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Old 09-22-2004, 07:17 PM   #81
Saren
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I find that overall, classless systems are much more realistic than those that have classes, because it's simply more logical.
Personally, I find such arguments against class based systems to miss a pretty critical point in game design. 'Fun' is more important than 'Realistic'.  I'm not saying class based is more fun or less realistic, but I don't see it as a good justification for choosing one over the other.

One of the problems I often see fundamentally associated with purely skill based system is the inherent lack of difficulty communicating what one's role would be in a group.  Say for example someone wants put together a balanced group of 6 players to go and slay the ginormous dragon of treasure hoarding.  In a class based system, you are thinking.... Ok, I nead a healer, a couple of tanks, a damage dealer, and someone to handle crowd control.  When you head out and try to find random people to fill these roles, you have to determine which individuals would fit which roles and that they are of a sufficient power level to be in a group of your scale.

Which system would make it easier to put together such a group:  

- Class based: "Hi, I'm a level 18 cleric"
- Skill based: "Well, I've got 18% bandaging and 20% healing magic, but I've also go 19% swordplay and 15% offensive magic"

Of course, if your game isn't based around having balanced groups of people go out and kill things / quest utilizing their abilities to fill their roles to the best of their abilities, then this is less moot.  However, I personally play Muds/MMO's for exactly this reason - I can get single player style gameplay out of a single player game.  I would agree that on the surface, class based systems seem to compartamentalize content more than skill based systems.  However, I think this is a bit of a falsehood, if you consider access to content as a function of time and player effort.  (in other words, how many players are going to max out all their skills)

One could also argue that it is easier to balance class based systems. With skill based systems, you end up having to balance every skill vs. every other skill, or players will generally ignore the weak 'gimped' skill trees and everyone ends up looking the same. With class based systems, you balance roles against each other. For example, you know that a rogue should be less about magic and tanking andmore about stealth and damage dealing. He can have more weak skills than another class, for example, so long as the total package is perceived as balanced. Keep in mind that I'm talking about systems with 10 or so well thought out classes, not 130 crappy unbalanced ones.

Additionally, one system I've always liked is the TES/Daggerfall/Morrowind system which used both class and skill based systems.  Basic operations like running, swimming, etc were skills, but then to advance in your profession you had to do quests for your guild.  Levels in a class (or guild in this case) made a lot of sense in this system, because one could envision the guild structure only releasing various class skills as they deemed you earned them.  I imagine 'real world' guilds operated in much the same way.  In this system a 'class' represents more of a social structure with it's own graduated advancement system than a simple (and boring) advancement mechanic.

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Old 09-23-2004, 09:46 PM   #82
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I think what kind of system you will want to use should be based on if your MUD will be about pk or not. I'd think it'd be very difficult to have classless pk be both balanced and diverse, and if you don't have classes in particular, then you'd need some limits on what can be combined with what.

On the other hand, no one joins the warrior's guild in real life, so if you aren't working with pk, a classless system could be more popular.
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Old 09-24-2004, 12:39 AM   #83
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I'd think it'd be very difficult to have classless pk be both balanced and diverse, and if you don't have classes in particular, then you'd need some limits on what can be combined with what.
I don't agree that the decision is should be based solely on whether you use PK, but I will agree that class based systems are fundamentally easier to balance. In skill based system, it's very hard to introduce a critical flaw to a character in the name of balance, but this happens all the time in class based systems (ie, high damage classes often have low hit points to offset their immense capability to cause damage)

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On the other hand, no one joins the warrior's guild in real life, so if you aren't working with pk, a classless system could be more popular.
Classless systems always seem to be perceived as more customizable than class based systems. This doesn't have to be the case. Take something like D&D 3.5, for example. Definantly a class based system, but you can take many abilities from other classes at a construction penalty.
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Old 09-24-2004, 06:08 PM   #84
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Originally Posted by (Saren @ Sep. 22 2004,18:17)
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I find that overall, classless systems are much more realistic than those that have classes, because it's simply more logical.
Personally, I find such arguments against class based systems to miss a pretty critical point in game design. 'Fun' is more important than 'Realistic'.  I'm not saying class based is more fun or less realistic, but I don't see it as a good justification for choosing one over the other.
This is why I say class-based are better for H&S muds and classless is better for RP muds. Realism is very important in an RP mud, if people could do anything they wanted there wouldn't be any fun at all. RP muds try to put you into another world.

