[MUD-Dev] Do players enjoy farming? (was MUD-Dev Digest, Vol 7, Issue9)

Dave Bacher DaveB at battlebazaar.com
Wed Jan 14 04:10:20 CET 2004

On Mon, 12 Jan 2004 14:13:05 -0800, Freeman, Jeff wrote:
>> From John Buehler:

>> Barrier alert.

>> You get an interesting result, but only for the monster killers.
>> The farmers and miners receive the hassle that you didn't want
>> for yourself.

> Well, now we're talking about two different things.  This is
> confusing slang.  The terms "farming" or "camping" do not mean, in
> slang terms, that you own a farm or make smores and sing songs.

> I'm not talking about actual *farming*.  I'm talking about the
> slang-term "farming" - obtaining xp and items by killing the same
> creature over and over.

Players do not enjoy either farming nor camping.

Camping and farming both involve mindless repetition.  Anything that
involves mindless repetition is going to be viewed as a useless time
sink by players.  And they are right.  The activities are not fun by
any stretch of the imagination, and players are cursing your name
every time they are forced to participate in them.

Does that put it into perspective for you?

I have played every major commercial MMOG, and actively play on
several.  I have played on many that it is unlikely you have even
heard of, like Underlight and Nexus.  I have played on every major
MUD engine, although not on every server.  I have written games for
my own use since the Apple ][ days, and I've recently started to
work on writing games for others to play as well.

I have never ever once, even one time, met a player who did not
curse at farming, with the exception of the folks who sell money on
e-Bay, and quite frankly, they aren't the kind of folks you are
designing your game for.

Go do a search on Googgle for +SWG +Holocron, or +SWG +Jedi, and
you'll hear exactly what players have to say about camps -- prepare
yourself, because it's unlikely to be anything that you want to
hear, from a game design standpoint, said about any game.

Mindless Repetition is bad.  Mindless combat is bad.  Watch Conan,
Tomb Raider, Star Wars, Fifth Element, Die another Day, Titan AE or
any other action movie.  Do you see the hero standing there, idle,
swinging at open space in front of himself every 5 seconds?

What you want is an active, engaging combat system.  You want to be moving, swinging, dodging, etc.  You want cinematic-style combat and not:

   You swing and miss.
   You swing and miss.
   You are hit for 1000 damage.

Just moving a mobs hitpoints up to some obscene level, etc. isn't
how you make an encounter challenging.

Note that I'm not talking fully scripted combat here, I'm talking
designing zones or maps, regions of the game, playfields, whatever
term you want to use so that there are tactics that can be used, so
that there are things that can be used creatively in conjunction
with certain skills.  I'm talking about designing a game that is
about actively being a part of a fight, versus sitting back and
staring while the computer does all the work.

A battle against a single mob that requires constant moving and
strategy to defeat, that is very cinematic in nature, is more
rewarding than a fight against 10 creatures that pose no significant

Mindless repetition in any game is bad.  It has to be avoided.
Mindless repetition sucks the fun out, be it crafting, combat, or

Instead, put the boss in an instance so that you can scale it.  Make
the item drop every time, but make the boss no push over.  Only a
skillful player can succeed at the challenge.

Anyway, the big thing is all mindless repetition in any game design
s bad.  Don't put in anything that simply devolves into camping or
farming for items.  Nobody, at all, likes it except the people
selling money on e-bay.  Instead, use actual engaging, fun
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