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Old 05-10-2007, 05:10 AM   #1
nass
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Got a question for you folks.

Imagine this scenario - you're a roleplayer and you're comparing features of MUDs. What specific features would whet your appetites - ie what do y'all look for?

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Old 05-10-2007, 08:41 AM   #2
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* A theme I can wrap my brain around
* Relative ease of entry, but enough of a barrier (backgrounds, biographies, staff approval) to screen for quality as opposed to quantity
* An evolving storyline
* A chance to make a mark in the game world
* A sense that there's more going on than just my activities, as if the place is a living, breathing, changing world
* The ability to write long poses if I want
* The ability to change my character's appearance as circumstances demand
* And, last but not least, a feeling that there's an OOC community with a vested interest in shepherding the game along
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Old 05-10-2007, 09:37 PM   #3
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I like the above. I would also add:
* A MUSH/MUX codebase (maybe MOO/MUCK, but I've not tried those)
* No automated content (no MOBs to fight, no quests to run)
* Closer to a consent-based resolution policy than not
* Time-based advancement, ideally, though a player voting +nom system is barely acceptable (no kill/quest XP! )
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Old 05-11-2007, 09:19 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Zhiroc @ May 10 2007,8:37)
I like the above. I would also add:
* A MUSH/MUX codebase (maybe MOO/MUCK, but I've not tried those)
* No automated content (no MOBs to fight, no quests to run)
* Closer to a consent-based resolution policy than not
* Time-based advancement, ideally, though a player voting +nom system is barely acceptable (no kill/quest XP! )
No automated content?

Can you describe "time-based advancement?"

MOO codebase can't be beaten, IMHO.
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Old 05-11-2007, 08:25 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Malifax @ May 11 2007,08:19)
No automated content?

Can you describe "time-based advancement?"

MOO codebase can't be beaten, IMHO.
I don't want to "hunt" or "bash" for XP. That is right out. Nor do I want to be handed unimportant cookie cutter quests to do.

Time-based advancement is when you don't have to do anything in particular to get your advancement--it is based on real time. Space Opera (a PnP RPG) had something like this. In MMOGs, Eve's system is like this. My favorite MUSH atm is Chronicles of Amber, where you get your first point 1 hr after you're approved, your second 2 hrs after that, the third 3 hrs after that, etc.
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Old 05-12-2007, 03:01 AM   #6
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about advancement.
No XP system.
No artifical Level system.

Only "Levels" should be more like Social status ranks, or professional ones (Novice, Journeyman, Master, GrandMaster and of course modern counterparts is it like Novice, Junior, Senior, Professor, Doctor ... something like that).

Skill advancement only through by usage, or studies (uses money and time) - with "twinky" prevention, so nobody get's idea of raising skills by scripting to do something repeately about one real month 24/7. It can be made possibly to do items/operations with that, but it doesn't raise skills more than setted maximum amount per real day.

No numerical values of skills / statistics shown to players.
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Old 05-18-2007, 09:38 AM   #7
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I look for four factors in roleplay:

1. Is the storyline well thought out and original?
2. Is it plausible? In other words, does it make sense?
3. Is the baseline of the roleplay approachable? (Most roleplayers, you will find, are either attracted to (a) pure fantasy, (b) science-fiction, or © a hybrid of both.)
4. Does the staff support player manifestations? (Do they incorporate player input and player development in the roleplay?)
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Old 05-19-2007, 12:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (nass @ May 10 2007,04:10)
Imagine this scenario - you're a roleplayer and you're comparing features of MUDs. What specific features would whet your appetites - ie what do y'all look for?
By 'specific features', do you mean things like theme, or do you mean mechanics, like XP gain, or are you not distinguishing between these two kinds of things?
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Old 05-20-2007, 10:49 AM   #9
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No "exp" gain required to "level." Levelless.

No repetition required to do things - in other words, not having to type (or script) "kill critter" each time you want to hit something. A workable RP environment would handle the drudgery for you, so you can spend more of your effort working on emoting, using thinks, telling your comrades to retreat, etc. etc. etc.

Hunting not only not required, but unneccessary if one wants to succeed in the environment. If becoming "the most powerful and influential" character in the game means you have to go hunting to get there, I'm not interested.

Hunting only appropriate activity, RP-wise, for hunters. A politician, a noble, a soldier in a city-based army, should -never- feel the need to hunt. For any reason - except perhaps on a whim, and even then only if he takes along a few seasoned hunters to protect him.

A fleshed-out emoting system that makes "canned socials" unneccessary.

