Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Winds of Change are Blowing

I'd like to welcome everyone back to TSoS's Developer blog. It has been awhile since any posts have been put up here, but that will change going forward. In fact a lot of things on TSoS have been changing lately (albeit, lots of them behind the scenes) and thus we have our theme for today, change! We would like to let all of our players know what we have recently implemented, as well as give some idea what is still on the docket going forward.

A few updates have already been implemented on the live port in the form of new RP commands. These are really a quality of life change for our current players, and an attempt to make our syntax more intuitive to new players, especially those coming from RPI MUDs. These new RP commands (or new versions of at least) are say, sayto, and whisper. In addition, we will also have think and feel, which represent a new layer of role-play for players on TSoS. All in all, these commands are intended to provide more options and not replace the mainstay commands of emote and pose. These new commands will hopefully be used in conjunction with emote and pose to provide a more immersive role-play environment for players. A devblog will be dedicated to delving into this suite of RP commands a bit further in the near future.

Going forward, we have quite a few changes we're working through now, and even more being discussed by staff. Three of these changes are worth mentioning because we expect them to be the next set that we roll out to the live port. The first is a modification to the look command. We're going to tweak look so that it shows a physical description of the target, rather than just an equipment list. This description had previously been accessed solely by way of the glance command. This won't be replacing glance because the particular description that look will pull from will have a limit on length, while glance will continue to provide a more expansive canvass for those inclined to write lengthy character descriptions. 

Also, we will be tweaking look to enable players to view extra descriptions of the visible items another player is holding. This segues into our second modification which will apply to our craft command. Currently you can almost completely define and describe an item using craft, but you can't edit the item's extra description. In actuality, a lot of items don't yet have one of these extra descriptions, currently shown by using the examine command. We think that it just makes sense to provide players with this level of detail and control, so keep an eye out for this update to craft in the future! 

Finally, we are evaluating NPCs and where players can realistically practice their skills, forms, and weaves without having to slaughter entire cities of (possibly innocent) people. As some may notice, the NPC balance is also a little wonky where animals and humanoids seem to have widely varying difficulty, especially at lower ranges of player combat power. Expect to see some NPC balancing changes to be debuting with future area updates to provide a more realistic environment with which our players can explore and interact.

While the RP quality has always been a staple of our MUD, there is no denying that having a low player base has imposed significant difficulty for players to progress and move forward on their own. Thus, the focus of a lot of discussions  that staff members have had is on change is how we can address this issue. It's not just a matter of how we can grow, but rather how can we improve the quality of the game play no matter the size of the player base? How can we become more immersive, fun, and RP-centered MUD? We're continuing to flesh out these issues and develop ideas to address them, and we'd like to encourage you to speak up here, or especially on the forums if you have ideas yourself. We're marching forward, and we want you to be a part of it.

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