Top Mud Sites Forum Return to TopMudSites.com
Go Back   Top Mud Sites Forum > MUD Players and General Discussion > Tavern of the Blue Hand
Click here to Register

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 11-13-2010, 02:05 PM   #1
Violette
 
Posts: n/a
A little upset... (a thread on mmorpg.com)

This must be the best thread I've read on mmorpg.com in a couple of years:
"MMOs are now produced by bloodsucking capitalist morons"

I'm on the first page so far, but I'm so tempted to reply to each post with "You're looking the wrong places, fools." (they're not really fools, but I'm just so upset that MUDs are completely overlooked, hence the aggression)

A poster by the nick of Reklaw made this reply:
Quote:
"A virtual world build by it's community in way's of housing/crafting/trading/grouping, learning from each other for example langauges from other species, depending on eachother for resources or setting goals or self made missions where one person would need item X or resource X and asked the community or other classes to get them some, where you had a place to be unique, where people would travel planets to get to your store to either buy things or simple watch some of the very nice interiours of houses. Where people use to camp but not in the way of spawn camp but to actually set up a camp and tell story's of their adventures or simple having fun conversations within a camp, setting your own goals without the game telling you what to do next, getting lost within the virtual world, running for your virtual life cause you could enter anywhere even if you wern't strong enough, where you where not being told you that hero but where you could become that hero due to what you might have done for friends or it's community, where people helped eachother out just for the fun of it instead of the rewards that lures at the end, where cap lvl still made you part of the whole worlds/planets as people would continue to visit back and forth to starters area's."
I'm thinking to myself, "hell, that describes so many MUDs."

Anyway, just really upset.
  Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2010, 05:22 PM   #2
scandum
Senior Member
 
scandum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 308
scandum will become famous soon enough
Re: A little upset... (a thread on mmorpg.com)

What these people really want is their fix, but as their brains have build up tolerance for their gaming addiction (which takes a few months for some, and over a decade for others), they long for a bigger dose of happy juice that'll take them to that good old happy place.

It's difficult to convince these people that their brains are rejecting the virtual world, and that a more convincing virtual world isn't going to fix the fundamental underling reality, that non of it is real.

Bottom line is that MMOs got their 8 years out of this sucker, about 10% of his life, with little effort. It might be possible to create a better virtual drug, but that might be comparable to switching a dissatisfied smoker to heroin. Smokers soon stop deriving pleasure from their addictive habit, and I think most people will realize that switching to heroin, while obviously bound to make them happy initially, will bring nothing but trouble in the long run.
scandum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2010, 07:48 PM   #3
Aeran
Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 208
Aeran is on a distinguished road
Re: A little upset... (a thread on mmorpg.com)

Quote:
Originally Posted by scandum View Post
What these people really want is their fix, but as their brains have build up tolerance for their gaming addiction (which takes a few months for some, and over a decade for others), they long for a bigger dose of happy juice that'll take them to that good old happy place.

It's difficult to convince these people that their brains are rejecting the virtual world, and that a more convincing virtual world isn't going to fix the fundamental underling reality, that non of it is real.

Bottom line is that MMOs got their 8 years out of this sucker, about 10% of his life, with little effort. It might be possible to create a better virtual drug, but that might be comparable to switching a dissatisfied smoker to heroin. Smokers soon stop deriving pleasure from their addictive habit, and I think most people will realize that switching to heroin, while obviously bound to make them happy initially, will bring nothing but trouble in the long run.
Do you mean that MMOs and MUDs should be avoided?
Aeran is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2010, 09:47 PM   #4
scandum
Senior Member
 
scandum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 308
scandum will become famous soon enough
Re: A little upset... (a thread on mmorpg.com)

Other than committing suicide there is nothing sensible one can do in life, so it doesn't matter to me if one engages in gambling, gaming, sex, religion, politics, drugs, it's all equally pointless.
scandum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2010, 11:42 AM   #5
Newworlds
Legend
 
