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Old 03-27-2003, 12:18 AM   #1
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For those muds with a limit on levels, how do you keep your players from getting bored and either leaving or causing problems?

Many muds have a top level, and once that's gained there's not a whole lot left to do. Players gain that level, get bored sitting around, and then they'll create anohter character to level and get bored with, or start causing trouble, or leave. How do you prevent that?

I play on a mud where this is common, someone with a lot of time on their hands can level up and remort a character in a couple months. A heroing system slows them down a little, but once they're at the top all they can do is automated questing, which bores a lot of people.

Some people say to introduce a remorting system of some kind is an answer, other say more areas, or questing. Others still say take out the level cap and let people just keep going. What else is there out there?
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Old 03-27-2003, 02:27 AM   #2
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This sounds like a H&S mud, and IMO this is a big problem with H&S muds. If the staff don't continue to include more skills, areas and quests then it gets boring for experienced players. But if they add in new stuff TOO often then it just starts to feel like YAA (yet-another-area) and gets boring.

A way to keep the mud fresh is to have player conflict, which is how RP-muds manage to keep their muds fresh without constantly adding new stuff. If the mud doesn't allow PKing at the lower levels, then allow it at the higher levels and let the players create clans and have wars over territory. That would allow for a lot of conflict and allow for new roles to be created and new tactics to be thought up to win. You don't need to RP it out, but if everyone is at the same level then you have to think carefully on how to win.

Just my 2 'sid *plink plink*
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Old 03-27-2003, 08:53 AM   #3
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I'm really glad you added this topic. I realised 10 years ago that we would have a problem retaining high level players as soon as they did not automatically get the right to become a coder.

I have seen MUDs take various approaches for example, increasing the top level (and stats) to an almost infinite amount, or adding multiclassing to allow you to advance different classes separately. both have the problem that you end up with overly powerful players which have the capability of wiping out half the mud in a short space of time. you then have to create some super large monster to deal with that.

Another approach seen on Zeb and elsewhere is to give high level players mini areas which they can configure. On Zeb we have implemented 'Estates' which can be invaded to cause their owner to drop a level. There are limited slots at each level so you have to do this to advance if they are full. You have to keep playing if you want your top level player to remain at the top.

The mini area has various features, including the ability to run a pub for players, keep money in a safe, set up guards that invaders must kill etc. There is a lot of potential for expansion.

I'd be interested to hear what other approaches people have taken. IMO you can never have enough incentives to keep high level players. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-27-2003, 12:46 PM   #4
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On Seasons, we have an autolevelling system with a very steep exponential incline as nte levels get higher (max 250 player levels). Each race has a levelling rate that absorbs a % of exp toward level, but we also use a skill based training system, and we have elsewhere to spend exp such as stat raising (capped by level, so only at the highest level can you reach your race's highest possible base stat for all 6 stats), player jobs (smithing, merchant, runesmith, etc.) which all have skills that need exp to train and a whole lot more. This is basically a hybrid of skill based training and autolevelling and it worpks this way..

Ex. Human (levelling rate 10%, exp rate 100%) kills a mob worth 100 exp. the exp rate says to give 100% of this exp to the player so he receives +100 free and +100 total experience. now taken separately, the levelling rate says we give them 10% toward a level (NOT taxed out of what was gained), so 10 exp goes towards their automagic-levelling, which is controlled by a formula in all user bodies that uses their level as a function to calculate how much experionce is needed to attain the next level.

The way to keep players from getting bored is to control their levelling to some degree OR give them as many options wherein they can spend experience points while still maintaining a goal-oriented playing style as well as keeping it fun. On seasons, we both control the levelling and give the players options to spend exp on.
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Old 03-27-2003, 03:02 PM   #5
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I've seen a handful of ways to try and keep players interested myself, although all with limited success. And yes, generally I see this problem on hack n slash muds, where role play is all but non-existant.

