[MUD-Dev] Curing skill spam (was: Moving away from the level base system)

Scatter scatter at thevortex.com
Thu Dec 28 19:50:52 New Zealand Daylight Time 2000

z032383 at students.niu.edu wrote:

> Let's give an example of a teleportation spell. How often does a
> player need to teleport in, say, 10 minutes? Generally, the teleport
> spell is not used all that frequently, as it takes a lot of mana,
> and you just don't need to be hopping all over the world all of the
> time.  Let's say the game keeps track of how many times player
> "Bubba" has casted 'teleport' in the last 10 minutes. . . 25
> times. In fact, the mud realizes that those 25 times took up over
> 90% of the player's mana pool in the last 10 minutes (this could be
> estimated, or you could keep exact track of mana, etc). So now the
> mud says, "No, I don't think so, you must be spamming!" (Not to the
> player, it's talking to itself! ;)) So now the mud takes away most
> of the points earned in teleport over the last 10 minutes, AND it
> puts a hold for two hours or so on gaining any more skill points in
> 'teleport.'

What are you trying to achieve by blocking people from making use of
the system you implemented?

That comes across a bit blunter than I intended, let me expand. You
(generic you, not you personally) designed and implemented a system
where players increase their skills by using them. Why? The usual
reason is game-world realism (the world feels and works more like a
real place than it does with artificial constructs like experience
points. The player's can increase their skills by practicing them,
just like in real life.

In real life, you might be bad at playing a certain piece on the
piano.  What do you do? You play it over and over until you've
practised it enough to get it right almost every time.

In the game, suppose you're a mage who has just learned a teleport
spell.  Wow, you think, this'll be useful in a jam. But it's a new
spell to you and you're bad at casting it. In a tight spot, you need
it to work first time, no fussing. What's the logical thing to do? 
Practice it until you get it right, almost every time. And hey, you're
playing a game with a learn-through-practise system - cool! All you
need to do is practise teleporting.

Yet you seem to be saying that as soon as the game spots you
practising the spell, it should wipe out any gain you get from
it. This seems to me to be contrary to the whole point of advancing
skills through use.

What is the objective in preventing players using the system the way
it seems to be designed to be used?

The only reason I can see is that you don't want your game to be
automated by the players. Again why?

It would enable them to advance too fast? All you need do is balance
the skill gain accordingly. For example, base the gain on how long you
spend doing something rather than how many individual times the thing
is carried out.

It's unfair that some players can automate and not others? Level the
playing field - provide scripting facilities server side.

You don't want unattended clients hogging resources or causing the
game to appear to have anti-social players? I don't have a flip answer
for this one, but some techniques spring to mind. Most notably, make
it risky to run unattended. You can arrange events that would be no
real problem for a human to deal with, that are beyond a scripted

Food for thought, perhaps.

Scatter ///\oo/\\\
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