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One of the problems I often see fundamentally associated with purely skill based system is the inherent lack of difficulty communicating what one's role would be in a group.  Say for example someone wants put together a balanced group of 6 players to go and slay the ginormous dragon of treasure hoarding.  In a class based system, you are thinking.... Ok, I nead a healer, a couple of tanks, a damage dealer, and someone to handle crowd control.  When you head out and try to find random people to fill these roles, you have to determine which individuals would fit which roles and that they are of a sufficient power level to be in a group of your scale.
See, this would be a problem in a hack and slash mud but in an RP mud, you don't have people group together to go kill stuff based upon what classes are needed in the group.

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Which system would make it easier to put together such a group:  

- Class based: "Hi, I'm a level 18 cleric"
- Skill based: "Well, I've got 18% bandaging and 20% healing magic, but I've also go 19% swordplay and 15% offensive magic"
Obviously, neither of these would happen in an RP mud. Yet in a hack and slash mud, your point is valid.


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Of course, if your game isn't based around having balanced groups of people go out and kill things / quest utilizing their abilities to fill their roles to the best of their abilities, then this is less moot.  However, I personally play Muds/MMO's for exactly this reason - I can get single player style gameplay out of a single player game.
This paragraph just makes no sense, you are saying that if you don't mindlessly go around killing things it's like a single player game? Well, I've seen plenty of single-player games where you mindlessly kill monsters but I have yet to see a good single player game where you can RP with other people.


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One could also argue that it is easier to balance class based systems.  With skill based systems, you end up having to balance every skill vs. every other skill, or players will generally ignore the weak 'gimped' skill trees and everyone ends up looking the same.  With class based systems, you balance roles against each other.  For example, you know that a rogue should be less about magic and tanking andmore about stealth and damage dealing.  He can have more weak skills than another class, for example, so long as the total package is perceived as balanced. Keep in mind that I'm talking about systems with 10 or so well thought out classes, not 130 crappy unbalanced ones.
Again, something that applies to soley hack and slash muds. Of course somebody who does a lot of fighting is going to be able to beat a tailor's brains out, but people still play tailors.
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Old 09-24-2004, 06:36 PM   #85
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Backing up a bit: (You'll have to excuse my fumblings with quoting quotes here, I haen't quite worked it out yet)

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Classed based systems confine characters to imaginary confines that don't exist in the real world. Why do I have to be either a thief or a warrior or..., why not something else?
I disagree with this.  Many class based systems specifically refer to the classes as 'guilds'.  Guilds, organizations, and orders were very much a real world construct, and while you might be able to join more than one the skills taught in such a guild usually took a lifetime to advance from apprentice to master.  

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This is why I say class-based are better for H&S muds and classless is better for RP muds. Realism is very important in an RP mud, if people could do anything they wanted there wouldn't be any fun at all. RP muds try to put you into another world.
Well to be techincally correct RP muds try to put you into another person.

Without getting into arguments against realism in a mud/fantasy world, I would personally think that a class or guild based system would more accurately model knowledge and training in ancient socieities as described above.

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Which system would make it easier to put together such a group:  

- Class based: "Hi, I'm a level 18 cleric"
- Skill based: "Well, I've got 18% bandaging and 20% healing magic, but I've also go 19% swordplay and 15% offensive magic"
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Obviously, neither of these would happen in an RP mud. Yet in a hack and slash mud, your point is valid.
That depends entirely on your definition of an RP mud, specifically how much non-human automation it uses.  One might imagine that the purest RP mud would be little more than a chat room with character sheets. When you start adding things like automated group quests, however, ability to identify a players capabilites in the game world becomes important.  Even every paper and pen game I've played has required the construction of a group relevant to the perceived difficulty of the quest presented to them.  

