- Markshire PCs:
Keep in mind the goal of MS. RP and realistic environment. It is ment to be taken SLow and painful, that /is/ how life is, slow and painful to get ahead. You have to pick something you can handle and need to do before you can just go off and do what you want to do without reprocutions. Get your ducks in a row, learn to handle life.. then adventure. Powerleveling through isn’t the challenge, it’s toughing it out through the slow hardships the frozen wastelands provide. You gotta wok hard and long to survive, if your going fast, your cheating and the peasents will despise your noble snooty ways.. 😆 What I am getting at is going fast limits the RP avenues and door options. Going slow and having many hardships presents more drama options and more CDS and more time between levels to get things done. For me, not being a D&D start-up into gameing but a Nintendo junkie found the light of Baulder’s Gate… I see levels int he RP world as like an age. And you don’t age twice in a day, or in a week…. No way you can have soo much life experiance in one day to be that much better/stronger/smarter for the long term.
I have to say Opi; that the reason you stated is not why MS has a steep grind. You create a step grind to better RP only when you are too inexperienced to understand the side effects (and in the name of full disclosure, those of us who were principals on Etillica made exactly that mistake). It’s not to say that there are many RP worlds who don’t do this, but the ones that do are doing it because they are not looking at the whole picture.
First, an academic diversion…
I’d like to draw your attention to Nick Yee’s Dadelaus Project, specifically his player motivations article. It is really worth reading the whole article as it is considered landmark work within the professional MMO design community. In a nutshell, he wanted to know if the classic Bartle model of player types was really an accurate picture. Everyone and their monkey has taken the bartle test at one time or another and it is reasonable to ask whether empirical evidence supports Dr. Bartle’s anecdotal observations about there being four player types. To do this, he created a questionnaire that was filled in by 40,000 players of virtual worlds. He then sifted through the answers looking for statistical correlations so that he could build models of player profiles and motivations. One of the many conclusions he draws is that there are ten or so motivational categories that fall into three basic categorization families: Achievement, Socialization and Immersion. The motivational categories within a family correlate with one another, while the motivational categories do not correlate between families. In English, this means that if you like ganking people, you probably also like keeping score, while your interest in socializing is quite unrelated to either ganking or keeping score.
It should also be pointed out that Nick Yee’s player motivations model is quite different from Bartle’s four player types. Yee and Bartle have criticized each others’ models. The principal differences are:
- “killer” and “achiever” types seem to be the same people (achievement and competition correlate) according to the Yee player motivations model.
- Bartle’s four types lump roleplayers in with socializers, while Yee’s model maintains that roleplay is a distinct motivation pattern that falls in the immersion family.
- Yee could not initially find Bartle’s “explorer” type until he changed his analytical methods. Yee’s model puts the roleplayers into the same bucket as the explorers.
The takeaway – Whether or not someone likes to roleplay is completely unrelated to whether or not they like to grind. This is an important point. One roleplayer may like the sense of achievement in a long grind while another may see it as an annoyance.
The” chronologically old” characters being the most important/powerful/etc. is a desirable thing for a hardcore RP world to have. There are a number of ways to do this, but most require you to choose whether you want an achiever element. The two most common methods in the NWN community (where you are working within D20) are simply having a very low XP payout per kill as MS has or having a high payout, but with a low weekly XP cap. The downside to these two methods is that they tend to play to the extremes of the achiever score. The former is commonly used when you want to make score keeping an important aspect of the world. If you have a system where perks come with avatar capital (xp and loot), then there is a subtext saying that the creators of the world see achievement as important and reward for it. The latter is used when scorekeeping is not an important aspect of the world. You can’t appeal to achievers and non-achievers at the same time. The achievers will get annoyed if they don’t get any xp for hunting and the non-achievers will be annoyed if they feel forced to grind.
MS takes an achiever friendly approach of course. It is a world that appeals to those for whom keeping score is important and are serious roleplayers. There is a German world (I forgot the name, it’s been ages since I talked to the lead) that gives out XP at the full PhB rate, but caps it at 2000xp per week. Yes, it takes two years to get to twenty and no, farming 24/7 won’t get you a single day faster. I had suggested something along these lines for The Gate (some of you may know what that was), but it received a generally negative reaction on the grounds that it would be “boring”. Boring is in quotes for a reason. MS is geared toward a combination of achiever/roleplayer. From what I recall of that discussion, I’d say that MS was built by people who score high in both categories and the “elder” players also fall into that category. At the time, it never occurred to me that roleplayers could have such differences in their liking of scorekeeping and I simply considered everyone else clueless and not ready to make the jump to a “better” RP experience. 😛 The fact is that people simply differ in what they like.
So there is my analysis on the long march effect on MS. That turned into quite the tangent… What was the discussion about again?