[MUD-Dev] Moving away from the level based system

John Vanderbeck agathorn at cfl.rr.com
Wed Dec 13 09:03:45 New Zealand Daylight Time 2000


----- Original Message -----
From: "rayzam" <rayzam at home.com>
To: <mud-dev at kanga.nu>
Sent: Wednesday, December 13, 2000 1:46 AM
Subject: Re: [MUD-Dev] Moving away from the level based system

> Okay, I can see that. But will it take a lot more sword swinging to
> up your strength from 20->21 or 9->10. In other words, is the power
> derived from the attributes linear, and hence their increase also
> linear? Or is either nonlinear/exponential? In terms of determining
> how big your batteries are/etc, it seems like it'd be linear power
> based on stats. However, if the power of the spells by the cost
> isn't linear, then you're actually gaining nonlinear power even with
> linear stats. This isn't a large point, I'm just trying to
> understand the system more, because I like the concept :)

Oops Sorry.  I actually had meant to answer this in my previous post,
but must have forgot.  At the current time, Primary Attributes are in
the rough range of 6-36 (rouch because it is based on race), and the
curve is pretty close to exponential.

<SNIP>

> In this system, the player just chooses and joins the guild [after
> performing a joining quest, and having the correct
> prerequisites]. By appearance, it seems the same as yours. The nice
> benefit of your system is that it's determined by actions/usages, so
> you can't act one way and then join something else. Actions speak
> louder than words. Of course, it seems to also mean you can't give
> up a career and switch to a new one [and the RP aspects of
> that]. I'm not convinced that your disciplines isn't the same as a
> level system, it's just not a linear level system within a single
> homogeneous class, i.e. Necromancer goes from level 1 to 75, and
> every level 50 Necromancer is basically the same. Which is a good
> thing :)

To a large extent, you are right, you can not decide halfway through
life to change where you are on that tree.  A Caster can't become a
Warrio, and a Warrior can't become a Caster.  However, and I haven't
finalized this yet, but I have been considering in game quests that
might allow you to move a little bit within a sub tree.  Say a warrior
who specializes in Swords, experiences some tragic event and decides
he's never going to use a weapon again..can he then do something to
move to say a wrestler or monk?  Perhaps.  I think there would most
likely be penalties involved though.  He would most likely give up
ever returning to where he was, and would probably incur penalties in
his new position.

<SNIP>

> Aha! This is a very key point in your system that wasn't in the
> original post. Now that makes a lot of things clearer, and removes
> some of my later comments, because its not truly an open skill/spell
> system. Abilities in a spell are also based on usage. Hence its more
> like a skill-based system affecting both skills/spells and
> attributes, in a classless system, where the Discipline per se is
> determined by a variety of these factors. It's sounding more like
> Champions/Hero rpg in many ways [have you ever checked it out?].

Never seen either of those.  I will take a look though.  You hit the
nail pretty much right on the head as to how the system works.  Your
actions decide your characters fate, and with the more flexible
backbone I think it will result in very different characters.  But
more than that, since your character grows into a role that you are
naturally playing, it will promote (I hope) better roleplaying.
Functional Roleplaying as I have heard it called before.  Raph Koster
mentioned it, but I don't remember his quoted source.  It wasn't
something I had thought of before, but when I heard about it and ran
it through my design, I realized that my design seems to promote it
rather well.

> It's very cool that the more you use a spell the cheaper you get to
> cast it. But how can you cast a more powerful spell? Like if a spell
> requires a certain amount of points to cast [before you have any
> experience with it], then neither of the 2 casters could cast it at
> all, before 1 could cast it a lot and have a cheaper cast. How doe
> the 'spell types'/specializations work in this system? If you
> practice magic missile a lot and are very good at it, is your cost
> for magic bomb, magic icbm, etc decreased too, even though you've
> never cast them?

Yes, because of the "spell types", as you grow in a certain type, it
makes it easier to cast others of that type.  The types aren't
completely worked out yet, partly because I can't decide how to
classify them.  Do I use more conventional divisions like D&D with
Conjuration, Evocation, etc, or with a more literal breakdown such as
Fire, Ice, Illusion, Healing, etc.  Regardless though, if you focus on
a certain area of spells, you receive bonuses, and those bonuses will
make it easier for you to cast other spells in that area for the first
times.  Note that there is a >VERY< key point to be made here.  You
must FOCUS on a certain area for bonuses.  What this means is you
can't just have one spell in a certain type, and cast it a million
times, then expect to get bonuses in that whole area. No.  Focusing
means that a large portion of your spell base is in that area.  No
numbers yet on how large a portion, but probably something like
20%-30% of your overall spells.  This allows you to focus on multiple
areas as well.

<SNIP>

> The first post that I inferred to mean it was only based on
> attributes led to that. With skill-use based skill advancement,
> spell-use based effects, spell groups, Disciplines determining
> access, then it's really a large mix, with many things affecting
> advancement, than an attribute-based advancement. Because of that,
> it seems less likely it'd be homogenized, unless in actual practice
> players find some power imbalances, in which case they may gravitate
> to specific endpoints. That is, if one group/type of spells is more
> powerful or more useful, it'll get used more, and that makes the
> next level of specialization easier to achieve, funneling characters
> into specific roles. It's equivalent to something in neural net
> designs wherein the functions [of many variables as this], when run
> through, may reduce to a series of local minima, even when the
> initial or early values encompass all the available
> space/variance. So the hard part will come in balancing it across
> everything, which is the rub in any system..  > Rayzam

Yes, if there becomes a funnel point, then my entire system is , well,
basicaly destroyed :) That is why I expect, if I ever get this thing
out of a notebook and into a MUD, I will be spending a VERY long time
balancing everything, and once it is all balanced, I will be very
afraid to ever add any new spells and Disciplines. Wich, by not doing,
in itself could be a bad thing.  The world becomes more stagnant and I
have to focus on content instead.  The lessons of EverQuest have shown
players may not accept that, and instead will insist on constant
"class" changes wich I don't think I could provide without the chances
of serious backlash.

I originally wanted to do this as a graphical MUD, like M59, EQ, UO,
or AC.  But as I am just one person, and have been working on code off
and on for like 4 years, I doubt it will ever come to be.  Perhaps I
should just step back and realize that while >I< may like my design,
it isn't going to go anywhere.  But I still like it :)

- John Vanderbeck


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