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Value on a MUD

by MSKing the hellcat

I have been greeted by value disbelief before: "Are you kidding? Those are as common as dirt on >insert MUD's name<."

Changing values:

Values simply change from MUD to MUD. The quest token that sends you into spasms of joy (and brings people running with all the noise you're making) will be nothing special elsewhere. The key is: players, especially immortal ones, need to know what is valuable and what is not on a MUD.

Austrian nugget coin

A little valueable.

Why you should think about value:

Spend some time thinking about value on your MUD. If you don't, your immortals will have to figure it out. If you're lucky, they will do it together. If you're not, they will each operate by whatever ideas of value they already have which will inevitably conflict and confuse everyone. Even worse, you may decide (later) that it's not the way you want it. Then, you'll have to deal with the whining justified complaints and hurt feelings that follow.

Types of value:

Players need something to work for and immortals need ways to motivate/reward them. Here are the basic types of value:

Value by Usefulness:
This is the most obvious value. Anything that helps you get more of what you want or keep what you already have is useful. Example: top eq., levels, houses, and clans.

Value by Bragging Rights:
Anything that gives you bragging rights is valuable. Because of this, players will strive to get eq. of the same stats as what they already have because it's harder to obtain. That's right, you don't have to boost the stats of an object to make it more valuable.

Value by Rarity:
Rarity is directly related to bragging rights. However, just because something is rare doesn't mean people will want it. Something must be valuable first, then, rarity increases its value when the supply cannot meet the demand. You may have to build up demand through a little promoting.

Value by Sentimentality:
Ah, sweet memory. This mostly covers quest prizes, gifts, and rewards. Goofy items handed out to participants of an event can be more valuable than anything else on your MUD (barring people) because they are rare, give bragging rights, and have sentimental value. You can reinforce this by throwing parties where people can show off their stuff and be sentimental (i.e. swap stories) together.

Quests should also be memorable. Do not think that automated or standard answer.the.trivia/kill-collect.the.most.of quests will cover you. Prizes from these are not sentimentally valuable, neither are the memories.

Value by Location:
If you've ever wondered why people keep favoring one city, here's your answer: immortals favored it first by putting it smack in the middle of everything.

You can make a location more valuable by placing something that players will want a lot of (that they can't get elsewhere), putting more zones by it or by giving it portals. Houses become more valuable depending on their placement (i.e. making them hard to reach will decrease their value).

Spread the word:

Figuring out what's valuable will not help you if you're the only one to know. The way you inform mortals and immortals will differ.

Teaching value to Immortals:

You may be able to neglect your mortals, but immortals need to know a little about value, especially if they aren't long-time players of your MUD. They need to know everything from how high in value an objects stats may be to where they go. They need this information to run quests, build zones, and encourage good behavior.

Luckily, you can tell them straight out. Most of this information should be contained in the immortal handbook and builder's guides for your MUD. However, you should to discuss these with them to make sure they get it. Remember: one immortal with misconceptions can skew the balance of your MUD, even if it's only temporary.

Teaching value to Mortals:

Putting a sign in the city square that tells mortals that they should be grateful if they get items a, b, and c is like killing a fly with a rocket launcher. Do NOT tell them straight out. In the first place, mortals will pick up value from their environment (including other players). Secondly, you already have great ways to influence their thinking with help files, boards, prices, and your immortals.

Help Files:
Do not tell them something is valuable; show it by telling them why they should value it. A help file on houses might say, "If you're one of the lucky few to have a house ." They pick up that the house is valuable because it's useful, rare, and gains them bragging rights. Depending on your setup, it could be sentimentally and locationally valuable also.

You may already use the boards to announce upcoming events, why not use it to announce how they went too? By mentioning the quest prizes for quests that were obviously difficult, you'll be telling everyone how valuable they are without saying it directly.

Tip #1 - With rare events, you might even announce it on the motd for even more publicity.

Tip #2 - Preserve the stories of your bigger quests in a library to add more sentimental and bragging value to participation.

Simply put: something that's expensive is valuable. However, you'll need to know how easy it is to get gold on your MUD before you can judge by price.

If your immortals treat something as if it has value, people will believe it has value (on the flip side, they can undermine something's value as well). A congratulations from a respected immortal can mean a lot.

Last words:

Knowing the values of your MUD will help to keep it in balance. Btw, I meant it when I said don't tell your mortals straight out what's valuable. When you do that, it brings it to their attention and they start to question it. Submit it to their subconscious and they'll be far more likely to accept it without whining about how does things.