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The Forest Trail
The luscious green forest lines the path. At the south end of the pass a mountain looms, standing tall over the trees. To the north the spires of the city of Midgaard beckon. A cold silent wind sweeps down from the mountain. The birds in the trees stop the chirping and watch you.
[Bubba Chats] Anyone know the SW for the Mountains?
Beautiful things in out of the way places.
Ugh, how many times has this happened to me? Times to numerous to count. Here I am embroiled in the search for the very mountains that Bubba has asked for. He simply wants it handed to him, and someone will. And all the time I spent looking for the path and following all the twist and turns will be for naught. Who am I? I am an explorer. What do I get from most games, No Respect. Sure your mud is one of those new fads. An Rp mud. You reward those of us how fight by giving xp to killers. You reward those of us who like to sit in the town square and role-play. But what about me, that fourth suit? (Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades: Players who Suit a Mud)
Well since many of you do not know anything about me let me summarize what Dr. Bartle says:
ii) Explorers delight in having the game expose its internal machinations to them. They try progressively esoteric actions in wild, out-of-the-way places, looking for interesting features (ie. bugs) and figuring out how things work. Scoring points may be necessary to enter some next phase of exploration, but it's tedious, and anyone with half a brain can do it. Killing is quicker, and might be a constructive exercise in its own right, but it causes too much hassle in the long run if the deceased return to seek retribution. Socialising can be informative as a source of new ideas to try out, but most of what people say is irrelevant or old hat. The real fun comes only from discovery, and making the most complete set of maps in existence.
Explorers say things like:
"You mean you don't know the shortest route from <obscure room 1> to <obscure room 2>?"
"I haven't tried that one, what's it do?"
"Why is it that if you carry the uranium you get radiation sickness, and if you put it in a bag you still get it, but if you put it in a bag and drop it then wait 20 seconds and pick it up again, you don't?"
How does your game reward me? In most cases it does not. I am the minority. I am also the one, you will be proud to know that can bot your game. Just recently I had someone tell me that they were amazed at how I had reverse engineered the way that a system in the game worked. In a couple short nights I can work my zMud wonders and create a bot that can power-level, power-quest, and fool Immortals. Sure in the process I may be helled, I may get caught, but I am going to beat you. So maybe instead of trying to stop me, give me a reason to go out and explore, give me a reason to try and discover your game, the mechanics and how it works.
Let me start off with one of my favorite types of exploring, Map Exploring. Sure, we are the ones that are responsible for most of the SW's in your Mud. Hey we are always on the look out to make shorter ones, but give us some in game advantage to not share them or if you want them, to go out and find them. My favorite way of doing this has been travel points. They work much like quest points. You travel around the world and at places randomly determined by the TP's you gain a TP. TP's are invisible objects that have an attached program that gives you a TP. That program then reloads a new TP some place completely random in your world.
This method has worked on quite a few muds to encourage players to go out and explore the world and not just rely on SW's. Now most of these muds have made it so that you could not level without finding x amt of TP's per level. Do not do this. You are no longer rewarding me, the Explorer, you are punishing everyone else.
Other ways to encourage me, the explorer are quite simple. If you are running a game with crafting skills, do not tell all the players what you need to use to build such and such item. Let me create a database of the materials and items, let me discover the way that they are combined. It will reward me. Set things like discovered bits to all of these things. And if it is not discovered, and I do discover it, give me some experience! That is what I am talking about. I want level by doing the things that I want.
So if it would not be too much trouble, and if you would not mind, could you design a little something for me, the explorer. Oh, sure I will play your game if you do not. But, beware my boting skills will be utilized, and I will beat you.
March 2001 Imaginary Realities, the magazine of your mind.
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