Permanent death. If a character can get a rezz, the game, by definition, completely eliminates the option of trained assassins and spies. If you kill someone and he comes back to life 20 minutes later, you end up being "outted" as the killer, and everyone and their brother knows who done it, with no hunting for clues neceessary. So much for intrigue.

A believable world. Smurf city is not an option, nor are races where each "humanoid" race is merely a "human with pointy ears." If there are races other than human, one would hope each other race has unique things about them that make them decisively NOT human, and the RP of those non-human traits are reinforced by the player base as well as the staff. In other words - if I see a halfling in a Tolkeinesque game, hitting up a Drow elf for some fun sex, I'm outta there.

A mostly mature player base. By that, I mean - the scene where the halfling hits up the drow for some sex is less likely to occur, if the player wasn't some 12-year-old kid with overactive testosterone raging through his groin.*

*Note, I didn't say it wouldn't occur. I said it is less likely to occur. You can't prevent that kind of thing entirely but you can reinforce and encourage more mature behavior if the playerbase doesn't consist primarily of children.

No vulgarity filters, of any kind.

No global chat channels, of any kind.
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Old 05-20-2007, 03:39 PM   #10
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Jazuela summed up my reqs perfectly and I, try as I might, can't find anything to add.
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Old 05-20-2007, 05:03 PM   #11
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Hmm. I am not sure I agree entirely with the permadeath issue. I mean, assuming someone has crafting and the like and those things "do" have some level system, hidden or otherwise, you still lose *a lot* if you die permanently. Another option is what would happen in a real world case where someone kills someone off, the assassin disappears, name changes, etc. One of the stupidest things I have ever found in the one I played at was, "We need to know who everyone is, so disguise just makes you look like, 'a mysterious stranger'." Well, that is just dumb. An assassin isn't going to fracking show up saying, "Hi there, I am Kagehi the assassin. How would you like to die today?" They are going to show up looking like a completely different race, if possible, a different class, if possible, under a different name, etc.

The victim shouldn't have a clue, ressed or not, who the heck killed them. Better yet, it should be a surprise, public, or done so that the assassin isn't even seen. If they don't *witness* "Blah backstabs you!", then they can't say that "Blah" did it. If its done in a public room with lots of other people, or at a masked ball, etc, everyone should be suspect. Maybe someone hired an assassin to give them special poison. Maybe they just got lucky and you are chasing an assassin when it wasn't. Maybe, like the ninja of old, the assassin is simply expert in some things that other people are not, and you can't tell who they are, because they only ply their trade when they are not making cloaks for guilds.

Why the hell is assassin always assumed, in completely ignorance of the way they function in even most halfway realisting fiction, as some special "class" that has to be 100% assassin all the time. It should be "anyone". The only people that know what they are should be their own guild. If you do have permadeath, it should be limited to cases where the assassin's identity is found out *by* the person hiring them, the assassin finds out, and the body disappears for too long for it to be ressable. If someone doesn't play by the rules and outs one without the needed intrigue, it had better be a major fool in their own guild. If its the guy that hired them, who figured out who it was, then started a new character... Well, that is cheating, and the assassin should have the chance to change name, appearance and plot to take out the cheater.

Point is, resses could work, if you did everything else right. The problem is, people don't think about how assassinations "should" work, what assassins would do to protect their identity, like having 3-4 names, from 3-4 different jobs in 3-4 different parts of the city. And the game environment, if it does cater to assassins, which is all permadeath does in this case (And I hate that kind of BS excuse which only helps one fracking type of player), then the game should make it "seem" as though the first persona/alias for the character logged out, then a new one logged in, to hide the fact that the "same" person just switched jobs to hide. The assassin should only be outed if you can "prove" that Kagehi the tailor, Zalgad the Merchant and Niclos the bower are "all" the same person using real clues. If Kagehi gets caught with his hand on the knife, he should disappear completely, because that persona is no longer viable, and finding the culprit should involve figuring out that Zalgad or Niclos is the same person. And if one of them stages their own death, so it appears that they permadied... then great, if not, they get caught. If the other players can't figure it out, too bad, etc.

Point is, ressing just means you adjust the RP, not that it becomes impossible, and if you make *anything* in the game reliant on usage and time, then you either have to cheat by making *everyone* change identity, while keeping some skills, which is almost as absurd, or you have to make up special rules, like permadeath for *all* cases, which only help one group of people.

Oh, and for that matter, why even make "any" permadeath? This is *supposed* to be RP. Why wouldn't/shouldn't the game itself provide a statement on ressing that **all** you remember is a flash of green and a moment of pain, but not who attacked you. The flash of green might be enough to hint at the fact that the assassin was wearing green. Unless the moron was the only guy in the entire city wearing green...