The best way I've found to keep people interested is to give them something to do, which usually takes it's form in some kind of questor, usually an immortal. However, I've also noticed it's short lived, people log in only for the quests, and then log back out.

I've seen other muds grant immortalhood to the players that have been at the top the longest. While it doesn't really keep them interested, technically it gets them out of the mortal realm, so it partially solves the problem.

I've also seen high level pk put in, one mud I frequent has a highland system. There's a flag for it, and if you're top level, you can fight for it. If you wint, you become the highlander. There's no exp loss or anything like that, and only people in pk can actually fight for it, which takes some of the fun out. It kept people interested for a while.
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Old 03-27-2003, 03:38 PM   #6
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For roleplaying muds and H&S muds both, I find nothing keeps players involved more than inter-player conflict. Your high level players might have maxed their stats out, but if there's some kind of rival clan or group of the same power that they can fight with, they'll probably stick around for a while. Fighting with players, be it through RP or combat, is a lot more fun than fighting with an NPC.

Give people other goals aside from just gaining levels and getting stronger, too. Let them build houses or castles or countries, let them hire/train armies to fight for them, let them go to war with other players over areas.

Another thing is not to neglect your veteran players. A lot of times when a player has been playing your game for a year or two, he has a lot of good ideas for how to improve the game you can use. Make them feel included, listen to their ideas and value their input even if you wouldn't have thought of those things yourself. A lot of times I think the biggest factor is causing a veteran player to leave a game is that they decided the staff didn't like them or didn't appreciate them.
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Old 03-27-2003, 07:56 PM   #7
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On our mud the max mortal level one can attain is 165. This is accomplished by completing 5 classes. Your base class, 3 multi classes and finally your avatar class, which is an improved version of your base class.

Instead of using practices we use Character Points (cp's), which players use to improve individual skills and attributes. These points are useful because once a player reaches the max lvl he can still gain more CP's by xping.

Should a player become bored of XP, theres always:

Coded and scripted Quests, Eq zones to run, nautical code to explore the oceans, Alchemy recipes to brew up, gold runs,pk, 5 continents to explore etc. With our new clan code, we have also added the potential for clan raids and clan wars.

Still, not everything is for everyone, folks will still get bored no matter how much you give them to do
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Old 03-27-2003, 10:42 PM   #8
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I think the important thing to remember is that it's not always your job to keep the higher level players happy. As long as you build the things you love to build then, for the most part, players will be happy to hang around and make their own amusements. Yes, sometimes those amusements will include causing trouble but those people will usually be like that no matter how much you try and placate them.
I think the way to stop high level players from becoming unruly or is simply for the creators in the mud to stay active. Just do the job of building stuff for them and for the most part they'll be content.

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Old 03-28-2003, 03:33 AM   #9
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We are a H&S Circle that encourages roleplay and this topic is very near and dear to my heart. We've enabled a remort system that simulates 300 levels by achievement of 100 levels, pesonalized testing to progress to 101 which allows you to restart at 1-100 again and again until finally level 103. By experience points to earn, testing requirements and redundant kill limiters it's not an easy process even for the so-called 'techno-mudders.'

We've active clans enabled and working on guilding systems but since not a PK, that's a pretty useless functional tool except to create strong alliances and friendships among people both on-line and off-line. Tough zones need groups of mortals in order to beat it, you rely on friends.

We've expanded the world by adding new zones, added in quest zones, limited maximum attainable stats to include hitroll and damroll, <phew> the list goes on and on...

Some of my peers are of the opinion the super mortals (103 Avatar in our case) have won the game, they get their name on a sign somewhere and should either A) recreate or B) go away. I'm sorry, I don't agree with that philosophy and I'm constantly striving to fix it. You just don't throw away a 103 after all that work and you have strong friendships. If bored, you cause trouble OR you power-level friends and multies, often both.

I take it as a personal challenge to try and 'out-think' and 'out-maneuver' these super morts by virtue of enhanced mobs and quests. We've created super zones with the goal being the mobs think and react to the players actions with reciprocal skills and spells via dg_scripts. Interactive, enhanced mobs plus room complexity plus embedded cross-zoned quests for almost 'one-of-kind' types of equipment (by description) seems to have quelled the tides of rebellion so far.