Newworlds's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Name: NewWorlds
Home MUD: New Worlds
Posts: 1,382
Newworlds will become famous soon enoughNewworlds will become famous soon enough
Re: A little upset... (a thread on mmorpg.com)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Violette View Post
I'm thinking to myself, "hell, that describes so many MUDs."
Anyway, just really upset.
Or every profitable company, no?
Newworlds is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2010, 07:23 PM   #6
Elvarlyn
Member
 
Elvarlyn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 50
Elvarlyn is on a distinguished road
Re: A little upset... (a thread on mmorpg.com)

The rant struck me as kind of stupid, with little to no understanding of the challenges involved in anything the person was proposing. He wants a fresh and original world to explore, where every day poses new challenges and mysteries. There's a thing for that. It's called Dungeons and Dragons. It works because your Dungeon Master can just make stuff up on the spot and only has 5 people to satisfy. If game developers had 5 fans each and had magical machines that turned their thoughts instantly into playable areas, his demands might be reasonable. Probably not though.
Elvarlyn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-15-2010, 11:06 AM   #7
Bobo the Bee
New Member
 
Bobo the Bee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: North Carolina, USA
Posts: 11
Bobo the Bee is on a distinguished road
Send a message via AIM to Bobo the Bee Send a message via MSN to Bobo the Bee Send a message via Yahoo to Bobo the Bee Send a message via Skype™ to Bobo the Bee
Re: A little upset... (a thread on mmorpg.com)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elvarlyn View Post
The rant struck me as kind of stupid, with little to no understanding of the challenges involved in anything the person was proposing. He wants a fresh and original world to explore, where every day poses new challenges and mysteries. There's a thing for that. It's called Dungeons and Dragons. It works because your Dungeon Master can just make stuff up on the spot and only has 5 people to satisfy. If game developers had 5 fans each and had magical machines that turned their thoughts instantly into playable areas, his demands might be reasonable. Probably not though.
And, funny enough, I think the OP meant something to this degree -- but not even MUDs can offer that, not really, especially if they gain the size and scope of even the smallest MMOs. In the end, as a game developer of a multi-user world, the best you can really do is create a foundation on which individuals can build using their imagination, which is why I love MUDs and text-based gaming so much: the degree of imagination and creativity is larger because of the approach, and -- in my experience -- attracts a gamer that I am more amiable towards.
Bobo the Bee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-15-2010, 06:23 PM   #8
Elvarlyn
Member
 
Elvarlyn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 50
Elvarlyn is on a distinguished road
Re: A little upset... (a thread on mmorpg.com)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobo the Bee View Post
And, funny enough, I think the OP meant something to this degree -- but not even MUDs can offer that, not really, especially if they gain the size and scope of even the smallest MMOs. In the end, as a game developer of a multi-user world, the best you can really do is create a foundation on which individuals can build using their imagination, which is why I love MUDs and text-based gaming so much: the degree of imagination and creativity is larger because of the approach, and -- in my experience -- attracts a gamer that I am more amiable towards.
I agree completely.

(Rant Warning)

I guess the OP (and much of the thread) just really, really raged me. It feels like it's filled with the kind of people who think that all it takes to make an awesome groundbreaking game is "ideas." They then follow that logic to its inevitable conclusion, and decide that anyone who isn't making their version of the ideal game is either an idea-less hack or a lazy sell out.

I've been working on our game for a year and half. The work involved in creating something that actually takes advantage of new ideas is utterly staggering. It's truly mind-boggling and most people just have no clue... and that's just a MUD. People who look at a game like World of Warcraft and go, "Well, this isn't entertaining me in it's 6th year the way it did in its first" make me want to put my fist through a wall. You know what stops being fresh and exciting after 6 years? Everything. If you still feel the same exhilarating rush of excitement, trepidation and glee when you hang out with the love of your life after 6 years, you're in the extreme statistical minority.

