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(this was posted to the tfc mailing list)

The last TFC mailing list, created a few years ago, did not work out very
well. One of the factors that I believe contributed to this was my
tendency to become argumentative, and take comments made on the list
personally. As a result of it becoming an unproductive environment, I
closed it down. I created the previous list with the idea that it would
be a forum where things could be discussed, but more importantly, it would
give me a forum to tell people why things were set up the way they were.
In contrast, I have created this list with the primary focus being to
allow the players a forum to discuss the game, and a place where I can
receive input on ideas.

So far, I've been pleased with most of the dialogue on this list. There
have been some good points made, and with few exceptions, people have been
largely constructive in their comments.

In keeping with the list's focus, I have avoided diving into the various
discussions. By and large, it is probably better that I read and lurk,
rather than jump in and comment on every single post. On the other hand,
I need to at least let you know where I am aton a few things, so you don't
have to guess.
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On making the guild unsafe:

This is an area decision (Nayr's domain), but I doubt that it would
happen. Many newbie deaths were caused by area-spelling hunting mobs.
Even the old guild had safe rooms, and nothing stopped people that were so
inclined from sitting in them and chatting. As for a common place to go
fight, there is the temple area, which is largely unsafe.

On alignment:

I don't like the TFC alignment system. Any of it. That said, I'm still
thinking about alternative 'alignment' schemes, and don't have more than a
general idea or two, certainly nothing I can write up in any detail and
ask for input on at this time. What I can do is outline my general
unhappiness.

Once upon a time, TFC had Good, Evil, and unaligned (then called
'neutral'). Over time, two things happened. 1) 'Good'-aligned mortals
were doing a lot non-Good things, such as grouping and spelling up Evils,
PKing one another, and other things they perhaps should not be doing. 2)
The professional killers were slaughtering everyone in sight. We
developed two classes: Killer and sheep. We were getting low on sheep
because the killers were driving them off. And people would kill others
again and again and again in rapid succession (particularly sheep).

These things tend to swing like a pendulum, and for 3.x, the pendulum
swung against the killers. Several things changed. The 'justify' code
was created, which regulated the multikills and PK debt, restrictions and
penalties were added to the Good alignment, so that they couldn't help
Evil, and the Neutral alignment was created, to provide a safe harbor for
those that didn't want to participate in PK's.

I like the justify code. It does its job to help keep the same person
from killing you over and over in 'x' amount of time.

As it turns out, the Neutral code was a mistake. It was intended to be a
place where those that weren't into PKing could exclude themselves to an
extent. They would still be PKable, but there would be penalties to
dissuade others from casually killing them. Over time, at least 3
problems became apparent. 1) It's very difficult to set the alignment up
where it's "just right." If the penalties for killing a Neutral aren't
high enough, they become sheep, even worse than 2.x sheep, because their
PK abilities are extremely restricted. If the penalties are too high, no
one will touch them. And I didn't want them unkillable. This is a PK
mud, after all. 2) People would use the Neutral alignment for "safe
passage" to the higher levels, and join an aggressive following. More
code restrictions were put into place to discourage this. 3) It's cooled
down the PK game, probably too much. My thought at the time was that if
this happened, it must be what the players want. Unfortuantely, it makes
things boring.

As for the Good alignment, something had to be done to prevent Goods from
doing whatever the heck they wanted. FLI's couldn't be around 24 hours a
day. So, code was put into place to prevent the more serious abuses. It
was thought that the abuses were the problem. Over time, more and more
tests, limits, and restrictions have been added. But, I now believe that
perhaps we're trying to use the wrong system. What if, instead, the FLI
indicated which followings are allies, which followings the FLI is
indifferent to, and which followings are active enemies of the FLI's
following? The auras would display how the character's following
considers the person being viewed (blue = ally, red = enemy, purple =
neutral). The following itself could advertise itself as Good, Evil,
Neutral, or whatever.

