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<  MUD and Game Theory  ~  Player Development: from noobs to explorers

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 3:06 pm Reply with quote
Member Joined: 22 Dec 2007 Posts: 247
[Warning: lots of opinated self indulgent waffle to follow.]

Allright so i had this idea to write a short listing on my views on player development. It'll probably get a bit wordy at some points and i'm open to anyones opinion so feel free to contribute. Before i start i need to define a couple of terms, from my persective and how they will be used in this post.

Understanding in this sense will refer to a players understanding of how a mordor muds game engine actually works, more specifically tmux's. This dosn't mean that they understand the code, but they have a grasp on how to map an area, how to work through a monsters talkfile, how fight, control their allignment use a shop, navigate through doors, unlock things etc. In short it is all the soft skills that a player could acquire playing a mud similar to tmuxes.

Knowledge in this sense is the hard facts that are relevant only to tmux. Knowledge consists of knowing exactly where to find certain items, what to trade to who, what potions do what etc.

Presence is the sum of how much a force a player can exert in the gameworld at a point. It is the combined total of their weaponary, equipment, spells, character level and abilities, and their skills as a player in battle.

Newbies: are new players
Adventurers: are medium players
Explorers: are advanced players

From mud we come, to mud we return...
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Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 3:31 pm Reply with quote
Member Joined: 22 Dec 2007 Posts: 247
Ok so the main questions that this thread aims to answer are as follows:
When do newbies end?
And how do players develop.

Every player who beings playing tmux is different. Some will have played an older version of mux, some will have played some other muds, some will have no experience whatsoever. Typically most new players start as newbies. What exactly is a newbie? A newbie is a player who has yet to gain thorough (but not complete)understanding of the game systems. Most newbies grasp fairly quickly how to move around and how to start (but not always win) combats. Over time they tend to improve their soft skills and learn search, trade, hide, and mapping skills. In order to graduate from the newbie classification and move to adventurer status it is neccessary to compete this understanding and gain a mastery of player soft skills.

Once a newbie grasps the core soft skills they have the potential to adventure and quest independantly of others, and can function effeciantly as a player. They may not know a lot about specific trades, but with the core skills they have acquired they can eventually find this knowledge, given time and motivation. At this stage they become adventurers.

It is interesting to note that under this defination a player who had NEVER had played any version of tmux can create a level one character and jump straight to adventurer status. This is only possible if the player creating the character has had extensive experience in similar mordor muds which have already given him the neccessary core soft skills to survive and thrive in a ulterly new environment. Such a player already understands how to work within the game world and as such is not a newbie.

Most players fall into the adventurer class. They understand how the game works and typically work on either improving their knowledge (through questing and exploration) or their presence (again through questing for better gears/spells or through levelling.) They may not know a great deal about specifc details of tmux initially but over time, if they are persistant they will amass a wealth of knowledge. Adventurers could be further subclassified according to the amount of knoeldge they have accrued but this will not be discussed here.( at least not by me.) Adventurers span the level range and the knowledge range and are perhaps the lifeblood of any mud.

The very best adventurers graduate from this group to become explorers. Explorers are players who have amassed large amounts of knowledge and have a strong presence. This does not mean that an explorer has discovered EVERYTHING, (a feat IMHO which is impossible) but instead has completed a vast array of quests and has typically turned their attention to less central pursuits, such as levelling secondary characters, socialising, playerkilling, or chasing obscure quest details.

It is difficult to draw a defintive line as to where adventurers end and explorers begin. Partially this is due to their not being much difference betweeen and average explorer and a very good adventurere and partly because of the vast array of possible player drivers at the more advanced stage of player development. EG: some adventurers will chase down every scroll in the game, and make that their top priority whilst others will only pursure those of interest to them. (resist-disease is useless to a barbarian/mage combo) Perhaps the defining feature of an explorer is not only a thorough knowledge but also an alternate drive to those typically shared by adventurers?

Anway that's my 3 cents.

From mud we come, to mud we return...
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