I know it's only a temporary fix and we're working on mort assemblies for spells and equipment to add sort of a MUSH flavor and another way to earn a certain 'unique' status by individual player. My personal project is composite mobs where by all visual indications you are fighting one mob but in reality it can be as many as I wish of varied levels and abilities.

They all hate me now.
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Old 03-28-2003, 11:04 AM   #10
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We allow people to play multiple characters (although with strict restrictions on helping one char with another) and that does help keep people interested - it takes time to play one character in every class up to high level legend.

One thing we have going for us though is that our classes are all very different - and a design requirement for a new class is that it really should do something new. No 'red mages' with different damage messages for the existing spells, or whatever. This means that playing 5 or 6 different characters up to very high level is not repetitive - and in fact just within some classes there is such variety that people have played 3 or 4 characters of that one class to legend.

It was noticable for example when we added necromancers, or even when we completely revamped warriors, a lot of our old players stopped logging on occasionally to chat and started logging on to play again.

Some of our 'power' players have 30+ characters, with 10 or more at legend.

(To explain - we have level 1->19 as normal levels then 20->29 as legend levels, once legend you can never drop down to mortal again)

Another thing as mentioned previously is the constant expansion and new areas. In particular we are doing 'legend monsters' which are more intelligent monsters, or mobile monsters or even massive multi-room monsters. (Or in the really deadly cases all of the above).

One of the latest ones just in final testing now is an Elder Wyrm a mile long, capable of devouring grazing animals whole and smashing even legends into the ground beneath its feet. That keeps people busy for a while, and (if they survive) the kill is worth a lot of xp.
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Old 03-28-2003, 11:13 AM   #11
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I think you have to accept that players come and go, it’s the nature of mudding. After all life changes, people grow older, and you cannot mud for ever… And once you get the feeling that you have mastered the game, once you have killed most of the top mobs and got most of the good equipment and more or less maxed your stats, the incentive for intense playing is gone. No matter how many new levels and remorts you add to the game, this can do nothing but delay this process a bit. Our own players tend to stay very long, but eventually some of them leave, even if some of those that did also still keep visiting us.

Like Illuvatar, we too have a hack’n’slash, ‘roleplay encouraged’ type of mud. We too do our best to provide something of interest for all players to do, regardless of level and age. We have added tons of features, from hazard games to trading skills, our world is so large and our quests are so numerous – (and sometimes so hard)  - that I doubt any player, regardless of how long they played here, can boast of having explored and done them all. But it isn’t enough. They play around with the features, some of them get very popular – for a while. They do the Quests, as long as they get a very substantial reward for them, but no Admin should delude themselves into thinking that players in general do Quests for the sheer joy of solving a problem.

To most players INCENTIVE is everything, and the only incentive that matters to them is basically power. Either power in the form of fighting skills, or ‘political’ power, respect and influence. So as long as there still is any substantial incentive left for them, they may keep making an effort to reach that particular goal. So we try to create a few incentives that are ridiculously hard to get, legendary items that only one or two players have managed to lay their hands on. Or a statue in our Hall of Fame, an honour reserved for the few that do something out of the ordinary. At least this keeps the players that don’t succeed busy – up to a point at least.

Some of our old players turn to Roleplay at the end of their career, mostly as a way to increase the ‘respect’ they get. Some turn to PK, and for a while amuse themselves by killing one another and competing for the Top PK challenge award. Some start to collect rare items, to sell, or just to keep a collection. Some hunt for Quest tokens to buy themselves personalized equipment and crash-proof houses. But once they have a full set of first class personal equipment, a house and maybe a personal vehicle or pet too, what is left as incentive?

