I’ve made video (you could find it below) about top 5 current problems in MUDs gamedesign. As my English could be hard to understand sometimes, I’ve also made short summary of stuff which I said in my video:
1) Most important thing in MUDs – reading game locations descriptions. It give you feeling of ‘diving’ into this magical worlds. Text descriptions creates pictures in your imaginations which is better in terms of ‘graphics’ then the most advanced 3D games.
The problem is: there is no time to read locations description when you come to the location where you have to fight monsters. In most cases monsters attack you immideatelly which doesn’t give you time to read and imagine – ‘where are you’.
Lets take pretty logical algorythm from real worlds – when we come to the new place we first look arournd and see surroundings. After we got this initial information – we could start to perform actions.
In MUDs it’s vice versa. We come to the location and first we see that something attacked as. We push different buttons and put commands to survive. After this, ok, we could try to read the description of the location. THIS IS WRONG.
1) show the location description _before_ you actually appear in the location. It’s like walking into it for certain time (could be implemented like subtitles in films, which shows gradually)
2) OR… make monsters sleep for 10-15 seconds
3) OR… add text-to-speach engline which would read descriptions when you appear at the locations automatically. Actually it still better to combine it with #1
2) Full-filled mappers. Currently this tools really ruins the game exploration experience for new players. I would say that ‘ready-for-use’ mappers which includes all locations from the start is quite like cheating tools and should be prohibited.
It’s huge fun to have exploration experience in online RPGs. Mappers in MUDs should work this way: they have to uncover new locations which player visited only; not to show everything in the game from the start.
3) Grind. Big problem of MUDs gameplay – the way of progress character via grind (killing the same monsters in the same conditions) on 1 place. It’s boring. Player should not stay in one place, but explore while killing monsters.. Get different encounters, traps, puzzles, treasures, gather resources & etc. Diversity and multi-variaty of encounters – the key to make interesting MUD gameplay.
4) Scripts. It’s a cancer of MUDs. All kind of scripts – semi-afk or automatic – they all ruin gameplay and destroy interest of gameplay. Please don’t confuse it with macroses (when you could assign certain action on hotkey) – it’s totally different and legit thing which just make game control easier. But scripts are different – they play the game instead of player. The only thing left for you – to customize them and reassign you ‘bot’ from one location to another.
Keep away from it. Ban for it. Check capcha. It’s what make RPG-elements in MUDs pointless. Yet another answer to bots is ‘diversity and multi-variaty of encounters’, adding events to the game which real person would be able to solve more effectively than bots.
5) Interface. MUDs gamedesigners should rework their interface, add there more interactive and visual elements. Everything should be clickable, make it possible to play with mouse only.
Another part of interface: add visualization and audio effects. Text descriptions in MUDs should be always in priority, but if there is sounds or tiny illustrations available – it won’t hurt, but help players imagination to ‘render’ locations in their head, help players to dive into MUD athmosphere.
And finally – text-to-speech interface. MUDs are ideal games for voicing EVERYTHING. Also it could be not only automatic text-to-speech, but voice acting made by community.
Thats it for now. Hope to see your feedback!