These are the people who play Plants vs Zombies, Minecraft and Dwarf Fortress then bemoan how "AAA games just need awesome ideas like this, instead of making Medal of Honor 47." Conveniently forgetting that every other indie game in the universe flopped horribly or never got anywhere.

Making games is hard. Making incredible games is incredibly hard.

Want proof?

Making a MUD is easier in terms of 'entry' than making graphical games. You need less hardware, a less diverse team in terms of skills, less capital and less time per individual project. Yet, there are comparatively few MUDs that are 'innovative' and 400,000 stock muds with Goblins renamed into SAND VILLAGE NINJAS or whatever.

IRE is probably the 'giant' of MUDing at the moment but even they basically innovated once and then released the same 'fundamental' game 5 times (not a criticism, IRE would have been crazy to do otherwise when they had such a successful formula).

/rant.
Elvarlyn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2010, 01:28 AM   #9
silvarilon
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 144
silvarilon is on a distinguished road
Re: A little upset... (a thread on mmorpg.com)

Elvarlyn, I agree with your rant, but have been thinking about some of the specific points, and have some counter-examples.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elvarlyn View Post
I guess the OP (and much of the thread) just really, really raged me. It feels like it's filled with the kind of people who think that all it takes to make an awesome groundbreaking game is "ideas." They then follow that logic to its inevitable conclusion, and decide that anyone who isn't making their version of the ideal game is either an idea-less hack or a lazy sell out.
Yup. Ideas are cheap. Good implementation of gold ideas is where the gold is. You need both. One without the other is pointless.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elvarlyn View Post
You know what stops being fresh and exciting after 6 years? Everything. If you still feel the same exhilarating rush of excitement, trepidation and glee when you hang out with the love of your life after 6 years, you're in the extreme statistical minority.
Uh, I still enjoy the company of my wife... - I'm glad I'm in the minority, in that case.

But not everything stops being exciting after 6 years. There are exceptions, and they usually exist because:

- The activity has ongoing levels of challenge, and knowledge necessary
(For example, chess. You can enjoy chess in year 1 playing against school classmates. 10 years later, you can enjoy playing tournament chess. 50 years later you can enjoy playing against grand masters. This is because the game changes as your skill increases. You both gain access to more challenging games, as well as needing more knowledge about the game. The grandmaster literally has to consider more aspects of the game than the novice does. A "grandmaster" WoW player doesn't necessarily have to track or plan more during their 10th year than they did during their 1st year.)

- The activity constantly provides new content
(I can enjoy reading Discworld novels, despite having been reading them every year for a long, long time now. Because each year the novel is a new story, and either provides more depth and richness to the characters, or introduces new characters.)

- The activity gives external benefits
(I can enjoy bike riding for many years, because I'm not *really* enjoying the fact that I learn to pedal, change gears, and steer the bike. I might have enjoyed that when I was four. Now, I enjoy it because I enjoy the sensation of wind in my hair, because when you exercise regularly your body craves it, I enjoy the "time out" from my otherwise busy day, and I enjoy the trip while, while not exactly stunning, is more appealing than an office wall.)

- The activity creates an output that you value
(I enjoy playing my guitar, both because I enjoy the challenge and activity of playing it, but also because I enjoy the music that I produce. If I could magically be able to play with perfection and no effort, the challenge would be gone, but I'd likely still enjoy the music that I'd be creating. Similarly, I suspect the better I become at drawing (and the more years I spend drawing) the more I'll enjoy the output I create, and the activity of creating it)

- The activity has a psychological "hook"
(Technically, not really enjoyment, but something that keeps you coming back. People don't "enjoy" gambling, but the act of gambling is set up in a way that encourages people to continue returning to the activity. Games like WoW are designed to make it hard for players to walk away from them.)