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Of course, if your game isn't based around having balanced groups of people go out and kill things / quest utilizing their abilities to fill their roles to the best of their abilities, then this is less moot.  However, I personally play Muds/MMO's for exactly this reason - I can get single player style gameplay out of a single player game.
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This paragraph just makes no sense, you are saying that if you don't mindlessly go around killing things it's like a single player game? Well, I've seen plenty of single-player games where you mindlessly kill monsters but I have yet to see a good single player game where you can RP with other people.
Sorry if I was unclear, but thats not what I meant at all.  I'm talking about forming groups with other players, and going out and fighting and solving quests as a team.  

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One could also argue that it is easier to balance class based systems.  With skill based systems, you end up having to balance every skill vs. every other skill, or players will generally ignore the weak 'gimped' skill trees and everyone ends up looking the same.  With class based systems, you balance roles against each other.  For example, you know that a rogue should be less about magic and tanking andmore about stealth and damage dealing.  He can have more weak skills than another class, for example, so long as the total package is perceived as balanced. Keep in mind that I'm talking about systems with 10 or so well thought out classes, not 130 crappy unbalanced ones.
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Again, something that applies to soley hack and slash muds. Of course somebody who does a lot of fighting is going to be able to beat a tailor's brains out, but people still play tailors.
Despite my example, I was referring to overall balance, and not just combat balance.  Players feel cheated if they feel the time they have invested has netted them less than some other player with the same amount of time invested in different skills.
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Old 09-24-2004, 07:03 PM   #86
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On the other hand, no one joins the warrior's guild in real life,  
They didn't join the warriors guild, they joined the army, or a mercenary guild, or were born into knighthood, or some other type of social construction similar to a guild.  I'm sort of lumping these things in with 'guilds' and 'classes' in that they teach you specific skills, and you are readially identified as being affiliated with the given organization.

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so if you aren't working with pk, a classless system could be more popular.
I have a perhaps controversial opinion about this statement.

First of all, players don't always know what they want.  All players, however, think they know what that want.

Secondly, one of the thing that makes the great muds great is their adherance to their undiluted vision of the game they would like to play, whether or not it is what the majority players think they want.  Ultimately players want high quality compelling content.  

Playing the popularity game will get you a few minor victories in the short run.  However, if you stick to your vision and don't give in to player pressure,you will be defining what players want, rather than trying to live up to it.

Nearly all of the top muds I've seen pk or not run class based systems.  (By top muds, I mean highest player numbers and/or financial success).  Have a look at the top 10 muds listed here,  they are all class based.    

Ultimately I believe this comes down to the issues of communication and ease of balance that class based systems offer over skill based systems.
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Old 09-25-2004, 12:27 PM   #87
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Originally Posted by (Saren @ Sep. 24 2004,18:03)
Have a look at the top 10 muds listed here,  they are all class based.    
Armageddon is often in the top ten here and it is only partially class-based (and it is skill-based with no levels). Shadows of Isildur is also often in the top ten and completely classless and skill-based. Both are RPIs. A coincidence? Probly not, the other RPI is Harshlands and although it isn't in the top ten, it is also completely classless and skill-based.

A skill-based, levelless system is pretty much required for a good RP mud. A classless system isn't really, but it definitely helps a lot. Also, judging from your comments, Saren, you have never played an RPI before, have you?
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Old 09-25-2004, 03:53 PM   #88
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Armageddon is often in the top ten here and it is only partially class-based (and it is skill-based with no levels).
Right, but the comparison was class based vs. classless, no?

The best gaming systems I've seen have been combinations of class based and skill based, but then again, pure class based games are rare.

Anyways, at the time I'm writing this, it's in the #10 slot, and represents 3.7% of all the votes in the top 10 slot.  (and is nearly an order of magnitude less than the #1 and #2 slots)

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A skill-based, levelless system is pretty much required for a good RP mud.
Amazing that classic D&D has managed to do RP in a class based system for around 30 years...

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Also, judging from your comments, Saren, you have never played an RPI before, have you?
Don't be silly, of course I have.
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Old 09-26-2004, 12:59 PM   #89
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Amazing that classic D&D has managed to do RP in a class based system for around 30 years...
Although D&D is one of the first RP games, it actually focuses a lot more on how powerful your character is, what skills and feats he has, how many orcs he can kill, than on the RP aspects. Much more than any one of the three RPIs.

