|I've been pouring over ideas, notes, postings and such related to MUDs and MUDing recently and have come to a question, partly spurred by a post by Nick regarding ways to retain players as well as possible issues I have come up with regarding my basic idea for a fighting system.|
Some things, like eating and drinking, seem to be simple enough for most people to handle (being a minor annoyance to many) with little to no effort, or sometimes with a simple script to handle such a tedious task.
Some things, like a complex combat system with numerous variables and dozens of diffrent things to compare (resistances, armor versus a specific weapon type, weight, ect) could easily overwhelm a new player because of how demanding these figures may seem when comparing two similar peices of armor.
On the opposite side there is too simple, where things can easily be figured out and offer no real flexibility or provide experianced players with few things of interest once they know the mechanics intimatly.
This also may affect crafting, proffessions, and other aspects of a MUD where realism versus complexity may be an issue (mining for select ores in specific areas to craft a sword compared to mining iron ore to make a sword, for an example), so my question is;
How the hell does one know when something is too complex? Or, probably a better question would be 'What is the correct level of complexity?'.
I know that personally I like some complexity in any game (I find MMOs predictable fairly quickly), but from a newbies perspective things like having to find flour, water, a fire, a pan or plate, and such to make a simple loaf of bread would be far too complicated, especially for someone low on cash and still trying to remember how to put on their armor or where they head north to get to the Well of Newbies so they could avoid the level 99 dragon lord who roasted them over an open spellflame before (which, I will state now, is a terrible design decision if these two kinds of areas are near each other. I want it going on record that I'm not the kind of GM that would want to kill their players outright).
The only real way I can think of to avoid such issues (getting ingredients for a potion instead of buying the same potion) is to give them the option to not go through with the complex option by providing a way around it (a baker to provide bread, a smith to supply a sword) while providing some benefit to those who take the harder route (cheaper bread, better sword) without making it a requirement (Player-made bread is only 5-10% cheaper than the bought, the sword could be made of an alloy to make it lighter or sharper by a percentage).
Things like these are simple to work around in my mind (in practice it may well be diffrent), but some things like armor, skills, combat, magic, and maybe even traveling could be made more complex than can be handled well by a new player but could offer any options for an experianced player to take advantage of (and possibly abuse).