There's actually more to the idea, but as I said way back at the
beginning, I'm still just thinking about it, and working on design.
Fundamentals take a while to work out. Once I have some details worked
out, I'll ask for more input on the ideas. In the meantime, I would like
to make changes to the Neutral alignment, which would be compatable with
the model I'm thinking about. When this would happen, I'm not sure.

On Ordained Mortals:

Everyone by now is aware of Lorna's idea of getting rid of Ordained
Mortals, and my annotation agreeing with her assessment. Unfortunately, I
did a poor job of expressing myself in my comments. It certainly implies
that my biggest problem is that the Evil OM's are more powerful than the
others. And yes, the obvious answer to that point is, "balance them,
moron!"

Unfortunately, I emphasized the wrong points in my annotation, and didn't
provide any clue of where I was coming from with the sentence "I don't
believe that implementing some of the other abilities will particularly
"fix" the class." I shall remember not to annotate things before I'm
fully awake, and think about what points I want to make. :-)

The fundamental flaw with the OM code it how it is designed. It is
designed as a "temporary" class that you level like a normal class, but
can be revoked, and will eventually leave the character. In a way,
complaints that emphasize how much work has been put into the class, and
how "losing" all that work would be unfair or create unhappiness supports
the nature of the class' flaw.

It is designed to be temporary. But it's almost impossible to think about
it in those terms when it is even more work than a normal "permanent"
class. Everyone knows going in that it can be lost, but no one wants to
think about that. The 70% experience pool that is received in
compensation for an "honorable discharge" can be tough to swallow, too,
since that "specialness" and work is lost forever.

Maybe there is still a place for OM's, implemented differently. But I'm
unhappy with them now. As to when they will change or go away, who knows?
I haven't decided what is ultimately going to happen to it, and I have
larger things on the radar screen right now.

On the vortex:

This is an area change. I am reserving judgement on it, myself. I'm not
sure what kind of input Nayr is looking for on it. I know that from my
point of view, hearing about alternative ways to resolve a given problem
is helpful.

On random items:

When people indicate that they don't like the random items these days,
they are often talking about +damage items. I am not a +dam fan, and I
don't mean from a character point of view. From a _character_ point of
view, I'd want as much +damage as I could get my hands on! A majority of
players would likely agree, as evidenced by Mish's most wanted list.
>From where I am, however, damage is the enemy. I reached this conclusion
as I watched too many 1-3 round kills by people decked out in +damage.
So, I reduced the power of random items, in hopes that the average worn
+damage would decrease over time (it has). Unfortunately, the
distribution of wealth is messed up. Those that have managed to stay
somewhat powerful have just gotten more powerful, while the 95% of
everyone else has been knocked down the 'average'. No wonder people want
more +damage. They are getting wiped out by those that do have it, who
just get stronger and stronger.

A few ways I can go here. I can wait for all those with tons of +damage
to get bored and be purged. So far, this hasn't happened. :> I can crank
up the amount of +damage out there, so the really buff people are reduced
to just above average. Or, I can change the nature of +damage equipment.
My preference is to change the nature of +damage equipment.

On perceptions:

We all have different points of view. Some of us play a lot of mortals,
some don't. Some are PK'ers, some are shee.., er, non-PKer's. We all
have our preferences as to classes and races. Some of us sit in safe
rooms more than others. :-)

The point is that we each have our own perception on what the game is, how
it is played, and what is best for it. Please don't be quick to discount
the opinions of others. There is not necessarily one "right" answer, and
if someone else's answer doesn't match your's, that doesn't make it
"wrong." This struck me especially strongly in a couple of messages,
where one person conveyed their perception and recollection of the guild
in 2.x, and someone else replied back with all the ways the initial poster
was wrong. Obviously, there were two different perceptions on how things
were, based on personal experience.
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I shall not make a habit of these long messages. I hope that I conveyed
some useful information.

Tynian.

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