Turf MUD

Game Mechanics

Questions arise quite frequently as to why certain things on Turf are the way they are, especially things which are considered irritating, such as tax. This text explains the game mechanics and reasoning behind the game.

Death and Taxes

Death and taxes are two of the favourite gripes, and they're closely related in making sure the League stays active and entirely responsible for the feel of the league as far as relative scores go.


Death currently is very weak for Heroes - 500xp + 5% of xp over 37,000. This is a complete change from the original effect of death, which was loss of half your xp back to 36,000.

Under the old system the League was a very close, very competitive group - positions changed frequently and were often seperated by only a few hundred xp. Obviously this made advancement very easy, but it also made devastating death very easy, and this discouraged play.

The current system is a revision to prevent players becoming discouraged by devastating losses at deaths. This, however, results in the current scores distribution in the League, where each place is seperated by thousands of xp and positions are relatively static.


You may get taxed and not like it, but taxes do a lot of work for you. Taxes are the game's mechanism for keeping the League and clan standings current and accurate.

Tax keeps the league current by applying to those who idle, so if a player achieves a high score and disappears that player is prevented from keeping a score for eternity. Tax obviously has to be a function of time - it wouldn't be particularly nice to just forget a player's score when they had been gone for a certain length of time, so what we have is a mechanism which takes off just a little per day - it isn't devastating if you go on holiday for a bit, but it does add up if you disappear for six months. (Of course, if you're only going away briefly you've got your yearly vacation allotment.)

Players do disappear from the League if they are idle too long, but that alone isn't an effective mechanism of control, because old players do re-appear. Imagine how devastated you'd be if you were Elite and suddenly someone who had a much bigger score showed up on Turf after a year and replaced you, despite not being able to gain a single experience point in the modern Turf.

Another frequent complaint is that it forces players to play when we should really be making them want to play. Both statements are true - it is the conjunction that is wrong. Forcing players to play keeps the League scores more accurate, or perhaps, true to a player's ability. A tax means that each Hero must be able to perform well consistently, rather than holding a position thanks to some one-off occurance of luck or outside help.

Tax starts at what appears to be an arbitrary level (currently level 150). The level selected is scaled to reflect how the League will stand under the current rules for death and taxation such that tax doesn't apply to those who aren't serious competitors in the League. There's little point burdening those who are just entering the League at level 36 with tax - they're not getting in anyone's way and their standing doesn't need to be proven to be consistent (because, really, they have no standing).

The End of the Game

Another frequent compaint is that there's no point playing after level 36 (or another, higher level). There are no new skills, new areas to explore, or real incentives to play. This is both true and untrue. There's the League to compete in, and the game does get harder with increasing level, so the challenge does increase. However, if you're not interested in competing in the League or challenge for challenge's sake then you've hit a fundamental problem of games: all games have an end.

All games must end - there can't be an infinite supply of new areas, new skills and new items. All that can be done is the creation of something like the league: a simple and self-regulating formal competition between the players themselves. Unless you're interested in League or clan competition then the game does essentially end at level 36.

Unworkable Ideas

Players often complain about the current situations regarding death, taxes and the end of the game, but solutions are rarely offered, and workable solutions are never offered. Here's a small list of ideas which have been presented which just don't work.

New skills
New skills are only interesting if they offer an advantage or something absolutely fascinating. Obviously a skill which gives an advantage isn't a great idea after level 36 - the idea is to be challenged, not walk through the game slaying things with a single stroke. And as for interesting skills, no one has yet suggested a skill which is interesting in itself - especially not one that will be interesting in the long term. Wizard and other Immortal commands have been suggested, but the fact of the matter is that Immortal commands are disciplinary and not appropriate for casual public use.
Special equipment
Special equipment, of course, would stop at some level. The game has to end somewhere, and once you've acquired the special equipment it won't be that special any more - once you have a sword with your name on it how many more do you need? And special equipment obviously couldn't offer a game advantage - the idea is to make the game more challenging after you reach level 36 so you don't get bored of killing things at a single stroke.
Tax proportional to League standing
Tax already is proportional to league standing, in a way - you lose 2% of your xp above a given level. If tax was proportional to league position alone such that the Elite faced a higher percentage than any other League member then, assuming the percentage was a meaningful one, what we would see, in the long term, was a set of League leaders who rotated in and out of the Elite position as their turn for taxation arrived. Additionally, this idea makes tax meaningless as a device for ensuring that scores are accurate to a player's skill, as discussed above.