I mean, come on, D&D has LEVELS. You want to get better at stealing, kill monsters, you want to get better at magic, kill monsters, you want to sing better kill monsters. You can backtstab a monster to death and use the experience to gain a mage level. You get better at crafts in D&D, not by doing them, but you guessed it, by killing monsters.
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Old 09-26-2004, 04:28 PM   #90
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Originally Posted by (dragon master @ Sep. 26 2004,11:59)
Although D&D is one of the first RP games, it actually focuses a lot more on how powerful your character is, what skills and feats he has, how many orcs he can kill, than on the RP aspects. Much more than any one of the three RPIs.
It certainly can be played that way. It also certainly doesn't have to be.

You do know that the story basis for Armageddon came from a D&D game world, right?

You seem to have a mentality that if someone doesn't RP the way you think they should, it's not RPing. There's no reason to have such a close-minded worldview.
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Old 09-26-2004, 04:41 PM   #91
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Originally Posted by (The_Disciple @ Sep. 26 2004,15:28)
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Originally Posted by (dragon master @ Sep. 26 2004,11:59)
Although D&D is one of the first RP games, it actually focuses a lot more on how powerful your character is, what skills and feats he has, how many orcs he can kill, than on the RP aspects. Much more than any one of the three RPIs.
It certainly can be played that way.  It also certainly doesn't have to be.

You do know that the story basis for Armageddon came from a D&D game world, right?

You seem to have a mentality that if someone doesn't RP the way you think they should, it's not RPing.  There's no reason to have such a close-minded worldview.
D&D has levels, I just find it hard to say that there is any realism in that. Whenever I have seen D&D being played, there is often much more of a focus on killing monsters and gaining levels(which mysteriously make you better at things completely unrelated to killing monsters) then there is to developing a character and a viable world.

Though, I will admit that D&D is much much much more RP oriented than many muds. It still isn't the "pinnacle of RP" or anything, just the game that everything else is based upon. That means that it isn't perfect for RP and so you shouldn't say "D&D has classes, so classes are best for RP" (although D&Ds multiclassing system is much better for RP than most class-based muds).

And at least I don't think that the most RP oriented mud would be a "glorified chat-room with character sheets". I mean, all you can do in a chatroom is talk, there is much much much more than that to RP.

And the fact that the story basis for Armageddon came from a D&D game world? So? You also know that Armageddon use to be a hack and slash game? So the idea for the Armageddon RP game came from a hack and slash game. Does this mean hack and slash games are great examples of RP just because an RPI got ideas from them?
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Old 09-26-2004, 11:14 PM   #92
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D&D has levels, I just find it hard to say that there is any realism in that.

That's part of what I'm calling close-minded.

First, make the realization that any game system, any, is an approximation of reality.  It is, further, something of which the characters in it are typically unaware.  A 3rd-level fighter is not aware that he's a 3rd-level fighter.

What a level system is is a way of representing that certain individuals excel above others.  I am not saying it is the ideal way to approximate such a thing, although I think it's a pretty good one for the purposes of a game.

Let's take two guys.  One has taken a basics in boxing class at his local YMCA.  The second is the heavyweight champion of the world.  I don't think there's anything unrealistic in saying that we could choose to model them as both being members of, let's say, the fighter class, with the champ being a higher level.  It represents in simple, easy to grasp terms, that the second guy can fight better, take more punishment in the ring, etc.

Could you also model that in a good purely skill-based system?  Of course you could.  That doesn't invalidate the level-based model.  At the core of a level-based mechanic is the belief that people improve at what they do with experience.  There aren't a whole lot of people in the world, especially in the professional world, that don't share this belief.  Just look at the experience requirements for nearly any job opening.

Whenever I have seen D&D being played, there is often much more of a focus on killing monsters and gaining levels(which mysteriously make you better at things completely unrelated to killing monsters) then there is to developing a character and a viable world.


This is also certainly true about most MUDs or other similar multi-user games.  You'll notice I'm not trying to assert that they're all that way, which is pretty much what you're doing.

And, finally...

And the fact that the story basis for Armageddon came from a D&D game world? So? You also know that Armageddon use to be a hack and slash game? So the idea for the Armageddon RP game came from a hack and slash game. Does this mean hack and slash games are great examples of RP just because an RPI got ideas from them?

