From: Danhiel Baker (
Date: 07/05/94

Mathue Moyer explains:
| Hmm..... haven't thought this through yet, so there may be some glaring
| problem(s) with it, but how about this:
| Give newbies, say, 10 coins....  and have them start in a shop that sells
| _VERY_ low-level equip for 1 coin per item.  The room would need to be such
| that it could not be accessed by any players who haven't just been created....
| I'm too tired to think much right now, so be kind if there's something stupid
| about this idea.  ;)

  Creative solution :)  I like it, personally - right up there with choosing
your own stats for player-choice.  I really do think that this is a very
feasible way around the starting item problem.  It would allow newbies to
choose X number of items to start with, and the shopkeeper could even be
rigged to buy and sell at the same price so as to be more forgiving of
mistakes (ie, if JoeNewbie buys a dull dagger when he wanted a tarnished
longsword then he could just sell it back without losing any choices).  This
shop could be in a starting area that is only connected through a one-way door
to the rest of the mud (couldn't be too hard to make newbies start somewhere
different from dead players, could it?)
  Personally, I believe that such items should be inferior (and obviously so,
in terms of item description and item 'look' descriptions) to items that
newbies would find available to them in the game itself.  Ideally, decent
starting items would be accessible in the game itself without having an
area so... contrived (yes, I know, it's fantasy - perhaps "out of genre/
spirit/theme" would be better, all IMO, of course) as the Warg-Fido Breeding
Grounds, or worse: a 'MUD-School', with special newbie items emblazoned with
the mud's name *puke*.
[[You hear a harsh scraping noise as Derkhil drags his much-abused soapbox
across the floor.]]
  At least if it's going to be a _MUD_ School then it should have helpful
tips about playing the game instead of room descripts and pathetic 
creatures waiting to be slaughtered.  The character can earn experience
just fine once the PLAYER understands the game.  Heh - lord knows that I
was a clueless newbie when I first MUDed, oh-so-long-ago on Copper I!  I
hadn't a clue where the Temple was in relation to other things, and only
the basest idea of how to communicate; I read the help pages - interrupted
and scrolled by shouts&tells&goings&comings - and was finally snatched up
by a _group_of_newbies_ that were feeling nice and needed an extra sword.
They figured out that I was totally lost and helped me out, buying bread and
water (in cups, from the Cafe ;) and letting me beat (bare-handed) on the 
spiders and such in (the old exp-and-gold-laden) Arachnos.  Eventually I
learned (despite my character being merely level 7; at the time, level 20
seemed years away [there were a alot less of them then, and it was something
you worked for]) what was going on well enough to solo (though I did manage
to accidently attack a party member with a name beginning with 'L' in Thalos;
I had never seen Lamia before, and it was a bit fast-paced...) and explore
on my own.
  The point of these nostalgic ramblings is that IMO players don't need
'Gimmes' beyond a good supply of bread and water (which could even be simulated
by setting their hunger/thirst to higher-than-max values... assuming it doesn't
get cut off at some 'top value') and a good help file.  I don't understand why
someone would want to start at some level above 1 in any case, really, and
having some 20+ level character titled 'loves to help newbies' leveling new
players and giving them dwarven axes or whatever nice-yet-abundant-and-not-as-
nice-as-the-BEST item can be had is most certainly NOT the solution either.
  Assigning a god as 'greeter' ("Hi, welcome to Wal-MUD. Have a nice day!" ;) to
clue in newbies and make sure that they understand what's going on is a good
way to handle new players, as is re-assigning the start room to someplace that
cannot normally be reached and putting a board, some information, and maybe
an ascii map (or a description of the basic layout of the world) in it for
study by the newbie.
  I know that "experienced players" - ppl that have played other muds - are
generally the ones that ask for "newbie packs" and starting gold; *true* 
newbies are too clueless to know that they are entitled to a MUD-handout
("It's not a hand-out - it's a hand-up", right? ;) and will likely struggle
along (perhaps enjoying the challenge, perhaps becoming frustrated...) until
offered aid.  High-level "Newbie Helpers" have spolied the 'experienced'
players that are simply starting-anew at lev 1; these "experienced" players
never learned how to actually earn the lower levels themselves, and many
have never bothered to explore beyond the 'juicy' areas that will level
them most easily.  I think that this undercuts the idea that MUDs are social
*games* - I personally think that exploring the world and learning how to
survive there (ie, what to avoid and what to find where) is more the purpose
of the game (and more fun, at least for me) than the power-trip of bashing
halflings in the Shire with Jupiter's Thunderbolt and cackling gleefully
while trying to impress new players.
  I'm a purist - I liked the Zork games and I like fantasy;  I don't like
to see people getting handouts so that they can skip "the hard parts" and get
straight to the senseless slaughter and power struggle without worrying about
how the world is set up.  As a player, world architect, and X-Imp, I hate to 
see players kissing up to high level players rather than playing the game and
'earning' their items (which is why I think that true "limited items" is a
good idea) and their experience (which is why I think that grouping restricts
and/or group exp functions that take level into consideration are a good idea).
Ah well... I guess it's "more realistic" if you must kiss butt to get anywhere
in the virtual world too, eh?  At least they're preped for Immort-hood, eh? ;)
Just think of it this way, Imps - if they begged and sucked up to get their
mortal levels, it's unlikely (well, yeah, I'm generalizing, but I'm summing up
my soapbox ranting by flaming lazy players and dead-weight immorts, so it's
ok, right? ;) that they'll do any different to try to get those all-powerful
and important Immort levels -- and just try to get them to do anything but
poof around to chat *grin*
[[The soapbox, having already burst into flames, now explodes.  Derkhil, 
grinning like a scoundrel, wipes ashes off his clothes and gets back to


| Danhiel Baker // Derkhil CatSpawn         /) /)     Fade away
|                       ( o o )    into the
|                    = x =     ethereal grey...
| Work: 542-0123  Pager: 369-2781          m     m    
+-------------------------------->       ***(=======-

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