- The activity has a moral dimension
(If you feel good about yourself due to the activity, you're going to enjoy the activity for much longer.)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Elvarlyn View Post
Making games is hard. Making incredible games is incredibly hard.
But that's the same as everything.
If it was easy, more people would do it, and our expectations would go up.

Let's use an example that minimizes the technical issues. Writing a novel. There *are* technical issues with prose, but most people in our society know the basics of writing a story.
And yet, I can go to the bookstore, and if I pick a random fiction book from the shelf, I've got... what? A 40% chance of actually getting a clever, well written, engaging story. Depending on how picky I am. And these are the books that have already passed through an editor, a publishing house, and the bookstore owner deciding what to stock.

If we include all the fan fictions, and all the manuscripts that must have been written and never picked up for publication... I suspect the chances that a random book would be well written would drop to less than 5%, and that's being generous.

Which is probably around the same percentage as "good" muds. Except, at least with muds, the bad ones don't get players, the server crashes, and nobody bothers to put it back online. The good ones are more likely to be tended, and thus to stick around.

So, yeah, I agree that making games is hard. But I think that doing anything to a high level is hard.
silvarilon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2010, 01:29 AM   #10
silvarilon
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 144
silvarilon is on a distinguished road
Re: A little upset... (a thread on mmorpg.com)

So, how do we create a game that fulfills the ranter's impossible request?
I'd go through the list above of what makes people enjoy ongoing activities, and think about each point in terms of MUD game design.



- The activity has ongoing levels of challenge, and knowledge necessary

This is the activity that most people speak about when they are talking about long time muds. It is incredibly hard to maintain this, though. There can be a lot of challenges... but in most cases, the amount of effort for a staff member to implement the new challenge will be larger than the effort for the (good) player to overcome the challenge. This means it is ongoing work for the staff to continue adding challenges, and that doesn't take into account world consistency, modular design, etc.

In some cases, you can get the ratio happening the other way, often by having hidden variations in the challenges, or by having the challenges repeat with different variables. For example, if I code a secret door that can only be opened with the password, and I hide the password... I've created content. But as soon as one player discovers the password, the content is completed (and now the "activity" becomes "find the player who can tell you the password") - if I know this, and plan for it... I could instead code in a secret door with a password known by a random, active PC in the game (and have some mechanism where, if asked, the player is told the correct password) - now the activity is still essentially the same - find the other player that can tell you the password. However, since it's abstracted, I can reuse that puzzle, and put in unlimited passworded doors, without having to write any extra code. Each door has a different character that can tell the password. Hopefully, if I've designed my game well, the characters it picks will be sensible (so thieves can tell you passwords to secret doors in the sewers, merchants can tell you passwords for secrets in the banking house, etc.)

Now, obviously, nobody is going to enjoy a game that's about walking up to random people and asking if they know the password. But that could be a small aspect of the game, and that small aspect will probably remain about as fun on year 10 as it was on year 2 (but, obviously, not as fun as it was on day 1)

- The activity constantly provides new content

Of course, the new content we can provide will be limited by the speed with which we can create it. If we are smart, we can set up *good* procedurally generated content, which maximizes the use of the content we do create. But we'll never be able to keep up with the players. Partly because it takes more effort to create content than it does to consume. And partly because (at least with games) players will only consume part of the content.

My thoughts on this are to let players create the content themselves. On a roleplaying mud, I don't try to tell the players what is happening in the game - I try to give players the tools they need to *make* something happen in the game. Then, by trying to consume the game content, they are actually creating more content.

