Re: The PerfectMUD? Just an opinion

From: Project Leader McCoy (
Date: 10/31/96

On Thu, 31 Oct 1996, Michael Steinmann wrote:

> > Here's my list of BAD things in a MUD:

> > 4. Little or no storyline

> I have one problem with the above list, and that is number 4 on the 
> list.  The MUD really should not have a storyline, unless it is a 
> history, the mud should BE a story, not preplanned quests and things 
> to do, the actions of the people should be the plot forming element.  

You misunderstood me a little.  (It's my fault, I was trying to be brief.
I won't do it again.  (If this is brief, what's lengthy?))  There should
be no *storyline*, but there should definitely be something to *do*.  I'm
talking about the MUDs where you log on, look around, and there's nothing
to do.  You can go kill a dragon.  Whoopee.  I want more from a game than
dragon slaying.

I agree that the actions of the people should form the plot - but that
won't happen.  Most players aren't really interested in forming a plot,
especially if they aren't being paid for it, so they'll just wait for
someone else to do it for them.  (It's the American dream.)  Give players
a goal to work towards, and about fifty subplots to keep them busy until
they're ready for the big one.  That way, it's possible to enjoy the MUD
in two ways - one for having other people help you out on your quests, and
one for being able to do it all yourself.

> I see this with too many areas these days.  People build a specific 
> idea into the area, such as kill the big bad dragon in a cave thats at 
> the center of the mountain.  What if the character doesn't want to 
> kill the dragon?  What if they want to just go through the mountain to 
> get to the other side?  

Then they're welcome to do that.  I'm not suggesting a *required*
storyline.  I'm just suggesting that one be offered so that interested
players can fulfill quests, gain treasure, and so on.

Let's try a better example.  The land is being plagued by horrible demons,
led by a demon overlord of some kind.  You don't *have* to go out and kill
the demon overlord.  You can go help him, if you want.  Or you can just
ignore him cold.  But if you want something to work towards, it's there.
If the players decide to make it interesting by allying with the overlord,
that's fine.

These sorts of things give a MUD depth, with or without players.  Again, I
don't want signs telling me exactly what to do, but some kind of quest or
adventure or whatever might be nice.

> I think the world files should just be that, a 
> world.  The word "Storyline" to me means linear plot, and thats no 
> fun, if you let the characters form their own events by their actions, 
> it also makes it entertaining for the admin to watch (it gets quite 
> boring knowing what will happen before it happens).

I'd normally agree, but MUDs are very limited in most respects.  It'd be
really difficult to code something that'll do as you suggest and give the
same depth as even a loose storyline.  You'd also need about twenty or
thirty *extremely* dedicated players to stay on most of the time to keep
the atmosphere right.

You don't even need a "major" quest.  Bunches of little ones will do just
as well (and in a MUD scenario, will work better).  Let's say some player
wants this really great sword - call it the Daemon Sword.  The only way to
get it is to make it himself, by caging a demon in a sword made out of
this rock which is black and has bizarre effects on magic.  (I hope I'm
not breaking any laws here or anything...)  Anyway, this blackrock can
only be found in a certain part of the world, and you need a gemstone, and
you need to visit a volcano/forge to get the stuff made, and you need to
find a demon and trap him (not kill him) somehow.  Thus, you go on a
"quest" to get the sword.

Or let's say you're walking down the road outside a city and you come
across a couple of NPCs who are moaning about how they were just robbed by
a band of mercenaries.  You tell them you'd be happy to help and rush out
to find the brigands and bring them to justice, and the NPCs are so happy
that they tell you where to get a special spell, but there's this dragon,
see, and you might want to ask the healer how to get past ... and so on.

Nobody's forced to go on these quests, but they're fun, and you get
rewarded at the end so that it won't seem totally worthless.

Well, I've written too much... valete!

                          "The human brain is like an enormous fish --    it is flat and slimy and has gills through
                           which it can see." - Monty Python

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