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Old 02-16-2005, 12:03 AM   #1
Burr
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The traditional view is that virtual worlds are ongoing, and if the possibilities for content created in context runs low, then new content should be created by the administration and thrown in as a patch, whether that be in the form of a new content, a new race or class, etc. They might also throw in a story to explain away the sudden change in the world (though it's still going to destroy immersion for some time, and since players' actions probably had very little real influence on the creation of that story, they aren't likely to care much about the story anyhow),

Obviously that is much easier than replacing all the old content that you worked so hard to create. I wonder if that alone justifies it as the most healthy possible solution, though.

Particularly, I wonder if it might be better to plan for a definite end to the game, with a climax, an appropriate resolution, and possibly even some sort of afterparty.

If you can't use your new content as the basis for a completely new game, then it probably isn't worth adding to the mud anyway. On the other hand, if it really is that good, then why not give it the attention it deserves rather than throwing it in with content that your players will soon find boring?

Many of us see the benefits of permanent death, but it's still a bitter pill to swallow for the player. Killing a mud has many of the same benefits and costs...but in a new game the playing field is level, so having to create a new character doesn't hurt so much. And frankly, playing a new game is more exciting than rehashing old content so you can get to the new content. (This is, of course, assuming that your new game is as well designed for your target market as your last game was.)

As a last note, I don't think already established games would be precluded from adapting to such a strategy, so long as the strategy is communicated to the players long enough in advance and in a sensitive manner.
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Old 02-16-2005, 02:51 AM   #2
 
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Originally Posted by (Burr @ Feb. 15 2005,23:10)
The traditional view is that virtual worlds are ongoing...

Particularly, I wonder if it might be better to plan for a definite end to the game, with a climax, an appropriate resolution, and possibly even some sort of afterparty.
There are a number of muds which implement end of game conditions, but frankly it's been so long I can't remember their names. I believe there was an LPMud that would run for around a year, determine the winners of the game, delete all the players, close down for a few weeks and reopen with updated content.

It also not uncommon on Mushes to run a campaign during a particular time frame and after it runs its course start a brand new campaign for a different time period. The second campaign building on the history of the first campaign but often with all new, aged characters, or with descendents of some characters.
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Old 02-16-2005, 04:55 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Burr @ Feb. 15 2005,23:03)
The traditional view is that virtual worlds are ongoing, and if the possibilities for content created in context runs low, then new content should be created by the administration and thrown in as a patch, whether that be in the form of a new content, a new race or class, etc.  They might also throw in a story to explain away the sudden change in the world (though it's still going to destroy immersion for some time, and since players' actions probably had very little real influence on the creation of that story, they aren't likely to care much about the story anyhow),

Obviously that is much easier than replacing all the old content that you worked so hard to create.  I wonder if that alone justifies it as the most healthy possible solution, though.

Particularly, I wonder if it might be better to plan for a definite end to the game, with a climax, an appropriate resolution, and possibly even some sort of afterparty.

If you can't use your new content as the basis for a completely new game, then it probably isn't worth adding to the mud anyway.  On the other hand, if it really is that good, then why not give it the attention it deserves rather than throwing it in with content that your players will soon find boring?

Many of us see the benefits of permanent death, but it's still a bitter pill to swallow for the player.  Killing a mud has many of the same benefits and costs...but in a new game the playing field is level, so having to create a new character doesn't hurt so much.  And frankly, playing a new game is more exciting than rehashing old content so you can get to the new content.  (This is, of course, assuming that your new game is as well designed for your target market as your last game was.)

As a last note, I don't think already established games would be precluded from adapting to such a strategy, so long as the strategy is communicated to the players long enough in advance and in a sensitive manner.
Check out A Tale in the Desert, currently on its second iteration. The first one ended, and they started over. Graphical and commercial, but not very successful. Less than 1500 subscribers.
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Old 02-17-2005, 07:36 PM   #4
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The good majority of online games have called 'the grind'. This is true in both MUDs and MMORPGs. Thats the period of time from creation to 'max' level, where most players grind through the available content to reach the end.

This is not everyone however, but I feel that the majority of players are this way. They want to reach the end and hone their characters through end-game content. In muds this is typically very hard areas, PvP, or other. In MMORPGs its the same, except there is usually more.

I'd be put off if after spending 3+ years with a character I had to start over. The world doesn't just 'end'. The goal of online gaming I think is to create a world that can evolve and persevere just like the real world.

I guess if the game had a very dependant and driving story-line, then yes it might be best to just end it, rather then constantly coming up with alterations to it.

You hit the head on:
Quote:
Originally Posted by
They might also throw in a story to explain away the sudden change in the world (though it's still going to destroy immersion for some time, and since players' actions probably had very little real influence on the creation of that story, they aren't likely to care much about the story anyhow),
So if someone does a good job of including the players in the story then they will care, and want to see it furthered.
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Old 02-17-2005, 09:21 PM   #5
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There are options to both 'game death' and reincarnation forms that exist in most games right now.

I'm not one to say whether these have been implemented in games or not. Just throwing a couple of ideas out.

Consider:
-a character dies, they get put up in history books

-installing a lineage system, so that when a character dies, their brother/sister/mother/father/son/daughter takes over as a new character, but something remains of the work the player did for the dead character

-shrines, buildings, statues, cities, weapons, shields, named after fallen characters

-ghosts of fallen characters who wander the world, acting in much the way the character acted

A couple of games I know already do alternatives. Gemstone (what is it, IV now?) has a fame system, at least last time I played it. When I was there, players tended to abuse the system, because you could rack up fame by power-killing and imbalance the system. Join the Saga games have a game entirely devoted to dead players. I don't know how well it does, but it is an interesting idea.

Some thoughts, anyhow.
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