An example, in Ironclaw there is a guild council, made from representatives of the commoner guilds which, as a group, has significant political power. One of the "tools" available to the players is the ability to join the guild council. Another is the ability for the existing council members to vote on whether the new arrival should be accepted or not. A player trying to become a member would be creating content, since they will have to play politics to convince the existing members to vote them in. The way they attempt this will be different every time, depending on the character, and depending on the active council members. And the content is created for the supplicant member, the existing members, as well as anyone who supports or opposes the supplicant (and decides to attempt to sway the council members)

Obviously, that's a very specific case, but it's a nice example of how we can set up our games to organically allow the players to create the gameplay content. It is difficult to do, though, and has to be carefully designed and directed. (For example, if the council was full of carebears who always said "yes" to everyone, there would be no game content, and just unnecessary delay while you wait for the council vote to take place. To we need to ensure that the council members have a balance of motivation both for voting yes and for voting no.)

Essentially, well designed PvP creates content. And well designed systems allows that content to be more than "I hit you with a sword."

- The activity gives external benefits

Easiest way to do this is to foster a sense of OOC community. So the players are playing a game, but they are also making online friends and relationships. I've known players that have stopped playing a MUD, but are still a regular part of their forum due to the friendships they've built. More regularly, they log into the mud to play due to the OOC community that they feel they are a part of, even if the IC story isn't grabbing them at that moment. This happens by itself, as long as you give players the ability to interact with each other on an OOC level.

- The activity creates an output that you value

Hard to do in a MUD, since it will depend on how much each player values the roleplay they create. Many players tenaciously value the "stories of their character", but others don't.

- The activity has a psychological "hook"

Ah!
Create well designed PvP and you can get (some) players competitive natures to the fore.
Create regular, meaningful achievements, and you get the Pavlovian "reward" responses happening.
Create risks that can be regularly taken and sometimes pay off and you get gambling excitement.
Create achievements that required ridiculous effort, and you get artificially-created player investment (since they've put so much energy into the game, they don't want to admit to themselves that it was wasted. So they will stop evaluating the game rationally) (This means you need both regular achievements, as well as stupidly-difficult achievements) (And since you want everyone to have this investment, the "difficult" achievements shouldn't require skill, only time & effort.)
Create "maintenance" needs, and you get players logging in from fear of "loosing" what they have earned. For example, make skills reduce over time unless you practice them. But make it really easy to practice the skills.

Not all of these will make the game more *fun* - but all of them will encourage players to continue logging in to get their "fix"

- The activity has a moral dimension

Ah, convince players that they're doing the right thing by playing your game. How, would depend on your game.
Many of our most zealous players have done this to themselves, they've created an artificial burden of "I must log my characters in, because I'm a blacksmith and other players need the items I create" etc. - Although they often complain about not enjoying the game anymore due to the stress, they refuse to give up their "duty"

(So my problem is actually the opposite. I try to convince them that they do NOT have a moral duty to log in when they don't want to. And to convince them that if they don't provide the items, that just creates game content for the other players (the content being "we have a shortage of good X, how will I get one? I could barter with a current owner, etc. etc.) - it rarely works, because if I succeed in convincing them that the game continues fine without them logging in, I run into the point above about "maintenance needs" where they fear if they don't keep supplying the good, someone else will, and they will loose their in-character customers.)

So, yeah, with this in mind I certainly think it's possible to design a game that will still have plenty of content, challenges, and excitement years later. The players might be experts at the game by then but, like with chess grandmasters, I think it's possible to make a game that is still interesting to the experts, and challenging due to playing against/alongside other experts.

But, obviously, it's a *lot* more effort to create this sort of ongoing content than it is to create once-off content.
silvarilon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2010, 08:38 AM   #11
Aeran
Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 208
Aeran is on a distinguished road
Re: A little upset... (a thread on mmorpg.com)

Quote:
Originally Posted by silvarilon View Post
So, how do we create a game that fulfills the ranter's impossible request?
I'd go through the list above of what makes people enjoy ongoing activities, and think about each point in terms of MUD game design.
The solution to the OP's problem on mmorpg.com could be that instead of subscribing to a MMO use the money you would have used for the MMO every month to buy a new game. That way you have a fresh game every month.

Something to think about: When playing a MMO do you read the full quest description or do you just follow the objectives to complete it?