I guess it's easy to counterargue anything if you always just pretend your opponent said something stupid instead of what they actually said.  I'm sorry, that isn't exactly winning me over.

The point is this:  there are a lot of cool stories built up around D&D.  You could almost call it its own set of mythologies.  Now, I'm NOT saying that the fact that there are a lot of cool, rich stories built around the D&D game mean that the game is inherently all about awesome roleplaying.  That would be stupid as discussed above.  What I am saying is that the fact that there are such rich backstories for the D&D worlds indicates that the converse, that D&D is all about mindless monster butchery, is probably not true either.

To look at it another way:  if the unique Dark Sun backstory can be fertile ground for a MUD like Armageddon to become this standout RP MUD, even though many MUDs are hack and slash, it stands to reason that the fertile ground of that backstory also could (and certainly has, as it happens) spawn D&D campaigns of similar standout RP.

D&D, like a MUD, is what you make of it.
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Old 09-27-2004, 12:36 PM   #93
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"Dragon Master" wrote:
A skill-based, levelless system is pretty much required for a good RP mud. A classless system isn't really, but it definitely helps a lot. Also, judging from your comments, Saren, you have never played an RPI before, have you?

This is a ridiculous generalization.

Using our own system, we're class-based, and we have levels. You have skills, which require a minimum level, and they go up through use (dependent on challenge... mashing weak monsters over and over is unproductive for skill improvement). You can advance levels by combat (the most common), exploration, successful commerce, roleplaying, skill improvement, automated or custom-run quests, etc.

All interaction between characters is IC. We have storylines, quests, areas well-suited for "explorer" players, religions, cabals, etc. We've been around for over 10 years, so the storylines often run deep, and our IC libraries have megabytes of stories, historical accounts, etc. All our areas were written for our game, and tie together accordingly. All of these only make sense in a roleplaying environment- why would a hack-n-slash game invest all of those resources?

Now, all the numerical variables aren't IC. If anyone went around saying "I have an 87 in the sword skill", it would be frowned upon, and a staff member would probably talk to them about roleplaying. A character doesn't know they are at 47% movement points... they know they're starting to tire.

All games with automated combat have these kinds of statistics behind them. Good roleplayers know how to interpret these statistics the way you can self-assess your own RL talents. They are a means to an end.

Now, I've seen games that are skill-based and levelless, and the roleplaying was horrible. It was technically enforced, but the game didn't support it well, and the players were boring, slipped OOC when it suited them, and nothing was really going on. Am I supposed to discard those conclusions and say "Oh. But they didn't have levels and called themselves an RPI. The roleplaying must have been good."

We have a strong roleplaying community on our game. The newer players tend to be a little rough while they work their way up to our level of roleplaying, but the veterans range from "good" (stays in character, has a basic role that they stick to, etc. Does enough to stay within our rules at all times, but doesn't go too far out of his or her way beyond that.) to "amazing" (carefully crafted virtual people, with a past, a present, and a future). I've been there a long time, and that's my impression of our playerbase. Am I supposed
to discard those conclusions because underneath the characters, we're tracking statistics in a way you don't like?

Sorry, Dragon Master, but you're taking a very immature stance on all of this. You're trying to boil down an issue with a great deal of nuance ("What is good roleplaying?") and pigeonhole it based on a few arbitrary, reductionist 'laws'. Skills or no skills, levels or no levels, classes or no classes... roleplaying can exist or not exist in any game.
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Old 09-27-2004, 05:53 PM   #94
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Ok, games can have roleplay with levels. It's just that levels are unrealistic and will only cause probelms with roleplay. Why do some roleplaying games have them? Well, these are my reasons.
1. It is pretty much the standard and the mud doesn't feel like changing them.
2. There is a focus on something other than roleplaying(like pk) where levels would provide an advantage.
3. Levels are much simpler to do and the game is not run on a computer( like D&D)

Now, why do levels detract from RP? They are completely unrealistic. Now, maybe it would be possible to make a level-based mud have a realistic level system but I haven't seen it yet. With any level-based mud I've seen, you get levels to get more powerful, but how do you get levels, you kill monsters, maybe solve quests. I can kill a bunch of uber monsters, gain a few levels and be better at picking pockets. But, wait a second, how did I get better at picking pockets if all I did was kill monsters? How do I misteriously learn the "backstab" skill, or whatnot just because I killed enough monsters or solved enough quests.

