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The one goal of all players is to once become an immortal on your favorite mud. That thrives all of us insane; beating that one quest to fulfill your last quest requirement, killing that final big monster that stands in your way from that stupendously high experience level, exploring that last area that-nobody-came-out-alive-yet... We all try to achieve goals. In most muds, you become immortal like this. But what if you are not sure you want to become immortal? Give up all your player rights? Go building areas, new places to go? Most muds have an 'avatar' system of some kind. A system where you can pass the level where you can chose to become immortal and play on forever. But. Err. It _might_ be fun to be an immortal for a while. Can't I still play at the same time? Would that not be ideal? NO! That's what most mud administrations say. You would have an unfair advantage because you can see the code, and learn the secrets. I would like lay down a piece of my mind (and it has been implemented at United Dreams III, sheer coincidence, of course) that might be a nice idea.
A surviving image of Caligula.
It all started with a very good player, whom I was dying to get on my coding staff. He was very intelligent, and through our discussions, I learned that he knew quite a lot about LPC, if not more than me. But! He didn't want to become immortal. He was too attached to playing, and he wanted to keep playing. Right, in all fairness, I could appreciate that; the mud was kind of fun to play in; now that is a nice compliment. But that did not get me that new wizard I desired. Then I started thinking about how to combine playing with building... This is the result (with a big thank you to all the people who contributed to the heated discussions):
When a mortal wishes to become wizard, they can, at all times. All they need to do is send a mail to the law department, and one week after that, they will be quizzed on the workings of the mud (from a mortals point of view!) to ensure that they know what atmosphere is applicable, and how the system works, more or less. Nobody wants a wizard who does not know how to PLAY on the mud in question. Then, (after their promotion to immortal) their playing rights are revoked until they have placed (via quality control) an area into the game. At that point, they can start playing again with a new character that is bound to them via a system that prevents them to logon both at the same time. (A 'second' character.)
I have found that this system works nicely, and gives high involvement in the game and it's growth (both player base and size). One other thing that is very important is the 'bug' system... But maybe I'll get to that the next time.
April 2001 Imaginary Realities, the magazine of your mind.
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