Diversity in Cantr – introduction

By   January 26, 2016

The text is written from the perspective of the Polish Zone.

Many older players have noticed the game has changed a lot. It’s often mentioned that in terms of gameplay (so ignoring interface, server stability and reliability of game mechanics) the game has changed for the worse.
I don’t fully agree with it. People often like to idealize things from the past and focus on criticizing the current state of affairs.
Cantr’s past shortcomings were easier noticeable to me when I’ve read the really old logs. It was common that characters’ perception of the game mechanics was close to OOC behaviour and there was a smaller percent of people who have really roleplayed their character on a currently average level (my experience from playing in Polish Zone since 2005). There’s a big progress here.
However the other aspects got hurt, like the possibility to easily set the goal for your characters (‘We need to build X, and then Y. We’ll be able to produce something completely new’ or ‘I’ll discover the place, where there was nobody before’). No wonder characters of old players, who have seen a lot, aren’t very enthusiastic when they see somebody is building the twentieth rickshaw in the town. The much worse is that new players – even those coming here with great enthusiasm – if have no experience in fabular games and role-playing, then often have problems to find themselves in the new environment.

(…) you can try to play the world’s most famous politician, most feared criminal, most cunning military commander (…)

As you can see even on the main page Cantr is presented as the game where there are no explicit rankings, but you can try to achieve the greatest goals – excel in something or be able to stand out.
Of course you can try to stand out because of personal characteristics set during the character creation, which was the matter already featured by psychowico (in Polish), but it’s a challenge to keep engagement on the sufficient level for long. It’s not common to be able to consequently roleplay the character which could later be mentioned as a jewel of roleplaying, as it requires a lot of attention and is time consuming.
Of course it’s unwanted to have two groups of characters: some perfectly played individuals and overwhelming majority of similarly equipped, identically clothed golems which are all doing the same. For average players it’s the game itself which should encourage creation of interesting accents which make the character stand out. What does it offer then?
Of course we have different skill levels, but if somebody isn’t planning to associate the character with the specific profession, then it’s hard to make something meaningful from it – one per two characters will appear to be as skillfull in this matter. Sometimes it’s interesting to base the roleplaying on inability of doing some activity – I’ve seen a few successful characters played like that.
Clothes are ones that can give some sense of diversity. It speaks well about variety in every category, because there’s no piece of clothing having overwhelming majority in any category. The youngest characters often get the most primitive clothes, and then they can work for something better, if they only consider it necessary. Unfortunately the clothes, once they are gotten, are kept forever, so in practice everyone after working for some number of days is able to buy absolutely everything (except bejewelled crown). Clothes have also no direct influence on the character, so the players must find the motivation to get them in themselves.
It’s arguable whether it’s good or not. There was a suggestion recently to have characters affected by weather (temperature) according to the clothes worn. Personally I was skeptical, because it’d mean much tedious micromanagement for every character, which I’ve always tried to avoid.
Let’s think about the different things where diversity in Cantr should be promoted. Most of characters after a few dozens of days are able to get a crossbow or a steel battle axe and an iron shield. Their repairs can later be time consuming and boring, but they require no cooperation with other people or any other action which could be challenging for a player. For weapons only the attack matters, so only two options are promoted.
When a character wants to sail, then will most likely decide to buy or build a raker, a fully rigged one if possible. Less often alone sailors can choose a sloop. The other ships are almost extinct. The most important parameter is speed and the raker is the fastest both for a single person and a crew of a few. The purpose of having it is irrelevant.
It’s a bit better for land vehicles. For engine-less there’s usually a choice between a rickshaw and a tandem. For fueled you can decide on a motorcycle or one of a few useful kinds of cars which are really different: smaller of bigger cargo space, ability to ride on paths. I’d mention fuel consumption, but it’s rather low for every vehicle. Of course many others aren’t part of any group. A sportscar is as fast as all the others, but even increasing its nominal speed wouldn’t mean much in current turn system. It’d better to not mention tractors at all.

In short:
shield => iron shield
weapon => battle axe/crossbow
ship => raker

How often do you follow this schema and how often do you decide to break it? How do the others act? Why is it so?
All this reasoning can be boring, but it’s just an introduction necessary to understand stuff which is presented in the second part. I hope it will be more interesting.

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The article above comes from http://cantr-mmorpg.pl/en_US/blog/roznorodnosc-w-cantr-wstep/