Maybe a level system could be designed to be realistic but it would need something like a "killing stuff" level where you kill stuff and gain leves that just make you better at "killing stuff" and nothing else, a "thieving level" where you ONLY gain levels by stealing, not by killing monsters and the higher level you are the better you steal... But I have yet to see something set up like this. And gaining levels for good RP shouldn't be done period in my opinion. A player's RP ability is a skill the player has and is therefore completely OOC, this means it shouldn't affect the character's ability at all. Reward the player for the player's RP (i.e. access to cooler races on his next char, etc.), don't reward the character.

In my opinion, for a mud to truly be RP based, the code should be designed to be based on the world, not the other way around. As in, you design a world, then you adapt it as best as possible to the code. You don't code something and try to make a world out of it. When using levels, usually a game takes something that is allready coded and trys to make excuses to cram it into the world rather than looking at the world and coding something different that would fit it. I mean, if somebody wanted to, they can take a completely hack and slash based mud, enforce RP, and create a world based on the existing code of the mud. Would there be RP there? Yes, if the players try hard enough. Would that mean that this mud used a good set up for an RP mud? No.

Roleplaying can exist on any game but not all games are designed to create the best roleplaying setting.
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Old 09-27-2004, 10:54 PM   #95
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It's just that levels are unrealistic

You can keep repeating that all you want. I'm still not buying it.
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Old 09-28-2004, 05:58 PM   #96
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Originally Posted by (The_Disciple @ Sep. 27 2004,21:54)
It's just that levels are unrealistic

You can keep repeating that all you want.  I'm still not buying it.
Maybe you should read my explanations then?

That's like me saying "the earth revolves around the sun and here's how I know..." and you saying "ah, you can keep saying that the earth runs around the sun all you want but I'm not buying it". Maybe you should look at some flaw in my explanation (and not some minor flaw that has nothing to do with the result) rather than assuming I am wrong and saying you won't buy it? Or you could just be stubborn and decide that levels are realistic because your mud has them so you want them to be but I think that deciding you won't change your view no matter the evidence seems to me to be more "close-minded" than I am being for stating a point and giving valid reasons for it.
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Old 09-28-2004, 07:58 PM   #97
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I explained my viewpoint in my first post in this thread, which you chose to ignore. I can't see any point in arguing further given that.
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Old 09-28-2004, 08:29 PM   #98
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Originally Posted by (The_Disciple @ Sep. 28 2004,18:58)
I explained my viewpoint in my first post in this thread, which you chose to ignore.  I can't see any point in arguing further given that.
No, actually I didn't ignore it. I then posted my viewpoint which you are obviously opposed to, you said it was wrong and that I was narrow-minded because, basicly, I didn't agree with you, and then you completely ignored all my explanation. I really don't see a point of arguing any further as it is pretty obvious that levels are more designed for hack and slash then RP (and read my reasons in the previous post before you even think about saying anything about that) and the thread is about class-based vs. non-class-based, I used levels as an example for something and apparently it didn't work for the people who stubbornly persist that levels are best for RP. Well, if you're one of those people and haven't been convinced by now, you probly won't ever be so go back to arguing about classes, I'm tired of arguing, especially since my points are being ignored.
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Old 09-29-2004, 12:02 AM   #99
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Originally Posted by (dragon master @ Sep. 28 2004,19:29)
Now, why do levels detract from RP? They are completely unrealistic.
Sorry, that's not an explanation.
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Old 09-29-2004, 05:18 PM   #100
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Originally Posted by (The_Disciple @ Sep. 28 2004,23:02)
Quote:
Originally Posted by (dragon master @ Sep. 28 2004,19:29)
Now, why do levels detract from RP? They are completely unrealistic.
Sorry, that's not an explanation.
Yes, that isn't. You only quoted part of it, not the reasons I gave as to why levels are unrealistic.
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