Play styles - some thoughts about the mud

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Play styles - some thoughts about the mud

Postby Areandon » Fri Jan 28, 2005 3:44 pm

As people differ so do players. To really succeed this mud should cater to these different player types. Players can be categorized by several methods, but I'll use 2 here, which are somewhat commonplace in game design. One is to categorize people by their drive, another one by possibility. The first categorization are also called the Bartle-types, from the person who first came up with the idea, Richard Bartle.

He described that people are one (or a combination) of four types:

  • Those who seek to interact with other people, or Socializers
  • Those who seek to dominate other people, or Killers
  • Those who seek to learn and master the mechanics of the world, or Explorers
  • Those who seek to advance within the context of the world, or Achievers

Looking at this categorization Toril has most bases covered:
We have a fairly well developed RP sphere which caters to the Socializers, a huge mud that throws a bone to Explorers and a lot of eq to get for Achievers. We cater less to the Killer type. Often these types of players like pkill games, or at least some form of competition between players.

If we look into categorizing people by possibility, or rather the amount of rescources (in this case mostly time) that a player can spend on the game.

Again there are four player types:
  • Players who can devote all their time to the game, the Hardcore players.
  • Players who can devote a few hours every day, the Regular players.
  • Players who can play just a little, but on a regular basis, the Casual players.
  • Players who can play only occasionally, the Ad-Hoc players

Toril mostly caters for the hardcore players, and to some extend to the regular players. There is hardly, if any content for Casual or Ad-Hoc players. Casual and Ad-Hoc are also the largest groups of players, especially for muds. This is not so strange as people who grow older get jobs, relationships, children, etc., that all require time to spent on them. New players will for the most part fall in the Casual category.

If we combine the two categories then we see that for the Achiever and Killer types that are Casual players the mud has hardly anything to offer. All good eq, most zones, and most quests require a large investment in time. More then 4 hours for a zone is simply impossible for most people.

To improve the mud I would suggest we'd do something to make the game interesting to the Casual player, while keeping the game fun for our Regular and Hardcore players.

I propose the following:

Differ more between Solo and Zoning classes
We actually already have classes that cater to the casual players: elementalists for instance, or rangers. Instead of trying to make these classes zonable, we should try to tune further to their solo/small group zone.

Create something to do for the Casual player
There are already some quests and zones somewhat catered to the casual player. A good example is the Sister Knight Cloak quest which can be done with a small group, except for the final fight. A zone like airship also comes to mind. The problem is that almost every piece of eq or quest requires some zone done, or a group which requires a large-sized group. If you have just an hour a day to play, this is impossible. The obvious solution would be to add more quests, and quests that can be soloed, or done with a small group at every step.
This does not neccesarily mean it will get easier to get eq. Rareloads, or delayed loads, and the number of quest steps can still make a quest hard enough to deserve good stats.

Provide with additional means for xp
Let's face it, XP is boring. If I had only little time to play, I woulnd't be here anymore. It would have taken months, or even years for me to even take part in the fun parts of the game, zoning and questing.

We should also provide quests for xp. These quests can be given by guildmasters, or town mobs such as Lord P. They can be solo quests, or group quests attuned to the level of the group. Of course xp quests can be twinked, but so can regular xp. These quests could also be used to put some life into now hardly ever visited zones. It would help people to become better players, and would force people to explore more.

This would make people who play in the off-hours less dependant on others, allthough group xp quests should give more xp then solo quests to promote grouping.

It would be interesting see what type of player everybody is, but my guess would be that just about everyone would fall into the Hardcore or Regular category. Hopefully we can do something for the people that aren't here (anymore) to get them to play as well.


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