Wednesday, October 24, 2012

No Replacement for the Real Thing

I think I may have lost interest in the MUD I was playing.
While I initially saw it as an approximation of fantasy gaming, I was sorely mistaken.

-As I mentioned, people tend to run their characters through scripting programs. If the game is so repetitive and game play is so unsatisfying that most people run their characters on programs most of the time, there's a problem.

-Zero roleplay. Nobody plays in character and the NPCs have incredibly limited scripts, often that don't seem to work the way they're supposed to. While you can interact with the other players, they speak of the game only in game terminology, and often in such heavy game-related slang that the game, already abstract in nature, become so abstracted as to become a meaningless wall of ASCII text.

-Zero immersion. Players generally name their characters thinks like Mr. Stupidface or Iluv TheLakers or Dark Darkness.

-Quests are few and far between, often level dependent and far apart. You get your first quest at 10th level, but you aren't eligible for another until you reach 15th level. The levels in between generally consist of wandering whatever level appropriate area you can find and just killing the same monsters over and over until you level. To the game's credit, there are at least several level appropriate areas per group of levels. Most of the game consists of an endless grind until you get something worthwhile to do.

Edit: I guess I should add in a bit about what I was expecting. Given the non-graphical nature of a MUD, plus a healthy dose of rose-colored nostalgia, I was thinking that perhaps the player base of a MUD was a more imaginative sort of creature who liked to read descriptions and imagine the game in their head a la tabletop gaming. I thought the MUDs would be a reasonable approximation of D&D and similarly styled games. I suppose it was foolish of me to think that modern games that have graphical interfaces somehow stunt imagination and that textually based games somehow promote imagination. Online games are a different entity than tabletop games, even when they wear the same clothes. You can play an Elf Mage in AD&D and on a MUD, but there really isn't anything in common between the two experiences besides the involvement of the words "elf", "mage", and perhaps "lightning bolt."

I wonder if a certain amount of disappointing play experience at the tabletop comes from players who assume that MMOs and tabletop games are similar play experiences and vice versa. That's another can of worms for another night, however.

2 comments:

  1. If you want a more role-playing intensive experience, I'd recommend checking out some of the games over at Skotos.net. The environments are what I'd characterize as a hybrid of MUD and MUSH, good systems in place to regulate play but definitely an emphasis on social interaction.

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  2. I walked into a Gamestop the other day and a guy was bragging about all the games he had played, to include D&D, another gentlemen there asked if he was referring to the table top game, the braggart informed him, no their is no such thing.

    I shook my head and moved about the store anyway.

    Needless to say I have found very little in the way of rolplay in my experience "online" both in Muds or MMOs. Even on the much vaunt "Roleplay Only" servers I see very little roleplay and more leet speak and silly names than anything else.

    ERIC!

    BTW, nice blog!

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