Posted by: L1H | April 27, 2008

What If: L1H MMO [Part I]

Meet Ugmatt It’s been six months since you created Ugmatt, your now ‘Elder Man’ character.

You purposefully chose a ‘low-tech’ aka ‘dawn of man‘ server – a fledgling world where few skills have been discovered and much of the world was wild and untamed.

As soon as you log in your screen fills with a vast desert vista. It’s apparently early morning. The sun sits low on the horizon but can be seen to slowly crawl up into the pale cloudless sky. Ugmatt is center screen, sitting in the shade of a large rock. He’s naked save for a deer hide loincloth (that your gf crafted for you) and a beaver hide hood. You are about two kilometers from your village – you know this because of landmarks you’ve memorized over the past few months: a distant cactus to the east, a dry stream running north to south.

There are no maps – at least not yet. The written language skill has to be discovered first and as far you know it hasn’t on your sever. New Skill discoveries are rare and magical server wide events. They aren’t looted or ‘grinded’ in the traditional sense. Some say there’s a 1/10000 chance that your character will discover a new skill each week, others say it’s a GM that drives the code manually – the true mechanism is a highly protected game secret. Once a skill has been discovered it will spread throughout the game world like a virus. Often tribes will try to hoard skills to themselves, but trade and violent socializing (combat) often leak the skill to the rest of the server, leaving the game world changed forever.

Last night before you logged you were hunting but came up empty handed. You hope tonight you’ll be able to get a kill and drag it back to the village to share. A tribesmen named Flintstone said he tracked a herd of game here once. You hope he is right.

A drum sound singles a State/Health alert. You expand the State/Health window into the spartan looking UI and read the blinking message: Ugmatt is hungry. Being hungry is a state that lowers attributes and therefore skills. You happen to notice your stress state is relaxed. With a quick inventory dive and click on a deer jerky icon within, Ugmatt begins a thirty second eating animation. The drum sounds again: Ugmatt is no longer hungry.

You prepare to activate your tracking skill but are interupted by a ‘rock striking another rock’ sound: another system warning, this time a perception alert. When you’re in the wild you often keep the alert state active which will warn you of any approaching mob or player. The down side to keeping alert active all the time is your stress and hunger state tend to flair up frequently.

Another drum: Ugmatt is fearful. Fearful is a state that saps your endurance, penalizes your cognitive based skills, but also affords a temporary perception and strength bonus.

You see him now, barely visible and moving towards your shady rock. It could be anyone: a tribesmen, a friendly hunter from another tribe, or someone that has no problem putting a spear into you and taking your beaver hide hood.

You inventory dive again and click on a brown root that, once consumed, will lower your stress state. Ugmatt is relaxed. Next you activate your hide skill and your character becomes opaque and crouches.

He’s almost to your rock when he stops moving. It’s a man and no tribesmen of yours. He’s covered by a thick brown (bear?) hide cloak and wielding a sharpened walking stick (the early precursor to an actual spear). His body is tanned and thin – He doesn’t look well fed or otherwise well equipped.

He’s definetly looking for you – he probably got a perception alert but doesn’t know its origin: you can see him spinning his avatar about looking around.

You decide that if he is a threat you will probably be able to kill him, so you toggle off your hide skill and reveal yourself. There’s that terrible moment when you meet a player in the wild and you have to size each other up in the span of heart beat: friend or foe, fight or flight.

He takes a step forward, now 20m away, and initiates the socialize window. In your window you have three options: offer friendship, threaten, or do nothing, i.e. lets talk, I’m here to kill you: begin combat, or don’t show your intention and leave them guessing. He quickly commits his window and offers: friendship. You let yourself have a murderous fantasy for half a second and then commit your own window to friendship. With both of you choosing friendship, this option prevents combat between the two players for eight hours or until you leave the region. A tribe leader can also open a socialize window with another tribe leader and call for a tribal wide peace treaty or even declare war.

The stranger’s name now appears above his head: Noworries. A spatial chat window is now available which means you both speak the same language. It’s always hard to develop a friendship in the wild when you come to realize you can’t communicate. Sign language is a skill you’ve seen used in circumstances such as those. Seeing it in action was amazing. It opens a library of emotes that make spatial communication possible with anyone: like caveman charades.

“What’s up?”, he says in the spatial.

“Not much man, I’m hunting, what tribe you from?”, you reply.

“About a km south of here, call ourselves Bear Claw tribe, very small, just a bunch of friends.”

“Cool, want to hunt together?”

“Awesome. Hey do you have the tracking skill?”

“Yeah, I’m ‘Seasoned Tracker‘”, you say with pride.

“Holy crap; I hope I ding tracker from you, I’ve been trying to hang out with our Tribe’s trackers for a week but my dumb character hasn’t learned it yet.”

“Yeah, learning skills from other players can almost seem random. How high is your cognitive attribute?”

“I’m dumb, probably why it takes so long to ding a new skill.”

“lol. Just make sure they are actively using the skill, make sure you’re near them, I suggest you do it with as few people around as possible so it doesn’t get shared to someone else accidentally. If you don’t get a ding after a few minutes try again in 24 hours.”

“Yup, that’s how it do it.”

“I have a natural teacher talent, so you’ll stand a better chance getting tracking from me.”

“You need all the help you can get when you’re ‘dumb’, lol.”

That’s alright, just make sure you mate with a high cog female and at least a few of your children will be bright after a few generations. I can’t tell you the difference it makes with learning skills.”

“I believe it. What generation is your character?”

“I started at launch. This one is 10th generation. My gf plays a female that has a very high cog AND high strength character. She has the blood of chiefs talent. Our children aren’t playable yet but next season they will be.”

To be continued in L1H MMO Part II.

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Responses

  1. Post for randomness as requested Ludo! BLAAAAARG-itty-ward-larg!


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