Anyway, I hope you see my point. Imho, permadeath is taking the easy way out, and makes for silly compromises and problems of its own, which don't entirely make any more sense than an assassin that everyone can point at and scream, "He did it!!" You are showing a lack of imagination if you can't figure out how to have ressing in a game world where some things need to be kept unknown. But heh, that is just my opinion.
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Old 05-20-2007, 05:12 PM   #12
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Without exp, without levels, what penalty exists for death? If the focus of the game is on roleplay, levels and "points" of any kind for advancement are irrelevent and non-existent. The only kinds of games that penalize for death, without rendering the character permanently gone, do so by penalizing points. In a game where there are no points, there is no way to penalize for dying.

Not to mention, if death is commonplace, I'd say there's a pretty significant flaw in the game design. Death should be a BIG DEAL, ICly. Not OOCly as regards points and levels and other mechanics that have nothing to do with roleplay. I don't like "do-overs" because it devalues life. If you can easily get a rezz, there's no need to worry about dying, because it isn't really dying. It's just moving to a different part of the game for a few minutes, and returning with "less" than you started with. But - with the exact same character, knowing all the exact same people, roleplaying in the exact same way, for as long as you continue playing that game.

Boring. Boring boring boring.

I like knowing that in my next gaming session, my character might cease to exist. It makes playing it exciting, scary, gets the adrenaline pumping. I also like knowing, that if my character -does- die, I can create a new character, with a new personality, new looks, a new race, new goals, knowing no one ICly, starting not entirely from scratch (because now I know where you can find the hidden doodad that my previous character discovered), but at least being in a position where I can roleplay the newness of it all.
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Old 05-20-2007, 08:06 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Jazuela @ May 20 2007,10:12)
If the focus of the game is on roleplay, levels and "points" of any kind for advancement are irrelevent and non-existent.
I've played tabletop roleplaying games for around 20 years, but have never encountered a system which lacked character advancement. The same is the case for computer roleplaying games. In fact I would argue that character advancement is one of the gameplay elements most commonly associated with roleplaying games, and that it is (perhaps ironically) even more strongly associated with CRPGs than roleplaying itself.

Quote:
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The only kinds of games that penalize for death, without rendering the character permanently gone, do so by penalizing points.
Most do - even permadeath, which penalises you by taking away all your points. However others penalise you with time (you have to wait around) or effort (you have to perform some activity to come back to life). In my old mud, the penalty for death was everything except your points - you'd lose your status, social contacts, even your name, but would be able to reinvest all your points into a new character.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
Not to mention, if death is commonplace, I'd say there's a pretty significant flaw in the game design.
I can think of plenty of settings for an RP mud that involve death being commonplace; it's only a flaw in the game design if the mud was specifically intended to have a low death-rate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
I also like knowing, that if my character -does- die, I can create a new character, with a new personality, new looks, a new race, new goals, knowing no one ICly, starting not entirely from scratch (because now I know where you can find the hidden doodad that my previous character discovered)
Honestly, that sounds like a serious case of abusing your OOC knowledge.

In my tabletop roleplaying games, when a player dies I would never force them to start completely from scratch. But if they tried to use OOC knowledge from their former character, I would put my foot down. Fortunately they're better roleplayers than to try something like that.
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Old 05-20-2007, 08:25 PM   #14
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I meant for that to indicate that there is no way to remove IC knowledge, even if your character dies permanently. That's all I meant by that. I did not mean that I would USE that knowledge with a new character, or that I would expect everyone else to do the same.

Some things - such as knowing your way around the city your character was born in - make sense to know. Other things, such as the location of the hidden doodad, don't make sense to know. But erasing a pfile doesn't erase the player's memory, and one can only hope the player is mature enough not to abuse that information.
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Old 05-21-2007, 05:38 AM   #15
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*delurks*

Musts:
*Mature players
*Active staff
*Active community
*A theme that has internally consistent logic
*Player run groups that can have an impact on the game world
*A moderate application process that keeps out those who have little interest in roleplaying

Preferences:
*OOC global channels and chat features so I can get to know the players I'm playing with
*Skill based advancement, rather than level based
*I never would have said this 2 years ago, but... a well organized wiki. I've fallen in love with the things.

Permadeath isn't on either list, if only because my attitude towards it can vary wildly. In short, it depends on the theme. If the theme is internally consistent and has permadeath, then it's fine. That meaning the world has to have a way to deal with such a thing that makes sense.

(Edited to add the bit about the wiki)
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Old 05-21-2007, 11:01 AM   #16
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I agree with you completely about the assassin thing, Shadow. Any professional hit man (or woman) worth his salt will do the deed quickly, cleanly and with squeaky discretion. And any game designer worth his salt will know how to build mechanics to make it possible. Even some dood off the streets you (rhetorical) pay $5000 to kill  your cheating spouse isn't going to walk up and introduce himself. It works a little differently in a text environment than it does in downtown USA, but as I say, any designer with half an imagination can come up with mechanics to get around those barriers.

