPG
development as well as other PnP RPG development.

I am not sure if you misunderstand what is being discussed in the
"D&D vs. MMORPG complexity" thread or if you are just trying to
contort the discussion Ryan and I are having back towards the
original issue you would rather discuss.

>> However, that is not the issue here. Ryan Dancey made the
>> assertion that D&D is too compex for an MMORPG with the current
>> state of computer technology. That is a statement that, in my
>> opinion, demonstrates an extreme lack of experience with MUDs and
>> MMORPGs. It sounds like the opinion of someone whose experience
>> with online RPGs is the extremely stripped down Neverwinter
>> Nights game created by Bioware. The reality of *QUALITY* MUDs and
>> MMORPGs is a far different thing than what he seems to be
>> familiar with.

> I agree with you on that.


>> There are certainly pen and paper games that are excrutiatingly
>> complex when compared to D&D. Such games are not, however, the
>> subject of this debate.

> They are part of the subject of the debate which spawned this
> sub-debate, though.  I'm trying to steer the argument off of D&D
> in specific, and back to the more general subject of whether paper
> RPGs are relevant.  If you don't want to discuss that, that's
> fine.  But only JC can decide whether or not I'm allowed to try to
> steer the debate in a new direction.

I would rather you didn't try to jump into this sub-thread and
contort it back to the subject you are more interested in. I think
it is pretty rude to try and hijack an existing discussion in that

If you want to discuss "your issue", then wouldn't it be better to
post your thoughts with a different subject heading and not as a
reply to a totally different issue?

Michael Hartman, J.D. (http://www.threshold-rpg.com)
President & CEO, Threshold Virtual Environments, Inc.

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