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Old 09-13-2004, 07:55 PM   #1
karlan
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Thumbs down

AAAARGH!!!!

I have run into things like this a few times, sometimes on an otherwise good MU* as well. Maybe it is just me, and maybe I am being too picky, but...

1) Why did I find a Star Wars MUD with a dwarf in it?
2) Why is there a gnome city in a Wheel of Time MUD?
3) Why are there elves in a Helliconia MUD?
...and various combinations, the WoT and Helliconia ones have both got elves, dwarves, gnomes, other species/races that where not even hinted at in the stories. Part of the reason for a themed MUD was to be immersed in the story. The star wars one in particular was bad, I found myself in Midgaard, renamed Mos Eisley, with a jedi dwarf fighting a stormtrooper armed with a bronze short sword, near a statue of Obi Wan Kenobi.

Some of those are quite high up on the rankings as well. I am not saying they are automatically crud, but I would like to know why they admins have felt they needed to go outside the bounds of the story?

*Grumble* If you want elves and drawves and such, play a generic(ish) high fantasy MU*, if you want to say based on the books by... do not abuse the story like that, or at least call the races something story appropriate and come up with a good background.
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Old 09-14-2004, 05:09 PM   #2
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Exclamation

Sometimes it can be quite hard to keep things in theme. We try pretty hard but often there's player pressure against staying in theme.

The Discworld theme does not have Tolkein elves, Discworld elves are vain, nasty and very allergic to iron. So we don't offer elf as a player race.

Even so you come across players "roleplaying" Tolkeinesque elves. So we smile and let them get on with it.
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Old 09-14-2004, 05:20 PM   #3
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I think there's something of a difference between what your players do (which you have only limited control over) and what the administration chooses to do. If someone wants to play a Tolkien-style elf when it' snot appropriate, there's not much you can do about it unless you're willing to force them to roleplay how the administration thinks is appropriate.

On the other hand, dwarves running about with lightsabres is pretty #### stupid. I suspect, though, that this isn't a result of the admins REALLY WANTING dwarves with lightsabres and more a function of the fact that they don't have the time, competency, or drive (pick one or more) to flesh out a world that is consistent with the fiction they've chosen to use.
--matt
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Old 09-14-2004, 05:51 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (the_logos @ Sep. 14 2004,16:20)
On the other hand, dwarves running about with lightsabres is pretty #### stupid. I suspect, though, that this isn't a result of the admins REALLY WANTING dwarves with lightsabres and more a function of the fact that they don't have the time, competency, or drive (pick one or more) to flesh out a world that is consistent with the fiction they've chosen to use.
--matt
I have to agree with you on this. It seems to me that from that the mud wasn't a "ooh wouldn't starwars be cool with dwarves?"(which only a pretty odd person would think) but more of a let's take a stock mud and make it starwarsy but not finish making all the changes before releasing it.
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Old 09-14-2004, 11:38 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by
...let's take a stock mud and make it starwarsy but not finish making all the changes before releasing it...
It definately felt that way, I regularly pull out a copy of stock CircleMUD and mess with it. I recognise midgaard when I'm in it.

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...I suspect, though, that this isn't a result of the admins REALLY WANTING dwarves with lightsabres and more a function of the fact that they don't have the time, competency, or drive...
Also true, but it also boggles my mind why you would taint a good story background (like WoT, Helliconnia, Thomas Covenant (if anyone knows of one please tell me)), by adding in something totally unrelated. Putting modern weapons in a medievil setting is possible to handle story wise, maybe people have regressed a bit after a distaster or something, but the only remotely dwarf like people in the WoT universe are short human miners (I am sure there must be some), but they are not a different species.
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Old 10-09-2004, 07:37 PM   #6
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It's a sad fact that some people sets up MUDs they aren't willing to spend time developing. Like you I'm a person who prefer 'clean' muds in this respect. I can't understand these people either.

As for why some of these muds actually manage to draw a player base, well I've thought long and hard about that myself. On the one hand it's obvious from polls on various mud sites that most people (or at least most of those who vote) prefer a levelless/classless mud that provide a good roleplaying environment. The puzzling part is that the muds that actually qualifiy for this rarely manage to gain a large player base.