Likewise, the idea that there aren't penalties in MUDs beyond zapping "points" exhibits pretty narrow thinking. Players in the early GEnie days of Gemstone III feared death like the plague, and there was zero exp or any other numeric penalty involved. It's a very similar rut to the belief that "assassin" is a separate sect of people who are recognizable on sight, or that less than realistic death mechanics in a MUD signals bad design.  I would argue right alongside KaVir that the merit of death and resurrection  as a common occurance in a MUD depends completely on overall game design. Not every game is a RPI.

I think throwing a blanket  over the MUD genre and saying "this is always good" or "that is  always bad" is a pretty ignorant way to look at game design. Not every player wants the same thing out of a game and not every MUD has to have the same goals. Anyone who has done any serious game design knows that there are many different elements required to achieve harmony in a game, and no two designs are ever the same.  The only real way to judge whether the design of a game is good or bad is whether or not people play. If a game is fun, that's all that counts.

As far as advancement sans repetition , I'd be interested in any ideas on how to achieve this while maintaining balance and a sense of accomplishment.
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Old 05-21-2007, 06:27 PM   #17
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Well then, isn't it a splendid thing that nass didn't ask us "what is wrong with..." or "what is right with...".

It's such a lovely thing, that he asked us to post what we looked for in an RP environment. You might think what *I* look for is silly - but I'm answering his question. Perhaps instead of criticizing my opinion on what I look for in an RP environment, you might write a post telling us what YOU look for in an RP environment. Since, afterall, that was the question asked.
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Old 05-22-2007, 11:03 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Jazuela @ May 21 2007,5:27)
Well then, isn't it a splendid thing that nass didn't ask us "what is wrong with..." or "what is right with...".

It's such a lovely thing, that he asked us to post what we looked for in an RP environment. You might think what *I* look for is silly - but I'm answering his question. Perhaps instead of criticizing my opinion on what I look for in an RP environment, you might write a post telling us what YOU look for in an RP environment. Since, afterall, that was the question asked.
This is a discussion board. Commenting on the posted subject matter is kind of the point. I disagree with the ideas that: The absence of permadeath in a game neuters "assassins," that there are no possible effective consequences to death in a MUD beyond "point" loss or permadeath, and especially that games without permadeath are ill-designed. If you don't want people disagreeing with you, don't post.

As far as features I'd like to see in a role-playing game:

• A classless advancement system
• A web of emergent skills learned by doing
• Success dependent as much on player ability as character skill
• Mechanics engineered to encourage player collaboration
• A complex crafting system that engenders player-driven economy
• Open PvP with mechanically supported IC checks/balances
• A rich but limited narrative
• Story and mechanic-supported goals beyond advancement and sitting at tables spitting out flowery small talk
• Some kind of application and screening to ensure a community of folks interested in role-play

Bottom line: Advancement is important to me, but so is RP, and I don't think that the two are mutually exclusive. I wholeheartedly disagree with the concept that longer, more detailed lines of action and dialogue and the absence of numbers on the screen necessarily makes for better role-play. To me, role-play is more about decision and consequence than cool adjective-use and the positions of subjects and verbs.  If a game presents a good story and challenges within the story that force players to make choices and deal with the consequences in a consistent, ongoing manner,  it will foster great role-play, regardless of its mechanical delivery. People are going to role-play or they're not. No amount of design will change that.
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Old 05-22-2007, 07:53 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Malifax @ May 22 2007,4:03)
As far as features I'd like to see in a role-playing game:

• A classless advancement system
Even in a World of Darkness roleplaying mud, where the classes are things like Vampire, Werewolf, Mage, Changeling, Wraith, etc? Or perhaps a mud which uses racial character classes (rather like the Rifts RPG)?
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Old 05-23-2007, 07:49 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (KaVir @ May 22 2007,6:53)
3-->
Quote:
Originally Posted by (Malifax @ May 22 2007,4[img
http://www.topmudsites.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wow.gif[/img]3)]As far as features I'd like to see in a role-playing game:

• A classless advancement system
Even in a World of Darkness roleplaying mud, where the classes are things like Vampire, Werewolf, Mage, Changeling, Wraith, etc?  Or perhaps a mud which uses racial character classes (rather like the Rifts RPG)?
I guess it depends on how you define "class." I just don't want it determining the skills I can and can't learn. Give me a choice of races and a bunch of skills I can mix and match.
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