I've been pondering a redesign of our MUD's light/dark system. Our current system accommodates new players by simply not saddling them with being unable to see should they happen to wander outside of a populated area at night. I would like, in redesigning the light system, to stop making accommodations. I take the accommodations as a sign the system is less than ideal for everyone.
I appreciate the way visual games are afforded to handle this; we can generally see the area around our character, and in some cases can obtain bonuses to the radius within which we can see. I haven't been able to come up with a good way to port this concept to a MUD, at least without a concept of relative position that our current code-base just doesn't support. If we didn't have multiple player sub-classes based on the darkness they can create, I would be inclined to make it so all players can see the room they're in, get rid of torches, and be done with it.
I've spent a few hours searching and have failed to dig up compelling discussions on the topic. I'm sure they exist--I find it hard to believe the topic hasn't been aired somewhere. I'm curious how others would approach a light/dark system needing no exceptions for newbies, while still being able to accommodate classes, such as the undead, which need darkness (indeed, part of their power comes from their ability to keep others from seeing.)