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Confessions of a Hack 'n Slasher

by D.A. "Flux" Nissenfeld

I may not be old, twenty-two, but I have been around the block when it comes to gaming, online and off line. Once upon a time I was a pen and paper junkie, and the strategic nature of the games interested me far more than the sheer thought of running a sword through some poor beasts skull, although that was not deterring me. I also engaged in the live-action White Wolf series of games. I always came back to muds though. They were, as Adam Corolla once put it, cheap and easy, and I liked it. It went fast, days happened in minutes. I also did not have to wait until 1 AM on Thursday nights at the local card shop for the game to commence. What was I doing though? I kept trying to rationalize that it was as much role playing as either of the previous two, but I was not playing role playing muds, I was playing hack 'n slash games where my OOC to in character communication ratio was about 10:1. I fell into that, "trying to pretend checkers with my nephew was the same as chess with Kasparov."
A random church

There is a confessional in there somewhere I am sure!

I know it sounds like I looked down on the simple life, and I did. I did not want to realize that I was only playing to grab gear and slaughter minute bits of information. To me it was either role playing or hack 'n slash; there was no grey area. I am hoping that I am not the only one in this boat, even though there is a silver lining to my lightning cloud.

Recently, well in the past year or two, I decided to start my own mud. I found a copy of a code base I liked, EoS, and started working on it to make it my own. Of course I wanted it different, in fact I removed all of the areas and cleaned out the fight.c file just so I could start over with the fighting engine from scratch. While that was not the best idea, I knew that I wanted my own code derivative. Over the years I have changed quite a bit, but one thing has remained the same, it is a hack 'n slash mud. Perhaps my subconscious is too strong, but I could not add, or remove, sufficient code to make it a role playing mud without losing, what I considered, to be the fun element.

That brings me back to the whole point of the matter, what is fun? I am not quite sure about what you may think is fun, but I know what I want in the way of fun. Perhaps that was the last threshold I needed to cross so I could call myself head warden (er IMP) on my mud and retain a modicum of respect for myself. I am proud that my mud is laden with skills and spells and every element centers around the fighting engine in some way. Sure there is politics and a global economical structure and stuff like that, but when it comes down to it, my players are spending nearly 90% of their time online fighting mobs or other players. With that fact in mind, I feel that I should spend 90% of my time making that fighting enjoyable, because if you do not have players, what do you have?

This is D.A. "Flux" Nissenfeld first article but he would love feedback on his article if you have anything to say.