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Old 08-19-2013, 05:23 PM   #1
ww_crimson
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Help Files ... What style do you prefer?

As many MUDs are, we're in a constant state of updating our help files. We've recently added MXP and I love having the ability to link help files with the SEND tag.

What I'm struggling with is maintaining an RP perspective with our help files, while also including important information. How much mechanic / math type info do you guys include?

Here's an example of one entry in a helpfile:

Firewitch's Seance: Mysticism has it that this stance in praise of the Goddess of Fire, Firewitch, allows the user to regenerate themselves.


Users want to know how much it regenerates per round of combat, if the skill % affects the regeneration, what the base cost is at low skill % and at high skill %, on and on and on. We're happy to include some mechanic type information in our help files, but at what point do you draw the line?

Here's one with a little bit more detailed information:

Parademia's Bile: A stance to honor Lord Parademia by increasing the damage done (+5 base, +20%) and bringing forth his acid bile against one's foes.



Just looking for input on what you guys do.
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Old 08-19-2013, 08:09 PM   #2
Jazuela
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Re: Help Files ... What style do you prefer?

Numbers often get lost on me, and distract from the point. I know that my opinion is not the common one though. For your Parademia's Bile, for instance, I would want to know if casting a stronger version would increase the damage done, or increase the chance for a critical hit. But I wouldn't care what + it was, or what percentage increase of the crit. It'd just confuse me.

So that "what" is important to me, and the "how much" less important. If a spell, cast with a higher stats, lasted longer, or hit harder, or protected better - I'd want to see the superlatives. If I really wanted to know the numbers I'd do some experimenting and figure it out.
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Old 08-19-2013, 08:49 PM   #3
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Re: Help Files ... What style do you prefer?

Show me the numbers! For me it is easier to RP things in character, if I know and understand the numbers behind them.
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Old 08-20-2013, 03:06 AM   #4
flbellman
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Re: Help Files ... What style do you prefer?

Basically, I think it depends whether the Mud has a strong PVP character. In that case, I would rather have all the information as possible. So I would vote for your second option.
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Old 08-20-2013, 05:40 AM   #5
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Re: Help Files ... What style do you prefer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ww_crimson View Post
What I'm struggling with is maintaining an RP perspective with our help files, while also including important information. How much mechanic / math type info do you guys include?
Lots, although I don't run an RP game. But I generally favour a bit of flavour-text followed by the technical details. When I ran an RP mud with simple mechanics it was around half and half, but now I run a non-RP mud with complex mechanics so there's far more crunch than fluff.

For the more technical aspects of help systems, you might find this thread of interest.
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Old 08-20-2013, 10:20 AM   #6
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Re: Help Files ... What style do you prefer?

Thanks all for your input

KaVir, thanks for the read -- I'll check it out as soon as I can.
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Old 08-21-2013, 12:53 AM   #7
Achon
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Re: Help Files ... What style do you prefer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ww_crimson View Post
What I'm struggling with is maintaining an RP perspective with our help files, while also including important information. How much mechanic / math type info do you guys include?
One criterion for importance could be based on the frequency of inquiries
regarding a particular question [FAQ criterion]. If only one or two players have
ever inquired about some peculiar detail relating to a game mechanic, it
doesn't seem reasonable to subject (and potentially confound) more typical
players with extra verbosity or esoteric information.

Less common (or relevant) information can always be included as a reference to
an appendix, or a more specific or technical document, which seems pretty
standard.
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Old 08-21-2013, 11:38 AM   #8
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Re: Help Files ... What style do you prefer?

I prefer to access this kind of information on a website.
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Old 08-21-2013, 01:18 PM   #9
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Re: Help Files ... What style do you prefer?

From a designer standpoint, I prefer to stay as in character as possible and give simple explanations of how things work. Not everyone is into seeing numbers. It can take the mystery and adventure out of things if you aren't careful. There's a lot of excitement in not knowing what your next spell will do.

The people that are into mechanics will test and figure out every combat formula you've done anyway. In my experience they usually compile this information and share it with other like-minded players as well.

So yeah, really depends on which crowd you are catering to.
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