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Old 09-29-2004, 11:04 AM   #1
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Once you hero on a ROM based game(level 51 max) without remort you are locked into a simple House(Cabal) or alignment based PK conflict. RP becomes driven by PK instead of mutual growth and exploration. How do would YOU increase the interest for hero level characters in order to keep your players using Heroes that may be in your plot arcs?

Thanks for reading and huge thanks if you replied,
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Old 09-29-2004, 02:06 PM   #2
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We use a setup like this, and one of the claims we often see if that the game begins at hero.  This isn't necessarily all beneficial- some players focus very hard on zipping through the levels as fast as they can, and ignore a lot of the more novice people on the way.  However, for the most part, we've been able to keep people interested at the top end, and that's been a key to keeping us going for 10+ years.

Some things we've had success with in creating that feeling:

1) Areas: Your areas need to be deep enough to support high-end play.  They can't merely be "big dungeon full of slightly higher level baddies"- they need to offer diverse challenges that offer something beyond combat.  We have large sections of our 'exploration' areas that are barely touched, if at all.  Multi-stage quests, lethal tricks and traps, etc.  Most of the recent complaints about our area system is that the world is too big, and spreads the players out over too much stuff. That's not always a bad "drawback" to have.

2) Turnover:  We don't use single-death-permadeath, but every time you are defeated, you are resurrected at your temple by the deity that protects you.  However, your spirit is affected by the process, and you're permanently a little weaker than you once were.  Also, our characters age and eventually die.  There are very, very few ways to offset either of these processes, and they all either only work for a limited time (you can train your body instead of working on skills to keep your health from failing too quickly, immortals can customize one-shot quests to restore you slightly, a few automated quests figure into the equation, etc.), or come with very significant risks (lichedom, attempting mummification, etc.)  The net result of all of this is that players don't stay "on top" forever- everyone dies.  Also, you can't solve complicated puzzles by trial-and-lethal-error, and that cuts out a lot of "shortcuts".  Finally, you don't have "super characters" that have been building up power since the mid 1990s.

3) Roleplay and Conflict: Interacting with other players in collaborative or competitive ways keeps people occupied.  We do have a cabal system, but a lot of players thrive at hero outside of it- it's not required, and I think it creates a much more interesting landscape if 'independents' are in the mix.  The politics of alliances, wars, subterfuge, etc. work regardless of what level you are.  Combat with other players is also a lot more interesting than combat with even well-programmed NPCs.

4) Reward Systems: You need a game that isn't highly focused on number-crunching.  If your players basically play Progress Quest and run through repetitive motions to build up the "best stats", well, of course that's going to get boring.  This is an often unspoken drawback of "limitless advancement" or "open-ended" skill systems- MUDs exist where people literally work on these numbers for hundreds or thousands of hours.  It's not terribly interesting, and it keeps the same characters around forever- why try something new when you've already invested 2000 hours in building up your Weaving skill?  And why try to be the world's best weaver when some other guy has already spent 2000 hours on it?  You should have an incentive program that encourages players to be interesting, not merely powerful.  New players should have a reasonable opportunity to take a shot at supplanting established players.
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