So we have a large gap between what people want and what they do. Perhaps they are waiting for the ultimate mud to appear, and settle for something mediocre in the meantime? Perhaps they just SAY they want the above because it's politically correct, while they really just want to pkill newbies? Or perhaps the majority of players never voice their opinions publically, so that we really don't know what most people are looking for?

As you can see I don't have any answers either, but if you find some, be sure to let me know!
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Old 10-09-2004, 09:37 PM   #7
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Player perception as well - those who play the game as they envision it should be (versus the way it was 'designed to be played') will encounter things they feel do not fit, and vehemently object when things they expect to encounter do not appear.  Eventually folks start voting with their feet or resign themselves to ignoring that particular set of anachronistic electrons.  Either way, the game loses core credibility.. a result no designer or imp wishes.

I'm against arming orcs with AK-47s alongside medieval citizens wielding pikes and maces. If I encounter a 30-lb longsword, I cringe and retreat to the closing credits.

If a player chooses a game based on a published standard, tied in concept to a book or series, their level of expectation is established by what they know of that book or series. If they don't find a crucial character or environment, or at least hints that said element exists, they find their suspension of disbelief and, ultimately, their immersion diminished.

Quite a few years ago, we ditched the Midgaard Mentality in favor of our own original theme and story.  Doing so has freed our builders from the need to retain someone else's pre-established expectations. As a result, our areas must justify themselves in terms of our original storyline, but they do not have to stand in concert with the limitations of someone else's copyright. Players who explore the areas and wilderness encounter layers of depth which we would not be able to instill into a game based on someone else's publication without displacing that suspension of disbelief.

As far as being willing to spend time developing.. well, we're into our fifth year of development and, while quite playable, we're still developing. We're classless but not levelless.. but there is no level limit. We are still working on a clean way to address levelless while maintaining the quantification so many players seem to wish.  Much as I would love to host a huge playerbase, and perhaps someday will do so, I'd almost rather host a small playerbase of highly immersed individuals than a massive playerbase of bored ones whose main source of entertainment comes from yelping about orcs with AK-47s or dwarves with lightsabers.
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Old 10-10-2004, 01:52 AM   #8
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As others have alluded to, the game is not probably the result of its creators going outside of their theme so much as their inability to shape the game to their theme.

This is probably the result of one, more, or all of the following:

1. Lack of effort on the part of the game's designers to create a world which makes sense. Thoughts were acted upon without the time to create a rationale for why they would be.
2. Lack of creativity on the part of the game's designers to create a world which makes sense resulting from reliance on stereotypical concepts.
3. Lack of skill on the part of the game's designers to modify it from its stock base.

As I've said before, most MUDs are crud. It takes some searching to find those rare MUDs that aren't.

Take care,

Jason
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Old 10-10-2004, 02:05 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (prof1515 @ Oct. 10 2004,00:52)
As I've said before, most MUDs are crud.  It takes some searching to find those rare MUDs that aren't.
I'm curious .. why do you say this?
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Old 10-10-2004, 04:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Fern @ Oct. 10 2004,02:37)
If I encounter a 30-lb longsword, I cringe and retreat to the closing credits.
You don't like muds with giants?
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Old 10-10-2004, 08:40 PM   #11
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I like giants just fine - so long as the weapon the giant is wielding is set properly for the giant.  A 30 lb longsword that can be wielded -only- by a giant which, when it drops to the ground, can't be retrieved by the human player.. that sort of attention to detail I admire.

What I object to are the 30 lb longswords that any ol' human can pick up, wield and actually fight with.  That wrecks my suspension of disbelief.. (that, and dwarves with lightsabers)... and makes me wonder if I should come back after balancing is finished.
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Old 10-10-2004, 09:16 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by (Fern @ Oct. 10 2004,19:40)
What I object to are the 30 lb longswords that any ol' human can pick up, wield and actually fight with.
What about pirates?



I think it's OK for pirates to wield huge swords, because pirates are awesome.

