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Oct 02, 2003




"...if everyone wants to be a Jedi, does that mean everyone should be a Jedi?"

In a way, it does. If everyone wants to be a Jedi, then they should. But then how do you control this so that everyone doesn't play a Jedi? This is evidently something the team at SWG looked long and hard at. Personally I'm not convinced they came to the right solution. To give a player unique abilities there must be a tradeoff the player has to make in order to control numbers and uniqueness to exist. I see two major "currencies" inside a gameworld and two major enablers. The two enablers I see are Skill, as in player skill, or human skill, which enable a player to obtain/maintain the ingame currencies. The second enabler is Playtime, or how much time a player can invest. And I see two currencies that can be traded. The first currency that comes to mind is Virtual Resources, you start out with zero and work towards a goal uning your enablers. The second (and not-so-intuitive) currency form is Freedom, you start out with nearly all of it and as you use your enablers you lose this Freedom; As you use/choose your skills and the more you play the deeper you go down a set path with less and less freedom, be it by choice of profession, guild affiliations, etc. While the means and ends of Virtual Resources are well understood by everyone (you exchange them for items/services/favors), the other currency, freedom, is not so intuitive since you start off with all that you're ever going to get, yet it acts in the same way as all the other Virtual Resources - you exchange bits of it for items/services/favors.

The SWG design centered the obtaining of the Jedi slot strongly along the Time Investment dimension, where you don't even know where you're going and have to spend time hunting blindly. And to control the future population numbers by the Player Skill level, with things like permanent death for Jedi and difficult training. I would favor an approach where being a Jedi is accessible to anyone, and maintaining a Jedi is something challenging without the absurdity of character deletion. I would like to see this center more on constraints to freedom (or worded differently: the trading of the Freedom currency for the Jedi ability). Under the current design a Jedi (or a trainee) is freely attackable when they use Force powers, so they are paying a token of freedom when they use these powers. This alone is not enough Freedom to be a fair trade for being a Jedi -it is not a permanent trade, or even a long-time investment- since inbetween using The Force, they seem to be free to do as they please, and after they're done with The Force they get their freedom back (they are no longer freely attackable) - They get most of their Freedom back, anyway, since they leave some of it with those who witnessed that person was a Jedi. If the game would constraint your actions and your roles, then Jedi numbers would eliminate themselves out by the high cost to freedom users have to pay in order to be Jedi.


DS: Thanks. The way I understood it, there *were* going to be some significant freedom constraints imposed on the Jedi role -- e.g., you were required to follow orders and there would be a bounty on your head. But that was something I heard during the beta. Your skill idea is interesting from a design perspective. I guess you could write it so that it really *was* very difficult to play a Jedi.

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