Over the past few weeks it has become obvious that most people don't exactly know what plans the immstaff has regarding the MUD. This has caused friction in the past when decisions made by the immstaff were met with criticism from people who did not understand the reasoning behind these changes.
This page attempts to explain the general ideas that the immstaff currently has on basis of which most of our decisions are made.
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The Prophecy Codebase is, as should be the case for any active MUD, under constant development. New features are regularly being considered for implementation, while current mechanics are under review to see if they're in need of changing.
There are no major new features under development currently.
Most current mechanics are being reviewed to see how well they scale to the current Prophecy environment.
Prophecy is based on ROM, which is based on MERC, which is based on DIKU. ROM has a maximum player level of 60, DIKU has a maximum player level of 40. Prophecy allows up to 91 levels.
This increase in levels has also meant an increase in equipment stats. The problem here lies in the fact that the original code might not be able to cope with the new stats. The original designers might have had a certain maximum in their heads while writing the code, which does not scale up when player stats exceed that maximum.
Changes have been made already and will be made in the future. While these changes will most likely always affect balance on the short term, the immstaff believes that in the long term, players will adapt to the new way things work. If things are too much out of balance, we will make small changes, logically.
Saves have recently undergone a major change where the effectiveness of your saves score on both succesfully casting spells and succesfully resisting spells has changed. There might still be some tweaks necessary, but the result has been that it can be very beneficient to invest some time in finding eq with extra saves on them.
Before this change, saves were essentially functional up to about -40, anything below that was just a waste of eq stat points. Right now, we see a distinct difference when two people fight where one has -104 saves and the other -85.
Reses and vulns, one of the mechanics that not everyone is familiar with. Shortly put, a resistance vs. a certain damagetype will lower the amount of damage you receive from that type, while a vulnerability vs. that same damagetype will increase the amount of damage you receive.
Currently, builders are not allowed to create any new eq with resistances, while vulnerabilities are still allowed. This is because resistances function as an on/off switch at the moment. Either you are resistant vs. some damage, or you are not.
A more sensible way of handling resistances would be to have them work as a numerical score. That is, the more resistance you have, the lower the damage you take. This has several effects.
- It will be possible to wear multiple items with resistances and have the effects stack.
- Wearing an item with a vuln is no longer that bad since it would just lower your resistance score instead of making you totally vulnerable at once.
- You can choose to wear items to have a lot of resistance vs. one damage type, or a general (but lower) resistance against multiple types.
Even with only one resistance on a piece of equipment, it is currently possible to become totally resistent against all types of damage. We believe this isn't how resistances should work.
With the new system, the way should be open again for builders to create new equipment with resistances, which will then just be listed as costing a certain amount of points on the eq points system. This will hopefully result in people being able to create their own preferred equipment set, based on their own preferences and playing style.
Currently, your class mostly dictates your eq and through that your optimal align. In the new res/vuln system, your play style determines what eq you want to wear. This brings more variety into the game.
Armor class is yet another example where the current MUD has far exceeded the expected levels. It is currently quite possible for a stock lvl 91 character to reach -900 AC (spelled). This has resulted in mobs in older areas becoming easier and easier to kill, which also has to do with the way AC currently works.
At the moment, AC works mostly as total hit avoidance. This means that, for example at a certain AC level, 90% of attacks done by a mob will miss , the other 10% of attacks will hit and for considerable damage. A more logical way for AC to function would be to have it act as hit reduction. In that case, most attacks would hit, but each attack would do quite a bit less damage. Overall this change might look trivial, but we believe that it will bring AC back to more manageable levels.
Areas and items
The immstaff strives to promote creativity and originality when it comes to new areas. While it's allowed to take inspiration from existing areas, direct copying of ideas, items or mechanics is frowned upon and will in most of the times be disallowed from implementation.
When it comes to miniquests and rareloads, we search a balance between keeping things challenging for the players and the age old adventure game problem where you just had to randomly try all combinations until you didn't get a "You cannot do that" error message. We try to have things "make sense" without making things too easy.
On a similar note, rareloads and miniquests should be carefully planned out. A builder should ask him/herself, do I want to have a quest/mob that takes 3 minutes to finish/kill and has a reward percentage of 5%, or should I make a quest that takes 30 minutes to finish, but has a reward percentage of 50%? The latter case takes more effort to set up, but while it makes the total expected effort required to obtain the item pretty much identical, the actual effort will be less tedious and will probably eventually feel more rewarding.
Similarly, building equipment should not be about making a "better version of" existing equipment, but more to give people a choice between pieces. Align restrictions are a very important way to introduce equipment variations, but a builder can also choose to create an item similar to an already existing item, but with a different distribution of attributes. Equipment should more be a case of personal playing style and less a case of "Every melee character should wear (insert item here)".
Prophecy still has a few areas left that are part of "stock" ROM, that is, the original area files that came with the first installation of the server. Amongst these are Thalos, Miden'nir, the Haon Dor forest and the old Marsh. These areas currently still exist because they are major area hubs. A lot of areas link to these. Our goal is to eventually be able to remove all these old areas.
For this, the relinking project has been started. The current MUD doesn't correspond to the layout of the Belgariad world at all. You walk east from Sendar to Tol Rane (isn't Tol Rane to the south ?) and from there on it's only a couple of steps to Cthol Mishrak and Mal Yaska. This is definitely unwanted.
There are several older equipment pieces that are in need of review. This goes both for items that are underpowered to a point that nobody will use them anymore and items that are so good that there's currently no incentive for builders to create any alternatives, given that everybody would still use the old items.
Gold is a whole seperate issue. The MUD is a world with an infinite supply of money. Inflation is to be expected unless sufficient "gold sinks" are implemented.
Acquiring gold is something that should never become too easy. We're definitely on the wrong track when it's easily possible to earn 100k gold in a few hours gameplay.
To keep things balanced, we're currently working on a simple chart or formula that shows a reasonable "wealth-range" for a mob of a specified level. Mobs that are easy to reach, yet carry a true fortune will most likely be modified to be less wealthy. If you have to go through several layers of guards before finally reaching a wealthy merchant, it's less likely this mob would be changed. If you can direcly gate a mob that takes less than a minute to kill and gives out 2000 gold, expect some changes.
Gold sinks were mentioned above already and are under review as well. Several options exist here .. clan fees have been mentioned several times before as well as a possible eq damage/repair system. The drawback of both these systems is that they restrict previously allowed activities by making them cost money. If there are ways we can find that introduce new features which can be used as gold sinks, we will definitely let people know, e.g. crafting