Quote:
Originally Posted by (Fern @ foo)
That wrecks my suspension of disbelief..
It's a good thing my enjoyment of games isn't limited by my belief in the game world. "A plumber that warps through giant pipes, spits fireballs and can grow? The people will never buy it!" Well that's my view in a nutshell. If it makes your game more fun, do it. Keep in mind that consistency of setting is one of those things that makes games fun, but in other cases the breaking of setting consistency is enjoyable too. It all depends.
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Old 10-11-2004, 05:46 PM   #13
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That cutlass seems fit for cutting boats in half! *chuckle*

As for the 'suspension of disbelief' discussion, I agree that there is a balance here. I (like many before me) like to see this in terms of realistic vs cinematic. All realistic makes the mud boring and wrecks the gameplay, and all cinematic makes you disbelieve the MUD world. Sometimes it's necessary to go in the cinematic direction to make the game more fun and playable, but the important thing is not going too far. The definition of 'too far' is naturally open for discussion.
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Old 10-12-2004, 01:00 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (karlan @ Sep. 13 2004,18:55)
AAAARGH!!!!

I have run into things like this a few times, sometimes on an otherwise good MU* as well. Maybe it is just me, and maybe I am being too picky, but...

1) Why did I find a Star Wars MUD with a dwarf in it?
2) Why is there a gnome city in a Wheel of Time MUD?
3) Why are there elves in a Helliconia MUD?
...and various combinations, the WoT and Helliconia ones have both got elves, dwarves, gnomes, other species/races that where not even hinted at in the stories. Part of the reason for a themed MUD was to be immersed in the story. The star wars one in particular was bad, I found myself in Midgaard, renamed Mos Eisley, with a jedi dwarf fighting a stormtrooper armed with a bronze short sword, near a statue of Obi Wan Kenobi.

Some of those are quite high up on the rankings as well. I am not saying they are automatically crud, but I would like to know why they admins have felt they needed to go outside the bounds of the story?

*Grumble* If you want elves and drawves and such, play a generic(ish) high fantasy MU*, if you want to say based on the books by... do not abuse the story like that, or at least call the races something story appropriate and come up with a good background.
Being a huge Wheel of Time fan, this was one of the driving reasons why I decided to start Tarmon Gaidon -- I was sick and tired of encountering 'drow elves' and levelling my Gaidin in ####...

That said, and speaking from the standpoint of an implementor of a MUD that has stuck very closely to the books (and managed to stay open these last 8 years) -- Doing so has been costly. While our MUD has one of the truest renditions of the world of the Wheel of Time, our player base has remained rather constant over the years. We stay at or around an average of 9-14 players online at any given time.

Making the decision to stay true to your theme is a continous process -- you will often times second guess your decision and weigh your player base against it. How your mud turns out in the end will be a testament to your commitment to theme and story. Your player numbers may suffer in the end, but will your player base thank you for it?

--
Rhuarc
<a href="telnet://wotmud.tarmongaidon.org:5000" target="_blank">Tarmon Gaidon</a>

"The Truth is out there, I just haven't compiled it yet."
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Old 10-12-2004, 08:17 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Caius @ Oct. 11 2004,21:46)
I (like many before me) like to see this in terms of realistic vs cinematic. All realistic makes the mud boring and wrecks the gameplay, and all cinematic makes you disbelieve the MUD world.
I've never thought of it that way. I look at suspension of disbelief as requiring internal consistency. For example, it is consistent that a plumber can throw fireballs etc because he's eating magic mushrooms that cause him to do so.

In Lusternia, we've been trying to make sure everything we create has a reason for being there. It can look stupid at first, or over the top, but if the reason that it is like that is explained believably, then it becomes more congruent with the game world. One example is a floating head mobile. Stupid on its own, but when you realise it's the floating head of an elfen who was killed by the Taint (a sort of mutagenic cloud that turns things into undead and monsters) it suddenly begins to fit the world.

Of course, you'd need a lot of explaining for dwarves with lightsabres. Although wasn't Yoda just a dwarf with a backstory?
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Old 10-18-2004, 03:42 AM   #16
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Thumbs down

Possibly lost a bit of focus here, in Super mario anything, the character is able to throw fireballs because that is a perfectly valid action that Nintendo have added in the context of the world Nintendo created, the fireballs are within the scope of the story,...

