On the alt.muds.diku group this thread was started a while back and at some point I tossed a couple of ideas how to shift the focus of a mud to other things.
- politics -- some way to achieve ascendance over and control of an area or region. The game could include taxes, pay for and control guards, roads guilds and religions that each have their own agenda in the struggle for power. Players can have particular skills that may be usefull in their own attempt to rise in rank and power within the institution of their choice.
Naturally there has to be competition from other countries and other institutions or there is no need for politics.
- Level becomes a function of guilds, rather than something that automatically happens whenever enough experience has been collected. Players have no great reason to go out and kill things, unless it advances the agendas of the guildmasters.
- The resources could be limited. Players could not have money, food, water, clothing, weapons and so on in infinite supply as is usually the case in muds. The first objective of the game would then be to collect enough money, or power, to prevent your character from starving, freezing or all other unpleasant things. Players could form clans or guilds to make sure that their members would never die of such desperate situations. And of course skills to actually produce those limited resources are going to be quite usefull.
- Skills could be made purchaseable rather than handed out for each level gained. That way a player's ability would be expressed in the expertise in skills and levels could be done away with. And it would also make money (or whatever else is needed to purchase training) the primary motivating factor.
- By Pier Donini (email@example.com): On Mume, and on other muds, there is the concept of travel points. These are awarded for entering certain rooms. As a certain amount of travel points are required to level this forces players to wander, rather than kill the same monster over and over again. Also, on Mume, as you kill the same monster over and over again the experience you get for it is lessened.
- Example from a skill oriented game: Ursus, by Markku Nylander. This mud attempts to reduce the importance of equipment and stat hunting. The game further focusses on achieving a balance between the various classes, such as there are. Most importantly it means that the game is not allowed to define the character for the player. It also aims to support roleplaying