by Delphine Lynx January 6, 2003
And so the holiday season has come and gone. After what turned out to be an inadvertent month off, I hope to be writing more often once again, beginning with this piece on implemeting festivals. Unlike the others I’ve so far written, this one is perhaps more applicable to the RP oriented MUDs out there.
“I’m the type who’d be happy not going anywhere as long as I was sure I knew exactly what was happening at the places I wasn’t going to. I’m the type who’d like to sit home and watch every party that I’m invited to on a monitor in my bedroom.”
The idea of a special event is hardly a unique one – especially as it is used in this context, to include any sort of gathering or festival. They are so mundane, in fact, that the idea hardly raises an eye brow in reality. We all, even if not attending one, are familiar with the idea of a carnival, company Christmas party, or street fair. It is difficult to determine, therefore, why the idea is so alien to those who frequently play MUDs.
Before discussing the arrangement of a special event, let me first lay out why you would want to implement one. Essentially, the perks of a festival can be summed up as follows:
But naturally all of this begs the question of how precisely to go about implementing said events. Personally, I took my cue from Simutronics, whos implementations, though infrequent, were typically very well done as far as this agenda goes. In those games, the events took one of several forms:
As mentioned repeatedly above, worth as a status symbol is something which may be exploited in creating these events. People want unique or rare items to impress others, and, just as much, want an arena to show it off. There’s no point in driving a Porsche for most of us, but to be seen in a Porsche, that’s why people buy them. Likewise, yes, some players may need the items you’re selling at these events – but they will also be scooped up by everyone else, itching to show off at the next party that they had the money at the time for whatever it was.
Likewise, such things can provide an arena for other sorts of clothing. Why not hold a formal party, allowing only characters dressed appropriately to enter? All of these things add to the realism and roleplay potential of the evening (….Unless it’s realistic to do everything in plate mail, as characters seem to typically do), as well as provide an avenue of spending outside of combat gear. For players, the avenues opened up by regularly held parties and markets are very rewarding. To the administrator, they provide a valuable way of taking extra cash out of the economy, and an opportunity to be creative once a week/month in putting together something interesting.
An even greater overall reward, though, may be that they provide something to talk about. To refer back to the Simutronics MUDs, more often than not the players spent more time discussing festivals than participating – they presented an avenue of gossip typically lacking. Though naturally there is ample gossip about both reality and certain players, that’s the sort of gossip the administration would typically prefer to quell. By replacing it with events for people to discuss in character, the game world begins to feel ever so much more rich and engaging, as the characters develop a life of their own.
Though these events are possibly not needed on a hardcore MUSH, where the players involved are already avid roleplayers, they can do wonders to spruce up a combination style MUD, bringing to it the levity and dynamic social environment so highly spoken of by the players of roleplaying games.
Festivals – copyright © 2002 by Delphine Lynx – All rights reserved.