... but if I went and made a Super Mario MU* claiming it was based on Nintendo's World, and threw in a F******* blue hedgehog, and a Numemorean (sp?) Ranger who wielded a 40W Phase pulse rifle (think terminator), then it would be safe to say I am well outside the scope of the world I am claiming to be based upon. Forgotten Realms and related TSR stuff are easier to allow for unique races and such, because they are inside the scope.

When a MU* is claimed to be based on a litterary work, with a well defined world (Some people claim this is one of the problems with RJ's Wheel of Time, he devotes a lot of time to minutae of the world), and then step outside that scope is what was giving me the irrates.

If in the earlier mario example you instead claimed it was a sonic, super mario bros, terminator hybrid, it would be more acceptable, lame, but at least you are stating that you've taken a story and butchered it.
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Old 10-18-2004, 08:30 AM   #17
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Ho ho ho, I think we lost a bit of my point with the whole Mario thing. The point was that enjoyment is not limited by the belief of the system. A plumber shooting fireballs and warping through pipes is silly no matter how you try to justify it with consistency and expectation. Frankly all of this is within the scope of the story because the designers wanted it to be -- no real reason is given nor is any required.

In nearly every subsequent game Nintendo has broken its series consistency by adding and removing features to come up with something fun. There are no hard and fast rules like "thou shalt see no blue hedgehogs" or "thou shalt not allow non-pirate humans to wield 30lb swords". The one and only question is "does it make it fun?"

Quote:
Originally Posted by (karlan @ foo)
If in the earlier mario example you instead claimed it was a sonic, super mario bros, terminator hybrid, it would be more acceptable, lame, but at least you are stating that youve taken a story and butchered it.
Ever hear of Super Smash Bros? Yeah, it was a pretty lame game. But lots of fun.
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Old 10-18-2004, 11:01 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by (Yui Unifex @ Oct. 18 2004,12:30)
The one and only question is "does it make it fun?"
True-ish... but it's sort of like saying 'well, in Star Trek they can visit worlds with any sort of alien'. There are still a lot of rules to keep the Mario games and worlds together. If someone were to make a Mario MUD, for example, seeing topless babes or killing zombies with machine guns would be breaking the Mario world consistency. Would still be fun, of course
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Old 10-18-2004, 08:24 PM   #19
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Arrow

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Ho ho ho, I think we lost a bit of my point with the whole Mario thing.
actually it was right on point, and you demonstrated it well, if nintendo decides it is appropriate to add a blue hedgehog to their world, well it is their world, but if someone else adds it to a game based on thier worl, they cannot claim to be true to the original world, I am not debating that adding an elf race to helliconia might improve the level of 'fun', but it totaly *** F**** the world as described by Brian Aldiss, my problem is more that it is claimed to be a <Insert Developed World with Storyline> MU*, but we added some other stuff, don't add the other stuff, or don't call you MU* a <Insert Developed World with Storyline> BASED MU*, maybe put somewhere it is inspired by the original story, but please, please, please do not claim it is remotely true to the original vision.

This obviously has levels, a MU* based on forgotten realms has a lot of leeway, there is sooo much room for interpretation, The Wheel of Time however has a rich and well documented world and history, there has never been a drawvern city mentioned, or even hinted at, Stormtroopers have never ever in any of the books or movies or games, EVER worn a bronze breastplate, or broadsword.
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Old 10-19-2004, 08:22 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by (karlan @ foo)
I am not debating that adding an elf race to helliconia might improve the level of 'fun', but it totaly *** F**** the world
Who cares how many asterisks savage the world, as long as the game's fun?

Quote:
Originally Posted by (karlan @ foo)
my problem is more that it is claimed to be a <Insert Developed World with Storyline> MU*, but we added some other stuff, don't add the other stuff, or don't call you MU* a <Insert Developed World with Storyline> BASED MU*
Why not? It's an accurate description. If you want to tell them not to call it true to the original vision that's fine, but I have no issues with mud owners exposing what their game was originally based upon.
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