So there still comes a point when most players stop to actually PLAY the game. Not all of them leave at that point however. Many of them continue logging on, just to chat with their friends. They may be actively playing several other muds, but most players still have one mud that they regard as home, and that’s where they come to socialise and relax. Some become Newbie helpers, Clan Leaders or run their own Quests. Some turn to building or even coding and become valued members of the Staff. Not all players are cut out to building of course. But zones built by longtime, skilled players are often awesome, because of their thorough knowledge of the world and the game mechanics. But once a player turned to building, they are usually lost as active players anyhow, whether they turn out to be good at their craft or not. Once you have actually SEEN the cogwheels that drive the wonders of the game, the magic is gone for ever.

For a while you can keep your oldtimers amused by adding new features, new skills/spells and new zones. We have some very experienced players who barely show up, except when a new zone or Quest is introduced. Then they suddenly start to be on line for hours a day, just for the pleasure of play-testing that new zone. And if they succeed in discovering any bugs to exploit while doing this, they are all the more happy – (and most new zones, however carefully controlled, DO have bugs that don’t show up until the zone is played on a full scale basis). This play-testing is of course good for the Admin too. WE get the zone tested by some real experts, THEY usually report the bugs after having a bit of fun with them, or we find out on our own by watching them. And after all it doesn’t really matter, since they rarely play the game any more anyhow.

The main problem with old players in a mainly h&s environment is that in time they get very powerful, more so for each remort. This can be balanced pretty easily in the zones, so it is mainly a problem if the mud is heavy on unrestricted pkill. It can also feel a bit discouraging for new players to see how much more powerful the old ones are. On the other hand that also becomes an incentive for the new players, so it is not all bad.

But in my experience the main reasons why people leave muds are social ones, and in this aspect there is no difference between a RP enforced mud or a hack’n’slash one. Social relations are extremely important in a mud, perhaps more so in a small game than in one with hundreds of players on line at peak time. Good imm-mortal relations are vital of course, but even more so the bonds of friendship - or hatred – formed between the mortals themselves. Some players totally lack social skills and consequently make few friends. Others have amazing social abilities, but still manage to totally screw up all their relations for one reason or other.

The worst of the latter kind is the type of player that could be labelled ‘attention seekers’. This type is extremely intense, and tends to wear people out in the long run. They monopolise the public channels, usually informing the world about their frustration over every little problem they encounter in the zones. They generally type before they think. They usually have one problem or another with their char, which they expect to be attended to immediately – if not they whine and bitch excessively. They poke their noses into every problem or intrigue in the mud, whether it concerns them or not. They generally tend to complain and whine a lot, not only about things that happened to themselves, but matters that happened to someone else too. They post long rantings on the boards about things that weren’t really a problem before they started to moan about it. They crave constant attention, and if they don’t get it, they turn nasty.

In the long run they tend to wear the patience out on everyone in the mud, not only the imms but the mortals too, and eventually everybody starts to ignore them, even the ones that originally were their friends. At this point the mud no longer is any fun for them, so they leave. But true to their type they never just leave quietly. They delete their chars as publicly as possible, usually posting long ‘farewell’ notes on the boards where they insult as many of the imms and players as possible, blaming others for their own failings. In the worst cases they also post those notes on public boards.

And usually they change their mind and return a week later, feigning innocence, expecting the imms to restore their chars to former stats, and getting very upset when the persons they insulted a week earlier don’t receive them with open arms. In some cases they recreate under new names, but usually expose themselves within a few hours because of their general pattern. And then of course the entire circus starts all over again. So in this case the problem isn’t really players LEAVING the mud, it’s their inability to stay away.

Perhaps in some cases people leaving the mud isn’t really a bad thing…
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Old 03-28-2003, 01:38 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by (Molly O'Hara @ Mar. 28 2003,11:13)
I think you have to accept that players come and go, it’s the nature of mudding. After all life changes, people grow older, and you cannot mud for ever… And once you get the feeling that you have mastered the game, once you have killed most of the top mobs and got most of the good equipment and more or less maxed your stats, the incentive for intense playing is gone. No matter how many new levels and remorts you add to the game, this can do nothing but delay this process a bit.
But why stop at just adding more content? Why not add more depth instead? Add new systems that interact with existing ones, allowing for emergently complex behavior among the players and player organizations. Trying to keep players infinitely entertained with the old loot n' level mechanic is a losing battle. You can't make content faster than the eager little buggers can suck it up.

