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I am a huge MUD games fans. Though, MMORPG's rising popularity gives text-based games a strong opponents that they can't match.

I started my own MUD engine (codebase) a while ago and I'm now looking for various ideas or features you guys have encountered in various games.

I have come across various ideas so far :

  1. A kind of GTA's wanted stars systems. Guards of different strenghts will comes for you.
  2. The MUD game I'm familiar with do not have the abilities to attack someone in a room foreward. This could be fun when playing a ranged/spell caster class.

Please note that I'm looking ideas for a medieval/fantasy theme MUD.

What else ?

I am aware that there is no good answer for my question and I'm not allowed to post Community Wiki yet.

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I've been on many muds, the only ones with a solid and stable community are ones that have a community which embraces roll playing over all else. Which wasn't a lot of fun for me, as my interests were writing MPI and MUF code for MUCKs. I basically sat alone on a server writing code. –  Incognito Oct 5 '10 at 19:56
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4 Answers

Please include a good crafting system!

I find fighting to be boring and crafting to be somehow entertaining. I know many people feel the opposite, thus the popularity of MMOs like WoW and Guild Wars which focus almost entirely on combat. But please don't neglect to have a nice crafting system in your MUD for people like me. I know I'm not alone! It's just so rewarding to take raw materials and make useful things out of them, even if it's just a game and the actual action of making something might just be a click or a word.

I don't have quite enough MUD-playing experience to know for sure though. Maybe crafting wouldn't be the same in a MUD. If that's the case then just ignore me. :)

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No actually I think its a good idea. I believe buying/stealing/trading a crafted and enchanted wands from a strong mage (player) be funnier then looting it from a NPC. –  Cybrix Oct 5 '10 at 18:43
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I could post quite a few ideas for you to try. Here are two.

Ditch Fantasy

I know that you said that you are looking for ideas about medieval/fantasy, but I would suggest that you don't. If you don't like the topic for which you hobby program, you are not likely to finish it. So I am not telling you to ditch fantasy if it is your favorite thing.

I simply recommend not doing fantasy because it has been done upwards and downwards; especially in the mudding community. Not to mention that there are now plenty of mmorpg's that trod up and down the fantasy path. It will be hard to stand out even a little with so much background noise. Even if you decide to go with a fantasy route, put very unique hooks in to the mix. Then make sure that those are readily apparent.

Meaningful Player Content Creation

I can't stress this one enough. If you create ways for players to create and change the world, then they will feel more invested in the experience. I don't just mean player houses. I am talking about things that the players feel change things.

  • Player driven economies. ie, the best potions, armor, spells are player crafted.
  • Player effected areas. Have ways for players to change areas people interact in.

So that seems a little vague. I will give you an example of what I mean.

A medieval castle building game. All players are given an empire upon start of the game. It is each player's mission to create a flourishing civilization. Everyone's civilizations are reached through a player hub. You increase your civilization through many ways. These include personal questing, reinvestment of settlement resources, and interactions with different people's civilization. Give people a reason to care about their own area. Then give people a reason to seek out the areas of others. Make it so when you see someone elses area, their personality and decisions show.

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you have to be careful with player driven economies. Shattered World had a player driven economy and they drove it...into the ground. –  lathomas64 Oct 8 '10 at 15:59
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Many of the MUDs I've worked on or played have had a basic aggressive/not-aggressive system. Adding faction-based aggression might add an interesting dimension (i.e. maybe Orcs are indifferent to you unless you've killed >100 of them, making you a famous villain to them).

Allowing characters to build castles or strongholds and defend them, or to take/defend in-game strongholds or resources could be interesting if done right. Dark Age of Camelot had an interesting system in that your "side" could get bonuses if they controlled more strongholds than others.

Automappers are often appreciated by players. Advanced MUD clients like ZMUD already have them but they don't always work well. If you have one built into your game engine you could be creative with it.

A scarcity system could also be interesting -- have prices drop on items that are commonly farmed, while the value of items that are not commonly sought out by players goes up. This will encourage players not to always camp the same items.

It's not a new idea, but a "trophy" system where a player gets less experience when they repeatedly kill the same type of creature could encourage people to explore more areas. Most of the MUDs and RPGs I've worked on have had players settle into a comfortable safe area and not bother exploring if they can level easily in one place.

Get rid of Midgard but build a good tutorial zone. Most stock MUD codebases use some version of the "Midgard" zone for players to start in. Having that zone gives veteran MUD players a sense that you're just "another stock MUD", but it's also daunting for people to learn a new game, so give players the option of starting in a "newbie" zone full of tutorial info when they create a character.

If you're doing PvP, it would be nice to have a bounty system: If players annoy one another, let them put a price on each other's head and the other players can take them out for a reward.

Keep score of lots of things and rank them. Every player wants to be the best at something. Maybe Ralik has killed the most Trolls in the game while Elgarin has cast more fireball spells than anyone else. Many of the people who play MUDs are drawn to statistics, so being able to present things that they have done in the game in interesting ways will keep them interested. This has manifested itself in "achievements" in the various online game scoring/tracking systems.

In the vein of the paragraph above, keep track of the quests, zones, or mobs that a player has finished and let them know how much progress they have made toward conquering the game.

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I really like your ideas. I believe the trophy system could easily be attached to your first ideas: the faction-based system. If you have killed alot of Orcs, you wont earn much experience fighting them and you will get attacked everytime you passes by one. –  Cybrix Nov 19 '10 at 20:39
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Don't try to do the same things that a MMORPG does, because you'll be no match. Try to be different.

1) no real time action: that's really horrible in a MUD, people will run away; do everything turn-based

2) a lot of roleplay and narration will help

3) user-created content will be a key feature

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Actually my MUD engine is working differently. There is no turn-based or "cycle". Everyone is in a different thread and while fighting, the speed may vary but there is no background calculating / waiting like all the MUD I used to play. I like your 3rd ideas though. And indeed a MUD is not fun without RP. Edit: I also dont know if each client it's own thread is very efficient. –  Cybrix Oct 5 '10 at 22:41
    
Indeed, each client in its own thread won't scale well at all. You should ask that question in a new question here and I'd be happy to give a very detailed answer. –  Ricket Oct 6 '10 at 4:37
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