Last edited by Aeran : 11-16-2010 at 08:43 AM.
Aeran is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2010, 09:14 AM   #12
KaVir
Legend
 
KaVir's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Name: Richard
Home MUD: God Wars II
Posts: 2,052
KaVir will become famous soon enoughKaVir will become famous soon enough
Re: A little upset... (a thread on mmorpg.com)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elvarlyn View Post
Making games is hard. Making incredible games is incredibly hard.
And even if you make it, you can't stop there. Attracting mudders is like pouring water into a leaking bucket, if you don't keep adding new content, you'll eventually end up with an empty mud.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elvarlyn View Post
IRE is probably the 'giant' of MUDing at the moment but even they basically innovated once and then released the same 'fundamental' game 5 times (not a criticism, IRE would have been crazy to do otherwise when they had such a successful formula).
The IRE games were also based on an established idea with a proven record of success - an earlier mud called Avalon. IRE's graphical mud Earth Eternal was perhaps more innovative, but it went bankrupt before it even came out of beta.

Innovation is risky business. The safer bet is to take the tried-and-true and give it a polish.



Quote:
Originally Posted by silvarilon View Post
Create "maintenance" needs, and you get players logging in from fear of "loosing" what they have earned.
That's what happened on a couple of the older muds I used to play - I had to keep logging on to pay my rent, or I'd lose all my gear. After a few months of that I couldn't face it any more, so I gave everything away rather than see it vanish - and as it was my gear that made my character special, I felt there was no point going back, so I deleted my character as well.

On the other hand, I also used to play a mud which didn't have rent. I've not actively played there since early 1995, but I still have my character, and log on to chat every so often.

I agree with your other points though, particularly regarding the value of player-generated content, which I feel is an area that has considerable potential. But when it comes to convincing players to hang around, I prefer the carrot to the stick.
KaVir is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2010, 06:38 PM   #13
silvarilon
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 144
silvarilon is on a distinguished road
Re: A little upset... (a thread on mmorpg.com)

Quote:
Originally Posted by KaVir View Post
That's what happened on a couple of the older muds I used to play - I had to keep logging on to pay my rent, or I'd lose all my gear. After a few months of that I couldn't face it any more, so I gave everything away rather than see it vanish - and as it was my gear that made my character special, I felt there was no point going back, so I deleted my character as well.

On the other hand, I also used to play a mud which didn't have rent. I've not actively played there since early 1995, but I still have my character, and log on to chat every so often.

I agree with your other points though, particularly regarding the value of player-generated content, which I feel is an area that has considerable potential. But when it comes to convincing players to hang around, I prefer the carrot to the stick.
I, too, prefer the carrot to the stick.

My game has some maintenance needs, but they are unintentional. As in, I want to give the players something they can earn, and to keep the game in balance, those "extras" have to be something they continue to put in effort to keep the edge.

But I attempt to specifically avoid giving the players a feeling that they can't walk away from the game. When someone goes absent for long enough (about a week) most systems that require maintenance will "freeze" so the player isn't punished (and therefore they only have to do maintenance while they're in the game anyway) - and most maintenance has to be done less than once a week.

I was including the point more for completeness on ways to keep players sticking with a game. In your example, the maintenance game *did* encourage you to keep returning. Their flaw wasn't the maintenance, it was that you felt the items made your character unique. If the items were only a small part of the character, you might have still returned to maintain them, but after giving them away still kept the character and occasionally visited. Best of both worlds. Assuming you want to stop the players from walking away from the game.

My findings are actually that keeping players is easy. Keeping good players is hard. I find the players get so invested in the game that they get burnt out, which makes them stop having fun, which means we have a game with players that aren't having fun, which means they bring down the other players. I'd much rather encourage them to take a break and return only if they're going to enjoy themselves again.
silvarilon is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools


Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 03:55 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Style based on a design by Essilor
Copyright Top Mud Sites.com 2014