I mean, if this is all that entertained players, our company would have been out of business a long time ago. Our hack n' slash mechanics are crap. We've never bothered putting much effort into them. Granted, they're better than just typing "kill monster" but they're not very good. There's almost no equipment to be gained from killing monsters either so that equipment-collecting ladder doesn't exist to climb.

...And yet our average customer on Achaea plays 35% longer than an average Everquest account. Hard to pin down precisely why that is, but considering Everquest has just about the best loot n' level ladder around, it's pretty clear that you do not need to make that sort of gameplay the focus of your world in order to entertain players.

I really think it's all about orthogonal game systems rather than trying to tack on new content to a single game system. You can add new monsters and equipment forever, but not as fast as the players can consume that content. Of course, more content and more depth is the way to go, but if I had to choose one, I'd choose depth over content.

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Old 04-08-2003, 12:32 AM   #13
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I always prefer to limit players power, I do not like players who become so powerful that they can only be stopped by another "super" char or npc, some power yes, lots no. I like to limit the amout of skills they can take and how much, so you can get a "jack of all trades, but master of none" or someone who has saved there pracs to allow them to become a master at one or two skills. For example

Bob has spread all his skill points out among many skills, so he can track, pick locks, use a sword, axe and dagger. He can backstab and ambush. He knows how to set traps, sneak and hide in cities AND in the wilderness, he can ride, trade, navigate a boat ... and so on. BUT he is only competant at these things.

Jack has concentrated on a few skills, he can competently pick locks and pockets, trade and track, but he is an an expert at sneaking and hiding in cities, as well as using his dagger, and is a master of ambush and backstab. He has no clue about boats, swords, axes. To him all trees look alike, and if food cannot be bought or stolen then he goes hungry, BUT if he catches Bob in town, bob will die, even with his sword and other skills, he is merely average when compared.

NOTE: this is a ficticious, off the top of my head example, but it does demonstrate what I prefer to find. When I was a high level player (the uni shut down the MUD ) I kept playing since I could never be sure of my position, there was always a challenge, since even though as a thief, I was among the best, one of the high ranking guards could eat me alive (if he could find/catch me), as such it was always a bit of a rush, to try and get that "last big score" before I left town.
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Old 08-02-2012, 10:18 PM   #14
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Re: Keeping Top Level Players Occupied

Thanks very much for this topic... this is something we have struggled with for a long time, going from uncapped years ago (with then a strict group of players that were too powerful for anything or anyone), to a capped system where players then get bored, and adding a new area every now and then just isn't feasible to keep up with demand. Some great ideas here... definitely from experience though, the best thing is to have something dynamic that they can do - like the conflict listed below, guild wars etc. Or some system that requires play to maintain top level.

Someone listed means below to restrict levelling; a large exp curve, skills and etc to spend exp on... we've tried these and they work temporarily, but sooner or later they get back to the cap and they're still bored. Without something constant to do (either maintaining level or interacting with others) they still tend to get bored...

Last edited by nienne : 08-02-2012 at 10:20 PM. Reason: more to say!
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Old 08-02-2012, 10:34 PM   #15
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Re: Keeping Top Level Players Occupied

Why not mine these top players for input and suggestions for exspanding the MUD?

Not only make it interesting for them, but for the rank newbie's as well.

Darren Brimhall
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Old 08-03-2012, 11:11 AM   #16
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Re: Keeping Top Level Players Occupied

What is it lately with necroing threads from around 2003-2005? Just curious here. I'm not going to say don't reply or anything--but if it's this old, and it's going to get brought up again, maybe it deserves a new thread.
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