[MUD-Dev] Congratulations Horizons...

Lee Sheldon lsheldo2 at tampabay.rr.com
Mon Jan 19 15:35:26 CET 2004

Matt Mihaly wrote:
> Brad McQuaid wrote:

>> I think we MUD/MMOG designers just have to accept that as an
>> 'evil' we cannot avoid and work around it. This calls for
>> innovation such that we can recapture the 'unknown' many of us
>> experienced either early in an MMOG before such proliferation or
>> way back in MUDs with smaller populations and before 'spoilers'
>> could be so easily disseminated.

> Actually, I think it just calls for ignoring people who want to
> ruin their own game experience. I've never once looked at a
> spoiler site when playing a mud because I just don't care for
> getting info presented to me that way. If someone else does, does
> it really matter? This always seems like a case of game designers
> wanting to force players to experience the world in the way the
> game designer wants instead of the way the player wants (keeping
> in mind, of course, that the way a player wants is going to differ
> greatly from player to player.)

This is a good point, and an interesting challenge. I think it -is-
possible to design a game that massages your player expectations in
some directions at least that you want them to go. As long as you
don't expect to order human nature to march precisely in lockstep
with your vision!

Another success in Horizons (as far as I'm concerned) is the fact
that the game is attractive to casual players, and apparently more
mature players.  Simply by eliminating PvP has helped construct a
player base with fewer power gamers. And many of those power gamers
who have tried the game have moved on with shouts of derision. A
strong RP naming convention has helped eliminate some l33t d00ds and
there is very little griefing. The fact that the game didn't majorly
reward campers and power levelers did as well. There was a thread on
the Horizons forums about the lack of d00ds, and another single
thread about griefing that seems mild in comparison to what I've
seen in other MMORPGs. I haven't witnessed a single griefing
incident yet.

Non-forced grouping seems to have attracted the casual
players. Others, cemented in the "it's a social game, force em to
group" model said that this would drive players away, and why didn't
they just make a single-player game? Yet the robust crafting system
brings people of all levels together (level limitations on groups
are also relaxed). And the server-wide quest to free the enslaved
races has created stronger and larger (across guilds as well as
individuals) community/social bonds and interaction than any game
I've experienced. The events are calculated to include all who wish
to participate (but force none to) regardless of level or whether
they are socializers, crafters, achievers, killers or
explorers. That's pretty special in my opinion.

The danger of course is in limiting the playerbase so much you can't
find enough players who appreciate it to support your efforts. And
to get the word out that you -are- actually doing things more
different than most EQ clones. I've no clue if Horizons will be able
to sustain. Time will tell.

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